Twelve rabbis from various Jewish denominations in America had the opportunity to meet with the executives in the New York Times to discuss their concerns about the anti-Semitic cartoon that was published as well as challenge the anti-Israel bias of the paper.
The meeting at The Times offices in Manhattan lasted an hour and a half and Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, head of the New York Board of Rabbis, said A.G. Sulzberger and James Bennet, the publisher and editorial page editor, “owned the problem” of the cartoon being anti-Semitic.
Last month the New York Times published two anti-Semitic cartoons in its international edition, sparking outrage in the Jewish community and heavy criticism from the wider world.
The Times has apologised for the cartoon and published a staff editorial criticizing it. The newspaper said it has updated its “unconscious bias” training in the wake of the controversy, disciplined the editor who published the cartoon and dropped the syndication service that provided it.
Sadly, the New York Times has a long history of anti-Israel bias, so these anti-Semitic cartoons did not come as a surprise to some people, but they definitely caused great hurt for the Jewish community.
“It gave everyone an opportunity to express their feelings,” Potasnik said of the meeting. “Everyone was very forthright, very frank about what they felt. … I felt it was a healthy, honest exchange, and that’s what’s necessary.”
Potasnik said the majority of the meeting was spent discussing The Times’ coverage of Israel, which many pro-Israel advocates have long viewed as negative toward the country. He said Sulzberger and Bennet were receptive to the rabbis’ comments, and that the group planned on meeting again.
“It’s the reporting issue,” he said. “What’s the culture at The Times vis-a-vis Israel? All those issues came up. The cartoon was the beginning of the conversation, but not the majority of it.”
The New York Times declined to comment on the meeting.
Over the years, the New York Times has been accused of having an anti-Israel bias, even an anti-Jewish one. Below is a video by Anna Blech who looked at how the New York Times hid the Holocaust in plain sight. A very worthwhile watch for anyone interested in understanding how media bias can distort the view of the masses.