To promote its tacit support of the antisemitic Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) Movement against the state of Israel, The New York Times recently decided that the internationally accepted definition of antisemitism is “disputed.”
That definition, which is crucial to fighting antisemitism worldwide — and particularly on U.S. college campuses — was penned by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and adopted by the U.S. State Department as well as 34 other nations (including 25 of the 27 European Union members).
The definition includes as antisemitism:
- “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”
- “Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
This definition of antisemitism poses a problem for those who support the BDS movement since the movement specifically applies different standards for Israel than is “expected or demanded of by any other democratic nation.” For example, there are at least 100 land disputes around the globe that are not subject to “BDS” movements.
Even the notoriously anti-Israel United Nations issued a report written by Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed that lambasts the movement’s role in promoting antisemitism.
Yet, the Times managed to buck all that.
The attack on the accepted definition of antisemitism by the Times came in a spurious article written about the departure of Department of Education’s Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Kenneth L. Marcus from his job.
The Times writer, Erica L. Green, had many beefs against Marcus, but the main one consisted of the assistant secretary’s efforts to fight antisemitism on college campuses in America.
As Green writes,
“Mr. Marcus … is perhaps best known for resurrecting a complaint against Rutgers University, in which he unilaterally adopted a disputed definition of anti-Semitism that includes opposition to the state of Israel and asserted the department’s right to treat Judaism as a national origin.”
Actually, Marcus, in his capacity as assistant secretary for Civil Rights, was simply applying the State Department’s definition of antisemitism to the complaint against Rutgers – a definition that Green deliberately misrepresented.
Nowhere in the accepted definition of antisemitism does it say that “opposition to the state of Israel” per se is antisemitism — presumably, if one is talking about policies. But perhaps Green was talking about opposition to the “Jewish people’s right to self-determination,” meaning that she, along with many other proponents of the BDS movement, would like to see the end of the state of Israel altogether?
As to the “department’s right to treat Judaism as a national origin,” this is another misrepresentation by Green. On December 10, 2019, the Trump administration issued a directive that expanded the purview of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to include Jews — a directive that was coincidentally issued on the same day as an antisemitic attack on a kosher market in New Jersey that left four people dead.
Title VI bans discrimination on the basis of “race, color, or national origin.” The move to expand Title VI was first undertaken by the Department of Justice during the Obama administration in 2010. At that time, the federal government began to interpret Title VI to cover religious groups, as was the stated intention of the Trump administration.
Recognizing the widespread antisemitic attacks — including those involving violence – that Jewish students face on college campuses, Trump moved to solidify the policy undertaken by the Obama administration.
In the aftermath of the Tom Cotton fiasco at the Times (in which the senator, in an op-ed article, called for troops on U.S. streets as a last resort to quelling the recent riots and outraged New York Times staffers demanded that the piece be taken down and the editor who approved it be fired), woke NY Times staffers issued a list of demands to the management.
One of those demands is that all articles published in the paper, once they are edited and approved, go through “sensitivity readings.”
Contrary to the real goals of journalism – to provide factually true news and a variety of opinions — this latest directive will not only ensure that no “forbidden” opinions get published by the Times but no “inconvenient” facts as well.
My guess is that Green’s twisted article would have made it through such a “sensitivity reading,” as today’s intersectional woke world is decidedly pro-BDS and doesn’t seem to have any problems with antisemitism.
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