Israeli Ambassador Slams New York Times: ‘Cesspool of Hostility to Israel,’ ‘Safe Space for Those Who Hate the Jewish State’

Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., speaks as the United States Holocaust Memo
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Israeli ambassador to the United States minced no words while criticizing the New York Times as a home for antisemitism in American media in a speech on Monday.

“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 his Monday speech honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day, according to the Times of Israel.

“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,” Dermer added. “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.”

The Times has come under serious criticism since it published an antisemitic cartoon last week. It later retracted the cartoon and, after initially not apologizing in the wake of the retraction, it later apologized–a full day after the initial retraction. A second anti-Israel cartoon published on Saturday similarly came under scrutiny on Monday, as several top Jewish community leaders have blasted it and demanded another retraction and apology.

Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades-Ha for days has not answered numerous requests for comment, including for details on which Times officials were involved in the handling of the initial publication of these cartoons, whether there has been any accountability or consequences for their actions, what structural breakdowns inside the newspaper led to these images being published, and what exact reforms the Times is planning to implement to prevent this from happening again.

The Times has said it is conducting an internal investigation into the matter and has promised “significant changes,” but Rhoades-Ha has not answered when asked repeatedly whether all findings of said investigation including underlying source materials like emails and text messages will be made available in the interest of transparency to the general public and Times readers.

Similarly, Rhoades-Ha did not reply to a request for comment when asked for a response to Dermer’s blistering criticisms of the newspaper.

It remains to be seen what will happen at the newspaper, but the claim in the late apology statement on Sunday that just one editor at the Times, without any other oversight, is to blame for all of this mess at a certain point does not hold up the longer the paper withholds key details from the public. The decision to withhold information about which officials were involved in this to begin with, and to keep key details about the internal investigation private rather than releasing them, comes from senior management officials at the paper–not from the original editorial decision-makers–so the longer the Times plays this out, the worse it seems to get for the newspaper.


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