Saturday, May 21st | 20 Iyyar 5782

January 30, 2019 5:37 am

New York Times Covers Up Rashida Tlaib’s Antisemitic Tweet

avatar by Tamar Sternthal


The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In a recent article about Senate legislation opposing anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) efforts, The New York Times covered up a tweet by Representative Rashida Tlaib that raised a firestorm earlier this month and was widely condemned as antisemitic. Tweeting about legislators who backed an anti-BDS bill, Tlaib employed the antisemitic “dual loyalty” charge on January 7:

They forgot what country they represent. This is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality. Maybe a refresher on our U.S. Constitution is in order, then get back to opening up our government instead of taking our rights away.

Dropping the “they forgot what country they represent” part of the tweet, the Times‘ Catie Edmondson reported:

Ms. Tlaib took a swing at anti-B.D.S. legislation this month, writing on Twitter that “this is the U.S. where boycotting is a right & part of our historical fight for freedom & equality.” Mr. [Marco] Rubio fired back, “This ‘dual loyalty’ canard is a typical anti-Semitic line.” The movement “isn’t about freedom & equality, it’s about destroying #israel.”

But without Tlaib’s “They forgot what country they represent” smear, Senator Rubio’s response doesn’t make sense.

Tlaib’s January 7 tweet drew condemnation from Jewish groups across the spectrum. As Haaretz reported:

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement in response to Tlaib’s tweet: “Representative Tlaib’s tweet regarding the pending bill on the Senate floor has been interpreted by some as suggesting that Jews or Members of Congress, such as the sponsors of the bill, are more loyal to Israel than to their own country,” the organization said. “Whether or not this was her intent, this type of language is deeply problematic.”

The statement also noted that, “historically, the allegation of mixed loyalty or dual loyalty has been leveled as a smear against many kinds of Americans — including against Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Though the legislation discussed is sponsored by four non-Jewish Senators, any charge of dual loyalty has special sensitivity and resonance for Jews, particularly in an environment of rising anti-Semitism.”

The Jewish Democratic Council of America also denounced Tlaib, writing in a tweet: “We oppose your charge of dual loyalty. It’s wrong, dangerous, and hurts the cause of peace. Whether one supports a particular bill or not, it’s offensive to insinuate that senators would be driven by anything other than the best interests of the U.S.”

The Working Definition of Antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, which has been adopted by numerous countries, includes the following as an example of antisemitism:

Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.

According to Lexis-Nexis searches, The New York Times’ print edition has never covered Tlaib’s “They forgot what country they represent” remark. Searches on the Times’ website also did not turn up any articles, not even a wire service story. Thus, while yesterday’s article, which cuts out Tlaib’s “dual loyalty” slur from the tweet, is particularly galling, it is a continuation of the Times’ turning a blind eye to the Congresswoman’s antisemitic remark.

The Times’ cover-up of Tlaib’s antisemitic comment comes just one month after the paper was widely slammed for having published an interview with Alice Walker in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author recommended an antisemitic book by British conspiracy theorist David Icke. About the book, And The Truth Shall Set You Free, Richard Cohen of The Washington Post stated:

The book is so repellently anti-Semitic that Icke’s usual publisher wouldn’t touch it. Among other things, it endorses that hoary anti-Semitic forgery “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which blames evil Jews for much of the world’s ills. The book also suggests that schools ought to balance lessons on the Holocaust with some questioning whether it ever even happened, and it reveals that the world is run by a cabal of giant, shape-shifting lizards, many of whom just happen to be Jewish.

But in its “By the Book” feature with Walker, the Times never revealed that her recommended reading suggestion is an antisemitic tract.

In a separate cover-up in yesterday’s article, Edmonston and contributing Times reporter Nicholas Fandos whitewash the goals of the BDS movement, saying only that it “seeks to pressure Israel into ending the occupation of the West Bank.”

In fact, as explained by Omar Barghouti, a founder of the BDS movement, in The New York Times itself:

Regarding your editorial opposing Israel’s latest anti-boycott law, the goal of the global Palestinian-led B.D.S. movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) is not only to end the “occupation of the West Bank” (“Israel Says Dissenters Are Unwelcome,” March 9).

Since its inception in 2005 by the largest Palestinian grass-roots civil society coalition, B.D.S. has consistently called for ending Israel’s occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; granting full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are discriminated against by dozens of laws; and recognizing the United Nations-stipulated right of Palestinian refugees to return to lands from which they were forcibly displaced during Israel’s establishment in 1948.

The implementation of the so-called “right of return” — in which tens of thousands of 1948 refugees and their millions of descendants would flood Israel — is widely understood to mean the end of the Jewish state. On numerous past occasions, the Times has concealed this essential BDS goal.

Tamar Sternthal is the director of CAMERA’s Israel Office.

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