Saturday, December 22, 2018

Seven Problems With The NY Times Pro-BDS Editorial - by Ira Stoll

The Times has a longstanding, persistent problem with antisemitic reader comments. If you wonder why readers who express or hold antisemitic views would be attracted to a publication like the Times as readers, look no further than today’s editorial. A publication attracts the readers it deserves.

Ira Stoll..
20 December '18..

The New York Times publishes a staff editorial headlined, “Curbing Speech in the Name of Helping Israel,” with the subheadline, “A Senate bill aims to punish those who boycott Israel over its settlement policy.”

The first problem is the subheadline’s reference to “those who boycott Israel over its settlement policy.” Boycotts of Jewish products in the Land of Israel have existed since 1945, before the Jewish state even existed. The idea that this boycott is about “settlement policy” is not founded in fact, since the boycott has existed for decades regardless of whether Israel did or didn’t occupy the West Bank and regardless of whether the Israeli government in power was expanding or limiting settlement activity.

The second problem is the editorial’s framing of the matter as a threat to freedom of speech. If the Times were a consistent defender of free speech, that’d be one thing. But on issue after issue — the right of a Christian business not to cover contraception as a health benefit, the right of a wedding cake bakery not to bake a cake for a gay marriage, the right of a wealthy donor or advocacy group to spend money on political advertising — the Times has been downright dismissive of free speech concerns, and of the argument that economic choices qualify as protected free speech. In fact, when it is gays or women being discriminated against, the Times has been downright dismissive of the argument that an economic choice qualifies as protected speech. Yet when it is Israeli Jews being discriminated against by the BDS movement, the Times editorialists all of a sudden become free speech absolutists. It’s a double standard.

Nor is it the only double standard in the piece, which brings us to the third problem.

(Continue to Full Column)

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