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New York Times Kids Section Insists Hamas Wants a Two-State Solution, Blames Israel for ‘Crime’ of Starving Gaza

Palestinian terrorists ride an Israeli military vehicle that was seized by gunmen who infiltrated areas of southern Israel, in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot

It’s terrible enough when the New York Times inflicts biased, factually inaccurate coverage of Israel on its adult readers, who are presumably able to see the nonsense for what it is.

It’s a whole new — and worse — level of depravity for the Times to inflict that bias and inaccuracy on children, poisoning impressionable young minds with falsehoods.

Yet that is precisely what the New York Times did in its Sunday, Nov. 26 newspaper, which includes a full page in the “New York Times for Kids” section (“Editor’s Note: This Section Should Not Be Read by Grown-Ups”) offering a slanted and false account of what is happening in Israel and Gaza.

New York Times Kids Section, Nov. 26, 2023 edition. Photo: Ira Stoll

The one-sidedness is clear from the photo selection. The article is illustrated with a single large image of a Palestinian woman fleeing with a child in her arms and another alongside her, labeled “Palestinians fleeing after an Israeli attack in Gaza City on October 23.” The visual impression that “New York Times for Kids” readers will remember is not of armed-to-the-teeth Hamas terrorists kidnapping Israeli civilians, nor of Israeli civilians sheltering from Hamas missile attacks, but rather the one of “Palestinians fleeing after an Israeli attack.”

New York Times Kids Section, Nov. 26, 2023 edition. Photo: Ira Stoll

Under the headline “5 things to know about the Israel-Hamas War,” the Times tries to provide enough context to understand the conflict. But it fails miserably. It doesn’t mention the Bible or the Holocaust or antisemitism, all of which are essential to understanding the situation. It doesn’t mention Iran or Hezbollah, which are essential to understanding the situation. It doesn’t mention that Hamas is an Islamist extremist group that oppresses women and executes gays.

The Times blames Israel for Palestinian suffering. The paper tells its child readers, “Palestinian civilians are trapped in Gaza. Since Oct. 7, Israel has blocked most food, water, medicine and fuel from entering Gaza. Many experts have said that this is a crime.” The Times doesn’t explain that Hamas is using the fuel to shoot rockets at Israel. In fact, the Times article doesn’t mention the ongoing Hamas and Hezbollah rocket attacks on Israel at all, falsely making it sound as if the Hamas violence against Israel ended on Oct. 7, when the Palestinian terror group led a deadly rampage of rape, murder, and kidnapping across southern Israeli communities. The Times also doesn’t mention that Egypt has been blocking goods from entering Gaza, and refugees from leaving. It doesn’t mention that Hamas has prevented Palestinians civilians from fleeing southward.

While demonizing Israel, the Times sanitizes and whitewashes Hamas. It doesn’t mention the extraordinary brutality of Hamas’ onslaught, with its rapes, beheadings, and burning of people. You could say that’s just to protect the child readers from the gory details, but the Times displays no such reluctance when it comes to dwelling on the details of Palestinian suffering, for which the Times blames Israel: “Some people are drinking dirty water, which makes them very sick. Food supplies are running low. Some hospitals have had to close down, even though people are wounded and sick. And because Gaza’s borders are closed, people cannot escape.”

The article mischaracterizes Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Indeed, the Times writes that “Israel’s military began heavily bombing cities and towns in Gaza to try to destroy Hamas. Many buildings have been completely flattened. That also killed a lot of civilians. According to the Gaza Health Ministry in mid-November, more than 11,000 people had been killed, most of them women and children.”

The Times doesn’t say that in addition to the bombing campaign, Israel has sent ground troops into Gaza, exposing Israeli soldiers to deadly risks to go block by block and house by house rather than leveling the whole place. The Times doesn’t say that the Gaza health ministry is controlled by Hamas; or that it has a history of exaggerating casualties; or that it doesn’t distinguish between civilian deaths and those of terrorist combatants; or that Hamas is deliberately using the civilians as shields by hiding military installations within schools, mosques, and hospitals; or that many of the deaths are caused by misfires of Hamas and Islamic Jihad rockets aimed at Israeli civilians.

Most astonishingly of all, the Times whitewashes Hamas’ war aims. Rather than telling the truth, which is that Hamas wants to kill all Jews, the Times tells the child readers, “For many years, Hamas called for Israel to be destroyed, but in 2017 it said it would accept a smaller, independent Palestinian country alongside it.”

This is unbelievable. No wonder the Times says the kids section “should not be read by grown-ups.” If any grown-up read it, they’d throw the paper down in disgust and cancel their subscription. The idea that Hamas merely wants a small Palestinian country “alongside” Israel is a lie. US Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, calls Hamas “a terrorist group that is not shy about their goal to eradicate the Jewish people, in Israel and around the globe.” Star New York Times columnist Tom Friedman writes on the opinion page for grownups that Hamas is “a militant Islamist organization dedicated to eradicating any Jewish state … the only maps it carried were not of a two-state solution but of how to find the most people in the Israeli kibbutzim and kill or kidnap as many of them as possible.”

Friedman writes, “Hamas argues that this is an ethnic-religious war between primarily Muslim Palestinians and Jews, and its goal is an Islamic state in all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. For Hamas, it’s winner take all.” In contrast, the Times kids’ section doesn’t describe Hamas as “Islamist” but simply as “a group that governs inside the Gaza strip.”

I took the kids section away to my office before anyone young could see it. Exposing children to this sort of thing — indoctrinating them in antisemitism, skewing their view of the world in a way that is biased against Israel, and giving them a warped, incomplete account of reality — is a kind of child abuse.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

Gov. Kristi Noem (R) speaking to legislators during the State of the State address on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024 at South Dakota State Captiol in Pierre. Photo: Samantha Laurey and Argus Leader via REUTERS CONNECT

South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.

“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”

CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”

First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.

Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.

Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination

Anti-Israel students protest at Columbia University in New York City. Photo: Reuters/Jeenah Moon

Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.

Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.

“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”

“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.

The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.

“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.

The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.

Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.

“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution

Graphic posted by University of California, Los Angeles Students for Justice in Palestine on February 21, 2024 to celebrate the student government’s passing an resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. Photo: Screenshot/Instagram

The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.

It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.

The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.

Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.

“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”

Other council members  voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.

Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.

“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”

University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.

“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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