In the aftermath of Brandeis University’s decision to rescind the honorary degree offer to Ayaan Hirsi Ali because of her personal beliefs, it's worth examining other scheduled honorary-degree recipients. Specifically, Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the New York Times.
Under Abramson’s watch, the New York Times has continued to provide anti-Israel propaganda to audiences worldwide. The paper’s reporting was so horrific that it even merited a six-month long case study from the media-watchdog CAMERA. The case study examined the coverage by The New York Times from July 1, 2011, though December 31, 2011. It was announced that Abramson would take over as Executive Editor on June 2, 2011, and she assumed the role in September 2011.
A few highlights via CAMERA’s website:
In Staff-Written Columns
CLAIM 1: "Eric Burdon was just the latest of a rising number of artists and intellectuals who have started boycotting Israel over the occupation issue."
CLAIM 2: "One should never forget just how crazy some of Israel's Jewish settlers are. They assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin when he tried to cede part of the West Bank for peace." (Thomas L. Friedman, "Daring to Fail," Aug. 7, 2013)
FACT 1: Eric Burdon performed in concert to a packed Zappa Shuni Amphitheater in Binyamina on Aug. 1, 2013 — a week before Friedman's column ran. He made clear that he never joined any boycott of Israel, and that a temporary cancellation was not in protest of Israeli policies, but rather a result of threats received by his publicist.
FACT 2: Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, was not a settler. He lived in the Israeli city of Herzliya, within Israel's pre-1967 boundaries.
While overly critical of Israel, the New York Times has regularly ignored Palestinian and Arab incitement. Again, via CAMERA:
- Hamas TV tells Palestinians it is an "act of worship" to "harvest the skulls of the Jews," and the Times is silent.
- A Hamas official publicly declares it the duty of every Muslim to wage Jihad "to annihilate" the Jews of Israel, and the Times is silent.
- Hamas TV reenacts deadly stabbing and shooting of Jews, boasting of thousands of lethal attacks and vowing "this will never stop," and the Times is silent.
- The New York Times, the self-proclaimed "paper of record," habitually ignores genocidal anti-Jewish rhetoric.
- Such violent incitement whether expressed by Palestinian officials or in Palestinian media is newsworthy and a principle obstacle to peace
CAMERA also highlights the story of the murder of Malki Roth in which the New York Times completely mangled the coverage:
The suffering of Malki Roth and the agony of her family are not even a footnote in a recent New York Times Magazine cover story, which romanticizes what the author describes as "resistance" against Israel from the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh.
In August 2001, one of the town's "resistance activists" helped plan and execute a bombing attack on a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. The attack ended the life of 15-year-old Malki and 14 others, wounding 130.
The brutal act is glossed over in just a few words, the victims left nameless and faceless. Terrorism — although the author avoids that word altogether, preferring gentler euphemisms throughout the piece — is cast as legitimate, even if not particularly effective.
The same article also glorifies stone throwing, but conceals from readers the fact that this type of "resistance," too, has killed innocents.
Malki's mother protested in a letter to The Times. She pointed out that Ahlam Tamimi, the Nabi Saleh resident who was a key figure in the attack and helped select the target, was presented in The New York Times as doing nothing more than "escorting" the suicide bomber.
"For a mother to bury her loving, gentle child is torture," she concluded. "To watch the murderer walk triumphantly free and enjoy life rubs salt into that wound every day. But to see the NY Times gloss over this travesty of justice with a cover story that showcases this woman's many admirers in Nabi Saleh – that is journalism of the most amoral sort. You ought to be ashamed of it."
The Times didn't see fit to print the letter.
A few months later, the newspaper did it again. Another front page story romanticized Palestinian stone-throwers. It was another story that ignored the Israeli civilian victims who were maimed and killed as a result of such violence.
CAMERA even produced a YouTube video documenting the bias and inconsistency of the New York Times:
The New York Times consistently slants the coverage against the Jewish state under Abramson’s watch. That is a fact. Does that fit into Brandeis definition of ‘social justice’ or fall in line with the central mission of the University? Now that the precedent has been set that all aspects of a person's work and thought must factor into the decision of whether or not a person is fit for an honorary degree, Abramson is not an acceptable choice.
For anyone who wishes to say that the coverage from The New York Times has improved, CAMERA's own Tamar Sternthal called out the paper just last week. In an article titled "How The New York Times Demonizes the Israeli People" she highlighted the horrific coverage:
If “demonize” means “to try to make someone or a group of people seem as if they are evil,” as the Cambridge Freesays, can a murderer be demonized?
To help readers understand the term, the dictionary provides the following as an example of its usage: “The Nazis used racist propaganda in an attempt to demonize the Jews.”
But can the Nazi killer himself be demonized? What about the cold-blooded murderer of an elderly Holocaust survivor?
More specifically, can Muqdad Salah, the Palestinian who murdered the sleeping 72-year-old Holocaust survivor Israel Tenenbaum, and other convicted Palestinian killers of innocent Israeli civilians, young and old, be “[d]emonized as terrorists by Israelis?”
This is the question that arises following a New York Times article this week about the trials and tribulations of released Palestinian murderers reentering life in the West Bank (“Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison”). About Salah, Tenenbaum’s murderer Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren writes: “Demonized as terrorists by Israelis and lionized as freedom fighters by Palestinians, prisoners like Mr. Salah have become a flash point in the troubled peace talks . . .”
If “demonizing” means trying to make someone or a group seem as if they are evil, then, the implication is that person or group is not evil, and they are being represented in an unfair light.
Countless Jews and supporters of freedom across the world feel attacked by the New York Times' coverage of Israel. The hearts and minds of millions of people across the globe are heavily influenced by the misrepresentations of The New York Times which threatens the international support for the Jewish state.
Nonetheless, Abramson should receive the honorary degree. So should Hirsi Ali. Brandeis University administration needs to remain consistent across the board.