Anti-Semitism Showcased by New York Times Is Part of a Bigger Problem

April 30, 2019 Updated: May 2, 2019

Commentary

The New York Times is not an exception—radical anti-Semitism has become mainstream on the left.

The newspaper has deservedly come under fire in recent days for publishing two anti-Semitic drawings—and for initially failing to apologize for what the editors called “an error of judgment.”

Last week, The New York Times published a cartoon in the opinion section of its international edition that it described as “depicting the prime minister of Israel [Benjamin Netanyahu] as a guide dog with a Star of David collar leading the president of the United States [Donald Trump], shown wearing a skullcap.”

The publication retracted the cartoon on April 27, acknowledging that “the image was offensive” and that “it was an error of judgment to publish it,” but didn’t issue a formal statement of apology until April 28.

On the same day as the retraction, however, NY Times published yet another anti-Semitic cartoon showing what appears to be a blind Netanyahu taking a selfie while holding up a tablet with the Star of David.

As a result, NY Times finally announced that it has decided “to suspend the future publication of syndicated cartoons” in its international edition.

The cartoons inspired justified outrage from across the political spectrum. Everyone from Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt to Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, condemned the NY Times for running the blatantly anti-Semitic cartoons.

The national conversation about anti-Semitism, however, should extend well beyond this specific controversy, which is only the tip of the iceberg. Our country is witnessing a resurgence of anti-Semitism on the political left, and we need to call it out by name wherever we see it.

Every single American should be outraged when one of our elected representatives in Congress suggests that Jews are buying off lawmakers by bribing them to support Israel.

Every single American should be disgusted when a presidential candidate such as Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) diminishes the slaughter of millions of Jews during World War II by comparing the Green New Deal to the fight against Nazi Germany.

Every single American should be appalled when a political party passes a milquetoast anti-hate resolution that doesn’t even mention the hate-fueled remarks that inspired it.

Words matter.

There are many people on the left who try to draw a fine line between Israel-hatred and Jew-hatred (see Omar, Farrakhan). This distinction is completely false. It’s inexcusable Jew-hatred and must be identified as such.

The left far too often gives anti-Semitism a pass if it’s disguised as criticism of Israel.

The anti-Semitic cartoons published by the newspaper are only a symptom of the anti-Semitic disease that has infected the left in the United States. The reaction to the cartoons was swift and impassioned, as it should have been. The reaction of the NY Times, as could have been predicted, was muted and half-measured.

Condemnation of The New York Times is appropriate and necessary, but a far more robust response is necessary if we are to stop the spread of anti-Semitism in this country.

If we’re serious about eradicating anti-Semitism in our society, we need to extend our criticism to those who tolerate and enable it—and the liberal establishment is a perfect place to start.

Jason D. Meister is an advisory board member for the 2020 Trump campaign.

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