Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Roger Cohen’s Times Tirades

October 20, 2013 5:10 pm 21 comments
Office of The New York Times, in New York City. Photo: WikiCommons.

Office of The New York Times, in New York City. Photo: WikiCommons.

Roger Cohen’s repetitive lacerations of Israel in The New York Times Opinion page have managed to lower the bar even further for responsible criticism of the Jewish state in the world’s most self-consciously uncomfortable Jewish-owned newspaper.

Cohen, a London-born Jew, is an Oxford graduate who joined the Times in 1990. As a self-described “Globalist,” he became senior editor for the International Herald Tribune before becoming a Times columnist in 2006. His conventionally Jewish assimilationist critique of Israel has included denunciations of Jewish settlements, a call for ending the Gaza blockade (which would open Israel’s Negev region to Hamas infiltration, rockets, and weapons stockpiling), and the accusation that Israel killed “hundreds of Palestinian children” in Operation Cast Lead, which led him to proclaim that he had “never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions.”

But Cohen, like so many other Jews who are ashamed when Israel builds new communities in its biblical homeland and defends itself against enemies sworn to its destruction, has recently launched a crusade. Two weeks ago, he castigated Prime Minister Netanyahu for his “Tired Iranian Lines” (October 4). Praising the Islamic Republic as “an island of stability,” Cohen conceded that it was an “authoritarian” –  not “totalitarian” – state. But it was Netanyahu who has a “credibility issue,” rooted in the “distorted priorities” – protecting Israel from an Iranian nuclear attack – that he enunciated in his recent speech at the United Nations.

It was, Cohen alleged, a “diversionary strategy” that ignored “the real challenge to Israel”: its failure to achieve “a two-state peace” with the Palestinians and “the prolongation of a West Bank occupation that leaves Israel overseeing millions of disenfranchised Palestinians.” Netanyahu, Cohen advised, “should cut the bluster” against Iran and make the Times happy by embracing a Palestinian state.

Clearly enamored of what he wrote, Cohen repeated himself two weeks later (October 18). Conceding that Israel is “a miracle of innovation and development,” Cohen nonetheless remains apprehensive – and critical. There are “hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers in the West Bank.” Palestinian “incitement against Israel” persists. Trust in a two-state solution has diminished on both sides. But peace can come, “with painful concessions.”

The concessions, of course, must come from Israel. “No democracy can be immune to running an undemocratic system of oppression in territory under its control. . . . It is corrosive. A democracy needs borders.” But it also needs a Palestinian leadership that recognizes Israel as the state of the Jewish people and is prepared to relinquish its demand that descendants of refugees (4,950,000 based on UNRWA registration numbers) are entitled to a “right of return” that will obliterate Israel as a Jewish state.

Cohen seems shocked – genuinely shocked – that Jewish settlers “have the right to vote as if within Israel” while Palestinians are “disenfranchised subjects without rights.” But settlers are Israelis who live in territory west of the Jordan River where Jews were guaranteed the right of “close settlement” under international law ninety years ago, a right that has never been rescinded. And Palestinians are, of course, free to vote in their own elections; indeed, it is they who in 2005 elected Mahmoud Abbas as their president to the four-year term that has yet to expire. (Even Hamas does not recognize his legitimacy.)

But if Israel is to remain “a Jewish and democratic state,” Cohen writes, then “something has to give.” And it is, predictably, Israel that must give: its land and its security. “Netanyahu knows this,” Cohen concludes. Perhaps.

Nowhere in Cohen’s analysis can one find mention of the recent wave of Palestinian terrorist attacks as a possible deterrent to peace. In late September two Israeli soldiers were murdered. Then an Israeli nine-year-old was shot in the neck outside her home in the settlement of Psagot. The Facebook page of Fatah, the organization chaired by Palestinian Authority President Abbas, praised the child’s attacker as “the sharpshooter of Palestine” who had also killed one of the Israeli soldiers in Hebron. The terrorist “left a manly signature . . . as he tells the tale of those who love the homeland.”

But Roger Cohen’s incessant harping on Netanyahu, and blithe avoidance of Palestinian terrorism, fits comfortably into New York Times policy: All the news hostile to Israel that fits we print.

Jerold S. Auerbach is author of the forthcoming Jewish State, Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy, to be published by Quid Pro Books.

21 Comments

  • I read that the owner’s father belongs to the Jewish Family that owns the NY Times, but his mother is Episcopalian. His parents are divorced and he was raised Episcopalian. Later he said he was agnostic. He apparently does everything possible to prove his lack of Jewishness. He brags how well his paper is doing.

  • The NYTimes is not Jewish-owned and hasn’t been for a very long time. the original family, i believe, had been jewish and converted to a form of Protestantism…and that’s what they are now.

  • Would those who designate Roger Cohen a “self-hater” also
    call Sasha Polakow-Suransky a “self-hater” for writing about the secret Shimon Peres P.W. Botha 1975 military cooperation agreement in his “The Unspoken Alliance,” Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa?”

  • Roger Cohens obsessive love for Iran has made him look foolish. When he visited the Iranian Jewish community in Los Angeles he was lambasted and couldn’t answer any of their points.I understand he left dismayed and in a huff.
    He also fails to mention an Iranian Jewish youmg man that was found shot for having been dating a high ranking Al Quds officer’s daughter.I don’t think he should have been dating her in the first place but thats a whole different disscusion,He also forgets to mention what happened to 80 something Jewish Iranian woman who lived in her home for her whole life. The mosque next door demands she give them her house she refuses.She was sawed to pieces

  • Every time someone blames Israel for the lack of a treaty one small detail is always neglected.

    The other side has not, will not, and has never considered abandoning the right of return. Short of this, is there any point to negotiating ANYTHING but temporary truces, and timorous expansions of autonomy in strictly regulated fashion?
    Right of Return = NO ISRAEL
    Every Palestinian, arab, and thinking human being understands this.
    Even Mr. Cohen

  • The new CEO of the New York Times is Mark Thompson. He was he Head of the BBC. He is a Leftie. I used to work for the BBC and I know what they are like. They have become very left-wing and pro-Arab. I worked in the World Service Newsroom (Radio) when I was 30 and then at TV Centre. I worked on the 60th Anniversary of Auschwitz programme with Lawrence Reiss. Transcribed the tapes of Commandant Rudolf Hoess of Auschwitz. I am now retired. When I saw that Mark Thompson was going to the New York Times, I thought what have they done!

  • If you listen to the (alleged) rabbis at most Reform and Conservative synagogues, you will realize that our next generation of assimilated Jewish kids are already lost. Their parents have become fat, dumb, and happy (and oh, so politically correct). These kids lack strong, proud Jewish role models.
    Now, for the good news. The orthodox community (including “Modern Ortho”) are raising our kids in a more positive Jewish environment.
    I’m not surprised at folks like Cohen, or that the mainstream media uses them to slander the most humane nation in the Middle East, Israel.

  • Roger Cohen is another one of the sad, tired self haters. Far from being embarrassed at being Jewish, I am proud to belong to a people who have changed the world in many ways, no matter how persecuted. Great Scientists, inventors, writers, artists, philosophers, etc. etc., etc., from a people that make up less than 1% of the worlds population. Where are the Amorites, the Romans, , and all the others from early on to present day who have tried to destroy us? We are still here, and will continue to be.

  • Cohen has no friends so he hopes that our enemies become his friends. He is in fact liked by Fatah & Hamas who gladly quote him in their propaganda machines. The only thing Fatah & Hamas can agree on together: Cohen’s diatribe

  • MY PUBLISHED COMMENT TO COHEN ARTICLE
    The bottom line is, again, a list of concessions that Israel, not the Palestinians, have to make. Cohen ignores the fact that agreement with Israel is an ISLAMIC issue where WAQF, the Islamic conviction that all mandatory Palestine is Islamic land that can be owned by Muslims only, not Jews or Christians. For them Tel Aviv is a “settlement”. Ask Abbas or Hanniye of Hamas “what are the Palestinian occupied territories?”, and find that they are talking about Israel proper. More, it is a process of reconciliation that must take place: the Palestinians have to prepare, educate, encourage the belief in coexistence with a JEWISH state. The media, schools, Friday sermons must be directed to peace which is not done so far. The propagation of hate as stressed recently in the NYT by Steinitz is the root of an agreement that should be lasting. Cohen believes that successful negotiations will solve the conflict, but there were 24 such negotiations with massive Israeli painful concession (leaving Gaza). President Clinton and Denis Ross books outline the refusal of Arafat to any agreement. Cohen traditional criticism of PM Netanyahu fails to understand that it takes two to tango and Abbas is not representing Hamas and is not a powerful leader as Cohen wants to portray him. His re election is behind by 5 years. He is 76 years old with prostate cancer whose main function is to distribute the flood of money and embezzle some. EU just found that 3,5 billion dollars are un accounted for……

    Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.

  • aviwen39@gmail.com

    a hater of Israel

  • Last week, the NY Times announced that yet another 8 floors of their NYC tower has been emptied of NYT staff and put up for lease. Carlos Slim, the major “bank” of the Episcopal Church run tabloid, has announced he may no longer keep funneling cash to the imploding near bankrupt Anti-Jew Anti-American rag to keep it afloat. So my question is: why is anyone showing any real concern for a soon to be defunct piece of neo-nazi crap that, after having to sell off the Boston Globe at a fire sale retains as its only remaining global ally the gaza based nazi owned haaretz

    • @ Arie…This is as crazed a response as any vitriol pouring from the Arab press. You are truly their brother under the skin. For a Jew to call an Israeli newspaper “the gaza based nazi owned haaretz” is on the same level as the Jew haters who call the Israelis nazis. You seem, like Hamas, to come from a world of dangerous fools.

  • In a world where everybody hates everybody else, anti-Semitism nevertheless stands out as the most powerful and persistent of hatreds.

    http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/AntiSemitism.html

    Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that for many people, to be Jewish is to be embarrassed.

  • Torquemada was the only one ?

  • Well said. Both Roger Cohen and the Times are blind to reality. Everyone, including Abbas, knows that the minute Israeli soldiers leave Judea and Samaria, Hamas will take over, just as it did in Gaza. Or, worse, that the area will become another Somalia, where Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Quaida and other terrorist groups vie for power and compete to prove themselves the true Party of G-d against the Zionists by carrying out terrorist attacks against Israel. And there sit Roger Cohen and the Times editors, half a world away, in their bourgeois Manhattan offices, safe from the violence, condemning Israel. I hope there is a special place in hell for them. (Thomas Friedman included.)

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 Jewish Identity Jewish ‘Scandal’ Star Says He Remains True to Religious Ritual, Despite Scheduling, Dietary Conflicts

    Jewish ‘Scandal’ Star Says He Remains True to Religious Ritual, Despite Scheduling, Dietary Conflicts

    A star of the hit TV show Scandal told the community website Quora.com that, throughout his acting career, he has remained faithful to his Judaism, even when it has caused him to forfeit gigs. Joshua Malina, who plays the character of David Rosen on the ABC political-thriller series, reminisced about his early days in Hollywood, when he had no agent and could only go to open-call auditions. At one of these — a try-out for a commercial — he said he waited on a line that was “maybe a city […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Huffington Post Accused of ‘Jew-Hatred’ After Tweeting ‘Offensive’ Joke About Comedian at Video Music Awards

    Huffington Post Accused of ‘Jew-Hatred’ After Tweeting ‘Offensive’ Joke About Comedian at Video Music Awards

    The Huffington Post is facing backlash after joking about a Jewish comedian’s  appearance at the Video Music Awards (VMAs) on Sunday night. Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky took part in Nick Jonas’ performance of his song “Bacon,” staged in a New York diner — in a cameo role as a waiter throwing a handful of bacon in the air. Commenting on the show, the Huffington Post tweeted, “not thrilled at the fat jew [he] wasted all that perfectly good bacon!!!!!!” The message angered many Twitter users, who thought the joke […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Fans Mob, Dance With Basketball Player Amar’e Stoudemire at First Jerusalem Team Practice (VIDEO)

    Israeli Fans Mob, Dance With Basketball Player Amar’e Stoudemire at First Jerusalem Team Practice (VIDEO)

    Israeli basketball fans mobbed Hapoel Jerusalem’s newest player, American pro Amar’e Stoudemire, dancing around with him during a practice open to the public. On Friday, the team posted a video on Twitter of the happy romp with fans jumping around Stoudemire, while chanting in Hebrew. Unfamiliar with the lyrics, Stoudemire pumps his fist in the air. The basketball player, who has Jewish roots on his mother’s side, also waved a flag emblazoned with Hapoel Jerusalem’s logo. The former New York Knicks forward retired from the NBA earlier […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Playboy Columnist Calls Israel’s ‘Burning Man’ Festival ‘Ultimate Revenge on Hitler’

    Playboy Columnist Calls Israel’s ‘Burning Man’ Festival ‘Ultimate Revenge on Hitler’

    The Israeli version of the famed American Burning Man music festival is the “ultimate revenge on Hitler,” according to a column in Playboy magazine on Thursday. In his column, Jeff Weiss also took note of the fact that Midburn — a five-day bacchanal in the Negev Desert, self-described as an event celebrating “a communal life style, creativity, art and radical self-expression” — began on June 8, the day of the Sarona Market terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, which left four people dead. Weiss asked rhetorically, “What could needle the mustached […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Some punk rockers integrate their Jewish identity into their music through food, the author of a new book on the topic told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. Michael Croland, author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk, described the way different musicians express this connection. “One band is known for throwing gefilte fish in the mosh pit, and people at its concert slide around on it while dancing,” he recounted. “Another used to drink Manischewitz [sweet kosher] wine out of a shofar [the ram […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    The manager of Scotland’s Celtic soccer club lauded Israel, after his team won a match against the Jewish state’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers said at a post-match press conference: On behalf of the players, the people of Celtic and Scotland, Israel’s been fantastic for us. We came out here on Sunday, [and from] the hotel, the staff, we’ve been very, very warmly received. The atmosphere at the game was amazing and, obviously, one team has to lose, but you have a wonderful team here, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    For the second time, Israel will host the Jaffa Jazz Festival, according to Broadwayworld.com. The festival will unite 43 Israeli musicians and eight international artists for a three-day event. The program will include a special performance by an ensemble of top jazz students studying at Belgium’s Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Belgrade Music Academy in Serbia, Israel’s Rimon School of Music and the jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. There will also be a jazz show for children led by Israeli saxophonist […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    JNS.org – As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 13. “Driving a race car is not like any other sport,” Day told JNS.org. “You are actually almost flying […]

    Read more →