Another Performance by The Times Trio

February 2, 2014 9:36 pm 14 comments
CAMERA's billboard in front of New York Times headquarters. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter / @JCCWatch.

CAMERA's billboard in front of New York Times headquarters. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter / @JCCWatch.

Nothing seems to please New York Times editors more than an opportunity to launch a multi-front fusillade against Israel, either in the Sunday Review section or on the Opinion page.

Last March it ran three op-ed columns blaming Israel for the stalled peace process. Ha’aretz journalist Ari Shavit, soon to publish his widely reviewed (and highly praised) My Promised Land, lacerated Jewish settlers not only for occupying the West Bank but for their destructive agenda of returning Jews to their biblical homeland. In a parallel column Columbia professor Rashid Khalidi, long an unofficial spokesman for the PLO, lacerated Israel for its “ghettoization” of Palestinians, “apartheid-style wall” and “illegal” settlements. Thomas Friedman chimed in with a statement of moral equivalence between Hamas rockets and Israeli settlers.

The next trifecta appeared during a week in August when Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren waxed euphoric over Palestinian stone-throwers while ignoring their wounded and murdered Israeli victims. Friedman falsely accused “settlers” of murdering Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, although Yigal Amir, the actual assassin, lived in the thriving Israeli city of Herzlyia, a settlement at the time of its founding in 1924. And Times editors declared that “nothing is more corrosive” of the peace process than Israeli settlements – not even sixty-five years of Palestinian intransigence.

Fast forward another five months to the Review section in Sunday’s Times (February 2). In what passed as even-handedness, the editors paired op-eds by Hirsh Goodman, former editor of The Jerusalem Report, and Omar Barghouti, identified as “a Palestinian human rights activist” who happens to be a founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He is inclined to compare Israeli punishment of Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of Jews.

Goodman, who knows about apartheid regimes from his boyhood in South Africa, sharply distinguishes Israeli treatment of its own Arab citizens and its Palestinian neighbors. But “inexplicably, blindly, Israel is letting itself be branded an apartheid state – and even encouraging it.” While no aspect of apartheid “even remotely exists in Israel or the occupied territories,” Israel’s “own actions” are no less to blame for its plight than the relentless campaign of delegitimization waged by its enemies.

The “apartheid wall,” “apartheid roads,” and “colonization,” among other Israeli evils, “are the clay apartheid comparisons are made of.” So, too, of course, are hatred and calumny of Jews, which have transformed centuries of anti-Semitism into the relentless delegitimization of the world’s only Jewish state. For Goodman, however, it is enough that “the apartheid label is beginning to stick – fair or not.” A reasoned consideration of its fairness is unlikely to be found in the Times.

Certainly not from Omar Barghouti. Although Tel Aviv University was his academic institution of choice for pursuing his Master’s degree in philosophy, he seems nonetheless eager to apply the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to the nation so irredeemably biased that it welcomed him as a student. He recites the usual laundry list of grievances: Israeli “occupation” (of its own biblical homeland, where “close settlement” by Jews has been authorized under international law ever since 1922);  denial of “full equality” to its Palestinian-Israeli citizens (none of whom have expressed interest in leaving Israel for Palestine); and the “right of return” of Palestinians to the homes and land they abandoned in 1948 (whose numbers the UN has grossly inflated from some 50,000 actual living refugees to millions of  “descendants”).

Barghouti’s advertisement for his pet project, the BDS movement, verges on preposterous. He cites recent boycott endorsements by the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian-American Studies Association as momentous events, rather than minor episodes of flagrant abuse of academic camouflage by Israel-bashers. The “unfounded allegation” of their anti-Semitism is, for Barghouti, a tactic of intimidation rather than a statement of the obvious. Busy lacerating the “exclusionary Jewish state,” he has no time to reflect on the number of Jews currently living in Arab and Muslim states, even those as benign as Jordan (no Jews) or the Palestinian state he yearns for (with not a single Jew, according to Mahmoud Abbas).

To all of which, Thomas Friedman reliably provided his own sardonic footnote. The “Wonderful Country” of his headline (and the popular Israeli comedy show) must prove its worth, predictably, by divesting itself of Judea and Samaria and its “2.5 million Palestinians” – a grossly inflated figure that even Palestinian demographers have rejected. Otherwise, Friedman warns, Israel will become a violently chaotic “multisectarian and multitribal” society  resembling Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria. His predictable final pitch follows: “the success of John Kerry’s peace mission” is vital for Israelis.

Such Times trio performances are, by now, a staple of its editorial policy. There is little likelihood that the music will change as long as Israeli critics on the left and Palestinian political activists are the fiddlers, with Thomas Friedman providing his own drumbeat of support.

Jerold S. Auerbach is author of the forthcoming Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy.

14 Comments

  • I thought Goodman’s article was the worst of the three since it was not obviously predictable to a regular NYT reader and suggested capitulation to American “friendly” warnings of boycotting Israel. I doubt the NYT will offer an opportunity to Moshe Ya’alon to comment; Ya’alon has offered an opposite view, and in contrast to Goodman, holds an elected position of responsibility.

    It is worth mentioning now and again that the 1949 Armistice agreements contained an agreement by Israel and Arab parties that the armistice lines carried no political or legal significance. A reader of the NYT would suppose the opposite.

    Also, the photo for this ongoing series about the NYT could do with a little refreshing. I’d use the a photo of the billboard CAMERA has up near the NYT headquarters, as covered in the recent Algemeiner article “New York Times Slammed for Bias on Billboard in Front of Times Square HQ”.

  • Omar Barghouti is irrelevant. Every word out of his pen is biased. His dream of an ethnically cleansed (of Jews) Middle East is never going to come true.

    I propose a new contest. The prize is a gold plated Hamasaki flag held up by a model of Nasrallah. We can call it the NY Times schmuck of the year. This year there was a tie for first place. The winners are Tom Freedman and Andrew Rosenthal. Two self hating Jews with lousy altitudes.

  • If Jewish “settlements” are the root of the problem, how do these brilliant scholars explain the lack of peace before 1967, when there were no illusions that “occupation” referred to the very existence of Israel within any borders?

  • There you go again, shooting the messenger.
    Does the Israeli right have any strategic thoughts whatsoever? Are you able to even consider, for a moment, Goodman’s hypothesis?

    What sort of headline in the Times would satisfy you? (“Status Quo Workable Forever, Both Sides Say”)

  • History has shown … The only way to peace is when there is a clear winner and loser; victory is only path.

  • Complete moral inversion – The good are evil, the evil are good.
    Read the Melanie Phillips masterpiece, “The World Turned Upside Down”.

  • The New York ( Times ) Stuermer a worthy product of Julius Streicher. It wallows in Israel (Jew ) hate, like a pig in swill.

  • These people can’t give up the glorious 1960s, the time of left wing paradise. Palestinians to them are the black people fighting for their rights, and Israelis are the Bull Connors with water hoses and dogs. Apartheid hasn’t existed in over 50 years since South Africa abolished it, but the left throws it in, I guess because the Israelis and Palestinians live in separate countries. Like America and Canada.

    Settlements weren’t an issue until a left leaning President made them an issue. At one time, Israel planned to give the Palestinians Jewish land to compensate for the settlements built on no man’s land, that Israel was now offering to the Palestinians. Maybe after all these years, Palestine will finally accept the offer.

    • Dear Beatrix, please read up on your history, It doesn’t help your cause to cite total lies…like ‘apartheid hasn’t existed for 50 years.’

      • Apartheid doesn’t exist in Israel. The problem is that Jews are a dhimmi people who the Muslims think have no right to a country in the Muslim Mideast. Jews and Arabs, both Semites, shared Palestine (Israel)for almost 2,000 years. When the UN divided the territory between Jews and Arabs, the Jews created a country and called it Israel. The Arabs went to war and lost to Jordan, Egypt, and Israel. The Israelis won the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt and for at least 20 years have tried to give it to the Arabs. The issues in the 21st century have nothing to do with apartheid a major 20th century issue.

        I know history—I just don’t get stuck in the past.

  • Perhaps Friedman should consider whether “the success of John Kerry’s peace mission” will turn what is now Israel into “a violently chaotic `multisectarian and multitribal’ society resembling Sinai, Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria.”

  • I’ve been boycotting The Times for quite a few years now. I only read the anti-Semitic rag in libraries.

  • I’ve been boycotting The Times because of its hostility to Israel for quite a few years now. I only read it in libraries. Everyone who loves Israel should boycott that anti-Semitic rag.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Music US & Canada Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Lady Gaga Accepts ADL Award: ‘Your Philosophies Are So in Line With Ours’ (VIDEO)

    Pop superstar Lady Gaga on Thursday accepted an award from Jewish human rights group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of her Born This Way Foundation, which strives to combat bullying among young people. “Your philosophies are so in line with ours,” she said of the ADL upon accepting the Making a Difference Award in a videotaped message, which was shown at a ceremony in New York City. “We want to help young people know that their feelings and who they are on [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Personalities At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    At 80, Singer-Songwriter Leonard Cohen’s Jewish Roots ‘Very Much Intact’

    JNS.org – Eighty years young, Leonard Cohen fits many descriptions—singer, songwriter, poet, novelist, monk. From his Jewish upbringing in Canada to the present day, Cohen has always explored his spiritual side. This month, the singer-songwriter released the CD (May 12) and iTunes (on May 8 of this year) formats of his latest album, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, which features live recordings from his world tours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, Cohen’s Popular Problems was voted by Rolling Stone [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    FIFA Head Says Israel Should Not be Booted From World Soccer Association

    JNS.org – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) head Sepp Blatter said during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that contrary to Palestinian complaints, Israel has not violated any FIFA statutes and should not be suspended from international soccer’s governing body. “We should not come to one federation saying we will exclude them,” said Blatter, the Jerusalem Post reported. “If the national association is fulfilling its obligations then there is no need to intervene,” he said. “I’m on a [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Middle East Sports Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish Rights Group Slams Palestinian Attempts to Suspend Israel From FIFA

    Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday it was “appalled” by a Palestinian Football Association initiative to suspend Israel from FIFA, calling it another “front waged in the context of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign.” “We are appalled at the temerity of the Palestinan Football Association (PFA) demand that FIFA suspend Israel at your forthcoming Congress in Zurich,” wrote the group’s international relations director, Dr. Shimon Samuels, in a letter to FIFA President Joseph [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    Star of Auschwitz Thriller Says ‘God Was Holding the Hand of Every Jew in the Gas Chamber’ (VIDEO)

    The lead actor in Son of Saul, an Auschwitz thriller featured at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, told the UK’s The Guardian that he believes God was “holding the hand” of each Jew who died in the Nazi gas chambers during the Holocaust. “I do not for one nanosecond like to pretend that God is off the hook. He could and should have stopped it at a much earlier stage,” Géza Röhrig, 48, said. ”But I would not be able to get [...]

    Read more →
  • Music Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys Singer Howie D Gushes Over Masada During Israel Trip

    Backstreet Boys singer Howie Dorough took to Instagram on Tuesday to marvel about climbing the famed Masada fortress with his band during their visit to Israel, where they will perform this week for the first time. The group’s second day of sightseeing in the Jewish state included the Masada hike, and taking a mud bath at the Dead Sea. A picture from the band’s official Twitter page shows the five singers covered in mud. While relaxing in the Dead Sea, [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews US & Canada ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    ‘Arms and the Dudes:’ New Book, Film Detail How Ex-Orthodox Yeshiva Guys Became Top Suppliers for Afghan Army

    A new book and its upcoming film adaptation tell the true story of how three former yeshiva students who habitually smoked marijuana scored a $300 million contract from the U.S. government to supply weapons for the Afghan Army, the New York Daily News reported on Sunday. Arms and the Dudes details how the Miami Beach potheads became “the most unlikely gunrunners in history,” according to the book’s author, investigative reporter Guy Lawson. The tale begins with Efraim Diveroli, nephew of [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    Natalie Portman: Israel-Themed ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’ Not Political

    JNS.org – Natalie Portman, who directs and stars in the new Hebrew-language film adaptation of author Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness, says that despite Oz’s record as a vocal left-wing critic of Israel, her film is not political. Like the book on which it is based, Portman’s film is about a young boy at the time of the founding of the state of Israel. “I think the movie is very much about this very particular, specific family story. Of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.