When the Forward’s opinion editor, Batya Ungar-Sargon, went to speak at a conference at Bard College last month on racism and anti-Semitism, she didn’t anticipate being on the receiving end of a protest by Students for Justice in Palestine. She has proudly stated that she is “the number one publisher of Palestinian voices in America” and has encouraged Israelis to vote for the anti-Israel Joint List.
But she was targeted nonetheless. What’s interesting – and what shocked Ungar-Sargon – is that the anti-Israel activists didn’t target her session on Zionism. Instead, they targeted her session on anti-Semitism, which featured her and two other Jewish women. When Ungar-Sargon asked them for an explanation, one of them replied that “the conversation of anti-Semitism is…inherently about Israel.”
At her second scheduled appearance at the conference, Ungar-Sargon expressed her outrage at the protesters and the silence of her fellow presenters at the conference and walked out in protest. A week later, she wrote an article in the Forward, denouncing the blatant anti-Semitism she experienced.
Given this incident, one might have expected Ungar-Sargon and her colleagues at The Forward to have had an awakening – to have finally recognized the true nature of anti-Israel activism and started vigorously defending the Jewish state from its enemies. Sadly, one would have been wrong.
Just days later, the Forward returned to form, carrying an article on its website under the headline, “WATCH: Hundreds of Jewish Teens Riot, Attack Palestinians in Jerusalem.” I watched the video. It is all of nine second, and it shows four boys – just four – running towards a car with one of them possibly throwing an object at it (the video isn’t clear).
This is the video readers are promised will show an anti-Arab riot by hundreds of Jewish teens. Neither the video nor the accompanying article indicates what inspired the boys’ actions. The article implies that it was a spontaneous, violent display of hatred toward Arabs.
Here’s some general context. Muslim Arabs have been attacking Jews for over 1,300 years. That’s why half of Israel’s Jews are not “European settlers” – as anti-Israel activists would have you believe – but Mizrachi Jews, descendants of refugees from Arab hatred. The Jews in Israel this year have already been subject to nearly 2,000 terror attacks. Six hundred rockets were fired at civilian targets in May alone. The vast majority of these went unreported anywhere outside Israel.
Arabs throw rocks at Jewish vehicles on a daily basis. The Forward, though, ignores these incidents – at least until someone is killed, at which point it implies the victims were “settlers” and thus somehow deserved to die.
Ungar-Sargon was subject to naked anti-Semitism last month. The least she could have done was demand that her employer cease spreading the same hatred she experienced. Alas, nothing ever seems to change at The Forward.