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Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss can’t wait to call you an anti-Semite in ‘The New York Times’

Media Analysis
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One year ago, the New York Times opinion page hired two feverish Israel advocates, Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss, as columnist and opinion editor/writer respectively, in a shock to the left. Now the two are proving their value– they are smearing critics of Israel as anti-Semites.

This is an important duty for Israel supporters because of the looming battle inside the Democratic Party over Israel, the same battle that has begun in earnest in Britain and France.

Last Wednesday in a book review, Bret Stephens slagged Israel critics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as bigots. In a throwaway line, Stephens wrote that Mearsheimer’s “2001 magnum opus, ‘The Tragedy of Great Power Politics,’ was later overshadowed by his tendentious and bigoted screed, ‘The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,’ written with Stephen M. Walt.”

So– two realist scholars at the University of Chicago and Harvard who argued that support for Israel is not in our national interest, and that neoconservatives had pushed the Iraq war for the sake of Israel’s security — they are bigots. And the Times offered no comment section on the piece for readers to question this clinker of viciousness from Stephens, a writer who has diagnosed the “disease of the Arab mind.”

A day later, Bari Weiss wrote that the far left in France is as threatening to Jews as the far right. Addressing the murder of an 85-year-old Jewish woman in Paris, she said that in France’s political culture, “Jews are reviled on the far right and, increasingly, on the far left.” 

What is Weiss’s evidence that the left is as anti-semitic as the nationalist right? An article in the Jewish Week saying French socialist leader Jean-Luc Melenchon is an anti-Semite because he: supports boycott of Israel, regards West Bank settlements as theft, condemned Israeli “war crimes” in the last Gaza massacre, and has attacked the French Israel lobby for rallying French citizens to serve a foreign flag.

Weiss– who got her career rolling by attacking any candidate for tenure at Columbia who supported Palestinian rights– says leftists are giving a pass to anti-Semitism: “attacks on Jews have been explained away as politically motivated by events in the Middle East.”

These were just two throwaway lines, tangential to the thrust of the articles. But Weiss and Stephens can’t help themselves, they’re raring to go.

Theirs is an important job because it is simply a matter of time before the battle that is roiling Britain over Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn harboring anti-Israel voices is going to come here: The progressive base of the Democratic Party in the U.S. is going to demand stances against Israel from Democratic candidates. The glimmerings of this battle were evident at the AIPAC policy conference earlier this month, when one politician or influencer after another rose to assure the crowd that support for Israel must remain bipartisan; that Democrats will never abandon Israel. In turn, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer identified the defection of young progressives as an existential threat to Israel. He laid down the law, saying that the boycott movement is anti-Semitic. (But the young are not listening: even the Harvard Hillel is having an anti-occupation seder, with IfNotNow.)

Bari Weiss and Bret Stephens will be instrumental in this battle: they will derogate Israel’s critics as anti-Semites. And Jennifer Rubin will do the same thing at the Washington Post.

These writers are anti-Trump, making them “good” conservatives for liberals. Notice what a red carpet that liberal Democrats unroll for them. Mel Levine and MSNBC toast Rubin. Bill Maher fetes Weiss. Brian Lehrer of WNYC hosts Stephens (who explains that Pompeo and Bolton are a great foreign policy team, and Lehrer barely demurs). BTW, Stephens likens Trump to Mussolini even as he finds democracy alive and well in Israel.

It is tragic that the highest journalistic platform in the country has been turned into a pro-Israel inktank. But plainly that is the role that the New York Times editors understand that its opinion page must play; and no wonder, for it is a vital political function for Israel in the U.S.

Thanks to Donald Johnson.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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9 Responses

  1. ErikEast on April 2, 2018, 2:21 pm

    Over here in the U.K. the once great, The Guardian has jumped fully aboard the ridiculous vilification of Jeremy Corbyn, and Labour’s alleged endemic problem with antisemitism. What is noticeable from its coverage is that it avoids any mention of the various studies from the last year-or-two that conclude antisemitism being far more prevalent amongst those with right-wing views. Then there is The Guardian refusing to interview the pro-Corbyn, Jewish Voice for Labour, who no doubt are ignored as they would ruin the narrative.
    Pretty depressing stuff.

  2. Bumblebye on April 2, 2018, 4:42 pm

    Over here (UK) just heard LAW (Labour Against the Witchhunt) are being given space on bbcR4 late news – 10pm – to argue the real reasons behind the hunt for left -antisemitism. If any others wish to tune in!

  3. Ossinev on April 2, 2018, 5:25 pm

    “pretty depressing stuff”. Agree 100%. This crap about alleged “Anti – Semitism in the Labour Party ” has been relentlessly spewed out by ALL of the newspapers here in the UK over the last three weeks and the fact that this is dominating the news agenda and has de facto been trivialising news and news developments which are factual and very important eg Russian Nerve Agent attacks, Brexit,funding crises in our NHS and schools. And guess what the “letters sections ” are totally one sided and guess what the current atrocities being visited on the Palestinians by the most moral are being given little coverage, are buried away in the depths of the newspapers and guess what they vomit out the standard Hamas/human Shield Zio fed Hasbara.

    I have pro tem simply given up buying and reading any UK newspapers and if I do pick them up as freebies in any given situation I use them only for doing the crosswords.

    I hope it is the case that many people in the UK who are ignorant about the level of Zionist control in the UK MSM will increasingly begin to think that something is ” rotten in the state” and this will contribute to this whole Zio Conflation ruse backfiring.

    I consider myself to be a traditional Labour Party supporter/voter. I have concerns over significant elements in Jeremy Corbyn`s policies and find his leadership in many respects to be somewhat naive and clumsy. I am however truly appalled by the vile,vicious and totally undeserved attacks which he and some other Labour MP`s and party officials have been subjected to.
    I am particularly appalled by those “centrist” Labour MP`s who in pursuit of their own ambitions or out of frustration at being sidelined by Corbyn as a result of the party elections have jumped on this “alleged Anti- Semitism” bandwagon. They are the ones who are betraying the Labour Party`s core values and they are the ones who deserve to be disciplined and expelled.

    I would encourage anyone in the UK who is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and is critical of Israel because of its ongoing breaches of human rights and International laws to write to their local MP (Labour or otherwise) and ask for confirmation that he / she categorically accepts that criticism of Israel is NOT “Anti – Semitism “. Put them on the spot.

  4. on April 2, 2018, 5:53 pm

    At some point it will come to a head – the progressives and Dems will have to figure out what to do about Zionist crimes against humanity or part ways.

    I look forward to watching this unfold – the Women’s movement, LGTB movement, BLM, Quakers, Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Mennonite Central Committee, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, the Alliance of Baptists, the Unitarian Universalist Association and many many more collectives have openly proclaimed their support for Palestinian rights. There’s a ground swell i could never have imagined just a few short years ago – the trend is positive and i hope to see large US trade unions joining the BDS movement in the near future – . With a growing critical mass it will be political suicide not to seriously consider and placate those demanding equal rights for all including the Palestinians.

    What can Weiss and Stephens do to turn things around? They have been discredited in a number of articles as hasbara agents of Israel. They, along with Bill Maher and the rest of the MSM stooges, are no longer taken seriously by anyone who is not a Zionist. In some circles just mentioning their names gets you a chuckle or rolling of the eyes. The Zionist Israeli’s have already publicly proclaimed apartheid as the solution – they will do more and more of this – Weiss and Stephens can then explain to the American public why racism is a good thing.

    Thanks Phil

  5. JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 2:09 am

    RE: “It is tragic that the highest journalistic platform in the country has been turned into a pro-Israel inktank.” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: Now, Phil! That’s not nice. It’s mighty damn clever, but it’s just not nice!
    And, Mammy concurs:
    ■ IMAGE
    Now, wash your mouth out with soap!

    • Mooser on April 3, 2018, 1:45 pm

      ” It’s mighty damn clever,”

      And I think it’s all his. I Googled it yesterday as soon as I saw it. (Well, except for “Blue Star Media”)

  6. James Canning on April 3, 2018, 1:20 pm

    Some of those who offer sharp criticism of Israel, actually are acting in Israel’s own best interests.

    • echinococcus on April 3, 2018, 1:54 pm

      Some of those who offer sharp criticism of Israel, actually are acting in Israel’s own best interests.

      Correct. These are the most dangerous Zionists because they see clearly where the interest of Zionism lies and they should be targeted first.
      Luckily, the knuckle-dragging cavemen are commanding worldwide Zionism and they manage to sabotage their own interests better than the resistance can.
      Keep the current stupid administration. Don’t help the “more civilized” bastards!

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