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May 28, 2021 4:08 pm
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Abe Foxman Cancels New York Times Subscription Over Front-Page ‘Blood Libel,’ Anti-Israel Bias

avatar by Ira Stoll

Opinion

ADL National Director Emeritus Abe Foxman. Photo: ADL

The national director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, has publicly canceled his subscription to the New York Times, explaining in a tweet: “Today’s blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people on the front page is enough.”

Foxman verified the authenticity of the tweet — and the cancellation — in an email to The Algemeiner. He said the phone operator who accepted his call asked his reason for cancelling, and he replied that the reason was the paper’s bias against Israel and the Friday front-page package, which displayed photographs of mostly Arab children that the newspaper said had been killed primarily by Israel in the recent Israel-Gaza war.

Accusing Jews of killing gentile children is a classical antisemitic trope. Even the Times’ own columnist, Bret Stephens, wrote in a recent piece, “The accusations made against Israel — stealing Palestinian land (despite the fact that Israel vacated the territory from which it was subsequently attacked) and wanton violence against Palestinian civilians, particularly children (despite the fact that Israel regularly warned its targets to vacate buildings before targeting them) — can’t help but make me think of ancient libels about Jewish greed and bloodlust.”

Foxman’s announcement caused a sensation on Twitter, where it generated thousands of interactions barely hours after it was posted on the Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend.

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Batya Ungar-Sargon — an editor at Newsweek who, like Foxman, has written for the Times op-ed page and been often quoted in its news articles — replied that she also is canceling.

The executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert Satloff, commented, “Few people on this planet have more authority on confronting anti-semitism than @FoxmanAbraham. When he makes an accusation of ‘blood libel,’ sit up and take notice.”

The executive director of Truah, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, disagreed with Foxman, drawing a distinction: “Blood libel is about the accusation that Jews kill Christian children for ritual purposes, not about how a sovereign state acts in war. It is not antisemitic to show pictures of Palestinian–and Israeli btw–children killed in the war, both by Israel & by Hamas.”

Several replies asked whether Foxman was also planning to cancel the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which ran the same front-page photos the Times did, though it later apologized for having deleted the photos of Israeli children killed. Foxman told The Algemeiner he wasn’t sure whether he is a paying subscriber to Haaretz but would cancel if he is.

In announcing his decision, Foxman made clear that he’d had a long relationship with the Times. “I am cancelling my subscription to NYTimes. I grew up in America on the NYT- I delivered the NYT to my classmates- I learned civics- democracy and all the news ‘fit to print’ for 65 years but no more. Today’s blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people on the front page is enough.”

Complaints about the Times coverage have been mounting in the American and Israeli Jewish communities. A Times editor in charge of international coverage, Michael Slackman, did not respond to an Algemeiner inquiry earlier this week about the coverage and about an earlier complaint about it by Foxman.

Israel’s recent ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, has described the New York Times as “a cesspool of hostility towards Israel.” Another Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, recently described the Times as conveying “the total Hamas narrative … All the news that’s fit to print in Gaza.”

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.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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