Rabbi Spero: New York Times, ‘All the Antisemitism That’s Fit to Print’

new york times
Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

In a recent international edition of the New York Times, the Times willingly featured an antisemitic cartoon with all the caricatures reminiscent of the antisemitic cartoons promulgated over 80 years ago in Nazi German newspapers and magazines, including Der Sturmer.

To wit, the Jew as a dog, with a Star of David attached, pulling along a helpless non-Jew (Trump) who is depicted as a lackey, now himself wearing a yarmulke.

Layers of editors and imes staff professionals had to first give their approval before the cartoon was distributed worldwide. Is it possible that some of the decision-makers at The Times assumed that the antisemitic cartoon would not offend some of their readers in the international community?

Now that its handiwork has been exposed and the damage has been done, and the images are embedded and inerasable, The Times is forced to say it made a mistake.

But The Times is not sorry.  This is simply the latest stage in a development over the last fifty years of severe anti-Israelism and, recently, even antiaemitism itself. At a time when radical Islamic forces are targeting Israel and Jewish synagogues and Jewish children around the world, and when some on the extreme right are shooting Jewish worshipers in synagogues, the Times is itself using Nazi-like fuel to fan the flames of anti-Israelism and foment against things uniquely Jewish and religious.

The Times has gone from being in the forefront of left-wing editorial opinion damaging Israel and Jews to now being engaged in actual, active promulgation of Jew-hatred. It has crossed the Rubicon into the obscene, the despicably vile. It has become a newspaper of hate towards those things uniquely and singularly Jewish.

For decades, the owners and editors of the Times have had a severe emotional problem with those things related to Jewishness. Precisely because it has been owned by Jews (who are secular), and has historically been edited and managed by Jews (mostly secular), and because it is the cultural clearing house of secular New York Jewry, it has bent over backwards in castigating and minimizing things Jewish as a way to show “impartiality”. No doubt, the element of self-hate is also a major factor in their emotional turmoil.

The New York Times, as with other liberal outlets, pontificates that criticism of anything regarding Islam and even acts of terror in the name of Islam, is a type of Islamophobia and leads to attacks on mosques such as in New Zealand. Yet it does the very same thing to Israel and authentic Jewish causes, and more vociferously and judgmentally so.  It does not seem concerned that its own over-the-top criticism could well lead to antisemitism and the shooting of Jews in Jewish institutions. Perhaps the safety of Jews is not a priority for them.

The Times, considering itself to be in the vanguard of chic, is certainly swept up in the voguish anti-Israel and anti-Jewish currency prevalent in left-wing, trendsetting circles.  It is a paper that has matriculated from a past where it hid news of the Holocaust against Jews, to one that for decades has actively portrayed Israel as a pariah, to one that is now engaged in the actual demonizing of those things religiously and traditionally Jewish, as well as Israel.

The New York Times needs to fire the editor and the people who knowingly ran its antisemitic cartoon. It needs to undergo, finally, some vigorous soul-searching regarding its continual promotion of anti-Israelism, anti-Zionism, and general mockery of things Jewish. It has to stop its trendy anti-Jewishness and become a serious newspaper that places brakes on the promulgation of positions that any sane person knows will lead to Jew-hatred, Israel-hatred, and violence against Israelis and Jews.

Now is the time for this newspaper to make amends for its historic sins against the Jewish people during the years preceding and all throughout the Holocaust.  The Times must start being careful not to demonize the essence of the Jewish state in the same manner that was done to the Jewish people in Europe prior to World War II.

In the meantime, the New York Times is becoming a newspaper, through its editorials, some of its columnists, and news reporting and cartoons, which can be characterized as “all the anti-Semitism that’s fit to print.”

Rabbi Aryeh Spero is spokesman for the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, president of Caucus For America, author of Push Back: Reclaiming Our American Judeo-Christian Spirit, and also Why Israel Matters to You.  


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.