The New York Times is coming under public pressure to be more critical of Israel in the newspaper’s coverage of the death of an Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh.
A protest outside the New York Times headquarters building in New York City attracted more than 100 people, according to an account on the “Party for Socialism and Liberation” website Liberationnews.org. The account says “Members of different organizations spoke, each adding to the charge that the New York Times was ‘complicit in colonial violence.’”
A YouTube video of the protest, titled, “Palestine Protesters Confront New York Times Over Deceptive Shireen Abu Aqleh Headline,” has attracted more than 5,000 views since it was posted by an organization called BreakThrough News. The summary for the video reports, “Outraged protesters gathered at the NYTimes headquarters after they published a headline saying that Shireen Abu Aqleh simply ‘died at 51.’ The Palestinian journalist was murdered by Israeli soldiers. BT’s Kei Pritsker goes over how the ‘newspaper of record’ has a long history of pro-Israel bias.”
New York Times officials and defenders frequently point out the fact that the newspaper gets complaints from both Arabs who say that it is too pro-Israel and from Jews who say it is too anti-Israel. That, they say, is a sign the newspaper must be doing something right.
Wikipedia describes the Party for Socialism and Liberation as a communist party, linking to a 2018 interview with two party officials, Eugene Puryear and Brian Becker, “during their visit to the Communist Party of Turkey,” in which Becker says, “We are a communist party. We have existed for 14 years with the idea of building a communist party in the United States once again. This is a complicated and long-term project. It is perhaps the most of the difficult of all projects. But it’s the imperative need because you cannot have revolutionary change without a revolutionary communist party leading that change. Absent a communist party, victory is impossible…. So we are building a communist party in the United States and seeking to coordinate with, and show solidarity with, and learn from the communist parties of the world.”
A June 2022 article by Puryear says, “Now more than ever it is important to remember the shining example of the Soviet Union in confronting hatred, bigotry and xenophobia.”
Actually, the Soviet Union was a hotbed of official bigotry against Judaism, Jewish culture, and the Jewish state, both under Stalin and later, when the Soviet Union spearheaded what Daniel Patrick Moynihan called the “Big Red Lie” that Zionism is racism. Breakthrough News, which posted the slick video promoting the protest at the New York Times, lists Puryear as a cofounder, host and producer.
The LiberationNews article says the protest included a speaker from the Party for Socialism and Liberation and was organized by Al-Awda NY: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition. A list of “demands” from the Al-Awda group at the end of the announcement of the “emergency rally” included “We also call upon all media outlets to boycott “israel” and we demand that all journalists immediately stop giving cover, using the passive voice, or erasing the cause (‘israel’) of Palestinian abuse, torture, murder and raids. Western journalists and media outlets, by refusing to name ‘israel’ and its actions, are directly responsible for facilitating the ongoing impunity of ‘israeli’ forces and settler-agents of colonization — and thereby are facilitating those crimes.”
New York Times coverage of Abu Akleh’s death appearing after the protest tilted sharply against Israel. A Times opinion piece by Diana Buttu falsely claimed, “For too long, Israeli political and military leaders have fostered an environment in which Israeli soldiers apparently consider the lives of Palestinians disposable.” A Times Sunday staff editorial echoed classical antisemitic tropes, accusing Jews of being morally callous to the killing. “Israelis should care more about what happened to Ms. Abu Akleh,” the Times lectured. And a Times “investigation” of the death claimed, inaccurately and preposterously, that “Palestinian deaths rarely attract international scrutiny.”
Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.
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Author: Ira Stoll
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