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July 6, 2016 12:51 pm

The New York Times Has the Nerve to Cheer a Posthumous Palestinian-Centric Assault on Elie Wiesel

avatar by Ira Stoll

Email a copy of "The New York Times Has the Nerve to Cheer a Posthumous Palestinian-Centric Assault on Elie Wiesel" to a friend
The late Elie Wiesel. Photo Google.

The late Elie Wiesel. Photo Google.

Of all the possible ways to respond to the death of Elie Wiesel, perhaps the most perverted is to use the occasion to launch an attack on him by falsely accusing him of lacking compassion for the Palestinian Arabs — an attack in which, sadly, the New York Times has now joined.

It’s an infuriating line of thinking for at least five reasons.

First, Wiesel is dead and thus lacks the capacity to defend himself.

Second, unless someone was inside Wiesel’s own head or heart, there’s no way to accurately assess his level of empathy or compassion for the Palestinian Arabs.

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Third, it’s too late to do anything about it, since Wiesel is dead and therefore not able to rise to defend the Palestinian Arab cause, no matter how much his critics wish he would do so.

Fourth, even if it weren’t too late to do anything about it, it’s not clear that Wiesel’s advocacy would have done anything actually to help the Palestinian Arabs. After all, Wiesel opposed the Iran nuclear deal and wasn’t able to prevent its implementation. The Palestinian Arabs have all kinds of powerful advocates already — the Arab League, the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, most American college professors and mainline Protestant non-evangelical churches, much of the European Left — and they are still officially miserable and malcontent. We’re supposed to believe that if only Wiesel had spoken up, it would have made a meaningful difference in the outcome? And if it hadn’t made a meaningful difference in the outcome, what would be the point, other than self-congratulatory moral preening?

Fifth, there’s evidence that it is an inaccurate line of attack on Wiesel. In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech text, he said

There is so much injustice and suffering crying out for our attention: victims of hunger, of racism, and political persecution, writers and poets, prisoners in so many lands governed by the Left and by the Right. Human rights are being violated on every continent. More people are oppressed than free. And then, too, there are the Palestinians to whose plight I am sensitive but whose methods I deplore. Violence and terrorism are not the answer. Something must be done about their suffering, and soon. I trust Israel, for I have faith in the Jewish people. Let Israel be given a chance, let hatred and danger be removed from her horizons, and there will be peace in and around the Holy Land.

Those to me sound like the words of someone who is sensitive, not insensitive, to what Wiesel called the “plight” of the Palestinians. Wiesel was also a public supporter of the Oslo peace agreements in the Clinton years, not exactly the position of an anti-Palestinian extremist. In one book, he wrote, “I have never concealed how much the human dimension of the Palestinian tragedy affects me.”

The New York Times obituary of Wiesel mercifully refrained from this nonsensical line of criticism, a restraint for which it was duly attacked by Bernard Avishai, writing in the New Yorker: “Remarkably, however, there is not a word in the Times obituary about the occupation of the Palestinian territories.” This could be remarkable only to someone with a moral and news judgment so warped as to require the placing of that “occupation” at the center of an account of the life of any contemporary Jew, anywhere.

Alas, the Times can’t restrain itself. A new hire on the paper’s news side, Max Fisher, tweeted out a link to an article that, for all its pretensions at fairness, nonetheless proceeds more or less to judge, posthumously, Wiesel’s supposed shortcomings on the Palestinian-Arab issue. Mr. Fisher praises the article as “thoughtful, careful, eloquent,” when, in fact, it is none of the three.

It’s one thing for a professional anti-Israel agitator to try to use Wiesel’s death to advance his agenda. It’s another for the New York Times to join in, which it now, alas, has done.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here. 

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • Jonathan Mishkin

    Please, not another piece taking something from the NYT completely out of context, twisting it 180 degrees from its original intent and then asserting that the NYT is, yet again, publishing something anti-Semitic. Joseph Berger’s obit was very sensitive. Front page news. Bernard Avishai’s piece was also very thoughtful and spoke about how the young Avishai heard Wiesel speak to a shul in Montreal to survivors and their families. True, Avishai wonders why Wiesel didn’t speak more on behalf of the Palestinians, but this does not make him an anti-Semite. But the piece was overall very sympathetic to Wiesel. Finally, the NYT didn’t “join in” the criticism of Wiesel; one of its reporters liked the note. The note taken in its entirety.

    If Mr. Stoll is truly the media correspondent for the Algemeiner, he should write about more than the NYT. And it isn’t deserving of 100% criticism 100% of the time. There are a lot of other Jewish related issues in the news deserving of attention. Like media coverage of Donald Trump and his tweets.

    Unless, of course, Mr. Stoll’s seeks only to smear the NYT. And judging from many of the comments, he has a small army agreeing with him.

    • molly levy

      lookie, lookie! another self-loathing jew. hey, jonathan mishkin, when the next hitler comes, (and i think he’s here – obama), you’ll be on the same cattle car as me. keep defending the new york slimes.

  • Jonathan Mishkin

    Please, not another piece taking something from the NYT completely out of context, twisting it 180 degrees from its original intent and then asserting that the NYT is, yet again, publishing something anti-Semitic. Joseph Berger’s obit was very sensitive. Front page news. Bernard Avishai’s piece was also very thoughtful and spoke about how the young Avishai heard Wiesel speak to a shul in Montreal to survivors and their families. True, Avishai wonders why Wiesel didn’t speak more on behalf of the Palestinians, but this does not make him an anti-Semite. But the piece was very sympathetic to Wiesel. Finally, the NYT didn’t “join in” the criticism of Wiesel; one of its reporters liked the note. The note taken in its entirety.

    If Mr. Stoll is truly the media correspondent for the Algemeiner, he should write about more than the NYT. And it isn’t deserving of 100% criticism 100% of the time. There are a lot of other Jewish related issues in the news deserving of attention. Like media coverage of Donald Trump and his tweets.

    Unless, of course, Mr. Stoll’s true agenda is to (try to) impair the credibility of the NYT. and judging from many of the comments, he has a small army agreeing with him.

  • boycott every single advertiser….thats how you hit them in their pocket.

  • Michael Fox

    Breathe folks. Why anyone would want to get their panties in a twist over anything written about Israel in the NYT is beyond me. The consistent anti-Israeli position of the NYT when it comes to Israeli Palestinian issues completely undermines its credibility as a trustworthy news source committed to reporting unbiased facts. Instead, the NYT has chosen to throw in its lot with the the progressive/liberal mainstream of the Democrat party. Creating its own reality the NYT is justly relegated to the trash bin of publications spewing out banal anti-Israel partisan propaganda.

  • ABK

    Who cares what the self loathing JINOs at the NY Times or anywhere else think? Self hating JINOs are a bigger threat to Israel and Judaism than Muslims.

  • Francis Figliola

    Infuriating doesn’t describe it. I don’t have enough middle fingers to tell you how angry the NYTimes always leaves me, and why I traded the phony NYTimes for the WSJ!

  • nat cheiman

    The NYT is disgusting in its lack of compassion. Most reasonable people will ignore the perversion

  • Corey Multer

    It’s not enough to boycott it. When you get a solicitation from them or find a postage-paid reply card, remove your name (so they can’t drop you from their list) and write on it that you don’t support anti-Semitic propaganda rags, and tell them to fire Jodi Rudoren. You can add whatever other invective you’d like. The beauty is that when you send it back in their postage-paid envelope, they have to pay to get to read your mailing chastising them. (The best way to inflict pain on vile money whores is to hit them where it hurts them – in their pocketbook.)

  • Monty Pogoda

    The NYT should be dismantled, people and machines, and dumped into a waste processing unit.

  • If there are still Jews who don’t believe that “The New York Times” is not a friend of Am Yisrael, this should make it
    crystal clear. Any truly fair-minded, pro-Jewish people,
    pro-Humanity, must know that supporting this “all the news
    that’s UNFIT to print” so-called paper of record, is aiding and abetting a promulgator of bias and hatred.

  • The NY Times has turned itself into a rag!

  • Reform School

    Typical NY Times incitement. I boycott it. So should you!

  • July 7, 2016 – Jerusalem

    Mr. Ira Stoll: You said that “It’s one thing for a professional anti-Israel agitator to try to use Wiesel’s death to advance his agenda. It’s another for the New York Times to join in, which it now, alas, has done.”

    Please give me the correct reference URL for the New York Times ‘joining in’ as part of the anti-Israel media bias. I looked for the URL reference in your article, but alas, I did not see it. Thank you.

  • Eve

    This should come as no surprise. The NYT glories in anything that reeks of anti-Israel and anti-semitism, and will even use the death of one of the great moral voices of the generation to advance this agenda.

  • unbelievable. when one thinks that nyt can’t sink lower, it manages, with astonishing creativity, to defy one’s assumptions and plunge further into the sludge.

    now, nyt is taking its cue from the disgusting, ugly, bottom-dweller, blumenthal.

  • The New York times is a pro Islam rag. People please stop buying it as it is a purveyor of Evil and no longer has a place in decent society. All supporting adverts in the paper have the blood of Israelis on their hands.Boycott this rubbish newspaper and the would be killers who claim to be ‘journalists’. The journalists on the NYT are evil and anti civilization. They support evil whenever they can and often that evil does not come from acts of violence or hate, it comes from acts of “Journalistic Terrorism”.

  • The legacy of Arthur Hayes Sulzberger alive and well.

  • stevenl

    NYT promotes antisemitism.

  • rachel robinson

    Shame on you, Algemeiner, for not showing the comments.

  • enufizenuf

    How have the Jews survived for four thousand years with so many warped, suicidal imbeciles in its midst? Do you think in the entire arab world there has ever been more than a tiny handful of arabs who ever gave a crap about the well-being of Jews anywhere or anytime on the face of the earth? The Palestinians have brought their own suffering (boo-hoo-hoo) upon themselves and that which they didn’t was brought on them by other arabs. Their obscene and ridiculous obsession with driving the Jews out of Israel is a mental illness they have chosen over the hard work of actually building a future for themselves. As for the NYT’s, to paraphrase Max Reger, ‘I’m sitting in the smallest room of my house, their latest issue is before me, it shall soon be behind me.’

  • Lia

    A ‘newspaper’ that propagates views instead of reporting news, can only be called Pravda. Mr Stoll, thank yu for running a lively and honest samizdat press.

  • The NEW YORK TIMES is a desperate newspapercompany struggling to stay afloat. It’s select unending attacks of ISRAEL is an affront to decency let alone responsible journalism .
    May the NYT continue to perform Hari Kari and lose any of its credibility …in free-fall.

  • Paul leber

    Why is Mr. Stioll surprised that the “old gray lady” would publish a piece defaming Mr. Wiesel? The NYT has had nothing good to say about Israel and Jewish Americans who support it for decades. It’s ‘reporting’ on Israeli is biased and misleading and its opinion pieces on Israeli are regularly unfair, tendentious and dishonest.

  • The New York Times should be ashamed of themselves.
    Not really,they have always been anti -Semiitic and anti- Israel.

  • It makes sense, since the NYT has long declined into a grossly Leftist/Islamic propaganda rag. Perversion is its game.

  • Barry

    How about who gives a crap what these arseholes write? I wouldn’t use that paper to.line a bird cage. But I have a great idea. Lets start a gofundme and send all tjise douchebags to isisland. Tben they will know what a daniel perle necklace is.

  • But the New York Times IS a professional anti-Israel agitator!

  • Communists do not speak for Jews

    Communists do not speak for Jews

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