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Chosen indeed: all 7 letters run by ‘NYT’ on Mideast article are by Jews

US Politics
on 34 Comments

Last week the New York Times ran a big article about the Middle East issue on campus that we criticized because of its theme that Jewish students are made fearful by criticism of Israel. The article thereby removed anti-Zionist Jews from the landscape and equated anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.

Yesterday’s Times ran seven letters responding to the article. Three made the point that Jews actually can be critical of Israel. One was by Rachel Sandalow-Ash of Open Hillel, another by Julia Mason Wedgle, saying that she was called an “anti-Semite” in Hillel at Tufts and found her real home as a Jew in the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. The third was from Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace:

Advocacy for Palestinian human rights is not at odds with Jewish identity. Many Jews, and especially students, support the use of nonviolent tactics such as boycott, divestment and sanctions, and work alongside Palestinians and other people of conscience to bring about the political pressure needed to change Israel’s oppressive and discriminatory policies.

But here’s the rub. All seven letters were authored by… Jews.

Vilkomerson made the point on twitter:

Here for the record are the other four members of the club:

1.RICHARD M. JOEL

New York

The writer is president of Yeshiva University.

2. SHIMON MERCER-WOOD

New York

The writer is the spokesman for the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

3. ANDREW GOLDBLATT and AVIVA HERR-WELBER

As student leaders in Tufts’s chapter of J Street U.

4. DANIEL ELBAUM

Assistant Executive Director, American Jewish Committee

Chicago

Is this fair to non-Jews who may have an opinion? No. What about Arab-Americans in Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, do they not have a voice? Nope.

This selection obviously reflects a deep (structural!) bias at the New York Times. IMHO that bias entails unconscious ethnocentric ideas about Jewish intelligence and our natural place in the social order. In a word, entitlement: In the media establishment a Jew counts as five thirds of all other persons.

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34 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    August 15, 2016, 2:03 pm

    Looks like structural bias from here, especially in light of the thesis of the article. But, “bias”? In her majesty NYT? I am shocked shocked shocked — but not astonished.

  2. inbound39
    inbound39
    August 15, 2016, 7:08 pm

    It is the secrets that keep Zionism sick.

  3. Donald
    Donald
    August 15, 2016, 8:55 pm

    Part of what is happening here is that Overton window thing. On this subject, the campus debates are always framed in terms of anti- semitism being the only conceivable form of bigotry that matters. The notion that supporters of Israel might be manifesting anti- Palestinian bigotry is nowhere in this frame. So you start the discussion by completely wiping out any mention of pro- Israeli anti-Palestinian racism and then you talk about the pro- Palestinian side as guilty until proven innocent of anti- semitism. And then to top it off you only have Jews discussing whether anyone is being anti- Semitic. But that’s after the issue has been carefully framed.

    I am trying to imagine a NYT piece about this exact issue with the opposite bias, where anti- Arab or anti- Palestinian or anti-Muslim bigotry were the only forms of bigotry being discussed, and where the only letters published were written by Palestinian-Americans with one from a PA official. It wouldn’t happen. The very notion that the pro- Israel side might have a bigotry problem would be incomprehensible to a NYT editor.

    Or anyway, they seem to act like it.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      August 16, 2016, 6:27 am

      You have no clue what a modern campus is like if you think that antisemitism is perceived as the only important form of bigotry. It is exactly the opposite. It is rejected at every turn as a legitimate form of bigotry because Jews are perceived as white victims and because groups like SJP have cynically used campus racial strife to portray Jews as white and Palestinians as people of color, when neither is true.

      • Boo
        Boo
        August 16, 2016, 1:03 pm

        “…portray Jews as white and Palestinians as people of color, when neither is true.”

        Yes, in line with your argument, many members of both groups have a certain quantum of Semitic DNA and therefore “anti-Semitism” has a rather broader definition than that usually advanced.

        There are Jews whom the average eye would perceive as “white”, just as there are Jews (e.g., Beta Israel) whom other Jews might label “cushim”. One likewise finds both light and dark skin tones among Palestinians.

        So it’d probably be more accurate to say “when both are true” rather than “when neither is true”.

      • Donald
        Donald
        August 16, 2016, 1:04 pm

        I wasn’t talking about how it is seen on campuses–I was talking about how the NYT frames the issue. For the NYT, anti-semitism is the only kind of bigotry that exists on this subject or the only type worth writing about. I probably could have been clearer, but obviously I wasn’t talking about campus activists in general. (Though pro-Israel activists who see BDS as anti-Semitic would fit the description.)

      • eljay
        eljay
        August 16, 2016, 1:11 pm

        || Donald Johnson: I wasn’t talking about how it is seen on campuses–I was talking about how the NYT frames the issue. … I probably could have been clearer … ||

        You were plenty clear. hophmi was just being himself.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 16, 2016, 1:21 pm

        “because groups like SJP have cynically used campus racial strife to portray Jews as white”

        How many times do I have to tell you “Hophmi”, Shankar should have simply transferred those nine Brownsville teachers. It would have paid off in the long run.

      • Mr.T
        Mr.T
        August 16, 2016, 1:29 pm

        “if you think that antisemitism is perceived as the only important form of bigotry. It is exactly the opposite”

        No, it’s just that the kids today are too smart to buy into the lie that “antisemitism” is present if one objects to the crimes that the Israeli state commits against the Palestinians.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 16, 2016, 4:03 pm

        ” Semitic DNA “

        Imagine that! A spurious grouping of language origins, created to integrate with the Bible, invented by 19th Century Germans, is a form of LSD, and changes your genes!

        Who’d a thunk it?

        There is no such thing as “Semitic”. It is a spurious designation for . The Son’s of Shem who was a son of Noah, and repopulated the world after the Biblical flood? Nah, I don’t think so.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 16, 2016, 5:11 pm

        MOOSER- “How many times do I have to tell you “Hophmi”, Shankar should have simply transferred those nine Brownsville teachers.”

        Shankar? Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggghh! Hophmi’s influence is pernicious. How many times did Hophmi misspell Albert Shanker’s name on that thread before I finally felt compelled to correct him? I had never before corrected another commenter’s spelling but it was becoming embarrassing.

      • gamal
        gamal
        August 16, 2016, 5:32 pm

        ” ” Semitic DNA “

        Imagine that! A spurious grouping of language origins, ”

        absolutely what’s wrong with Afro-Asiatic language family and coincidentally many Jews wish to get a bit colourful and Afro these days, here is your chance Hebrew an Afro-Asiatic language see you at Kwanzah (and in the dungeons and on the burning barricades?)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 16, 2016, 7:21 pm

        “Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggghh! “

        Arrrgh is right. I knew it might very well be wrong when I typed it, and then forgot to check and correct. Sorry.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 16, 2016, 7:24 pm

        “You have no clue what a modern campus is like”

        I most certainly do.
        All the girls are wearing these new skin-tight type pants.
        Frankly, it can be distracting.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 16, 2016, 10:33 pm

        “Afro-Asiatic”

        Sure, that’ll do. As long as it doesn’t require Biblical literalism.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 17, 2016, 2:32 am

        “Afro-Asiatic” language sounds like a pidgin with Yoruba words and Lao grammar.

      • gamal
        gamal
        August 17, 2016, 8:55 am

        “with Yoruba words and Lao grammar.”

        typical Japhite you have to contradict the Semito- Nilo-Hamite.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 17, 2016, 11:26 am

        “Afro-Asiatic” language sounds like a pidgin with Yoruba words and Lao grammar.”

        Maybe it does to you. To me “Afro-Asiatic” sounds like a hypothesis which could be reasonably investigated, and perhaps, some kind of determination can be made about language origin. Maybe it’s wrong, maybe it’s right, but “Africa” and “Asia” are two real places where languages developed.

        Seems a lot more sensible than trying to squeeze Noah, the Flood and Shem in there. Not to mention the radically compressed time-period for reproduction and language development.

        Why, “RoHa”? Are you scared the house of Bishop Usher will fall on your head? “Semetic” is spurious!

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        August 17, 2016, 11:46 am

        I spelled it wrong in six comments. Thanks, Keith, for correcting me. Unfortunately, your errors go way beyond spelling.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        August 17, 2016, 10:12 pm

        “Semitic is spurious”

        I’m not sticking up for Ham, Shem, and the other bloke. (Don’t forget that I’m a card-carrying anti-Shemite.) “Afro-Asiatic” just sounds a funny name to me. Seems to cover too much ground. I’d be happy to call them “Tri-consonantal root languages”, but probably some of the awkward buggers have stopped using the tri-consonant roots.

      • gamal
        gamal
        August 18, 2016, 10:05 am

        “knew it might very well be wrong when I typed it”

        thats transgressive compositional disorder welcome to my world

        as to funny names i am now tormented by the need for Yorubalao, but you are right funny names are to be avoided Roha, not for everyone, the Yorubalao have no funny name privileges.

      • Keith
        Keith
        August 18, 2016, 5:11 pm

        HOPHMI- “Unfortunately, your errors go way beyond spelling.”

        Had the situation been reversed and I had misspelled Shanker’s name as many times as you did in spite of the correct spelling right in front of me, you would have claimed that as proof positive of anti-Semitism, a claim you make more-or-less all of the time anyway. If it is any consolation, Albert’s brother Ravi spells it Shankar.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        August 18, 2016, 7:05 pm

        “thats transgressive compositional disorder”

        It is, isn’t it? I got it bad and that ain’t good. I got a TCD fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.

  4. RoHa
    RoHa
    August 15, 2016, 11:55 pm

    “Is this fair to non-Jews who may have an opinion?”

    Perfectly fair, when you bear in mind that

    (a) non-Jews should not have an opinion,

    and

    (b) if they wrongly persist in having an opinion, any opinion they have will be totally worthless unless it matches the correct opinion given by Jews.

  5. hophmi
    hophmi
    August 16, 2016, 6:29 am

    Oh please. There’s one reason, and one reason only, why this happens. It happens when there are few letters from non-Jews. There are non-Jewish voices heard in the Times on this issue all the time.

    This post amounts to a conspiracy theory.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      August 16, 2016, 1:23 pm

      “This post amounts to a conspiracy theory.”

      And nothing, “Hophmi”, nothing validates a conspiracy theory these days like hits on the web.

    • Mr.T
      Mr.T
      August 16, 2016, 1:28 pm

      “It happens when there are few letters from non-Jews.”

      And you’ve done a complete investigation into each and every letter received by the NYT, right? I mean, otherwise, you’d just be pushing pure speculation as fact, right? For no reason other than to defend what is, on its face, rank bigotry, right?

    • SonofDaffyDuck
      SonofDaffyDuck
      August 16, 2016, 3:49 pm

      yes, there are Gentile voices on this issue in the NYT…in the comments sections.
      “Letters” have a more elevated status. Hence the paper tends to stick more to it’s core.

      But I hope that no one is shocked by this selection process. If you are, read Haaretz to understand what is going on in the vast Israel-US relationship. You will get a more unbiased read.

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      August 18, 2016, 9:44 am

      I might believe you if you say you are a nyt editor.

  6. Krauss
    Krauss
    August 16, 2016, 7:24 am

    Guys, you need to work on your moderation. ASAP.

  7. JimMichie
    JimMichie
    August 16, 2016, 10:04 am

    “What does it take to get into the club”? First of all: you need to be a Zionist who unquestionably supports Zionist Israel’s brutal, ruthless, racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing fascist rule over the State of Palestine and its people (for the past 68 years, and counting); second, you must never criticize the so-called “policies” of Zionist Israel in persecuting its “neighbors”, the Palestinians; and, third, the New York Times must continue its charade of claiming it publishes “all the news that’s fit to print”, while shielding and defending indefensible Zionist Israel! So what else is new?

  8. rensanceman
    rensanceman
    August 16, 2016, 1:22 pm

    Last week the L.A. times published an article about the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza citibg various causes Including the role of Hamas in allegedly diverting funds from reconstruction to such endeavors as tunnel building. In reply, five letters were published in this morning’s edition by Jewish writers who naturally complimented the Times for their “balanced” coverage whereas the one critical of Israel appeared last. Another example of our Zionist controlled media maintaining a pro-Zionist narrative.

  9. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    August 17, 2016, 12:07 am

    What makes you think that the “ethnocentric ideas about Jewish intelligence and our natural place in the social order” reflected in the Times are “unconscious”? If that’s true, the Times’ Jews are different from just about any I’ve ever met in my seven decades!

    • CigarGod
      CigarGod
      August 18, 2016, 9:50 am

      I listen to NPR every day.
      I have learned that the only smart people in the world are Jews.
      I’m sure it’s true, all the experts they talk to are Jews.
      I love NPR.
      I like my ego stroked.
      I hope all those “I’s” don’t give anyone the wrong impression

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