New York Times Travel Section Writes Jerusalem Out of Israel
Sunday’s New York Times travel section features an article suggesting “Five Places To Go In Jerusalem.” But readers curious about which country Jerusalem is in get no help from the Times: the article, strangely, doesn’t mention the word “Israel.”
Refusing to acknowledge the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is a departure from the way the Times treats other countries. The same Times Sunday travel section, for example, also includes an article about Oslo. A Times headline refers to it as “the Norwegian capital,” and the article describes it as “this compact Norwegian city. … Norway’s forward-thinking capital.” Earlier pieces in the Times‘ “Five Places To Go” series included articles about cities that the Times identified as “Düsseldorf, Germany,” and “San José, Costa Rica.”
If you are tempted to give the Times a pass on this on the basis that Jerusalem is so well known as Israel’s capital that it goes without saying, think again. A Times travel section article about Ottawa begins with the two words “Canada’s capital.” A Times travel section article about Paris makes reference, in the opening paragraph, to “the French capital.”
The snub of Israel is only the latest in a series of missteps by the Times travel section. A year ago, the section added an editor’s note to an article about a California bakery with a mural that glorified a Jew-killing Arab terrorist. In 2016, the Times touted the Islamic sultanate of Oman as a “carefree” travel destination. In 2012, the Times turned for a Jerusalem article in its travel section to a writer who proclaimed that “of the world’s roughly 200 nations, there was only one — besides Afghanistan and Iraq (which my wife has deemed too dangerous) — that I had absolutely zero interest in ever visiting: Israel.” That was an article that the executive director of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, later wrote left him “shaking my head in disbelief.”
It’s an experience that is all too frequent among Times readers who don’t share the newspaper’s apparent hostility to the Jewish state.
For a newspaper that has a whole marketing campaign about how “the truth can’t be glossed over,” “the truth has no agenda,” “the truth pulls no punches,” and “the truth requires taking a stand,” trying to pretend that Jerusalem isn’t the capital of Israel is an odd exercise in spineless self-deception. The Israeli parliament and Supreme Court are there, as is the prime minister’s office and the American embassy. Maybe the Times is trying not to offend its anti-Israel readers, or trying to keep politics out of a travel story. But it winds up inserting politics by contorting itself in an attempt to deny the obvious.
Ira Stoll is a former managing editor of The Forward and former North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. More of his media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.