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:
But kind of amazing & reinforces the whole reason I wrote that out of 7 ltrs chosen to be published all of them were jewish writers! (2/2)
— Rebecca Vilkomerson (@RVilkomerson) August 14, 2016
Here for the record are the other four members of the club:
1.RICHARD M. JOEL
The writer is president of Yeshiva University.
2. SHIMON MERCER-WOOD
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
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.