Greg Brock, the Jews, and the New York Times.


Greg BrockThroughout the twentieth-century the New York Times was never a friend or ally to the Jewish people, nor is it a friend or ally to the Jewish people today.During World War II, the Times buried the Holocaust deep within its pages and, as far as I am concerned, it will never live down that criminal negligence, that crime against the six million dead, and neither will its owner and publisher, at the time, Arthur Hays Sulzberger.Severin Hochberg, in a 2006 review of Laurel Leff’s Buried by the Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, for the Oxford University journal of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, tells us:

“Leff’s grim conclusion is that the mass murder of the Jews was simply not an important enough story for the New York Times. This, in turn, was partly because it was not an important enough story for the Allied governments or the Western public. Another crucial factor in the decision to minimize the plight of the Jews, according to Leff, was the personal influence of the New York Times’ publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Sulzberger believed that the Jews were not a “people,” much less a race, and that they should not be treated differently from anybody else, even when clearly targeted for annihilation. His obsessive need to deflect accusations that the Times was a “Jewish” newspaper influenced coverage of Jewish persecution and ultimately mass murder.”  (My emphasis.)

Little seems to have changed over at the Gray Lady or “the newspaper of record.”

Many of you will recall that the Times recently published a “Jew Tracker” showing which Jewish politicians did, and which did not, support Obama’s Iran non-treaty that gives that government – a government that perpetually calls for the murder of Israeli-Jews and all Americans -150 billion dollars and the ability to shortly gain nuclear weaponry.

Jew tracker3
To my astonishment the conservative Washington Free Beacon, under the byline of Adam Kredo, claims to have attained emails between senior New York Times editor, Greg Brock, and a pro-Jewish reader and critic who slammed the paper for running this vile material before public pressure forced them to remove it.
{This fiasco by the Times, by the way, raises the odor of the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain where public pressure likewise forced the Reggae event to accept Matisyahu simply as a performer, not a Jewish performer under some enforced BDS obligation to answer for the alleged crimes of the Jewish state.}
According to the Washington Free Beacon a reader / critic of the Times wrote editor Brock the following and called the inclusion of the Jewish list “stupid”:

Are you so ignorant that you don’t understand the historical significance of what you’re doing?  Are you so tone deaf? Why don’t you include addresses so that people’s homes can be attacked?…

My parents were Holocaust survivors and the first thing the Nazis wanted to know is: where are the Jews?  This merely furthers the classic anti-Semitic trope of dual loyalty.

Greg Brock fired back with:

But it would be helpful if you did your homework. You’ll find that we are in excellent journalistic company. I just wish the Times had thought of it sooner so we do not appear to be copying others.

Do you ever read the Jewish press—some of the finest journalism around, in my humble opinion.  If you search online right now, you will see that these publications have been keeping a running count of the voting position of Jewish senators and representatives for weeks. 

To which the reader / critic responded:

Do you understand that dual loyalty is a classic anti-Semitic trope?  Do you understand that the accusation that Jews are voting against their national interests and for their faith-based communal interest is a call to violence?  Somehow, the sensitivity you show to racial issues is lost when your target is Jewish.

Do you understand that you’re creating a hostile environment for Jews whether they agree with the NYTimes editorial position or not?” asked the reader, who further described the post as “stupid” and offensive. 

It is difficult to fathom the kind of outrageous stupidity that it takes to single out Jewish politicians for public derogation when no other ethnic group is treated with such malice.  It was not so long ago that the New York Times was, in fact, considered the paper of record.  When I was kid we received it in our box on a daily basis and my father would spend half of Sunday perusing the massive tome that they put out every weekend.

But those days are long dead.

The Times, it should be noted, was not the only significant publication that believed that singling out Jewish politicians for disgust was reasonable.  Joshua Keating over at Slate liked the idea, although he acknowledged the crudity of it.  He wrote:

It seems willfully obtuse to pretend that the position of the Israeli government and the views of at least a prominent faction of the American Jewish community aren’t a factor in this debate.

That does not sound entirely unreasonable, now does it?

However, I will look forward to the day when the New York Times tracks black politicians, as black people, or Latino politicians, as Latinos, or Gays as Gays, as they do Jews as Jews.

Until we begin to see that perhaps Greg Brock might consider not bickering with thoughtful readers over a prejudicial, bigoted, and yes, stupid, NYT policy.

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First published at Israel Thrives.

Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. Recently he joined  Vocal International  a news magazine out Brussels, Belgium, as an analyst, writer, and a member of the Academic Board of Trustees. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel, Elder of Ziyon, and at his own blog, Israel Thrives. He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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