Abraham Foxman, the director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted on May 28 that he was canceling his New York Times subscription because the paper had printed a “blood libel” on its front page.
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 Center, told the Jewish Journal that he too is canceling his subscription to the Times, saying that the front page is “libelous 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 research 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.”
This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.
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