CAMERA: Barghouti op-ed just the tip of the Times' iceberg

Pro-Israel organization lists a long series of anti-Israel op-eds in the New York Times – including one surprise.

Hillel Fendel ,

New York Times office
New York Times office
Flash 90

While The New York Times has been widely criticized for publishing five-time murderer Marwan Barghouti's op-ed without explaining his background, the op-ed in question is only the tip of the iceberg.

Research by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) shows that since the start of 2017, readers of the Times' op-ed pages have been fed a steady diet of one-sided, anti-Israel rhetoric.

It began on January 6, when the Times published an article entitled "The Frightening Truth About Israeli Society." The article provided a long list of allegations that Israel is allowing itself to be diverted from its democratic values.

Three weeks later, an op-ed by Ayelet Waldman and her husband Michael Chabon suggested the country should be viewed as responsible for future Palestinian terror attacks. This was echoed more strongly last month when Larry Derfner's opinion piece stated that Israel should be blamed in any future war with Hezbollah or Hamas.

In the meanwhile, on February 11, Arab Knesset Member Ayman Odeh was granted a platform on which to write "How Israel Bulldozes Democracy." The piece accuses Israel of mistreating its Arab citizens; CAMERA critiqued it as "so egregiously misleading, so full of errors and distortions, that it feels like a theatrical attack against a cartoonish villain."

Finally, on March 1, an op-ed insisted that PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas actually "accepts Israel's Jewishness" and that Israel is manipulatively concealing Abbas’s "true position" by claiming otherwise. In fact, however, Abbas has repeatedly, explicitly, and emphatically rejected Israel's Jewishness in recent years. The newspaper, CAMERA states, has never corrected the false claim that Abbas accepts a Jewish state.

Strangely, CAMERA also mentions an op-ed by Hevron Jewish Community spokesman Yishai Fleisher as an example of The New York Times' one-sidedness against Israel. The organization found two faults with the article: "By publishing an Israeli who approvingly supports annexation of much of the West Bank… [the paper] "underscore[s] all those accusations that Israel is a land-hungry entity." In addition, the article included two criticisms of the Israeli Government.

Surprisingly, CAMERA lumps together criticism of the Government of Israel with criticism of and hostility to Israel in general. In fact, however, while the latter borders on anti-Semitism, the former is more than legitimate in any democratic society.

Let us also note the context of the "criticism:" Fleisher was indicating that the government's PR policy ought to concentrate more on the actual issues of Jewish rights to Judea and Samaria than on its technological prowess and the like. Can this "criticism" of Israel be compared in any way to accusations of Israeli "apartheid"?

Would CAMERA truly prefer that the Times not publish op-eds by members of Israel's nationalist camp? After all, an increasingly growing number of its members support Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Does CAMERA mean to imply that any op-ed that does not push a soft right-wing view is in some way harmful to Israel?

Unfortunately, CAMERA does not reassure us that this is not the case, lamenting the fact that "there is no shortage of reputable, moderate voices who would point out that Palestinians have flaws and, most importantly, a great share of responsibility for the ongoing conflict."

In conclusion, CAMERA chides the Times for the fact that "these voices are largely missing from the newspaper of record. As a result, while the anti-Israel invective flows, little pressure is placed on Palestinians to crack down on rampant hate speech, to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist, and to end the system in which anti-Israel violence is in effect rewarded by payments to the family of attackers."