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September 22, 2016 3:13 pm

The New York Times Finds a New Adjective to Hurl at Netanyahu

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Facebook.

The New York Times has found a new adjective to hurl at the prime minster of Israel: “brash.”

A Times dispatch by Peter Baker, the new Jerusalem bureau chief, begins,For Benjamin Netanyahu, the brash prime minister of Israel, there are few audiences more skeptical than the world leaders he will face at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.”

The Zionist Organization of America pointed out sarcastically on Twitter, “‘Brash’??? Thanks for inserting your opinion. Thanks for the journalism.”

The New York Timess unfortunate habit of slapping labels on Benjamin Netanyahu was the topic of a post here earlier commenting on the absurdity of the Times having described Mr. Netanyahu both asloquacious” and as “usually taciturn,” two diametrically opposed terms.

The paper has apparently given up — at least for now — on deciding whether Mr. Netanyahu talks too much or too little. Instead it’s taking issue with his attitude.

“Brash,” according to my authoritative Webster’s Second Unabridged, means: “brittle or fragile, as some wood.” Other meanings are: “rash; too hasty” and “insolent; impudent.”

Given that Mr. Netanyahu has endured the death of his brother and more than 10 years as prime minister of Israel, describing him as “brittle” or “fragile” seems inaccurate. Given that he has not retaken Gaza, the Sinai or the security zone in Lebanon, and did not launch a preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear program, describing him as “rash” or “hasty” doesn’t really seem accurate, either; if anything, Mr. Netanyahu is restrained and deliberate, the opposite of rash.

That brings us to the third of the possible Webster’s meanings — the idea that Mr. Netanyahu is somehow shameless, or rude. What the Times is getting at here is that, in its view, Mr. Netanyahu is a Jew who doesn’t know his proper place; a Jew who, unlike the elderly, poor European Holocaust survivors upon which the paper lavishes loving and lengthy attention, or the “warm and decorous French Jew” who tickled the fancy of the Times’ T magazine, Mr. Netanyahu is a Jew with power who will speak out publicly and act for Jewish interests.

If the Times foreign desk or its new Jerusalem bureau man finds Mr. Netanyahu “brash,” perhaps we Jews could come up with a few adjectives of our own to sling at the New York Times. “Biased” would be one way to start.

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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  • Simone Miller

    I hate to sound like the old person that I am, but I do remember when the ny times was one of the most respected Papers in this or any other country. They have become such a lying, hateful mess that my birds hesitate to evacuate on it.

  • lucifer69

    Just don’t vote for Hillary.

  • ♕ Moderator ♕

    NYT reminds me of ancient Roman anti-Semites. Tacitus an anti-Jewish and I mean aaaanti-Jewish (well he did refer to us as a race multiple times, so antisemitic.) pagan historian, actually an official historian for Rome from the First Century sounds remarkably similar to the New York Times historical treatment of Israel.

    Written in the First Century if it has not been censored by later Catholic Romans which I have a very strong feeling it was:

    Before he starts to describe the Roman siege of Jerusalem, Roman historian Tacitus offers an account of Jewish history. It is a curious mix of fact, fiction, and slander. The translation of Histories 5.2-5 was made by Kenneth Wellesley.
    Jupiter Ammon. Detail of the Aufidius altar, found in the Via Flaminia, Rome. Cripta di Balbo, Rome (Italy)
    Jupiter Ammon. Detail of the Aufidius altar, found in the Via Flaminia, Rome.

    “[5] Whatever their origin, these observances are sanctioned by their antiquity. The other practices of the Jews are sinister and revolting, and have entrenched themselves by their very wickedness. Wretches of the most abandoned kind who had no use for the religion of their fathers took to contributing dues and free-will offerings to swell the Jewish exchequer; and other reasons for their increasing wealth was be found in their stubborn loyalty and ready benevolence towards brother Jews. But the rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies. They will not feed [Note: until I read this I thought it was a Christian slander, it turns out to be an ancient lie, with absolutely no basis in reality, Judaism in the Talmud says again and again that you must invite non-Jews to eat with you, your obsessions are old.] or intermarry with gentiles. Though a most lascivious people, the Jews avoid sexual intercourse with women of alien race. Among themselves nothing is barred. They have introduced the practice of circumcision to show that they are different from others. Proselytes to Jewry adopt the same practices, and the very first lesson they learn is to despise the gods, shed all feelings of patriotism,[another lie, Jewish law says you must always follow the laws of the country] and consider parents, children and brothers as readily expendable. However, the Jews see to it that their numbers increase. It is a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child[infanticide was common state practice in Rome and most of eurasia] and they think that eternal life is granted to those who die in battle or execution – hence their eagerness to have children, and their contempt for death. Rather than cremate their dead, they prefer to bury them in imitation of the Egyptian fashion, and they have the same concern and beliefs about the world below. But their conception of heavenly things is quite different. The Egyptians worship a variety of animals and half-human, half-bestial forms, whereas the Jewish religion is a purely spiritual monotheism. They hold it to be impious to make idols of perishable materials in the likeness of man: for them, the Most High and Eternal cannot be portrayed by human hands and will never pass away. For this reason they erect no images in their cities, still less in their temples. Their kings are not so flattered, the Roman emperors not so honored. However, their priests used to perform their chants to the flute and drums, crowned with ivy, and a golden vine was discovered in the Temple; and this has led some to imagine that the god thus worshipped was Prince Liber, the conqueror of the East. But the two cults are diametrically opposed. Liber founded a festive and happy cult: the Jewish belief is paradoxical and degraded.

  • Nina Petrie

    This is to the New York Times: The world can NOT “take” the strong Jew……WITH CONVICTION, CONFIDENCE AND WITH PHYSICAL, AND TECHNOLOGICAL POWERS……!!!!! TOO BAD for the world…..!!!! You better get used to it…..!!!!

  • Sandy Wasserman

    Great article, but here’s what I think: Algemeiner is a great online journal and I read it all the time, as do the rest of us ‘in the choir.’ In this case, I think this specific response to the NYT would be better off and serve a greater purpose if it had been/and it still could be, a ‘letter to the editor.’ It would go much farther. Of course, not all letters sent are published, and the 150 word max forces the writer to eliminate what might be additional salient points, but once it’s in there, it just has greater outreach – and who knows, then, how many new minds it might reach.

  • Ron Lindsey

    Aggressive regarding things important to the people of Israel is not ‘brash’!

  • ReformSchool

    If “All the News that Fits we Print” needs a Peter Baker in Jerusalem, a lady friend will bake the best kosher sausage anyone ever sunk their teeth into.

  • VarAway

    This is exactly one of the reasons to cancel my NYT subscription !

  • Emily Winters

    If Netanyahu is brash then Abu Mazen is juvenile.


      Are you saying one is rubber and one is glue!!

  • Michael Garfinkel

    Regarding the New York Times, which congressman Peter King refers to as “a left wing rag,” the adjective “biased” is a good start – to which I would add insolent and contemptible.

  • wg

    While one should be wary of Mr. Baker given his early produce of suspect journalism to date at the Times, “brash” is not an adjective that warrants prattle. In a modern, colloquial sense it is as often a term of endearment as in bold, confident, unbothered by critics opinions.

  • jgray1

    the new york times is an unflushed toilet bowl. it’s full of crap and those who support this stench by subscribing and reading it deserve the attendant nausea. what we need here is a mercy flush. get rid of this anti semitic rag once and for all.

  • NancyB

    Excellent analysis!

  • watsa46

    NYT: an antisemitic piece of garbage!

  • Efram Paul

    The adjectives which could accurately be used would fill a dictionary.

  • LtcHoward

    Since the Times foreign desk or its new Jerusalem bureau man finds Mr. Netanyahu “brash,” American liberal Jews should finally be knowledge that the New York Times Is“Biased” to the point that they are propaganda media for Jew haters throughout the world. We at MIL-ED are regular fans of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature.

  • poest

    Brash: Self assertive in a rude, noisy or overbearing way, cocky, arrogant. Gee, I thought Obama’s UN speech to be some of that, without the noisy business, but in a more monotonous self appointed way, ignoring UN hypocrisy!

  • Reb_Yaakov

    Whether he’s brash or not is a matter of opinion. But how about yesterday’s New York Times article about the use of modern technology to reveal the writing on a nearly 2,000-year-old fragment containing a passage from Leviticus. The date term “A.D.” was used repeatedly and the term “Old Testament” was used with regard to Protestant Bibles.

    • ReformSchool

      Ever since its banner November 1948 headline showcased, for all the world to see, the mammoth “Dumbth” (Steve Allen) infesting the “All the News that Fits we Print” (William Gaines’ MAD Magazine) New York Times, the rational world regards its reported and editorial output as little more than bellowing roars and flatus exhausting from a self-congratulatory, overfed publishing empire. Until the beast establishes a long, steady record of unbiased reportage, selfies of walking on one’s hind legs (many predators predating history have) will not be enough. Criticism and critical thinking are not the same.