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December 18, 2020 8:38 am

A Second Zionist Jew’s Exit From New York Times Opinion Page Is Called ‘Disgrace’

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avatar by Ira Stoll


A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

A second openly Zionist staffer has exited the New York Times editorial page as the newspaper’s publisher interviews candidates for the editorial-page editor job.

In June, a Republican senator, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, wrote a Times op-ed headlined “Send in the Troops,” calling for the deployment of the US military to quell what the article called an “orgy of violence” and “rioters and looters” in American cities following the death in police custody of George Floyd. More than 800 Times staff members signed a letter protesting the article’s publication, and more than two dozen New York Times employees called in sick to protest the op-ed.

New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet resigned after the publication of the Cotton article, but others sought to blame its appearance on two Jewish opinion-page staffers, Bari Weiss and Adam Rubenstein. I covered the episode at the time under the headline “Republican Senator Writes New York Times Op-Ed. Zionist Jews Get Blamed.”

“‘Blame Weiss and Rubenstein’ is the NYT’s new motto, and unlike its previous one, actually accurately describes what the paper aims to do every day of the week and twice on Shabbos,” quipped Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner magazine.

Weiss left the Times in July, complaining of “unlawful discrimination” and “constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views.” Now Rubenstein has also departed. He did not reply to a message asking why, but Weiss, on Twitter, wrote that he “was hung out to dry by his own colleagues.”

“The bottom line is that what @nytimes did to Adam was a disgrace,” Weiss wrote on Twitter.

Rubenstein, 25, worked at The Weekly Standard and The Wall Street Journal editorial page before joining the Times in July 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Rubenstein’s departure brings to seven the number of editors who have left the Times opinion section since the Cotton article appeared — Weiss, Bennet, Rubenstein, Clay Risen, James Dao, Jen Parker and Aisha Harris. The section recently hired Siddhartha Mahanta, who worked at Foreign Policy magazine with Max Strasser, an increasingly influential Times opinion editor who is a vocal public critic of the idea of a Jewish state. And the Times brought in Peter Beinart as a contributing opinion writer after Beinart publicly disavowed Zionism.

Presiding over all this has been Kathleen Kingsbury, who, after Bennet’s departure, was named “acting Editorial Page Editor through the November election.” That election has come and gone with no announcement from Sulzberger about a permanent replacement for Bennet.

Sulzberger is said to be interviewing possible Bennet replacements. Kingsbury is said by at least one associate to claim she is not interested in staying in the post. Understandably so, given how rapidly Bennet was cut loose by Sulzberger, and how rapidly the newspaper’s staffers mobilize against the publication of anything that deviates from left-leaning conventional wisdom.

Bret Stephens still writes a weekly column and even Thomas Friedman had a decent one recently. But anyone hoping for a restoration of the William Safire and A.M. Rosenthal era, when the Times opinion pages were really distinguished and animated by a voice that fit a newspaper based in New York City, with a large Jewish readership generally sympathetic to Zionism — well, to the extent those hopes rested on Weiss and Rubenstein, it looks like it won’t be happening.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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