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January 1, 2014 1:16 pm

How the New York Times Slandered Israel in 2013

avatar by Simon Plosker

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

Office of The New York Times. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The New York Times has captured the 2013 Dishonest Reporting Award, given annually by HonestReporting to the journalist or media outlet most responsible for skewing coverage of Israel during the past year.

The Times is America’s most influential newspaper, partly because of its reach, and partly because of its reputation for journalistic excellence. With more than 1.8 million subscribers, 4.7 million followers on Facebook, and another 10.4 million on Twitter, the New York Times is the second most-visited news site in the world. Put simply – what the Times says matters.

When it came to coverage of Israel, the Times distinguished itself throughout the year by publishing news articles that glorified Palestinian stone throwers, opinion pieces that questioned Israel’s right to exist, and editorials that took a dismissive tone towards Israeli fears of a nuclear Iran.

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It also added an anti-Israel conspiracy theorist to its editorial board and capped the year with a flourish by publishing a sympathetic photo of a Palestinian terrorist’s mother in a story about the terrorist’s victim.

Not once, but twice, the Times put stone-throwing Palestinians on a glowing pedestal. First was a March New York Times Magazine cover story about weekly protests at Nabi Saleh (accompanied by a photo slide show titled The Resisters).

Cover of the New York Times magazine.

In August, the Times published a second look at rock throwing — this one about boys from the village of Beit Omar. The violence was referred to as “a rite of passage and an honored act of defiance.”

That may be so to the Palestinians involved but try telling that to those Israelis who have been seriously injured or killed by Palestinian stone-throwers. These victims, including a 3-year-old Israeli child, barely warranted a mention by the Times.

There should be no question over Israel’s right to exist. The New York Times, however, saw fit to publish a hefty 2,052-word commentary by Professor Joseph Levine in March arguing that it’s not anti-Semitic to question Israel’s right to exist. A Jewish state, asserts Levine, is “undemocratic,” while the trappings of statehood aren’t a big a deal anyway.

But the same rights the philosophy professor denies Jews are granted to the Palestinians. Self-determination? Jews need not apply.

A second op-ed calling for Israel’s demise was published in September. At face value, Professor Ian Lustick appeared to be calling for a one-state solution. But a closer reading showed Lustick went beyond that to deny Jewish national aspirations.

When it came to the Iranian nuclear issue, the New York Times looked like it was carrying out a personal vendetta against Benjamin Netanyahu. Over a dozen staff editorials, op-eds, and analyses trashed legitimate Israeli fears and dismissed Netanyahu to such an extent that it appeared that the paper was using an existential issue to settle personal scores.

In October, the Times announced the expansion of its editorial board. Joining it was an Egyptian writer who has spread anti-Israel conspiracy theories, Alaa Al Aswany.

In a nutshell, the Times is associating itself with a talented, award-winning writer who also:

  1. Refused to allow his book to be translated into Hebrew or sold in Israel.
  2. Claimed baselessly that Israel meddled in Egypt’s revolution.
  3. Denied a long history of Arab anti-Semitism.

The New York Times rounded off the year with a horrific photo flub. When Eden Atias, an 18-year-old soldier traveling to his base was stabbed to death by a Palestinian aboard a bus, one would have expected to see funeral images or a photo of Atias himself.

So how was the Times’s coverage illustrated? With a sympathetic photo of — who else? — the terrorist’s mother.

The Times was flooded with emails demanding an explanation. And they grabbed the paper’s attention. Public editor Margaret Sullivan concurred, and went on to quote two senior editors expressing their mea culpas.

The chest-beating was certainly impressive, but the Times hasn’t changed the photo, which remains online, a lasting memorial to the Times’ false balance and misplaced sympathy.

The New York Times really outdid itself in 2013. While the paper’s motto may be “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” the reality is that too much of its Israel reporting was simply not fit to print.

For more on why The New York Times won the award, see the full coverage here.

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  • Nichole

    Where are all the Jews that live in New York? There is a large population per capita there Where is their outrage?! How stupid are they? They back the terrorist sympathizer, as if that isn’t horrific enough, they don’t defend themselves in the press!!! I may not be Jewish, but I feel for their thousands of years of fighting for their rights to exist in a land they founded. The blacks have the audacity to still complain over slavery in this country, HA! What of the Jews plight? It going on for thousands of years and you don’t or barely hear a peep out of them!!!! The Blacks you can’t shut up, and can’t give enough entitlements to. (*Disclaimer* SOME blacks).
    The Israeli Jews are some of the strongest, most admirable people I know, and I tip my hat to them and once more I pray for them every night that they get rid of those filthy Palestinians!

  • The NYTimes is terrified that people think it’s a Jewish newspaper. During World War II, when it actually WAS a Jewish newspaper, it made sure never to put any Holocaust news on Page 1, as Laurel Leff tells us in her book:
    http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/Buried.html

  • Phil N

    The NYTimes has turned itself into the official spokesman for the Obama administration. This reflects the view of Obama.

  • M. Litvack

    The New York Times has the inalienable right to print smut if it wants to. In Toronto we have a left leaning paper, like the Times,The Toronto Star, which prints garbage also and there are those people to prefer garbage. I say, we are a free people and if we want to read garbage, then we have a right to read garbage. Besides, paper makes great insulation and wrapping fish in.

    • Nichole

      I like your response! 🙂
      No one makes us read this garbage and we can always use it for wrapping our fish in or use it for packing paper! LOL!!

  • Aisha5

    The New York Times is a rag. Garbage in…garbage out. If you talk about boycotts, that is one newspaper that should be boycotted. It doesn’t report the news…it reports it’s own anti-Israel bias.

  • Monty

    Blow them up?

  • The times is always wrong.It’s editorial glorified the supposed deal Wendy Sherman the [former social worker] negotiated with N.Korea it said look how wonderful diplomacy works.Less then 1 yr later almost to the day the N.Koreans tested their primitive Nuclear device for the 1st time.This Wendy Sherman is the lead negotiator under Kerry {Kohn] his Grandparents changed their name.
    Remember the Times had a photo of an Israeli Police Officer was standing near a bleeding teen with a club.Well the Times wanted you to believe he was beating an Arab.The truth is it was a Jewish student who was attacked by rock throwing Arab mob and Police officer was chasing after the mob.The Times corrected it in tiny correction on page 12 about 9 days after.

  • Efram Paul

    To Adolph Hitler: The Big Lie
    To The New York Times: All The News That’s Fit To Print.

  • Sandy Brown

    That does not surprise me. I remember the CEO of the BBC went to work at the New York Times. Forgotten his name. Mark Thompson, I think it is. And when he was at the BBC the they became very pro-Palestinian. And now the BBC is so left wing that people are fed up with it now. And we do not even wish to pay a licence fee anymore because of that.

  • I.Barr

    From it inception the Jewish owners did not want the paper to be too Jewish. The first news about 700.000 Jews killed in Europe was in page 10 in 1941. The owners of the NYT do not believe that Jews are more than a religion and see Israel as a Crusader country. While Islam is a major factor in the ME and Israel, no article in last 5 years mentioned WAQF, TAqyya or Hudna or Hamas Covenant. NYT achieves it’s goals by hiring Jewish journalists such as Friedman, Cohen, Kershner and Op-ed self hating Jews. I agree that the NYT is today’s Der Sturmer except that Jewish Jill Abramson is the editor not Julius Streicher. It is also a question how could Jews subscribe to a paper which is so anti Israel that you feel that by inference it is anti Semitic.

  • John Reagan

    Who exactly accorded the NYT with the title “2013 Dishonest Reporting Award”? The Author? There are many other news sources out there that are seriously slanted..I’d pick FOX News as number one…And I say the NYT is doing an admirable job reporting on Israeli atrocities. Maybe the author should give himself the “2013 Dishonest Reporting Award” for his obviously biased Pro-Israel article.

    • Efram Paul

      Dishonesty is definitely a core value at Fox. However, that does not disqualify the Times from printing the truth, instead of slandering Israel at all times. The Times used to be the best paper in the world. It is a shame it has become the Fox version of fair play in the middle east.

    • Sensei2004

      There are no Israeli atrocities. What IDF is doing in the West Bank is not worse in any way than what the US and Allied forces are doing in Afghanistan or Pakistan, i.e. trying to prevent terrorism. Moreover, Israel did not get into the West Bank because they they wanted to occupy it, but because King Hussein at the time joined the Arab coalition with Nasser and Hafez Assad to attack Israel in 1967. All Israel is doing after that is an attempt to maintain security. If Hamas is bombing and Israel is responding the NYT comes up with a headline “It all started when Israel responded” and this is called honest reporting in your eyes.

    • Miles

      Mr. Reagan,
      You must be from Colorado! Your perspective is clouded by excess marijuana! The NYT’s reeks of extreme bias. Perhaps you should apply for a position there as executive butt kisser – they pay well! Arab contribution : religious violence/extremism, honor killings, abuse of women, terrorize their own, perpetuate hate, regular infighting between Sunni and Shiites, religious intolerence, unable to control extremists factions, etc. While Israel has none of the above it is not perfect. She has countless grand contributions to the world. Where is NYT’s to report on so much of Israel’s positive contributions?

    • thatsitivehadenough

      That you think Fox is dishonest proves you are not interested in truth, or even another point of view.

  • rachel robinson

    is it possibly a racial thing? israel is a fact, it has been a fact for over 60 years and still there is an argument as to its legitimacy. why? when the UN made its decision in 1947 to create two states one accepted the other one did not and decided to annihilate the one that accepted its statehood. the leadership of the Palestinians made so many grave mistakes that they are now facing a situation, of their own creation, that they are unhappy with and decided that it is Israel duty to correct their mistakes. they left their homes in Israel when their leadership told them that after they win the war they will have all of the land, so they became refugees, and they are still refugees after 60 years. their leadership came to various agreements with israel to create a state, and then reneged on it, so now they demand that Israel will correct their decision. they chose an Egyptian man as a leader who led them astray from their aspirations, so now they demand that Israel correct that wrong. as Abba Eban stated so many times The Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. so now they demand that israel will correct it for them. The NYT either refuses to acknowledge those grave mistakes on the part of the PA or thinks that it is Israel who has to pay with the lives of its citizens for their mistakes. maybe they are doing it because of hatred for Jews in general or Israel in particular. I would like to hear any other explanation from that paper.

  • Dov

    I wonder if the NY Times even cares what you write. I wonder if any of your readers will stop reading the Times as I have. I wonder if advertisements will drop because of your article.

    • Sonia Willats

      I stopped reading HaAretz for the same reason.

      People, like John Reagan above, read what they want to read, and generally what they agree with.

      I also choose not to read Israel hate speech because I have seen with my own eyes and I know where Israel is coming from as a nation; how much they want peace.

      I also read Torah and believe that the G-d of Israel wants the Jews to live in the land He demarcated for them. Obviously many people don’t subscribe to that text either. What we choose to read reflects who we are… that makes the figures of Americans reading New York Times quite disturbing with regard to anti-Semitic values either tolerated or actively subscribed to!

    • David Fleiss

      I cancelled my subscription two years ago. The Wall Street Journal makes a fine daily paper. The quality of the writing is superior, and there is less bias. The New York metropolitan section and the sports section are both a delight!

  • Fred

    Julius Streicher “The Stuermer” Hitlers anti Semitic rag would be proud with “The New York Times Stuermer.
    How the New York Times gets away with lies and being “incorrect ” beats me. “Correctness ” an US invention is a one sided street.

  • Jay

    I can’t understand why The Times is not held responsible for dishonest reporting in a court of law.

  • The only way to tell them that this is wrong is to cancel the subscription and not to buy the paper and click unlike on Facebook and other social media.

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