The blatantly anti-Semitic cartoon published by the New York Times in its international edition this past week has provoked widespread outrage. The criticism has been so intense that the Times even allowed one of its columnists, Pulitzer Prize winner Bret Stephens, to author an op-ed column blasting the newspaper for publishing it.
According to Stephens, the cartoon managed to slip past the Times’ editors because many in the media aren’t sensitive enough to anti-Semitism, not noticing it as quickly as expressions of bigotry against other minorities.
Stephens is being much too kind. The fact is that the Times itself has repeatedly published the exact same sentiments as those depicted in the cartoon in the writings of Stephens’ colleague, Times star op-ed columnist Thomas Friedman.
Let’s compare the cartoonist and the columnist. The cartoon showed a blind President Trump, wearing a yarmulke, being led by a vicious dog with the face of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. In other words, the Jews control the president.
Now let’s recall a few of Thomas Friedman’s writings on the same subject. In his February 5, 2004 column, Friedman asserted that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has “had George Bush under house arrest in the Oval Office…surrounded by Jewish and Christian pro-Israel lobbyists” who are “all conspiring to make sure the president does nothing [regarding Israel].”
On December 13, 2011, he claimed that the standing ovations Prime Minister Netanyahu received in Congress were “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” And on November 19, 2013, he wrote that “many American lawmakers [will] do whatever the Israel lobby asks them to do in order to garner Jewish votes and campaign donations.”
In short, the editors of the Times long ago legitimized the anti-Semitic Israel-controls-America accusation.
And left-wing Jews apparently have little problem with it either. From their silence, it’s evident that J Street and Americans for Peace Now were never bothered by Friedman’s hate-columns, and they’re not troubled by the Times’ anti-Semitic cartoon, either. Their hatred for Prime Minister Netanyahu is so obsessive and passionate that they apparently don’t mind the anti-Semitic imagery of such a cartoon.
American Muslim groups whom Jewish leaders keep telling us are “moderate” certainly won’t condemn the cartoon, either. Why not? Because they agree with it. They’ve been railing against “Jewish control of Washington” for years.
Don’t expect many Democrat members of Congress to be bothered by the cartoon either. Some of them – think Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – undoubtedly agree with the cartoon. Other Democrats, who genuinely disagree with it, are too afraid of Omar, Tlaib, and Cortez to speak up.
Remember how they could not bring themselves to condemn Omar when she expressed exactly the same views as the cartoonist? Sensing that their base has turned against Israel, they find it politically expedient to tolerate “Jewish control”-themed bigotry.
The heart of the problem, then, is not this one cartoon, and not some careless or insensitive editor at the New York Times. The problem is that the mainstream American left – including many on the Jewish left – have embraced the most hateful sentiments and have chosen to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism coming from their camp.