Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’ Really?

August 20, 2013 10:00 am 8 comments

The New York Times building in New York, NY. Photo: Haxorjoe.

Among the many Israeli sources of irritation for The New York Times, none is more persistently aggravating than Jewish settlements. August has been an especially difficult month for the Times. In rapid succession, its Jerusalem reporter Jodi Rudoren, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Thomas Friedman, and editorial board contributed factual errors about settlements that not only  revealed  falsehoods but blatant bias.

It began on August 7, when Rudoren – who two days earlier had rapturously lionized Palestinian stone-throwers while all but ignoring wounded and murdered Israeli victims – erroneously stated that the American government viewed settlements constructed in Judea and Samaria to be illegal. In fact, as a subsequent Times correction noted, the United States “has not taken a position on the settlements’ legality” (although a day later the State Department declared, “We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity”).

That same day, Friedman – who seems to delight in vilifying settlers – wrote: “One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel’s Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. . . .” False. Yigal Amir, who (alone) assassinated Rabin, was not a settler. He lived in Herzliya, the Israeli city founded in 1924. While anyone can make a foolish mistake, not everyone would make such a glaring – and slanderous – error in print and then decline to correct it. Although the Times Correction and Editors’ Notes sites were contacted, there was no printed notice of the mistake.

Not a week later (August 13), the Times ran an editorial entitled “Shortsighted Thinking on Israeli Settlements,” which might best describe its own persistent hostility. The Times was responding to the Netanyahu government decision to bracket the release of Palestinian terrorists and murderers from their deservedly lengthy prison terms with the publication of bids for the construction of 1,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem (hardly a settlement) and existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

It may have been a vulgar Israeli “balancing act,” but hardly for the reason claimed by Times editors. Secretary of State Kerry’s delusion of “a comprehensive peace settlement” within nine months palpably excites the Times, but it is unlikely to come to fruition for reasons having nothing to do with Jewish settlements or intransigent Israeli “right wingers.” It is the Palestinians, after all, who have never missed an opportunity since 1937 to miss the opportunity for a peace agreement based on partition of the land.

“No two-state solution can ever be reached,” warned the Times, “if Israel expands its settlements on territory that will eventually become part of a Palestinian state.” This has long been the party line at the Times, which insisted (in the words of columnist Nicholas Kristof nearly two years ago) that “Nothing is more corrosive than Israel’s growth of settlements.” But its editors miss the point: Jewish settlements exist on land that will not become part of a Palestinian state. The Times may worry about “the already politically powerful block of settler voters who will resist removal.” It would be better advised to grasp the reality of 350,000 Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, in communities within an easy commute of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, who are unlikely to abandon their homes to mollify Mr. Sulzberger and his acolytes.

The Times, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) recently concluded, “has an Israel problem. And that means it has an ethical journalism problem,” which its constant and often misguided criticism of Jewish settlements illuminates and exacerbates. International law does not prohibit Jewish settlement. To be sure, Jews lost two-thirds of Palestine when Winston Churchill decided to reward Abdullah of Mecca with the kingdom of Trans-Jordan, carved from eastern Mandatory Palestine after World War I. But ever since 1922, when the League of Nations endorsed the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people,” Jews have enjoyed the right, never rescinded, of “close settlement” on the land west of the Jordan River. That means the West Bank.

The Times is entitled to its fantasy that land for peace will seal the deal between Israelis and Palestinians. But Palestinians have rejected every international recommendation for the partition of land west of the Jordan. All or nothing has its cost, but readers should not hold their breath in anticipation of Times recognition that it has been Palestinian recalcitrance, not Jewish settlements, that have proven to be the overriding obstacle to peace.

Two weeks ago the Times reported the discovery in Jerusalem by a prominent archaeologist of a fragment of King David’s palace. Former Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger made sure to insert his own doubts about its veracity, equating historic Jewish claims to Jerusalem with Yasir Arafat’s absurd denial of any Jewish connection there. But several days later, when the print media overflowed with accounts of the discovery of a juglet with a 3,000 year-old text from King David’s time, pre-dating the earliest known Hebrew inscription from the 8th century BCE, the Times ignored the story.

Beware of “all the news that’s fit to print.”

Jerold S. Auerbach is completing a book about Israel’s legitimacy struggles.

8 Comments

  • “ALL THE NEWS THAT’S FIT TO PRINT”: another myth. Too bad. Y’ can’t trust the NY Times. Well, it’s always good for wrapping up the garbage, y’knaow!

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    Since 1950 the Arabs have built more than twice as many settlements in Judea and Samaria as the Jews. They fill them with Egyptians, Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians and Lebanese and mirabile’ dicta, they are “Palestinians”. You can find a list of them on the Internet.

  • Jerold: Fact checking is just as important in rebuttals. Though I agree largely with your criticisms, you should be aware that Steve Erlanger, to the best of my knowledge, has been in Paris since 2008.

    andy

  • I think their mantra works just fine, with the caveat that “news” is replaced with “anti-Semtisim.” If the print fits, wear it.

  • The New York Times should change its name to The New York Sturmer its editors & journalists have enough hatred for Jews & Israel to follow Hitlers anti semitic rag.

  • Herman Gershon

    The slogan of the N. Y.Times “All the News fit to print” needs to merge with the UN so that it reads correctly
    “All the News that’s UNfit to print!” That newspaper gives no news, merely opinions, all slanted and prejudiced. It will never change. It will choke on its ultra-liberal character.

  • Joseph Silver

    A very good article, except for the glaring mistake at the end.
    The longest and oldest proto-Hebrew inscription found till now in Israel, an ostracon with over 70 characters, was found in 2008 in the dig at Khirbet Qeiyefa in the Ela Valley.
    It has been dated to the time of King David, based on 16 olive pits found in situ and used to carbon 14 the site (ca. 1000-970 BCE). The ostracon is so famous it even featured in a SNL skit!
    But except for this detail, the article hits the mark.
    Sadly.

    J.Silver, Jerusalem

  • Israel’s number 1 bad policy of expanding on disputed territories has had a devastating effect on its image in the world and has fueled Jew haters with nuclear propaganda to discredit our intentions of truly wanting peace.
    I am not at all suggesting that building in the disputed territories is illegal. I am only saying that doing it is doing us immeasurable harm and should be stopped immediately.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →