Anyone who wonders how a once-prestigious newspaper like the New York Times can get so many things wrong in its news coverage and analysis need only look to its editorial page.
According to the newspaper, editorial columns “represent the voice of the board, its editor and the publisher,” and are totally separate from the newsroom. In reality, however, it is the voice of the editorial board and publisher that sets the tone for the Times’ news coverage. And when the editorialists freely use misinformation and distortions to bolster their arguments, the news pages do the same.
Such is the case with the anti-Semitic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against Israel. A Dec. 19th editorial suggests that organizing and promoting anti-Israel boycotts is a legitimate right while opposing American participation in such boycotts is condemnable. The editorial decries proposed legislation against such boycotts, claiming that it’s meant “to silence” the Palestinian “side of the debate,” while lamenting that such legislation would “cripple” the BDS campaign and “deprive” the Palestinians of a non-violent outlet to attack Israel.
They disingenuously attempt to distinguish between the Arab League’s boycott of Israel, which they say was economic coercion, and current BDS attempts to boycott Israeli businesses, academia, cultural and artistic events, which they falsely suggest is simply “exercising free speech rights.”
To bolster their case, the editorialists distort both the BDS campaign and the anti-boycott bill. They claim the legislation “would impose civil and criminal penalties on American companies and organizations that participate in boycotts supporting Palestinian rights and opposing Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.”
But this characterization of BDS is meant to deceive readers. In fact, proponents of the BDS campaign have themselves made it clear that by Palestinian “rights” they mean the elimination of the Jewish state, the denial of Jews their right to self-determination in the region. Here is what BDS organizers have to say:
“A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population…most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian — rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian—will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”(Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)
“..That [the real aim of BDS is to bring down the Jewish state] should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.” (A’sad AbuKhalil,Stanislaus State College political science professor and BDS proponent)
“…civil society says Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.…” (Hind Awwad, national coordinator of the Palestinian BDS national committee)
“…we wish to report and confirm that our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself…”(Paul Larudee, International Solidarity Movement, Free Palestine, and BDS activist)
“So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential… Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.” (Ahmed Moor, political commentator and BDS activist)
Indeed, other world leaders have condemned the BDS campaign against the Jewish state as an anti-Semitic one, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union(CDU) party, France’s Supreme Court, and the UK’s Minister of Justice.
The German CDU party passed an anti-BDS resolution comparing it to the Nazi boycott of Jews in 1930’s Germany, noting that, “Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews. That is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism.”
In France, BDS is considered a hate crime; The French Supreme court upheld the anti-BDS Lellouche law to rule promoters of BDS guilty of anti-Jewish hate and discrimination and as a result of this law, a major French bank shut down the account of a BDS group.
And the UK Secretary of Justice Michael Gove has slammed the BDS campaign as “indulging prejudice” and a new manifestation of an old anti-Jewish hatred.
The New York Times, however, tries to convince readers that legislation opposing the BDS campaign “is not in the interests of Israel, the United States or their shared democratic traditions.”
This editorial line informs the news coverage as well. CAMERA regularly demonstrates the New York Times news reporters’ whitewashing and distortion of the self-declared goals of the BDS campaign.
No New York Times editorial about Israel is complete without its knee–jerk indictment of the country, its leaders, and policies. Here too, it was inevitable that the editorial’s justification of BDS would turn into an attack on the Israeli government and policies:
The hard-line policies of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, including expanding settlements and an obvious unwillingness to seriously pursue a peace solution that would allow Palestinians their own state, have provoked a backlash and are fueling the boycott movement.
Blaming Israel for the conflict in the Middle East and advocating against its interests is the name of the game at the New York Times — on the editorial page and in the newsroom alike.