The New York Times was in touch with European Jews’ suffering, which accounts for its 1,000-plus stories on the Final Solution’s steady progress. Yet, it deliberately de-emphasized the Holocaust news, reporting it in isolated, inside stories. The few hundred words about the Nazi genocide the Times published every couple days were hard to find amidst a million other words in the newspaper. Times readers could legitimately have claimed not to have known, or at least not to have understood, what was happening to the Jews.
The Times’s judgment that the murder of millions of Jews was a relatively unimportant story also reverberated among other journalists trying to assess the news, among Jewish groups trying to arouse public opinion, and among government leaders trying to decide on an American response. It partly explains the general apathy and inaction that greeted the news of the Holocaust.
— Laurel Leff, associate professor in the School of Journalism at Northeastern University and author of Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper published by Cambridge University Press
Leff’s is a relatively charitable description of what can only be called one of the greatest moral failures in the history of American journalism.
Since then, the Times has often downplayed or ignored antisemitism in the news, according to a 2005 piece by Ed Lasky (here and here), particularly when it is expressed by Muslims or in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
These days the Times is a potent force in the information war being waged against the state of Israel. There’s no other way to describe the newspaper of Thomas Friedman, Roger Cohen, Nicholas Kristof and others, the newspaper which has run op-eds by Mahmoud Abbas, Ali Abunimah (on behalf of Hamas), Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef, and even Yasser Arafat.
Today, for example, there is a Friedman piece in which he says,
With a more democratic and populist Arab world in Israel’s future, and with Israel facing the prospect of having a minority of Jews permanently ruling over a majority of Arabs — between Israel and the West Bank, which could lead to Israel being equated with apartheid South Africa all over the world — Israel needs to use every ounce of its creativity to explore ways to securely cede the West Bank to a Palestinian state.
Every single sentence in the above is nonsense. It’s highly doubtful that there is a more democratic Arab world in Israel’s future, and ‘populist’ probably means more antisemitic and anti-Israel. Today there is a good chance of an Islamist regime coming to power in Egypt, and the runner-up is a Nasserist Arab nationalist one. Relations are not going to improve, and they will probably get much worse.
Friedman’s inclusion of Israeli Arabs in the equation is interesting. It implies that they are somehow ‘ruled over’ in a way different than Israeli Jews, subject to apartheid. But they have the same rights.
More than 95% of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria today live in ‘Area A’ and ‘Area B’: civil administration is in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, not Israel (the IDF does not even enter Area A, which is under full PA security control as well). The comparison of Israel to South Africa is in every way incorrect and propaganda-driven.
It’s hard to see how Israeli creativity could help when negotiations have failed because the PLO won’t recognize Israel, won’t give up its demand for ‘right of return’ and won’t agree to end the conflict with Israel — and have joined with the even less helpful Hamas, which made it clear again that it does not plan to permit any kind of peaceful accommodation with Israel:
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahar said Tuesday that the united Hamas-Fatah Palestinian Authority government has no intention of negotiating with Israel. A-Zahar spoke to the PA daily Al-Quds.
He clarified earlier statements made by Hamas head in exile Khaled Mashaal, who had appeared to indicate that Hamas would allow PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to negotiate with Israel despite rejecting negotiations itself. “We will not give him a chance to negotiate, we will not agree to negotiations or encourage them, the opposite,” he said.
Friedman continues to insist that there is a solution to the conflict in the realm of appeasement. There isn’t — a real end to the conflict can only come by a change in the Arab attitude to a willingness to accept a Jewish state in the Mideast. All the creativity in the world won’t change that.
Along with Friedman there is an editorial today which is equally obtuse:
There is blame all around: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who is scheduled to meet with Mr. Obama at the White House on Friday, has shown little interest in negotiations and has used the regional turmoil as one more excuse to hunker down. Arab leaders haven’t given him much incentive to compromise. President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority wants a deal but seemed to give up after Mr. Obama couldn’t deliver a promised settlement freeze.
Although they say there is ‘blame all around’, it’s clear that they primarily blame Netanyahu for being uninterested in negotiations, for using the newly unstable environment as an ‘excuse’, and for not extending the 10-month settlement freeze that failed to produce results. They say that Abbas “wants a deal,” but as I wrote yesterday the deal he wants includes the end of Israel.
Both Friedman and whoever wrote the Times’ editorial ought to be able to realize that the creation of a Palestinian state will not end the conflict — clearly the Arabs’ own words tell us that that is not the case. So why do they keep repeating it?
I do not think that they are stupid enough to be convinced by their own arguments. There is a method to their apparent stupidity and it is that they, like the Obama Administration, treat ‘Palestine’ as a desirable end in itself, not a means to end the conflict (which it could not be).
Perhaps they do this in return for favors from the administration. Or maybe, in the case of the Times, the same dark impulse that made it suppress news about the Holocaust still operates when the Jewish people are involved.
With respect to Israel, the Times has always been on the wrong side.