Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer: New York Times a ‘Cesspool of Hostility’

Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., speaks as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum holds its annual "Days of Remembrance" event in honor of the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

TEL AVIV – In a scathing attack on The New York Times, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. on Monday described the newspaper as a “cesspool of hostility” that depicts Israel as a “force for evil” after it published an anti-Semitic cartoon. 

“We have… seen one of the world’s most prestigious newspapers become a cesspool of hostility towards Israel that goes well beyond any legitimate criticism of a fellow, imperfect democracy,” Ron Dermer said in a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“The same New York Times that a century ago mostly hid from their readers the Holocaust of the Jewish people has today made its pages a safe-space for those who hate the Jewish state. Through biased coverage, slanderous columns and anti-Semitic cartoons, its editors shamefully choose week after week to cast the Jewish state as a force for evil.”

President Donald Trump, who was depicted in the cartoon as a blind Jew being lead by a dachshund with the face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also blasted the paper.

The New York Times has apologized for the terrible Anti-Semitic Cartoon, but they haven’t apologized to me for this or all of the Fake and Corrupt news they print on a daily basis.” he tweeted.

“They have reached the lowest level of ‘journalism,’ and certainly a low point in @nytimes history!”

Senator Ted Cruz also singled out the Times for the graphic when he accused the “anti-Semitic left” of becoming more radical.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) called it a “grotesquely anti-Semitic” cartoon, and called on the newspaper to make good on its promise to make “significant changes.”

“We note the @NYTimes’ promise of ‘significant changes’ following its publication of a grotesquely antisemitic cartoon on Thursday and its offensive non-apology apology yesterday and look forward to seeing those changes in practice. Actions speak louder than words,” the AJC said on Twitter.

The “offensive non-apology” referred to an earlier statement issued by the Times in which the newspaper said publishing the cartoon was “an error in judgment.”

On Sunday, the Times released another statement, this time saying it was “deeply sorry” for the incident, blaming it on a single editor.

“We are deeply sorry for the publication of an anti-Semitic political cartoon last Thursday in the print edition of The New York Times that circulates outside of the United States and we are committed to making sure nothing like this happens again,” the paper said in a statement.

“Such imagery is always dangerous, and at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise worldwide, it’s all the more unacceptable,” it said.

“We have investigated how this happened and learned that, because of a faulty process, a single editor working without adequate oversight downloaded the syndicated cartoon and made the decision to include it on the Opinion page. The matter remains under review, and we are evaluating our internal processes and training. We anticipate significant changes.”

The cartoon was condemned by Vice President Mike Pence, who accused the paper of anti-Semitism.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) slammed the “anti-Semitic caricature” and said those responsible should be fired.

“The anti-Semitic caricature published by the New York Times is shocking and reminiscent of Nazi propaganda during the Holocaust,” Erdan said.

“We expect anyone who truly fights racism and hatred of Jews to demand an apology from the newspaper and fire those responsible for publishing a Nazi-style cartoon in the newspaper.”

The cartoonist, António Moreira Antunes, 66, is a well-known Portuguese political caricaturist who has in the past drawn graphics critical of Israel.

Netanyahu’s son Yair compared the graphic to the paper’s coverage — or lack thereof — of the Holocaust.

“You’re an anti-Semitic newspaper!” he tweeted. “The New York Times intentionally hid the news of the annihilation of millions of Jews in Europe during World War II!”

He also linked the cartoon to Saturday’s shooting attack at a synagogue in California.

Donald Trump Jr. said the cartoon was “disgusting.”

“I have no words for flagrant anti-Semitism on display here. Imagine this was in something other than a leftist newspaper?”

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) chief Jonathan Greenblatt described the cartoon as “vile, anti-Semitic propaganda.”

“I thought the cartoon was disgusting,” he told the Times of Israel. “I thought it was despicable.”

“I wouldn’t even credit it as a cartoon,” Greenblatt said. “It was anti-Semitic propaganda of the most vile sort. Not only does it not belong in the New York Times, but it in any credible news outlet. It was unconscionable.”



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