NY Times Writer Hits Paper's ‘Despicable Cartoon,’ Blames Its ‘Torrential Criticism of Israel’

April 29th, 2019 3:55 PM

An anti-Semitic cartoon in the International edition of the New York Times depicted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a guide dog with a big nose and Star of David around his neck, leading a corpulent, equally large-nosed President Trump wearing a yarmulke (Trump’s not Jewish).

There was outcry, and the paper responded, but as Newsbusters Nicholas Fondacaro wrote on Sunday:

Nowhere has The New York Times actually apologized or expressed regret for posting the anti-Semitic cartoon. They simply called it “an error of judgment.” They also offered no explanation of how the cartoon managed to get through their supposedly vigorous editorial process.

Even liberal journalist Howard Fineman thinks something stinks in Timesland regarding its treatment of Jews, tweeting:

Something’s awry at nytimes. It publishes an op-ed claiming that Jesus wasn’t Jewish; a Streicher-like anti-Semitic cartoon; buries the California synagogue shooting story on page 17 of the print paper during the days of Holocaust Remembrance.

Indeed, the cartoon does not mark the paper’s first foray into anti-Israel tropes. Reporter Jonathan Weisman was responsible for an offensive chart that accompanied a Times article on Jews in the U.S. Congress in 2015, labeling Democratic lawmakers against the Obama administration's controversial nuclear deal with Iran as "Jewish?" or not (the "Jewish?" part was removed from the online version after outcry).

After its first response flopped, the Times issued a somewhat stronger statement on Sunday, saying it was “deeply sorry” for publishing the cartoon.

But the stakes were raised on Monday when Times columnist Bret Stephens used his space to criticize his own paper: “A Despicable Cartoon in The Times.”

As prejudices go, anti-Semitism can sometimes be hard to pin down, but on Thursday the opinion pages of The New York Times international edition provided a textbook illustration of it.

Except that The Times wasn’t explaining anti-Semitism. It was purveying it.

Stephens summarized historical criticism of the paper as hostile to Jews and Israel.

For some Times readers -- or, as often, former readers -- the answer is clear: The Times has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust, and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel. The criticism goes double when it comes to the editorial pages, whose overall approach toward the Jewish state tends to range, with some notable exceptions, from tut-tutting disappointment to thunderous condemnation.

Stephens defended the paper from the charge of “willful” anti-Semitism, but lambasted its hypocritical ignorance and argued that the paper’s virulent hostility toward Israel contributes to an environment that would make such a cartoon seem acceptable.

....How have even the most blatant expressions of anti-Semitism become almost undetectable to editors who think it’s part of their job to stand up to bigotry?

The reason is the almost torrential criticism of Israel and the mainstreaming of anti-Zionism, including by this paper, which has become so common that people have been desensitized to its inherent bigotry.

Some on social media pondered if the Times could reasonably be blamed for the synagogue shooting in Poway, California. That would be a cheap shot. But the Times eagerly did the same thing, in a massive magazine cover story in early April, blaming Fox News for two terrorist attacks, one targeting a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, the other Muslim mosques in New Zealand.