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Monday, November 28, 2011

The New York Times and Israel Bashing: Yes, The New York Times Is Anti-Semitic

Consider the contributor op-eds that have been published by The New York Times in recent weeks concerning Israel. On November 18, there was Shmuel Rosner's "The Voice of a Woman" (http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/the-voice-of-a-woman/), which sought to highlight the unwillingness of some Orthodox Jews serving in the Israeli army to listen to women's voices. As observed by Rosner, "I can’t educate my daughter to serve in a military that would excise women from the public sphere to accommodate the radical demands of the super pious."

Rosner, however, described the rare exception, not the rule. My daughter serves as a medic in an elite combat unit of the Israeli army and has never once encountered a problem of the kind that Rosner depicted. I have also served some 30 years in the Israeli army as a regular soldier and a reservist and have also never encountered such a situation. Sure, what Rosner has written makes for an interesting story, and yes, there are ultra Orthodox Jews, as opposed to Orthodox Jews, who object to women singing. But the bottom line is that women form an integral, critical part of the Israeli armed forces, and their rights are honored and respected.

On November 22, The New York Times published Sarah Schulman's "Israel and 'Pinkwashing'" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/23/opinion/pinkwashing-and-israels-use-of-gays-as-a-messaging-tool.html?hp). The theme of Schulman's opinion piece as described by the Times: "Israel is promoting its gay rights advances internationally to make it seem modern, veiling its violations of Palestinians’ human rights." In response, David Harris made mincemeat of Schulman in his opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post, "“Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’”: What was the New York Times thinking?" (http://blogs.jpost.com/content/%E2%80%9Cisrael-and-%E2%80%98pinkwashing%E2%80%99%E2%80%9D-what-was-new-york-times-thinking):

"Touting 'Israeli gay life' to 'conceal' the 'continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights'? Give me a break.

Does such convoluted thinking also mean that if Israel heralds its tenth citizen to win a Nobel Prize or the latest advances in life-saving medical technology, this is again nothing more than a smokescreen to distract attention from the 'real' issues, in Schulman’s mind, and needs to be blown out of the water?

. . . .

Again, let me be clear. Schulman is not the main issue here, whatever her insidious outlook.

Rather, it’s the decision of a leading newspaper to allocate coveted space to 'Israel and Pinkwashing,' whose author, described only as a professor, doesn’t even believe in Israel’s right to exist, irrespective of how it deals with gay issues. 'Whitewashing the Truth' might have been a more fitting title."

See also my blog entry, "Sarah Schulman, "Israel and 'Pinkwashing'": She Knows a Helluva Lot About Lesbianism but Little About Israel" (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2011/11/sarah-schulman-israel-and-pinkwashing.html#comment-form), which expressed my surprise that even Andrew Rosenthal and friends would publish Schulman's highly politicized twaddle.

On November 25, The New York Times published Gershom Gorenberg's contributor op-ed, "Israel's Other Occupation" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/israels-other-occupation.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&pagewanted=all), which focused on the recent "burning of a mosque in Tuba Zangaria, an Arab community in northern Israel, and the subsequent desecration of Arab graves in Jaffa." But as observed by Jonathan Tobin of Commentary in his "Contentions" piece, "Left's Critique of West Bank Settlers Doesn't Stop at the Green Line" (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/11/27/left-settlers-galilee-jewish-majority/), in response to Gorenberg:

"Anti-Jewish violence in the West Bank is a daily occurrence that liberal journalists either choose to ignore or rationalize as justified, because they see the presence of Israelis in the territories as inherently illegitimate. The same mindset has led the press to treat a regrettable case of arson against a mosque inside Israel as a harbinger of pogroms against Arab citizens. As with the West Bank, far more numerous incidents — especially in the Galilee — in which Israeli Arabs have targeted Jews are treated as either unimportant or just ignored."

I am certainly not claiming that the authors of the above New York Times opinion pieces, which are critical of Israel, are anti-Semitic. In fact, I believe it is important to draw attention to any discrimation against women or violence directed against Israel's Arab minority. Rather, I am stating that we have witnessed an inordinate amount of "ink" spilled by The New York Times on its op-ed page over the past two weeks, using Jews and Israelis to cast Israel in an unfavorable light. How is it possible that tiny Israel merits so much negative attention from the Times? And why have there been no counterbalancing opinion pieces, highlighting, for example, Israel's scientific and cultural achievements?

According to the "working definition of anti-Semitism" of the European Forum on Antisemitism (http://www.european-forum-on-antisemitism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/english/):

"Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:

. . . .

Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation."

Query: Which other democratic foreign nation is being subjected by The New York Times to such a barrage of criticism? For example, you will barely see reference to Turkey on the op-ed page of the Times, notwithstanding its imprisonment of journalists and discrimination against women.

The European Forum on Antisemitism states that "the overall context" must be considered when examining the issue of anti-Semitism, and I welcome such an examination. Consider my protracted correspondence with senior editors of The New York Times concerning repeated instances of the vilest expressions of anti-Semitism in online readers' comments in response to op-eds and editorials, which were posted by the "moderators" of the Times (see, for example: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/01/david-brooks-op-ed-spawns-online-new.html and http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2009/06/open-letter-no-2-to-clark-hoyt-public.html). Sure, after I protested the appearance of this racial abuse, some of the comments were deleted, but the ugly phenomenon continued (see, for example: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2010/05/return-of-anti-semitism-to-new-york.html).

Have you ever seen racist online New York Times readers' comments directed against any minority other than the Jews? I haven't. Only the Jews have been deemed fair game by the Times.

In short, there is no mistaking the stench of the new anti-Semitism of the Left, wafting from the opinion pages of the moldering Gray Lady.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you, Jeffrey, for this comment. Let me repeat it: "The New York Times is antisemitic."
    Everything about it is antisemitic: the obsession with the Jewish state, singling it for constant bashing, double standards, etc.
    I once wrote to the public editor complaining about Lede's Robert Mackey who in spite of his pompous declaration that his Lede's dedicated to covering of all the news everywhere was focusing (e.g. out of five posts four were about Israel) on Israel (news or not) and yes this "coverage" was virulently antisemitic. Guess what - a year or so later this Mackey is still there and his world is still limited to Israel.
    I tend to repeat the following: there are some two hundred countries in the world. In many of them, people are boiled (Uzbekistan), fried and cooked; children are sold into slavery or brothels etc., etc., but NYT and the like are bubbling about Israel.
    An absolute rag pretending to be something else.

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  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/opinion/israel-and-the-arab-awakening.html?hp

    I think the NYTs is reading your blog and just to prove you're right they had TF write this while you were sleeping !

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  3. RE: TF's "http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/opinion/israel-and-the-arab-awakening.html?hp"

    "Arab dictators were convenient for Israel and the Islamists — but deadly for Arab development and education."

    Huh ? I'm confused. How was Mubarak convenient for the Islamists ? It's the Islamists who are leading the revolutions across the Arab world. And if Friedman thinks development and education (along with women's rights, life for Coptic Christians, etc.) are going to improve under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, he's delusional.

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