I’ve written many times about the obscurantism in most NY Times news stories and editorials about Israel, so for awhile I swore off any more, especially since it’s endless and Sisyphyean. However,
in this case some seriously critical commentators on Israel and the usual Times coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were impressed by the paper's recent story on Breaking the Silence. My take on it is different. I read the story as classic NY Times obscurantism: just informative enough to pass for a fair and unbiased piece, when in fact it is grievously misleading in a number of ways.
Actually, Sternhell’s rebuttal of the critics of BTS could have gone much further: over many years dozens of impartial investigations and reports by human rights and international organizations, hundreds of news stories (even in the NY Times), and many long articles by journalists and academic specialists have made it absolutely incontrovertible that Israel repeatedly commits war crimes and acts of state terrorism. If anything, Breaking the Silence doesn’t go nearly far enough, though of course one can fully understand and sympathize with why it doesn’t.
Second, the Times story reports that BTS opponents "question" why it's not enough for the military to investigate itself, and quotes the Israeli defense minister as saying that it tries to, but has been "unsuccessful." The Times reports this with a straight face. Surely it knows that no serious observer thinks that Israel’s own “military investigations” of the kind of war crimes examined by BTS are anything but blatant white washes. When it comes to its methods, the “most moral army in the world” routinely lies about its behavior, and every serious, informed, and unbiased observer knows it. And of course it lies, what else can it do--the actions it purports to "investigate" are the consequences, and usually the intended consequences, of its own attitudes and policies. Not a hint of these facts in the Times' story.