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April 1, 2014 11:25 am

How the New York Times Demonizes the Israeli People

avatar by Tamar Sternthal

Email a copy of "How the New York Times Demonizes the Israeli People" to a friend
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.

If “demonize” means “to try to make someone or a group of people seem as if they are evil,” as the Cambridge Free says, can a murderer be demonized?

To help readers understand the term, the dictionary provides the following as an example of its usage: “The Nazis used racist propaganda in an attempt to demonize the Jews.”

But can the Nazi killer himself be demonized? What about the cold-blooded murderer of an elderly Holocaust survivor?

More specifically, can Muqdad Salah, the Palestinian who murdered the sleeping 72-year-old Holocaust survivor Israel Tenenbaum, and other convicted Palestinian killers of innocent Israeli civilians, young and old, be “[d]emonized as terrorists by Israelis?”

This is the question that arises following a New York Times article this week about the trials and tribulations of released Palestinian murderers reentering life in the West Bank (“Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison”). About Salah, Tenenbaum’s murderer Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren writes: “Demonized as terrorists by Israelis and lionized as freedom fighters by Palestinians, prisoners like Mr. Salah have become a flash point in the troubled peace talks . . .”

If “demonizing” means trying to make someone or a group seem as if they are evil, then, the implication is that person or group is not evil, and they are being represented in an unfair light.

Indeed, the fact that “demonizing” usually entails a false or unfair depiction is clear from another foreign news story earlier this year in The New York Times (“False Claims in Afghan Accusations on U.S. Raid Add to Doubts on Karzai“).

The Gray Lady reported three months ago:

It was the kind of dossier that the Taliban often publish, purporting to show the carnage inflicted during a raid by American forces: photographs of shattered houses and bloodied, broken bodies, and video images of anguish at a village funeral, all with gut-churning impact and no proof of authenticity.

But this time, it was the government of President Hamid Karzai that was handing out the inflammatory dossier, the product of a commission’s investigation into airstrikes on Jan. 15 on a remote village and the supposed American cover-up that followed.

In an apparent effort to demonize their American backers, a coterie of Afghan officials appears to have crossed a line that deeply troubles Western officials here: They falsely represented at least some of the evidence in the dossier, and distributed other material whose provenance, at best, could not be determined. (Emphases added)

Thus, according to The Times, Afghani officials used falsified and dubious material to “demonize” the Americans by unfairly charging them of killing villagers.

Similarly, a New York Times article in February about the surrender of a Venezuelan opposition leader uses the term “demonize” in the context of unproven charges at best, and false charges at worst. “The government quickly accused Mr. Lopez of being responsible for the unrest and the deaths, claiming he had trained activists to unleash a campaign of violence that was part of a coup attempt” against President Nicolas Maduro, The Times reported. “They have provided no evidence for the charges but have demonized Mr. Lopez in speeches and in programs on government-controlled television and radio.” (Emphasis added.)

In contrast, with respect to the murder of Israel Tenenbaum, Mudqaq Salah was tried and convicted in a court of law based on clear evidence from the scene of the crime. As Rudoren wrote, Salah himself admits to the crime. The murderer now disputes, though, the fact that his victim was sleeping when he was bludgeoned to death with a metal rod. But as Rudoren reported: “He had no explanation for why the guard was found in a bloodstained bed.” Salah also now maintains that he had a run-in with Tenenbaum earlier in the day.

But there is no doubt that Salah murdered the elderly Tenenbaum for nationalistic reasons. The murder of unarmed civilians for nationalist motives is the very definition of terrorism, at least in the eyes of the Western world.

Given that it is undisputed that Salah murdered Tenenbaum, how, exactly, are Israelis demonizing Salah by considering him a terrorist? Either The Times reporter is unwilling to accept that the slaughter of Tenenbaum is an act of terrorism, or, worse, she believes it’s at least arguable that such acts are not in fact reprehensible.

News reporters should not inject their own personal opinions into news articles. But Rudoren has done just that by maintaining that Israelis “demonize” Salah by regarding Tenenbaum’s murderer a terrorist.

By implying that Israelis are somehow unreasonable or unjustified in viewing the self-confessed Palestinian murderer of a Holocaust survivor as a terrorist, Rudoren herself demonizes the Israeli people.

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  • Ken Kelso

    Nothing shocks me with the NY Times.
    11 years ago they had radical Israel hater Avi Shlaim write an article saying the real obstacle to peace is Sharon, not Arafat. Shlaim tried to see this murderer Arafat was a moderate and man of peace.
    Israel and Palestine : The real obstacle to peace is Sharon, not Arafat
    Avi Shlaim
    September 24, 2003

    I hope Avi Shlaim is eating crow supporting this mass murderer Arafat.
    Bodyguard: Arafat Would Lie When Denouncing Killing of Israeli Civilians (VIDEO)
    APRIL 7, 2014 17 COMMENTS

    Arafat’s Condolences to Dolphinarium Bomber’s Family: The Heroic Martyrdom Operation’…’A Model of Manhood and Sacrifice
    July 9, 2001
    Maslama Thabet, leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades admitted in 2002 all orders to kill Israeli civilians comes from Arafat.

    During the 12 year Civil War in Lebanon, caused by Yassir Arafat’s assuming power through terror, his terrorists committed mass murder. Whole villages of Christians like Damour were massacred, chopped into pieces with machetes. Out of the 30,000 Christians, 10,000 were slaughtered by Arafat’s PLO. The town was then occupied and kept as Arafat’s stronghold. David Shipler of the New York Times wrote the story of Damour June 21, 1982. There were individual murders.! One horrific, but typical, example is when the Muktar (leader) of a village refused to be cooperative with Arafat and his terrorists. The Muktar’s teenage daughter was abducted and raped. Her breasts were cut off and she was delivered to the doorstep of her father in a sack.

    On the same day in 1993 on which Yasser Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, he spoke the following words on Jordan TV:
    “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”

    Arafat’s Stockholm speech in 1996 to Arab diplomats
    “The Impending Total Collapse of Israel,” Stockholm, Sweden.
    Arafat said that the PLO plans “to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion; Jews won’t want to live among us Arabs.”
    Arafat said: “I have no use for Jews..they are and remain Jews! We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination!”

    Following the murderous terrorist attack on Kibbutz Metzer, the PLO cold-bloodedly stated on its official website, “We will continue to strike in any place, targeting their children as well.” Five innocent Israelis, including a mother and her two little boys, were butchered in that attack, all of them, Fatah said, “Zionist colonizers” killed in a “qualitative operation in the settlement of Metzer.”

    Here’s how the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida headlined its coverage: “Five Israelis killed in an attack on the settlement Metzer.” The report continued, “A Palestinian infiltrated the settlement Metzer and opened fire on the settlers.” It is not well known that the Palestinian press frequently refers to towns in Israel, such as Holon and Kiryat Shmona, as “settlements.” Besides implying that a ll of Israel is an illegitimate colonial outpost, such references clearly are brought to justify the killings and distinguish them from terrorism.

    After the Tel Aviv massacre on January 12th 2003, where 2 Palestinian homicide bombers massacred 23 Israeli civilians. The PLO web site posted a statement — celebrating the attacks: “With faith in the calling of holy jihad,” it said, “two suicide attackers . . . succeeded this evening to infiltrate the Zionist roadblocks and to enter the heart of . . . Tel Aviv and carried out two consecutive suicide attacks… These suicide attacks caused a large number of fatalities and casualties in the center of the Zionist occupation of our land. We swear before our people that additional suicide operations will occur.” That is a view with which much of Arab opinion concurs., for ex ample, datelined its story on the Tel Aviv attack “Palestine-Israel,” and reported that the bombings had killed “23 Israeli settlers.”
    This is a must read article detailing the sadist butcher Arafat was on Israeli civilians.
    Then again, Arabs slaughtering Jews doesn’t bother Shlaim

    The main thing is Arafat’s dead.
    Whoever topped him deserves our gratitude for saving countless innocent civilians from death or maiming at the hands of his terrorist gang.
    I humbly wish those concerned with this murderer Arafat, would show as much concern for the surviving families and loved ones of those he murdered.

    Did Israel kill Yasser Arafat?
    And if so, was it justified?
    Nov 26, 2012

  • Fred

    Julius Streicher the editor of “Der Stuermer “would be proud of the continuing hatred barrage against Israel( Jews) in many articles in American & British papers. The NEW York Time included. It is easy to demonise, as for consequences be damned. Easy to light a fire of hatred but hard to volunteer to put it out. The same with the old phenomena of BDS. These so righteous editors do not want to know they are following the Hitlerian Nuerenberg Laws of the 30 against the Jews, followed by the worst nightmarish murder of mankind. Would they like a repeat of the same with Israel ????

  • yoelarry

    The biggest mistake GW Bush made was not throwing the editors of the ‘Red Lady’ in Gitmo after they relentless ran weeks and weeks of front page hysteria about Us ‘torture’ at Abu Graib in Iraq. I wonder how many American servicemen died as an indirect result of the hatred of America generated by that irresponsible, imbalanced and seditious propaganda? Makes you wonder if Goebbels is on the Times’ editorial staff.

  • David Fried

    This article was the last straw for me too. I’ve been reading the Times all my life (I’m 63) but I’ve canceled my subscription.

    I am baffled, though, how the article came to be published. It seems like a deliberate, in-your-face provocation to the Jewish readers of the Times–an announcement that we don’t need you anymore. You can only cancel your subscriptions once, and then we (the Times) are free of you.

    But the article also highlighted, in a useful way, the system of PA subsidies for terrorists–money ultimately traceable to the UN, the European Union, the US, and countries like Norway, which subsidize Hamas as well as the PA.

    Is there any background information out there?

  • The Times has the right to print whatever they want. And, that is what it does. It doesn’t have to be true, based in fact or “fit to print.” If they weren’t afraid of the legitimate outrage, they would do a reprint of The Proocals. The Times has a reputatation, but would anyone want it. Rudoren is not the real problem. That belongs to the folks who sign her paycheck. If this is the way they write about Israel, why should we give any credence to anything else they write. The Times doesn’t have a comic section. The newspaper in itself is a comic section, except it AIN’T funny!

  • Stanley Kaplan

    For the life of me, I cannot see why you are so hung up with the word “demonize.” None of the dictionaries I referred to require demonize to be unsubstantiated. All it means, is to “portray as wicked and threatening” as in “seeking to demonize one side in the conflict.” Another definition: “to turn into a demon or make demonlike.” To portray Israelis demonizing terrorists or Nazis for that matter, or Arabs demonizing Israelis or Jews, or even Democrats demonizing Republicans or vice versa, says nothing at all about whether those being demonized deserve it or not. The only thing it says is that they are being demonized.

    If that’s all you can find to criticise the aforementioned article, then I can only presume that you find the rest of it truthful and fair-minded. I happen to agree, but let me also add interesting, informative, and well-written.

    And while I’m at it let me conclude by saying that I’ve been a loyal Times reader for over fifty years with two sons and many grandchildren living in Israel, and I am thankful every day to have a news source that I can rely on to let me know what’s happening with a minimum of bias, and an editorial staff that has the intelligence and insight to make some modicum of sense out of a senseless situation.

  • dante benedetti

    rudoren is a disgusting clown. one can’t be certain whether she is just obtuse and confused, lacking the requisite ability to adequately perceive, recall and report, or whether she is so hog-wild committed to a certain other reality, some fantasy, that she is indifferent to what is happening in the real world. in any case, at best, her reporting is intellectually sloppy and morally corrupt.

  • Ed Frias

    In WW2, the Times covered up the mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis.
    There’s a great video on youtube about this.
    Downplaying the Holocaust — Sulzberger & NY Times: Anna Blech

    70 years later Jodi Rudoren follows in the footsteps of Sulzberger by glorifying this Arab terrorist Muqdad Salah who murdered Holocaust survivor Israel Tenenbaum.
    The Nazis would be so proud of you Jodi.

  • David Hoffman

    Don’t buy it, don’t read it, don’t write about it, and don’t acknowledge its existence in any way. If enough people do those things, maybe it will go away.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    The repulsive Jodi Rudoren does not merit further comment, however the “rag” she works for is another matter.

    On May 22, 1920, Henry Ford’s “Dearorn Independent” ran the following headline: “The International Jew: The world’s problem.”

    Headlines not withstanding, the editors at the Times have been building assidulously on the Independent’s sentiments.

    They will continue to do so, until the Jewish community comes together and exacts a price from the publishers of that newspaper.

    It’s past time for a full boycott of the TImes.

  • Shalom-Hillel

    The organization that put up the sign calling out the NY Times for its long-running disinformation campaign against the state of Israel is CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America). They have battled the NYT and many other media outlets with an anti-Israel agenda. They get results and they deserve our support. Their website is

  • Carol

    I had to read the New York Times article twice since I couldn’t believe how they make this murderer out to be a hero. I have cut my subscription out to weekends only but now I am going to cut it out completely.

    • When u talk about the American news papers u have to know that now most of these news papers receive money from Muslim brother hood but i can assure you that the American support to Muslim brother and those radical Islamist s will reflect on USA and her allies like Israel just wait and see

  • rulierose

    ah, Jodi! she’s been a disaster since she was made NYT Israel bureau chief. but, like Richard Falk’s replacement at the UN, her successor will doubtless not be any improvement.

  • Arie

    REALITY CHECK: During the Shoah, the NY Times actively opposed the US taking action to shut down the concentration camps. Their Episcopal Church membership publishers called the founding of the State of Israel catastrophic. Why expect a change from a near bankrupt media vying with the guardian and haaretz to be known as the most anti Jew media in the world

    • Beatrix

      Same family, different people. The head of the NY Times during WW2 was the grandfather, a religious Reform Jew who refused to believe in the Holocaust and relegated stories about the tragedy to the back pages.

      The current head is the grandson whose parents were divorced. He was raised Episcopalian like his mother, Apparently, we Jews have driven him so crazy with questions about his religion that he now says he’s agnostic. I don’t care so long as he gets out of the newspaper business.

      • judorebbe

        A “religious Reform Jew”? What … ?

  • Beatrix

    Anything Rudoren writes about Israel and Israelis is going to be sleazy. You’re showing much too much respect for the NY Times in your article. Their whole article was disgusting and there’s no way to legitimize it. You have a much stronger stomach than I have that you read the whole thing.

    • Joseph Silver

      Dear Beatrix,
      It is great to read a sane response to Jodi Rudoren’s crap.
      Happy Passover (or Easter, if you are Christian),

  • A very simple solution which will put an end to the NYTimes and the other Vatican/CIA propaganda outlets is to stop this useless kvetching and do something useful and concrete. Start advocating a boycott of the NYTimes and the other Vatican/CIA propaganda outlets. Stop supporting the fascist/nazi propagandists, giving them your time and money.

    Of-course, none of our so-called “Jewish” organizations and their personalities will ever speak of such actions because they are ALL front groups and propaganda muppets, spawned and sponsored by the same fascists/nazis that are behind the NYTimes.

    • GaonfromPrague

      amen. but the limpdix will never have the guts. we are lost.

      • Joseph Silver

        Dear G.from P.,
        You are no ‘gaon’ if you discount the support and Protection of Ribono Shel Olam (G-D, for those who don’t understand transiterated Hebrew).
        Have Faith…

    • Joseph Silver

      I don’t like the NYT’s anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic attitudes either, but what’s with this “Vatican/CIA” stuff?
      Are you also off your meds, like the guy in the Rabbi Lapin/ Pat Robertson thread?
      Happy Passover,

      • @ Joseph Silver

        You need to understand that you are emotionally programmed and manipulated by lies, misdirection, ignorance, and therefore you react the way you do. You need to stop with the insults and start researching history. Read Anthony Sutton and start familiarizing yourself with the truth behind the propaganda lies.

        As to the Vatican/CIA, practically all the big media is controlled by the CIA, and the CIA is just another subsidiary of the Vatican mafia. I know this sounds very outlandish to you, because again, you are completely ignorant of anything that is not official propaganda. I hope this will be enough to stimulate you to start researching these things on your own.

        Behatzlacha, achi.