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.


  • “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.


  • 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.

    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 *


  • Arts and Culture Beliefs and concepts What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David?

    What’s That Huge White Bridal Dress Floating Over the Tower of David? –  “What’s that huge white bridal dress floating over the Tower of David?” That’s what visitors to Jerusalem’s Old City asked last week. The wedding gown, created by leading Israeli artist Motti Mizrachi, is part of the 2nd Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art, an event that blew into town as the Sukkot holiday got underway. Mizrachi, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, created the dress that floats majestically over the Tower of David, the main exhibition site […]

    Read more →
  • Features Opinion The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    The Top 10 Places to Visit in Israel

    Israel is a holiday destination on many travelers’ bucket lists. No matter the style of holiday you are after, Israel has the answer. Whether you prefer to relax by the beach, hike up mountains in the desert, visit religious and historical sites, eat your way through the country or just enjoy some retail therapy, your journey through Israel will be one to remember. While there are obviously so many things to see and do, here is a list of 10 of […]

    Read more →
  • Pioneers/Philanthropists US & Canada Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO

    Jewish American Fashion Mogul Ralph Lauren to Step Down as CEO – Jewish American fashion mogul Ralph Lauren announced his plan to step down as chief executive officer of the renowned fashion brand. The head of Gap Inc’s Old Navy brand will take over the position. The 75-year-old Lauren, who founded Ralph Lauren Corp. in 1967, will continue to serve as executive chairman and will continue leading the fashion house’s design team, according to a statement by the company. After the announcement, Ralph Lauren shares rose 3.79 percent while Gap shares […]

    Read more →
  • Featured Sports US & Canada Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish Boxer Dustin ‘White Tiger’ Fleischer Scores Fourth Knockout Victory

    Jewish boxer Dustin Fleischer, who said his quest is to become the first world champion descended from a Holocaust survivor, stayed unbeaten with a first-round knockout. Fleischer, nicknamed “The White Tiger,” moved to 4-0 with the defeat of Ira Frank on Saturday night in Beach Haven, New Jersey, near his home, he reported after the fight on his Facebook page. The 26-year-old welterweight has won all his bouts by knockout. Read full story at JTA.

    Read more →
  • Featured Israel Pioneers/Philanthropists Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Meet Israel’s Santa Claus, the Trustee Tasked With Handing Out Leona Helmsley’s Billions (INTERVIEW)

    Renowned New York attorney Sandor (Sandy) Frankel, one of four trustees of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, was in Israel earlier this month to look at additional philanthropic options and to observe the progress of those endeavors already funded – to the tune of multi-millions. Frankel, who recently joined the prestigious Park Avenue law firm Otterbourg P.C., met with Israeli politicians and other bigwigs to get a sense from them about which projects in the country […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Food Spirituality/Tradition ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah

    ‘Pastry Secrets’ Arrive Just in Time for Rosh Hashanah – Babka. Strudel. Stollen. Danish pastry. Not to mention Gugelhopf and Charlotte. The names set the mouth to watering and conjure up lovingly concocted pastries that feed the body and comfort the soul. If you didn’t have a grandmother who baked these delicacies, you wish that you had. George Greenstein was never a grandmother, but his life as a baker provided his children and grandchildren with memories infused with the smell of fresh baked bread and rugelach. His daughters, Julia […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’

    Fusing Israeli and Holocaust History, Novel Offers a ‘Middle Eastern Western’ – There is a game that all of us have played at some time in our lives. We ask ourselves: What would my life be like if I had gone to this school instead of that one, or if I had married this girl instead of that one? In their newly published book The Ambassador, authors Yehuda Avner and Matt Rees play that game with modern Jewish history. Avner — who died earlier this year, and was a speechwriter, secretary and adviser to […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Lifestyle A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A Toulouse Fashion Student Finds Style and Harmony in the Holy Land

    A unique group of young fashion bloggers and designers recently visited Israel to learn more about the country’s fashion industry and diverse culture. Hailing from the Philippines, Korea, Kenya, Japan, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Russia, and the U.K., the 10 participants toured the country and met with top Israeli fashion designers throughout last week. “It was an amazing experience,” said Meissene Maghni from Toulouse, France — one of the participants of the program. “I’m Muslim and I really wanted to see Israel […]

    Read more →