DANIEL VAUGHAN: The NYT pushes the same anti-Semitism as Ilhan Omar

April 29, 2019

Last Saturday marked the end of Passover, and tragically, a synagogue in San Diego, CA was attacked that day by a white supremacist. His intent was to murder Jews during one of the holiest times on their calendar.

It’s another reminder that crimes that explicitly target Jews are not “rising,” as some media outlets claim, but rather, are reverting to historical norms. And we have to ask ourselves: Why is this reversion happening, and how can we prevent it?

Part of the answer sits with media treatment of Jews — if journalists are busy trying to dehumanize or demonize Jews in various ways, it opens mainstream culture up to virulent anti-Semitism. The New York Times sits squarely in this category after they ran a blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon of Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

They then issued a non-apology statement, and later, issued a second, more contrite statement admitting that they were wrong and blaming a single editor.

According to Fox News, the cartoon “showed Trump, wearing a pair of sunglasses, being led by a dog, depicted as Netanyahu. The dog had a Star of David collar.” As Kay Wilson noted, the NYT cartoon matched a number of Nazi propaganda posters from WWII wherein the Germans showed Winston Churchill and others being led around by Jews. In one, Churchill is directed around the world by a Jewish caricature; in another, Churchill is selling Britain away in a Jewish pawn shop.

In other words, the Times is peddling in the very worst of anti-Semitism. It’s the sort of thing you would find on any modern white nationalist website or shared happily by people like David Duke.

It’s the kind of sentiment that the Times claims to condemn in events like Charlottesville. But as Bret Stephens, one of the few of conservative voices at the Times, says, this is just par for the course for the paper:

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.

The cartoon in question was not printed in a vacuum. It’s not the first time the New York Times has pushed this level of “the Jews are bad” propaganda. And it’s even more troubling when you consider that they have one of the largest platforms in the world — this isn’t a third rate white nationalist backwater website; the New York Times is one of the most prominent newspapers in America, perhaps even the top.

This is the same newspaper that falsely accused Sarah Palin of inciting violence against Democratic politicians for sharing a map with “targets” on it. For a publication that, as Stephens notes, “is otherwise hyper-alert to nearly every conceivable expression of prejudice, from mansplaining to racial microaggressions to transphobia,” to peddle in open anti-Semitic propaganda speaks volumes about their feelings toward Jews and Israel.

The Times loves to aim their fire at Donald Trump for anything he says, and they will scold Republicans for not standing up to Trump when he says something impolite or wrong. But when it’s time to call out the anti-Semites in the Democratic Party, the Times doesn’t just shrink from the challenge; they go the other way, actually praising the anti-Semites.

Indeed, Michelle Cottle, one of the editors of the NYT editorial board, penned a piece that heaped praise on the anti-Semites in the Democratic Party like Ilhan Omar. Cottle brushed off the anti-Semitic statements and instead praised Omar, Tlaib, and Ocasio-Cortez, writing, “Let’s hear it for the freshmen Furies in all their abrasive, ambitious, in-your-face glory.”

Cottle goes on to call anyone questioning this group a skeptic: “Fans find the newbies’ unconventional style refreshing. Skeptics find them reckless and fret that they will pull the party in an unpalatable direction, ideologically, stylistically or both.”

Put another way, this is a Times editorial board member looking at openly anti-Semitic politicians in the Democratic Party and saying, “These are very fine people.” But how much thunder and lightning would the Times call down if the same cartoons or anti-Semitic tropes were used by anyone in the Republican Party?

The Times and its liberal readership see racism, aggressions (micro or not), and prejudice around every corner when they write about their opponents. But apparently, they don’t have one editor capable of noticing an editorial cartoon that fits better in Nazi Germany or ISIS or Hamas propaganda.

When you add to that the fact that they ran this cartoon during Passover, a much more clear picture begins to form: The Times holds the same beliefs as Ilhan Omar.

Very fine people indeed.


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Daniel Vaughan

Daniel Vaughan is a columnist for the Conservative Institute and lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. He has degrees from Middle Tennessee State University and Regent University School of Law. His work can be found on the Conservative Institute's website, or you can receive his columns and free weekly newsletter at The Beltway Outsiders. Connect with him on Twitter at @dvaughanCI.