The New York Times ignores rising Jewish anti-Zionist sentiment

It has long been well-established that the New York Times, castigated as liberal by American conservatives, is actually a solidly pro-establishment institution and even at times conservative, neoconservative, and war mongering in its reporting and editorial stances. In particular, it has long had an anti-Palestinian slant.

Philip Weiss provides more evidence of that by saying that the newspaper is ignoring a major trend and that is the growing number of anti-Zionist Jews in the US who are increasingly disaffected with the state of affairs in Israel, something that is being covered by other newspapers in Israel and here.

Two days ago Haaretz ran two stunning op-eds by American Jewish historians Hasia Diner and Marjorie Feld titled, “We’re American Jewish Historians. This Is Why We’ve Left Zionism Behind,” saying that they cannot go comfortably into Jewish spaces that deny the Nakba any more. Diner related an ordeal that will resonate in the hearts of many other American Jews:

The Israel that I loved, the one my parents embraced as the closest approximation to Eden on earth, itself had depended well before 1967 upon the expropriation of Arab lands and the expulsion of Arab populations. The Law of Return can no longer look to me as anything other than racism. I abhor violence, bombings, stabbings, or whatever hurtful means oppressed individuals resort to out of anger and frustration. And yet, I am not surprised when they do so, after so many decades of occupation, with no evidence of progress.

I feel a sense of repulsion when I enter a synagogue in front of which the congregation has planted a sign reading, “We Stand With Israel.” I just do not go and avoid many Jewish settings where I know Israel will loom large as an icon of identity.

Also yesterday Haaretz ran a great piece by Gideon Levy titled, “Stop living in denial, Israel is an evil state,”which cited the detention of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour and the cruel imprisonment/detention of the Palestinian hunger striker Bilal Kayed as examples of “evil.”

Levy quoted Eva Illouz, the Hebrew University professor who has also used the term “evil” for Israeli practices and described the occupation as “slavery.”

Two days ago, Haaretz ran a piece by Yitchak Laor characterizing Israeli society as fascist: “the volk has come to overshadow all other institutions – democracy, the law, the army. Not to mention Palestinian blood.”

Not all the coverage is happening in Israel. Last year the Washington Post ran an op-ed by two Jewish scholars at Harvard and Yale explaining that though they love Israel they must support boycott of Israel in order to end the “permanent subjugation of Palestinians” — even if that boycott brings about a single state.

This list of outright Jewish dissidents grows longer and longer by the moment, but it does not include a piece in the New York Times. That’s because the leading American newspaper is pointedly refusing to cover Jewish anti-Zionism.

A few months ago Gideon Levy was in the United States. A journalist who has received death threats from Jewish Israelis, he gave an impassioned speech in Washington and there was a line of journalists seeking to interview him after.

But The New York Times does not care that Gideon Levy, leading Israeli journalist, has had death threats. Jodi Rudoren never wrote about him when she was the New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief (outside of quoting him once or twice). Instead she touted rightwing Zionist Yossi Klein Halevi, whom she extolled as a guide to Israeli life during her Zionist victory lap last winter.

The Times is simply incapable of covering this important news. It knows what will happen if it treats this story honestly: the discussion is explosive. After the American Jewish professors wrote in Haaretz that they were putting Zionism behind them, Jeffrey Goldberg was quick to go on the attack. He said he was giving up on Haaretz because the newspaper’s “cartoonish… anti-Semitism can be grating.” His tweets got wide coverage in the Jewish world. The New York Times is worried about exposing itself to that kind of criticism from its principal readers, and advertisers too.

“It is no exaggeration to say that for a century [the NYT] has served, in effect, as the hometown paper of American Jewry,” former Timesman Neil Lewis wrote. That’s a big responsibility now that the Jewish establishment is being rocked by assaults on Zionism. Sadly, it has required the Times to serve as Pravda, actively suppressing discussion of important new ideas.

Weiss goes on to give many more examples of the ostrich-like behavior of the Times when it comes to covering criticisms of Israel’s actions.


  1. says

    That sounds a lot like events in the US, doesn’t it?

    When black people say, Black lives matter, racists respond with “white/cops/all lives matter” to warp the conversation. People are now saying Palestinian lives matter, and the NYT, republicans, Israeli government and other racists reply with “israeli lives matter”, inferring that Palestinian lives don’t.

    It makes a change to hear an Israeli historian (other than Norman Finkelstein) using the word Nakba. Usually, most try to pretend it never happened (much the same way as other history deniers and revisionists do).

  2. Mobius says

    In my younger days I was a supporter of Israel. The ’67 and ’73 wars had a great effect on my opinions. But in the mid ’80s I began to realize that there were two sides to the story and that Israeli oppression of Palestinians was truly awful. As time has passed, I have come to despise Israel’s policies toward them. Before Rabin’s assassination, Israel’s policy wasn’t great, but seemed to be progressing. After the assassination, it has deteriorated to the point where Godwin-like comparisons might be appropriate.

  3. TTT says

    This is barely about “Jewish anti-Zionism”, it’s far more about people realizing that Haaretz and its writers like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass simply are not important. Haaretz makes up about 3% of the newspaper market in Israel. Shall we now analyze why the NYTimes fails to discuss American anti-capitalism of the sort usually reported by, say, Jacobin Magazine or Adbusters? Perhaps next Mondo will demand equal press coverage for female MRAs or Log Cabin Republicans, all of whom do exist at some level and have their own journals and websites too.

    The Diner / Feld op-ed is shockingly ignorant, written in a coccoon of American Privilege. The authors claimed to be “historians” but also declare that Zionism was responsible for wiping out many Jewish communities and cultural traditions…. whereas any real historian would know that this wiping-out was done by antisemitic, and most certainly anti-Zionist, Christians and Muslims.

  4. says

    I keep shaking my head with surprise whenever I learn that the New York Times is still in business and people still consider it relevant. It’s why there are so many newspaper articles about stuff relevant to newspapers: they’re the only people who read and care about eachother.

  5. moarscienceplz says

    The NYT lost all hope of getting me to become a subscriber after letting Judith Miller be a ventriloquist’s dummy for the GWB administration for so long. They are almost as bad as Fox “News”.

  6. TTT says

    Just come out and say “Jews always lie; everybody else in the world is allowed to have an opinion but discussions become automatically corrupt when an opinion in the mainstream majority of Judaism arrives.”

  7. KG says

    Since the OP was specifically about anti-Zionist Jews, your comment makes no sort of sense at all, since anyone who thinks Jews always lie would clearly have to include those anti-Zionist Jews in that steroetype. Just come out and say: “Anyone who disagrees with me is being antisemitic.”

  8. KG says

    Incidentally, TTT clearly isn’t a StevoR sockpuppet: StevoR is far too stupid to disguise his characteristic style, and so ignornat he probably doesn’t know what Haaretz is.

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