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.