New York Times News Article on Biden Budget Fights Rear-Guard Action Against Jerusalem Embassy Move
A New York Times news article about Senate budget votes managed to insert a gratuitous — and factually inaccurate — swipe at America’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The Times article reported:
The Senate also approved an amendment to maintain the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Under President Donald J. Trump, the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of precedent, and opened a new embassy in the city, complicating peace in the Middle East.
Only three lawmakers objected to the amendment on Thursday night: Mr. Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware.
That’s factually inaccurate in two ways.
It’s not accurate that the embassy move complicated peace in the Middle East. Actually, it accelerated peace in the Middle East by disabusing the Arabs of the false hope that America was going to give away Israel’s capital. One proof of this is that following the embassy move, a series of Arab and Muslim countries — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco — agreed to or announced plans to warm relations with Israel.
It’s also not accurate that Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital broke with “decades of precedent.” The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 includes a “statement of the policy of the United States” that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.”
This is an illuminating example of how the Times inserts its point of view into news articles. It’s not a story from the Middle East or one primarily focused on Israel or Jewish issues. The online headline is “Senate Backs Biden’s Stimulus, But Rejects Quick Minimum Wage Increase.”
It’s just a routine piece about a congressional budget vote, and the context lines are just aggressively slanted to the anti-Israel position — a position, by the way, that 97 senators voted against.
Even the “only” in the “only three lawmakers” sentence is an injection of opinion. Personally, I was shocked to see that as many as three members of the US Senate — including one, Warren, who represents me — would align themselves with the extremist idea that Israel alone of all the countries in the world should be denied the right to choose its own capital. Or that America would try to deny this status to Jerusalem, which has been Israel’s capital since shortly after the establishment of the state in 1948.
A correction in the Times might look something like this: An article about budget votes inaccurately described America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and also inaccurately described the effects of the US embassy there on peace in the Middle East. The recognition brought America into fuller compliance with longstanding American law, and it advanced peace in the Middle East.
Don’t hold your breath for that correction to appear in the New York Times.
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.