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June 13, 2017 5:07 pm

New York Times Falsely Describes Six-Day War 50th Anniversary Celebrations as ‘Muted’

avatar by Ira Stoll

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A past Jerusalem Day celebration. Photo: Hoheit via Wikimedia Commons.

The news columns of the New York Times marked the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War last week with a “memo from Jerusalem” by Times Jerusalem bureau chief Ian Fisher.

Its tone was pretty much summed up in its conclusion: “[L]ike most of the 1967 anniversary events, this one is expected to be modest, with little of the unconflicted triumphalism of the celebration of the nation’s founding, and little clue about what is next.”

The paper reported on a “muted feeling”: “Most events, too, are small and spread out: The reunification of Jerusalem, as Israelis consider it, seems safe enough to celebrate. The continuing occupation of the West Bank, much less so.”

The New York Times did not let readers in on the news of any 1967 anniversary events that were not “modest” or “small.”

Part of the problem is a false distinction by the New York Times between the reunification of Jerusalem and the 1967 war. It’d be somewhat odd to celebrate a war — Jews love peace, and people die in war. Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence on July 4, not the “Revolutionary War.”

Another part of the problem is the New York Times focusing on the Gregorian calendar rather than the Jewish calendar. The non-modest, non-small events in Israel were mainly keyed to the Jewish calendar, which includes a Jerusalem Day, or Yom Yerushalayim, marking the reunification of Israel’s capital city in 1967.

It just so happened that I was in Israel for Jerusalem Day and was able to see with my own eyes the anniversary events. There were fireworks in the night sky. There was a huge outdoor concert. People were literally dancing in the streets. Don’t take my word for it — the Times of Israel (not to be confused with the New York Times) reported that “more than 80,000 people took part” in the event, double the crowd in previous years.

It’s one thing to write about media bias, as I regularly do. It’s another thing to have seen, with my own eyes, fireworks going off overhead and youth dancing in the streets, and to have the New York Times then describe the thing as “muted,” “modest” and “small.” There are plenty of good reasons to visit Israel, but one of them is to get firsthand confirmation — as if any more were necessary — that what the New York Times tells us about the country just doesn’t square with reality.

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

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