Sunday, April 28, 2019

  • Sunday, April 28, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
The International Edition of the New York Times published this editorial cartoon on Thursday:


Bibi Netanyahu, with a large Star of David around his neck, is a seeing eye dog leading a blind Donald Trump.

This image trades in the classic antisemitic tropes of the Jew as a dog, of Jews secretly controlling the US, as this Serbian antisemitic poster from the 1940s shows a Jew acting as a puppet master over both Churchill and Stalin.


Or this Arab cartoon during the 2008 presidential campaign.


If the cartoon was only that, the New York Times could excuse it as just a giant dog whistle that was meant only to criticize Israel and Trump, that was published by an "error in judgment." Which is exactly what it did:


But how can anyone explain the yarmulke on Trump's head?

No matter how much one wants to stretch one's imagination, it is impossible to look at this cartoon and not see the blatantly antisemitic message. Not a "trope," not a "dog-whistle" to antisemites - a cartoon that would have fit perfectly, unaltered, in Der Sturmer. Trump isn't merely a puppet - he is a Jew himself, making him even more odious.

Saying that this is Nazi-level antisemitism is not hyperbole. The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer said that "the image of the blind man Trump being led by the Jewish dog Netanyahu is such a powerfully accurate portrayal of their relationship."

The editorial pages of any major newspaper has multiple editors that stories and cartoons have to pass by. Seth Frantzman of the Jerusalem Post says that there are four such checkpoints in his newspaper. I know from speaking to people who have worked at the NYT that the gauntlet that pro-Israel op-ed writers have to go through to get published is crazy, much more than anti-Israel op-ed writers have to go through.

Lahav Harkov, of the Jerusalem Post, reports "Source tells me NY Times office in NY was genuinely surprised and disturbed by the cartoon. Someone in the International NY Times office in France should answer for this." I believe this; the US edition of the NYT is and has been rabidly anti-Israel and anti-Zionist for a century but it doesn't often cross the line this egregiously. And, as Mark Horowitz notes, the international edition of the NYT has a much more anti-Israel vibe than even the US edition in an front page example earlier this month:



The conclusion? European antisemitism has been so mainstreamed, under the umbrella of "anti-Zionism," that the average NYT International Edition editor in Paris sees nothing at all  wrong with a cartoon that treats Jews exactly the way Nazi propaganda did.

The New York Times' reaction is nearly as bad as the cartoon itself. It never said it apologizes, it doesn't say "sorry," it merely makes it sound like an honest mistake. There is no soul-searching, no promises to overhaul the editorial cartoon approval process, no investigative articles in its own newspaper as of yet about how it could have made such a "mistake." It minimizes the offensiveness of the cartoon by merely saying it engages in antisemitic "tropes," when in fact is is pure Jew-hatred.

Their mishandling of this explicit Jew-hatred in its pages means we can expect more such "oversights."

It is also notable that the usual anti-Zionist crowd was almost gleeful to be able to condemn the shooting at the Chabad synagogue near San Diego yesterday, in order to prove how much they are against anti-semitism and implying that the shooting proves that the only antisemitism is from white nationalists, not from their liberal friends. Not one of them - Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow, J-Street - that condemned the shootings said a negative word about the New York Times.

Which proves once again that they aren't against antisemitism at all unless it conforms with their fiction that the only Jew-hatred is from the Right. That is not exactly a brave position to take.

This is a pivotal moment, and the reactions so far to this cartoon indicate that the US is well on its way to become as blind to certain types of antisemitism as Europe has been for years.


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