The New York Times columnist Bret Stephens said this week that the political cartoons of Prime Minister Netanyahu depicted as a dog leading a blind and yarmulke-clad President Trump printed in the international edition of the Times were more shocking than surprising.
These drawings were meant to communicate that Israel’s power and influence is far greater than its geographic size or the numbers of its modest population. This is the oft-repeated, absurd claim that Jews control politics, international diplomacy, the world money flow and the media. As Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said recently, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”
The news here is not that in 2019 a paper like the Times can support these antisemitic claims. The news is that those who manage the Times believe these claims are real and substantiated and that when they run cartoons or editorial pieces like this they are doing the responsible thing and their utmost to communicate to their readers what they consider to be accurate and the reality as it exists.
The Times management’s apologies over the last few days amounted to way too little and way too late. Those expressions of regret did not stop Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer from referring to the Times the other day as “a cesspool of hostility” toward Israel.
This tragically and unfortunately brings us to the claims on Facebook by the shooter at the Chabad shul in Poway, California, near San Diego. Part of this murderer’s tirade was that he was upset with Jewish control of the U.S. and other global political systems. And this, as Stephens asserts, is where there is shock, but no surprise.
The media does not want to say that this type of antisemitic belief leads directly to events like the shooting at Chabad of Poway and the murder of Lori Kaye, but how can any intelligent observer deny the connection? Can reasonable people draw any other conclusion?
The attacks on Israel in the pages of the Times are relentless. Talk about lack of proportion: how can a country of a bit more than seven million people located on the map in an area that is barely discernible without a magnifying glass attract so much attention in the world’s most authoritative and leading newspapers?
That can only be when a media entity like the Times has a Jewish problem, and, unfortunately, that is the case here. Is anyone finding the NYT’s explanation of how these antisemitic cartoons made it into print acceptable? It defies logic. It is absurd to hear a Times spokesperson say that a cartoon showing Prime Minister Netanyahu as a dog leading a blind President Trump was the slipup of an under-supervised editor.
As Mr. Stephens pointed out, the more plausible explanation is that the Times management sees denigrating Israel and being condescending about Jews as deserving and legitimate.
In other words, the Times management believes these types of attacks are valid and should continue until such time that leadership in Israel changes its ways and begins to see things the same way the Times does. Why does the NYT management believe it knows what is best for Israel, even better than the democratically elected government of the state of Israel?
The Times and other left-leaning media outlets wasted no time attempting to lay blame for the attack and murder in Poway on President Trump and his administration. Of course, the Times now has a vested interest in this approach so as to deflect attention from its own responsibility for the uptick in attacks on Jews.
As the Times pointed out in a mea culpa on its editorial page Tuesday, the NYT’s problem with Jews dates back many decades, to the Holocaust, when management buried stories of Jewish genocide in Europe — not because they supported Hitler’s campaign of extermination, but rather because they were uncomfortable with Jews being identified or attracting attention, because we are Jews.
The other night, about 100 people gathered outside the Times office in Manhattan to protest its propagation of antisemitism. That is not a show of force in a New York area where more than two million Jews reside. In fact, it probably would have been better if there were no such protest at all. All such a poor turnout says is that while we might be concerned, we are not troubled all that much.
I’m not sure it bothers the Times if you cancel your subscription or plainly just stop reading their paper. The only way to communicate the nature of our umbrage with the Times is through their advertisers. That is the only language they will understand, and that is probably the most difficult thing to orchestrate.
The bottom line is that the Times needs fundamental change. Yes, it is legitimate to disagree with Israeli policy if that is your mindset. But the Times went too far last week. Innocent people died because the Times consistently communicates that Jews and Israel are up to no good.
Of course, the Times is now sorry. But this is an instance where that is just not enough.