Daily Briefing: The New York Times’ Antisemitic Cartoon: Condemned by Many (Apr. 29, 2019)

A Despicable Cartoon in The Times:  Bret Stephens, NYT, Apr. 28, 2019 — As prejudices go, anti-Semitism can sometimes be hard to pin down, but on Thursday the opinion pages of The New York Times international edition provided a textbook illustration of it. Except that The Times wasn’t explaining anti-Semitism. It was purveying it.
The European Origins of the ‘New York Times’ Antisemitic Cartoon:  Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2019 — The antisemitic cartoon that ran in the New York TimesInternational Edition was not printed by accident. It comes in the context of historic antisemitism that is common across Western Europe and is part of more than a thousand years of anti-Jewish stereotypes and caricatures.
The Old York Times:  Shmuley Boteach, Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2019 — The city of York in England was the site of one of the grisliest mass murders of Jews in medieval times.
Journalism’s Longest War: The New York Times Versus Zionism and Israel:  Edward Alexander, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2019 —  It has long been a commonplace that The New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record,” which flaunts the motto “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” failed to report the two greatest mass crimes of the twentieth century: Nazi Germany’s destruction of European Jewry and the Soviet Union’s murder of millions of Ukrainians.

ON TOPIC LINKS:

The New York Times, Which Published The Congress Jew Tracker In 2015, Is Sorry For Distributing Antisemitic Cartoon:  Becket Adams, Washington Examiner, Apr. 29, 2019 — The same newspaper that published the Congress Jew tracker in 2015 is now apologizing for sharing an antisemitic political cartoon.
New York Times Says It Is ‘Deeply Sorry’ For Running Antisemitic Cartoon: Chris Isidore and Brian Stelter, CNN Business, Apr. 28, 2019 — After a barrage of criticism, the New York Times said Sunday it was deeply sorry about publishing an anti-Semitic cartoon depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a dog on a leash held by a blind President Donald Trump.
Israeli Cartoonist Mocks New York Times Antisemitic Cartoon:  Tamar Beeri, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 20, 2019 — Following the international publication of an antisemitic cartoon by the New York Times, Israeli cartoonist Shay Charka rebutted with a cartoon of his own.
Flood of Condemnations Of New York Times For Antisemitic Cartoon:  Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2019 — Condemnations of The New York Times increased over the weekend after the paper’s international edition published an antisemitic cartoon.
New York Times Apologizes Again For ‘Offensive’ Trump, Netanyahu Cartoon That ‘Included Antisemitic Tropes’:  Frank Miles, Fox News, Apr. 29, 2019 — The New York Times Opinion section issued a second apology Sunday over a cartoon of President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which was called offensive because of “antisemitic tropes.”

A DESPICABLE CARTOON IN THE TIMES
Bret Stephens
NYT, Apr. 28, 2019
 
As prejudices go, antisemitism can sometimes be hard to pin down, but on Thursday the opinion pages of The New York Times international edition provided a textbook illustration of it. Except that The Times wasn’t explaining antisemitism. It was purveying it.
 
It did so in the form of a cartoon, provided to the newspaper by a wire service and published directly above an unrelated column by Tom Friedman, in which a guide dog with a prideful countenance and the face of Benjamin Netanyahu leads a blind, fat Donald Trump wearing dark glasses and a black yarmulke. Lest there be any doubt as to the identity of the dog-man, it wears a collar from which hangs a Star of David.
 
Here was an image that, in another age, might have been published in the pages of Der Stürmer. The Jew in the form of a dog. The small but wily Jew leading the dumb and trusting American. The hated Trump being Judaized with a skullcap. The nominal servant acting as the true master. The cartoon checked so many anti-Semitic boxes that the only thing missing was a dollar sign.
 
The image also had an obvious political message: Namely, that in the current administration, the United States follows wherever Israel wants to go. This is false — consider Israel’s horrified reaction to Trump’s announcement last year that he intended to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria — but it’s beside the point. There are legitimate ways to criticize Trump’s approach to Israel, in pictures as well as words. But there was nothing legitimate about this cartoon.
 
So, what was it doing in The Times?
 
For some Times readers — or, as often, former readers — the answer is clear: The Times has a longstanding Jewish problem, dating back to World War II, when it mostly buried news about the Holocaust, and continuing into the present day in the form of intensely adversarial coverage of Israel. The criticism goes double when it comes to the editorial pages, whose overall approach toward the Jewish state tends to range, with some notable exceptions, from tut-tutting disappointment to thunderous condemnation.
 
For these readers, the cartoon would have come like the slip of the tongue that reveals the deeper institutional prejudice. What was long suspected is, at last, revealed.
 
The real story is a bit different, though not in ways that acquit The Times. The cartoon appeared in the print version of the international edition, which has a limited overseas circulation, a much smaller staff, and far less oversight than the regular edition. Incredibly, the cartoon itself was selected and seen by just one midlevel editor right before the paper went to press.
 
An initial editor’s note acknowledged that the cartoon “included antisemitic tropes,” “was offensive,” and that “it was an error of judgment to publish it.” On Sunday, The Times issued an additional statement saying it was “deeply sorry” for the cartoon and that “significant changes” would be made in terms of internal processes and training.
 
In other words, the paper’s position is that it is guilty of a serious screw-up but not a cardinal sin. Not quite.
 
The problem with the cartoon isn’t that its publication was a willful act of antisemitism. It wasn’t. The problem is that its publication was an astonishing act of ignorance of antisemitism — and that, at a publication that is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia.
 
Imagine, for instance, if the dog on a leash in the image hadn’t been the Israeli prime minister but instead a prominent woman such as Nancy Pelosi, a person of color such as John Lewis, or a Muslim such as Ilhan Omar. Would that have gone unnoticed by either the wire service that provides the Times with images or the editor who, even if he were working in haste, selected it?
 
The question answers itself. And it raises a follow-on: How have even the most blatant expressions of antisemitism become almost undetectable to editors who think its part of their job to stand up to bigotry?… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 
THE EUROPEAN ORIGINS OF THE  ‘NEW YORK TIMES’ ANTISEMITIC CARTOON
Seth J. Frantzman
Jerusalem Post, Apr. 29, 2019
 
The antisemitic cartoon that ran in the New York Times International Edition was not printed by accident. It comes in the context of historic antisemitism that is common across Western Europe and is part of more than a thousand years of anti-Jewish stereotypes and caricatures. The cartoon originally was drawn by a cartoonist who is known for his work at a Portuguese media outlet. Cartoons similar to this that have appeared in European newspapers have not led to the kind of controversy that the Times cartoon has.
 
In 2016, author Mario Vargas llosa wrote an article condemning Israel in Spain’s El Pais daily. The illustrative photo showed a man dressed in a black hat of the kind worn by religious Jews, wearing a blindfold, as if he was “blind” to the suffering of Palestinians. Anti-Jewish caricatures and tropes, conflating Israel with all Jews and using images of religious Jews whenever Israel is condemned, or Jewish symbols such as the Star of David, are too often the norm in European cartoons and illustrations. Unlike with the New York Times controversy where these images, caricatures, and tropes were at least questioned, they appear consistently across Europe and rarely lead to the kind of controversy that the Times cartoon has elicited.
 
For instance, the cartoonist behind the Times cartoon appears on a website called “Cartooning for Peace.” One of the other cartoons from 2006 depicted on the website shows a foot with an American flag for pants and a Star of David as spurs. The Star of David is dripping blood. Why is it dripping blood? Why is the US depicted wearing spurs of a Jewish symbol? Next to the Star of David is another leg with an Islamic crescent. The cartoon’s symbolism appears to imply: The Jews are the US weapon against Islam. Similarly, the current cartoon depicts a dog with a Jewish Star of David, leading the US blindly, with its president wearing a yarmulke. From the 1930s until today, very little has changed in aspects of antisemitic imagery – only that Israel is sometimes the stand-in for “the Jews,” with the same use of Jewish symbols or traditional clothing.
 
Today, antisemitic imagery across Europe sometimes tries to both tap into historic antisemitism while also seeking to depict Israel as a new “Nazi” country, projecting historic German Nazi crimes onto the Jews as the new “perpetrators.” In 2003, the UK’s Independent was accused of antisemitism for a cartoon showing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon eating children. In 2008, a cartoonist in Italy drew a caricature of Jewish politician Fiamma Nirenstien with a Star of David and “fascist symbols” that appeared in a left-wing publication. In 2012, an Austrian politician posted a photo of a banker with a hooked nose and Star of David “gorging himself at the expense of a thin man representing ‘the people.’”
 
 In 2013, Norway’s Dahbladet ran a cartoon depicting Jews torturing children, which was supposedly a critique of circumcision. In Sweden, the newspaper Aftonbladet ran a cartoon in 2014 showing two Orthodox Jews with a Star of David and the commentary “Hitler gassed the wrong Jews.” The paper removed the cartoon. In 2018, the German Suddeutsche Zeitung also pulled a cartoon after it showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, dressed as Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai, throwing bombs at a Eurovision audience, the Eurovision V symbol being replaced with a Star of David. In Belgium, a school teacher entered Iran’s “Holocaust cartoon contest” in 2016 drawing an image of a wall in Israel with the Nazi slogan “work makes you free (Arbeit Macht Frei)” on it.
 
Cnaan Liphshiz of JTA wrote that “Luc Descheemaeker was able to pass off antisemitic imagery as legitimate criticism of Israel in a way that I had thought impossible in an established Western democracy in the heart of Europe.” In 2016, the youth group of Switzerland’s Social Democratic Party ran a cartoon showing the Swiss economy minister “feeding” a large, Orthodox Jew who is labelled the “international finance lobby.” The group apologized.
 
In April 2018, Volkskrant in Holland ran an issue showing an Israeli soldier lining up people one by one to be gunned down, with a Star of David on the back of the soldier. The soldier had written “happy birthday to me” in bullets, apparently a reference to Israel’s Independence Day. This January, a Green Party leader in the UK tweeted a cartoon showing the Grim Reaper wearing an American gown and holding a Star of David for a scythe, going door to door to murder people in Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, and Venezuela.
 
This isn’t a “trope” – it is a historic form of antisemitism where European antisemitism blames Jews for all of the world’s problems. They single out one of the smallest minorities in the world and always blame them. When they can’t blame the Jews, they use Jewish symbols to imply the US is controlled by Jews.
 
THE OLD YORK TIMES
Shmuley Boteach
Algemeiner, Apr. 29, 2019
 
The city of York in England was the site of one of the grisliest mass murders of Jews in medieval times. Antisemitism was being stoked throughout Europe in the 12th century due in large part to the Crusades. Then, on March 16, 1190, the entire Jewish community of York was massacred in a tower where they had attempted to escape. William of Newburgh depicted the annihilation and those who carried it out as indulging in slaughter “without any scruple of Christian conscientiousness.”
 
It was hoped that New York, a new city in the new world, though named after the old one, would be a city of great refuge for the Jews and indeed it would go on to become the city with the largest Jewish population in history. But the city’s leading publication, and the newspaper of record, seems to have decided that it’s time to claw back to the spirit of Old York.
 
On Friday, The New York Times‘international edition published a disgusting antisemitic cartoon of a blind President Donald Trump wearing a yarmulke, being walked by a dog with the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a Star of David collar. Here was the near-perfect constellation of Jew-hatred: The giant nose and menacing facial features superimposed on Netanyahu who was himself superimposed on a dog. The hated Trump suddenly Jewified. The Jew, wearing his Magen David as a dog collar, almost like a yellow armband, manipulating the blind, gullible world leader as he slowly tries to take over the world (did someone say “Protocols”?) All that was missing was a bar of gold in the dog’s mouth and the trope would have been complete.
 
Two days later, a murderer attacked the Chabad synagogue in California and killed a precious woman who came to say mourning prayers for her recently deceased mother, blew the fingers off the rabbi, injured a heroic visiting Israeli, and inflicted shrapnel wounds on an eight-year-old girl.
 
The Times cartoon was published in its international edition, so I would not attribute the murderous actions of the Chabad killer to the paper’s visual attack on the Jews. What this despicable example of antisemitism in the “Paper of Record” did do, however, is continue the process of normalizing antisemitism and bringing us closer to Old York.
 
The cartoon would have fit nicely in 1930’s Germany in, say, Der Sturmer. How could it have made its way into The New York Times? Well, the publication of repeated attacks against Israel by columnists such as Roger Cohen, Thomas Friedman, Nicholas Kristof, and the latest addition to the stable of anti-Israel commentators, Michelle Goldberg, has made an attitude of hostility to the Jewish people and their homeland commonplace. The fact that so many of Israel’s detractors are Jews reflects an apparent determination to seek out the minority of writers with these views. It follows the old journalism adage that dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog is. Jews who love Israel aren’t news, those who disparage it are news because they are so rare.
 
You would have thought that the Times would feel an obligation to atone for its failures to give the persecution and murder of the Jews during the Holocaust the attention it deserved. The Jewish-owned paper, however, has always seemed determined to bend over backwards to demonstrate it will show no favoritism toward the Jewish people or their homeland… [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]

 
JOURNALISM’S LONGEST WAR: THE NEW YORK TIMES VERSUS ZIONISM AND ISRAEL
Edward Alexander
Arutz Sheva, Mar. 17, 2019
 
It has long been a commonplace that The New York Times, America’s “newspaper of record,” which flaunts the motto “All the News that’s Fit to Print,” failed to report the two greatest mass crimes of the twentieth century: Nazi Germany’s destruction of European Jewry and the Soviet Union’s murder of millions of Ukrainians. As Jerold Auerbach, professor emeritus of history at Wellesley College, tells the story of the Times from its late 19th century beginnings under the guidance of publisher Adolph S. Ochs of Tennessee up to the present day — a prodigious work of historical scholarship and critical analysis — the Times’ two abiding principles (almost dogmas) during this “Biblical” tenure of 120 years have been Reform Judaism and American patriotism.
Both Ochs’ religious commitment and his unswerving America First loyalty were dogmatic and excluded sympathy with the Zionist movement. The two opposed forces came to prominence simultaneously: Theodor Herzl published The Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Problem in 1897, just six months before Ochs purchased the Times, then in desperate financial straits.
 
He aimed to make it not only a financial success but “a model American newspaper for fairness, cleanliness, independence, and enterprise.” Ochs was also determined to keep the Times from either appearing as or being a Jewish newspaper; and to this end, he took such measures, whenever possible, as hiding writers’ Jewish names behind initials. Writers named Abraham had bylines only with the initial “A.” Not until 1976 would the Times have a Jewish editorial page editor, Max Frankel, who later confessed that he was “much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert.”
 
Ochs’ commitment to Reform Judaism, it should be noted, went very deep, and it entailed unrelenting opposition to Zionism or even to the notion of a Jewish people that transcended national boundaries. A Jew with American citizenship was in his view an American not only “first” but entirely and exclusively. He would provocatively ask American Zionists whether they would fight for America or for (a conjectural) Jewish state should the two countries go to war. He was a devout America Firster.
 
Rarely did Ochs and his newspaper come to the defense even of persecuted American Jews, and when they did, they came to regret it. Lawyer Louis Marshall persuaded Ochs to rally the Times in defense of Leo Frank, framed in 1913 for the rape and murder of teenager Mary Phagan. But when a Georgia paper accused the Times of “Jewish propaganda,” Ochs vowed never again to support a public cause, “certainly not one involving Jews.”
 
Auerbach shows how the Ochs-Sulzberger New York Times and the Reform Movement — led by anti-Zionist zealots like Judah Magnes and groups like the American Council for Judaism — formed a kind of interlocking directorate that turned a cold shoulder to Jews coming under Nazi rule. He demonstrates how the Times’ emphasis on “universalism” extended to concealment of Hitler’s destruction of European Jewry, by now the subject of Deborah Lipstadt’s Beyond Belief (1986) and Laurel Leff’s Buried By the Times (2005). Nor were the Nazis the sole beneficiaries of the Times‘universalism. The paper’s Moscow bureau chief Walter Duranty depicted Soviet Odessa as a place “far more conducive to Russian Jewry than … Palestine itself.” (Duranty’s rank dishonesty is now better known for his apologetics on behalf of Stalin and the dictator’s decimation of the Ukrainians.)
 
Jews desperately needing rescue from Europe and escape to the United States or Palestine found no support from the Times. Reform Jews were largely content with an American president who would not even allow the pre-Hitler quotas for Jewish immigrants to be filled. The intensity of Reform Judaism’s Ochs-Sulzberger rejection of Jewish peoplehood makes it in Auerbach’s view the key not only to the Times’ past suppression of the truth about the destruction of European Jewry but also to its enduring anti-Zionist editorial advocacy and its unrelenting “Blame Israel First” principle of interpreting Israel’s constant burden of peril.
 
“Blame Israel First: 2002-2006” is a title chapter, one of a dozen built upon the scaffolding set up for the years from 1896 through 1948, when Israel was created, and used to encapsulate particular themes. Among them are: “Conquest and Occupation: 1960-79”; “Arabs and Jews: 1979-84”; “Moral Equivalence: 1984-1988” (devoted entirely to Thomas Friedman); “Occupation Cruelty: 1988-89”; “Illusions of Peace: 1990-1996”; “Realities of Conflict: 1996-2001.” … [To read the full article, click the following LINK – Ed.]