Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The Times. New York, that is.
As Roger Simon says, it isn’t just about the Jews and Israel, it’s everything. And it isn’t a new departure, but part of a long-standing pattern. The dreadful newspaper did not support the rescue of Jewish refugees from the Third Reich. Its owners, the Sulzbergers, were German Jewish immigrants who were contemptuous of East German Jews (Poland, especially), and editorially asked FDR to block entry to the East Europeans, most famously those on board the St Louis, which incredibly was sent back to the Nazis.
Moreover, the Times consistently underplayed the dimensions of the Holocaust, one of the reasons American military officers, including Eisenhower himself, were so horrified by what they saw when they entered the liberated concentration camps. Ike sent a message to Congressional leaders urging them to visit, because it was impossible to imagine the horror. Even General Patton was overcome by nausea when he first entered.
The Times has repeatedly called for “understanding” our enemies, especially totalitarians. The newspaper’s Moscow reporter, Walter Duranty, denied the forced starvation of the Ukrainian people in the early 1930s (for which he outrageously was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, still displayed at NYT headquarters), and similarly called on President Reagan to tone down his attacks on the Soviet Gulag Archipelago. They warned Reagan not to push the Soviets’ back against the wall, lest Brezhnev or Gorbachev get angry. Omri Ceren put it nicely in a tweet:
NYT spent decades defending antisemitic smears & BDS as legit criticism of Israel. They pushed Obama admin’s agenda via Jew trackers & stories exploiting oppressed Iran Jews. They wove Jews into Russiagate conspiracism. You can’t do that without having effect on newsroom culture.
The latest anti-Semitic cartoons are just the most recent, not something brand new. The Times has always oppose American leaders who see “peace” as something abstractly desirable, instead of understanding that peace is imposed on the loser of a battle or war. Hence the Times did not want the United States to defeat the Soviet Empire in the Cold War, and certainly did not want the fall of Gorbachev along with Reagan’s historic victory. As Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer elegantly proclaimed, the Times was similarly hostile towards Israel in general and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular, because they fought back against their enemies and sought to bring about a real peace in the Middle East. The breathtaking realignment of Israel’s relations with the Arab world might seem worthy of praise, but no. Instead, the Times is “a cesspool of hostility towards Israel.”
Many are surprised, but they should not be. The liberal Jews who own, edit, and in large part write the newspaper, only embraced Zionism when Israel was governed by socialists, even if they came from Eastern Europe. That changed when Menachem Begin became prime minister, and the political center of gravity moved to the right, where it firmly rests today.
Ambassador Dermer well understands the dynamic, because he knows the history of the newspaper and its top dogs.
The same New York Times that a century ago mostly hid from their readers the Holocaust of the Jewish people has today made its pages a safe-space for those who hate the Jewish state,” Dermer said. “Through biased coverage, slanderous columns and antisemitic cartoons, its editors shamefully choose week after week to cast the Jewish state as a force for evil.
Listen to Roger. It isn’t just about Jews and Israel. It’s the whole thing.