I write often for Aish.com. I write infrequently to the New York Times. Sometimes they print what I have to say. But this time I knew they weren’t going to publish my letter.
Here’s what I said:
To the editor:
In the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the New York Times has repeatedly insinuated that Hamas enjoys the higher moral ground based on the premise of proportionality – the number of its civilian victims far exceeds that of Israelis. Since my children and grandchildren live in Israel and have thus far been spared from death thanks to their shelter, the Iron Dome, and most certainly God, I beg you for some clarification. To my mind, the thousands of rockets that have targeted 6 million innocent civilians – a number that somehow resonates for me with great significance – have gratefully not succeeded in fulfilling the stated goal of those who fired them. By charter, Hamas has made clear its intention to slaughter all Israeli residents, men women and children. Were Israel not to respond forcefully to this threat, admittedly and most regretfully killing hundreds of civilians during this war they did not seek or initiate, the results would catastrophically be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Israeli deaths. Please enlighten me as to how many Israelis need actually die and how many photos of butchered Israeli children would be required for Israel to regain the media’s favor? I can only hope it’s not another 6 million – because, starkly put, been there, done that.
And why was I so sure it was an exercise in futility to send this letter to them?
Because it’s now become clear that the New York Times has lost any claim to journalistic integrity by the way it continues to distort its reporting of a war initiated by an internationally recognized terrorist organization against the only democracy in the Middle East.
Ignored and completely forgotten by the supposed “newspaper of record” are the simple facts that
- Hamas started a fight with a clear-cut goal, as affirmed in its charter, of killing every Israeli, or to be more precise every Jew. That means men, women and children. By the way there’s a name for these intended victims. They are called civilians, a term not to be selectively used only for Arab citizens of Gaza.
- Hamas sent hundreds – by now thousands – of rockets specifically designed to maim and to murder as many of these civilians as possible and their lack of success in no way diminishes their moral culpability.
- Hamas has refused to accept every cease-fire offered – and broken every limited humanitarian-based agreement to mutually suspend conflict.
Instead what the Times offers its readers to the point of nausea are heartbreaking photos of suffering residents in Gaza without the context of the reason for their grief – a leadership safely ensconced in luxury far from the fighting who praise death and martyrdom as the noblest aspirations for their followers.
One can only wonder if the Times would have covered World War II in the same fashion, keeping score as over 1 million Germans civilians perished as compared to only 12,000 Americans – none of whom it may be recalled were in immediate danger of missiles over the American mainland. If morality is determined solely by number of innocents dying the New York Times must truly believe that United States bears an unspeakable measure of guilt for its role in stopping Nazi Germany from its murderous plans because, after all, in order to accomplish its mission it caused the death of innocent victims.
What is perhaps most astounding about the Times’s coverage is not only its lack of objectivity and its inability to view events with any semblance of moral clarity but something that Bret Stephens pointedly noted in his column in the Wall Street Journal that smacks either of amateurish incompetence or willful and evil distortion. As source for the numbers of victims in Gaza, as well as for the breakdown between combatants and civilians in this figure, the Times cites the Palestinian Health Ministry and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Just a little digging by a responsible journalist would reveal that that the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza is run by Hamas and the United Nations group gets his information from two Palestinian agitprop groups!
So even if war has been reduced to a game of numbers by the New York Times, the information it offers its readers is nothing more than propaganda filtered through what is supposed to be a reliable newspaper.
It is time for Jews to say we have had enough. It is time for Jews to say what Emile Zola said when he could no longer stand the lies, the fabrications, the deceits and the dishonesty of the press of his day as they falsely accused the Jew Dreyfus of treason when the real reason for their attack was because Dreyfus was a Jew: J’accuse.
We, even the liberals and leftists and the intelligentsia who have so long been taken in by the prestige and the esteem the New York Times has for so long enjoyed in their circles, must finally take note of reality. Loudly and clearly, as well as by way of cancellation of subscriptions, we must shout out J’accuse! We accuse the newspaper that has built its reputation on fairness and objective reporting of losing its way as it grants the moral high ground to terrorists and to those whose admitted goals are violence and terrorism.