The New York Times narcissistically regards itself as the
patron saint of minorities. The paper shifts into attack mode whenever
it sees the slightest and most ephemeral whiff of prejudice against
blacks, women, or immigrants especially Muslims. Private
golf clubs, college sports teams, corporations, the Patriot Act,
all have been tarred by the Times in their quest to abolish
Yet the New York Times seems to take the opposite approach
when dealing with one particular minority: Jews. The Times
method of dealing with anti-Semitism ranges across a very narrow
and disheartening spectrum: indifference, whitewashing, defense
and promotion of its practitioners, and finally, and most repugnantly,
the paper itself seems to occasionally engage in anti-Semitism.
This charge is not, and never should be, lightly made. Indeed,
it would come as a shock to many of its readers. American Jews have
always had a soft spot for the Grey Lady, and many rely on the Times
as their sole news source, adopting the Times opinions
with an inexplicable obeisance.
Jews are concentrated in major urban areas and many have some connection
to New York City; clearly Jews tend to live Times Country.
A Jewish family rejuvenated the paper over a century ago and any
minority group takes pride when glass ceilings are broken and feel
a loyalty towards those among them who have struggled and succeeded
against great odds.
However, Jews loyalty to the Times is misplaced. It
certainly has never been reciprocated. Laurel Leff, in her superb
and revelatory new book,
Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and Americas
Most Important Newspaper, has damning evidence that the Times
not only ignored the plight of European Jews and the events of the
Holocaust, but actively sought to downplay or deep-six any news
items regarding the horrors being perpetrated against the Jews.
The Times is now publicly-owned, but is led by Arthur (Pinch)
Sulzberger, Junior, a descendant of the controlling family, who
not only is apathetic about his heritage (except the career boost
he got from inheriting his position), but takes pride in announcing
that he was raised as and considers himself an Episcopalian. However,
he has inherited his relatives indifference to the plight
Many fine groups (CAMERA, Honest Reporting, Mediacrity) have noticed
the frequent bias the Times shows against Israel. However, I think
the issues surrounding the Times attitude toward Jews go beyond
disputes between Israel and the Palestinians. The Times has
consistently ignored the rank genocidal anti-Semitism that is the
governing philosophy of Hamas, which it usually describes
as an activist group concerned with the social welfare of Palestinians:
a philanthropy, in other words.
Similarly, the paper skips over the anti-Semitism taught in schools
and during sermons in Palestinian-controlled areas. There are precious
few examples of the Times reporting on Arab anti-Semitism,
and when it does, it usually involves putative American allies,
such as Egypt. However, this can also be seen as a rod to beat the
Bush Administration for its inability to influence a nation that
received billions in aid from us every year.
As CAMERA points
out, The New Yorker Bests (the New York) Times
on Anti-Semitism Coverage. The experts at CAMERA point out
that the New Yorker takes notice of the extreme anti-Semitism
of Hizbollah, which they depict as being Nazi-like in intensity
and geared toward the destruction of Israel. The Times, on
the other hand, portrays Hizbollah as a social service agency, complete
with social, educational and agricultural branches. Yep, a regular
4H club. A Nexis search by CAMERA at the end of 2002 showed no mentions
in the Times of anti-Semitism in connection with the group.
That is correct: no mention.
The whitewashing of anti-Semitism is particularly inexplicable
since, given the demographics of its readership, that would seem
to be a subject that might be of particular interest. However, the
Times seems to systematically avoid reporting instances of
anti-Semitism, even when other media outlets or a cursory visit
to google might illuminate the background of some of the events
and people it covers.
For example, Democratic Congressman John Conyers staged a mock
anti-Bush hearing some months ago. The hearing was simulcast at
the Democratic National Headquarters, since a number of democratic
Congressmen were in attendance at the hearing itself.
The hearings featured anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists,
and during the event anti-Semitic literature was handed out at the
DNC. How do we know this? The Washington Post was at the
event and reported on the anti-Semitism; the New York Times was
there as well, yet had not one iota of news about this aspect of
the conference when it
reported on it.
Cindy Sheehan was given a lot of space by the Times to attack
George Bush but the Times found no space to touch
kooky anti-Semitism. Mere reportorial discretion or maybe a
lack of space? Hardly. The Times has also had many stories
on the Reverend Al Sharpton, with nary a mention of the fact that
he has a long history of anti-Semitism and led a small pogrom against
a record store in Harlem that resulted in multiple deaths and destruction.
When the Times covered the funeral of Rosa Parks it had the
audacity to characterize Sharpton and fellow anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan
The Anti-Defamation League might take exception to that praise,
since they have reams of research on Farrakhans
hatred of the Jewish people.
Among Farrakhans notable utterances:
Listen, Jewish people dont have no hands [sic] that
are free of the blood of us. They owned slave ships, they bought
and sold us. They raped and robbed us. If you cant face that,
why you gonna condemn me for showing you your past, how then can
you atone and repent if somebody dont [sic] open the book
with courage, you dont have that, but Ill be damned,
I got it.Feb. 27, 2005
See, you so called Jews-Im not gonna give you the credit
for being one of those that obey God. You portrayed us, you know
what images do, thats why you jumped on Mel Gibson. But you
painted us, big lips, red eyes, kinky hair, you put in the movies
like that. You mocked our characteristics and made us to hate Gods
creation of us. You did that. Hollywood did that. . . . You take
our strongest, more courageous black minds, you think we dont
see you? And you put us in Hollywood. You give us television shows,
and then we gotta bug our eyes.-Feb. 29, 2004
And of course, the statement that helped to make him what he is:
Judaism is a gutter religion. In Timesworld, that makes
him a dignitary.
Tariq Ramadan is a Swiss-based academic with a long
history of statements that could certainly be construed as being
He had a visa to visit this country but the Department of Homeland
Security revoked his visa on security grounds. The Times,
of course, went
to bat for him. The Times seems to have a soft spot for
Muslim anti-Semitic professors because they had a glowing profile
of Columbia University assistant professor, Joseph Massad, who was
by students as engaging in anti-Semitism . In a April 8th New
York Times report, he was called a fan of free speech
yet he has been charged with shouting down those who disagree with
his inflammatory views. He has argued that intellectuals ought to
see the status of the European Jews as a colonizer and that American
Jews are often racists. Yet the Times gushed about him, portraying
him as a sensitive aesthete and a perfect host.
The Times was so eager to support the academics charged
with anti-Semitism that it violated its own journalistic code when
it refused to interview students for their opinions when Columbia
University released its report regarding the controversy.
Of course, the New York Times obsession with praising
and supporting the most anti-Israel organization in the world (besides
the Arab League and terror groups) the United Nations
is well known. The Times routinely ignores the anti-Semitism
behind much of what transpires at the United Nations. This was made
very clear in a story provided by Anne Bayefsky, a well-respected
member of a think-tank and a woman whose articles have appeared
in some of the finest publications in the world. In an article in
Capitalism Magazine, she
tells an Orwellian tale of working with the Times to
get an op-ed about the UN into its pages. To summarize, she was
forced to omit critical passages about many of the dictatorial states
represented in the UN Human Rights Commission. However, the censorship
was even more repugnant than just this. In her original op-ed she
referred to the grotesque anti-Semitism on display at the UNs
Durban Conference against Racism. The Times omitted this
One of the most notorious anti-Semitic stories from the Nixon years
concerned an official, Fred Malek, who compiled a list of Jews in
the Bureau of Labor Standards because Nixon believed that Jews in
that department were frustrating his policies. Some of these people
were fired or demoted. Malek is now part of a group that is angling
to buy the Washington Nationals baseball team. The Times
coverage of the proposed transaction omitted this story from his
past. As Timothy Noah at Slate wrote,
Think the New York Times might be interested
in a story about anti-Semitism? Naaah.
The Times approach toward Jews go beyond merely ignoring
anti-Semitism. The paper seems to have a penchant for praising certain
anti-Semites. Yasser Arafat has been responsible for the death of
more innocent Jews than anyone since Hitler. Yet the Times
wrote that he has a heroic history.
When Mayor Giuliani spotted Arafat and his entourage strolling
through Lincoln Center on their way to a private box, he was disgusted
and he ordered them off the premises. The Times was appalled,
and criticized him for failing to play a gracious host.
Mahathir Mohammed is the former Malaysian Prime Minister who said,
Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to die and
fight for them.
He had a long history of such anti-Semitic utterances, blaming
the Jews for the Asian financial crisis during the Clinton years,
for example. This did not prevent Times columnist Paul Krugman
to work for him or for later, in a Times column, trying
to understand and explain the reasoning behind his comments. In
an earlier 1998 article, Krugman seemed to not only justify Mahathirs
anti-Semitism but he seemed, as Donald Luskin put it, to agree with
it. In the article for the New York Times Magazine, Krugman
When the occasional accusation of financial conspiracy is heard
when, for example, Malaysias Prime Minster blames his
countrys problems on the machinations of Jewish speculators
the reaction of most observers is skepticism, even ridicule.
But even the paranoid have people out to get them. Little by little,
over the past few years, the figure of the evil speculator has reemerged.
As Luskin writes, Krugman gives one example of the evil speculator
in the next sentence, George Soros, an ethnic Jew, if not a practicing
one. Luskins article
is a superlative work of investigative journalism and shows Krugman
to be not only tolerant of anti-Semitism but to engage in a bit
of it himself.
The Times gave front-page treatment to the story of an illegal
immigrant teenage Muslim girl who was deported after investigations
revealed she was frequently visiting Islamic anti-Semitic websites.
Clearly the Times objected ($link)
to this deportation. Boo-hoo.
The Times cultural coverage has also been marked by
an insensitivity to the murders of Jews. The Palestinian film, Paradise
Now, about two homicide bombers, was praised as a superior thriller
which sustains a mood of breathless suspense, whose shrewdly inserted
plot twists and emotional wrinkles are calculated to put your heart
in your throat. The reviewer calls these terrorists all-too-human.
Some might argue that the Times attacks on Mel Gibson and
his Passion of the Christ film were attacks on the putative anti-Semitism
of the film. Many have argued that the film was not anti-Semitic
and the overheated warnings of perilous aftermath after its release
were shown to be foolish in the extreme. Not one single reported
anti-Semitic incident ever accompanied a screening of the film in
the United States, where it was seen by tens of millions. The Times
more likely attacked the movie because it was too Catholic
for them, not because of its purported anti-Semitism.
Perhaps, the most egregious example of the Times attitude
toward Jewish people is when they adopt the anti-Semitic formulation
of Jews as racists or Nazis. They constantly criticize the security
barrier that was built to defend innocent Israelis from terror attacks.
They have started using a new formulation which seems to support
the anti-Semitic charge that Israel is the new apartheid state:
they are calling the security barrier a separation
This terminology conjures up an image of Israel attempting to create
South African-type Bantustans, a charge of racism that is insulting
to all Jewish people. Tom Friedman, the best known of Times
columnists, has often propagated the charge that Israeli Jews exercise
undue influence in the White House, a charge with ominous anti-Semitic
antecedents. Friedman has also talked about fascist
forces in Israel, another circumlocution for Jewish Nazis.
The Times carried one of the most anti-Semitic
ads in recent memory, one that characterized pro-Israel supporters
in an anti-Semitic fashion. The full-page ad space could easily
have been filled by one of the high-end retailers or liberal environmental
groups that regularly use the Times to spread their messages.
Instead, the Times chose to run an ad replete with anti-Semitic
stereotypes about mysterious Jews working behind the scenes, with
a hirsute gorilla holding an Israeli flag on top of the dome of
the US Capitol. The ad was sponsored by a well-known anti-Semitic
group,a fact that if not known could have been easily discovered,
if by no other means than simply by looking at the advertisement.
The Times has also has attacked Jewish claims to Jerusalem
by trying to disparage an archeological discovery in Jerusalem that
may be part of King Davids palace, Steve Erlanger of the Times
casts doubt on the veracity of this claim by characterizing the
dig as being funded by a conservative businessman who wants to prove
a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Barry Rubin points out in his
The New York Times Bashes the Jews that this
type of theory is the same sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory
that is popular in the Arab world. Erlanger gives implicit support
to the abhorrent view of Arafat and other extremists that denies
any Jewish historical rights to Jerusalem.
While the Times exerts its immense resources to protest
what they see as ill-treatment of every minority group under the
sun, it seems to have little will to use its prestige to help one
of the smallest minorities, Jews. Why American Jews continue their
allegiance to a paper that ignores them at best and maligns them
at worst is unfathomable. However, maybe some Jews are beginning
to wake up and smell the coffee when they unfold the paper in the
morning. Readership and circulation figures are plunging
in its home market, and it is no longer the most-read paper
in New York City. As the internet continues its ascent to become
the number one news source for Americans, the Times will
now have to face stiff competition. The news will no longer be what
they choose to print as the news, and they will face the toughest
competition they have yet to face: the truth.
Jews have historically been at the forefront of combating discrimination
in America and around the world and have long considered the Times
an ally in that noble struggle. Perhaps, the power of cognitive
dissonance have created a blind spot regarding the Times
shameful treatment of Jews. The say it aint so, Joe
impulse can be overpowering. The need to believe that the Times
is the gold standard of reporting dies very hard.
However the temptation to rely on the Times as the sole
source of truth should be resisted. The internet is a marketplace
of views and news. Why cant the Times have a columnist
that is at least fair to Israel and the Jews (think the Washington
Posts Charles Krauthammer)? Why cant the paper have
op-ed contributors and columnists who confront anti-Semitism head
on as the Wall Street Journal does (Anna Bayefsky, Claudia
Rossett are only two examples)? Even the liberal Los Angeles
Times manages to publish columns by Dennis Praeger.
The Times preens as a protector of minorities around the
world. Some of those minority groups are quite large indeed: blacks,
Muslims, women. There is one very small minority (less than 0.2%
of the worlds population) that is regularly attacked and for
whom calls for genocide are routinely made. Yet The Times
not only ignores attacks against Jews, its negligence and occasional
outright support aids and abets them.
Ed Lasky is news editor of The American Thinker.
(c) Ed Lasky and or The American Thinker