Former ADL head says he’s cancelling NYT subscription over front-page ‘blood libel’

May 31, 2021 by  
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Abraham Foxman, the director emeritus of the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League, tweeted on May 28 that he was cancelling his New York Times subscription because the paper had printed a “blood libel” on its front page.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sings “Happy Birthday” to Abraham Foxman, the longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League, at the ADL’s Centennial Gala in April 2013 in Washington, D.C. Photo by David Karp.

The May 28 print edition of the Times featured photos of children who were killed in the recent Israel-Hamas fighting, in the Gaza Strip and Israel. The headline read: “They Were Just Children.” The story itself, which was published online on May 26, highlights the at least 67 dead Gazan children and the two Israeli children who died in the fighting. “Israel blames Hamas for the high civilian death toll in Gaza because the group fires rockets and conducts military operations from civilian areas,” the article stated. “Israel’s critics cite the death toll as evidence that Israel’s strikes were indiscriminate and disproportionate.”

It also notes that a couple of the Gaza children “may have been killed when Palestinian militants fired a rocket at Israel that fell short.”

“I am cancelling my subscription to NYTimes,” Foxman tweeted. “I grew up in America on the NYT—I delivered the NYT to my classmates—I learned civics—democracy and all the news ‘fit to print’ for 65 years but no more. Today’s blood libel of Israel and the Jewish people on the front page is enough.”

“Me too,” replied Newsweek Deputy Opinion Editor Batya Ungar-Sargon.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Centre told the Jewish Journal that he too is cancelling his subscription to the Times, saying that the front page is “libellous against the Jewish state and that they [the Times] do it amidst a tsunami of antisemitic attacks by pro-Hamas forces across the United States … it’s beyond the pale.” He added that the Times has gone from “being the paper of record for the United States of America—the world’s greatest democracy—to becoming the newspaper of record for Hamas.”

Others defended the Times, with Rabbi Jill Jacobs saying, “Blood libel is about the accusation that Jews kill Christian children for ritual purposes, not about how a sovereign state acts in war.”

Jacobs, the executive director of Tr’uah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, went on to state that “It is not antisemitic to show pictures of Palestinian—and Israeli btw—children killed in the war, both by Israel & by Hamas.”

Palestinian writer Yousef Munayyer called Foxman’s tweet “a good example of how antisemitism smears are used to silence dissent and police the discourse around Palestine” and added in a subsequent tweet, “For years Palestinians have been reduced to nameless, faceless statistics in the reporting about their killings at the hands of the Israeli military. If the minute they are humanized, even in the simplest way, you start screaming antisemitism then something is wrong with you.”

The Times did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

The Times was criticized for other coverage of the recent Israel-Hamas conflict earlier this week. Ben Shapiro tweeted that for the main image of an op-ed by a Palestinian writer, the Times used a map of Israel that is “so bad that MSNBC, which used the image in 2015, had to retract it and admit it was factually incorrect.” New York Times Deputy Opinion Editor Patrick Healy said in a statement that the map had been intended merely to “illustrate [the author’s] arguments.”

Gilead Ini, senior researcher for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis, accused the Times in an op-ed of burying “readers in an avalanche of anti-Israel Guest Essays.”

Report By Aaron Bandler(Jewish Journal via JNS)

This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.

Comments

2 Responses to “Former ADL head says he’s cancelling NYT subscription over front-page ‘blood libel’”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    It was a lazy act of journalism to publish that New York Times piece in an Australian newspaper, inferring it carries weight because of where it’s from.

  2. Liat Kirby says:

    It’s a shocking situation vis-a-vis The New York Times, especially as it’s automatically considered by so many as a prestigious, qualitative newspaper. Not long ago, Bari Weiss, a previous Editor, left the paper due to the bias presiding over editorial decisions re Israel.

    In this day of ‘easy reporting’, media just borrowing from one another, making a pastiche of material collated from anywhere and calling it news, or even background to an issue, there are few newspapers or journals one can admire.

    It is only today that I wrote to the Editor for The New Daily, an Australian digital newspaper, complaining not only of their own journalist Samantha Dick’s supposed background information piece to the current Gaza-Israel conflict (published 18/05/21), which was factually incorrect, showed scant regard to history and misrepresented the issue by what was left out, but also of an article published from The New York Times (24/05). This piece was co-written by journalists David M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon. The caption, ‘Life Under Occupation: the misery at the heart of the conflict’, prepares you straightaway for the melodramatic, sensationalist and dishonest writing to follow.

    I pointed out how it was this kind of media reportage that fuelled the huge increase in antisemitic acts occurring around the world, including Australia. I spoke of the responsibility of the media to allow the public to engage with an Israeli perspective, not stick with Palestinian stories of heartbreak and loss. And for that perspective, speak to pro-Israel Jews, who are proud of their heritage and the ethics Jews have adhered to for 3,000 years, Jews who embrace Zionism rather than be cowered by those who have turned it into a dirty word. So many journalists turn to de facto Jews or self-hating Jews, who speak to the angle the media want, then go away feeling vindicated, pretending they’ve attempted balance.

    It’s a dangerous situation. And we must fight it.

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