Israeli ambassador: New York Times a 'cesspool of hostility'

Ambassador Ron Dermer criticizes New York Times following anti-Semitic cartoon.

Ben Ariel ,

Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer

The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, on Monday criticized The New York Times newspaper and linked it to the “Jew-hatred of growing parts of the intellectual class”, JTA reported.

Dermer was speaking in the US Capitol at the annual Holocaust Days of Remembrance organized by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In his remarks, the Israeli ambassador listed recent lethal attacks against Jews, including Saturday’s deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway, a suburb of San Diego. His remarks were posted on his Facebook page.

Dermer attributed the Poway attack, which killed one congregant and injured three, and the October massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 worshippers, to white supremacists. But he also added that “we have also seen anti-Semitism increasingly poison minds in the political classes of what once proudly called itself the West.”

Describing what he termed “the Jew-hatred of growing parts of the intellectual class,” Dermer referred to anti-Semitism plaguing Britain’s Labour Party and rising anti-Israel activity on campuses.

“We have also seen one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers become a cesspool of hostility towards Israel that goes well beyond any legitimate criticism of a fellow, imperfect democracy,” Dermer said as he discussed The New York Times.

“The same New York Times that a century ago mostly hid from their readers the Holocaust of the Jewish people has today made its pages a safe space for those who hate the Jewish state. Through biased coverage, slanderous columns and anti-Semitic cartoons, its editors shamefully choose week after week to cast the Jewish state as a force for evil,” he continued.

The comments come after the newspaper published a cartoon in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is shown as a guide dog for a blind US President Donald Trump.

In the cartoon, Trump is shown wearing a kippah and Netanyahu's collar features a blue Star of David.

The cartoon was widely condemned and, on Saturday, The New York Times published an apology on its Twitter account, describing the cartoon as having "included anti-Semitic tropes".

A day later, on Sunday, the newspaper said that the anti-Semitic cartoon was the work of a single editor who was working “without adequate oversight”.

The paper said that an internal investigation into the affair revealed that the inclusion of the cartoon was the work of a single editor who had been allowed to add the image due to a “faulty process”.

“We have investigated how this happened and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page. The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”