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July 9, 2017 4:37 pm

New York Times Hurls an Adjective at Israel’s Defense Minister

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: Jonathan Klinger via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the New York Times’ favorite methods of treating people it dislikes is to hurl adjectives at them.

So, for example, the newspaper has described the views of the president of the Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes, as “controversial” and “inflammatory,” and described a former American ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, as “combative.” Prime Minister Netanyahu is labeled “brash,” as well as loquacious” and “usually taciturn,” two diametrically opposed terms.

The latest example comes in a Times news article about a United Nations body naming Hebron a Palestinian “world heritage site.” The Times reports:

Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, described Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as “a politically biased, disgraceful and anti-Semitic organization.”

The entire sentence could have used an editor. Why not just write, “The Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, described Unesco, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, as ‘a politically biased, disgraceful and anti-Semitic organization’”? Or if the Times feels it necessary to say what political party Mr. Lieberman is a member of, describe it in some useful way. What is “nationalist” supposed even to mean in this context? Does it mean that a party is in favor of the nation of Israel continuing to exist? If so, wouldn’t it kind of go without saying?

If you think I’m reading too much into the one word “nationalist,” take Israel out of the equation for the moment. Consider how the New York Times marked the 50th anniversary of the Montreal Expo: with a piece asserting, “It’s one thing to identify the gaps in Expo 67’s narrative, to call out its sexism and nationalism.” For the Times, nationalism — whether the polite Canadian variety or the muscular Zionist variety — is a dirty word. It’s a kind of discriminatory chauvinism, like sexism.

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

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  • Betty Griffen

    The NYT is nothing more than a hack rag trying to stir up controversy to pull in more consumers for this dying purveyor of trash.

  • Killing Independent George

    Interesting editorializing. Subtle. The kind of subtlety that programs its readers without them being aware of it.

  • pro-Israel

    I think that “nationalist” adds value. You would certainly not describe any of the Arab parties in the Joint List as “nationalist”. They are clearly against Israel’s existence.

  • Bruce Kugler

    Nationalism has been equated with fascism a la The Third Reich, Nazism. That’s the model, although nationhood goes back a long way before that and drew lines that fostered protection, a sense of belonging, something normal which now has been equated with all that is bad, with Israel being the target for those on the Left. No other Nation, with the incredible horrors and atrocities committed, just Israel.
    The far right in America cares nothing of this Nation per se. Their views are not motivated by democratic principles, and have more primitive psychological roots.
    Their counterparts are throughout the world, and now fearful of one thing, being taken over by others and losing their identity, culture, language, and their lives ! Not all of that is paranoia. Israel’s situation is more grave and always has been, and they have the best argument about a threat to it’s existence, and yet they are perceived as an aggressor from the lunatic far Right and the Left ! Damn, if the Jews can’t bring people together. bk


    I wouldn’t use the NYT to line a bird cage.

  • “Nationalist” is a dog-whistle term used by the left wing globalists.

    The term is meant to hold derogatory connotations of racism among other things.

    Anyone the left calls a “nationalist”, from Le Pen, Trump, Nigel Farage and now Lieberman is meant to be despised by those left wing globalists who want to erase borders.

  • Irwin Graulich

    The New York Times will be out of business within the next 5 years. Can’t wait to celebrate!!!