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New York Times Pushed Biden to Refuse Arms to Israel

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Furious at President Biden for publicly holding up an arms shipment to Israel in wartime?

You might consider also directing your ire at the New York Times, which laid the groundwork for Biden’s decision with two articles.

An April 13 New York Times staff editorial, headlined, “Military Aid to Israel Cannot Be Unconditional,” called on Biden to cut off weapons deliveries.

“America cannot continue, as it has, to supply Israel with the arms it has been using in its war against Hamas,” the editorial said. “A growing number of senators, led by Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, have been urging Mr. Biden to consider pausing military transfers to Israel, which the executive branch can do without congressional approval. They were right to push for this action.”

The Times editorial acknowledged, “Pausing the flow of weapons to Israel would not be an easy step for Mr. Biden to take” but weighed against that the argument that “the war in Gaza has taken an enormous toll in human lives.”

When it was published, I called the editorial “tastelessly timed” and “rife with factual and logical errors.”

The arms shipment that Biden cut off reportedly included 2,000-pound bombs. Israel’s use of those bombs was the subject of a December 2023 New York Timesvisual investigation.” That article was also one of seven that were among the entry for which the New York Times won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting.

Back when the Times investigation was published, I wrote in the Algemeiner, as part of a larger piece detailing the article’s flaws, that the Times piece was part of a campaign to cut off weapons to Israel: “The policy goal is clear: to cut off Israel’s arms supply. ‘But the US has not stopped supplying weapons to Israel,’ the Times narrator says at one point, implying that is what the US should do.”

On May 8 — less than a month after the Times editorial appeared, and two days after the Times Pulitzer for the 2,000-pound bomb article was announced — Biden went on CNN to disclose that he’d hold up arms deliveries to Israel.

Would he have taken the step without the encouragement to do so from the New York Times? There’s no way to know for sure. Often there is a sort of circular feedback loop between the press and sources in Washington, with government officials advocating for a policy option — like a pause in weapons shipments — leaking their point of view to the newspaper to generate sympathetic articles. These same officials then point to these same newspaper articles in internal administration debates as ostensibly independent backing for the policy options they had favored from the start.

A Times article from this week says, “For a time, the United States held a monopoly on these bombs. But now Mark 80s are made and sold by a number of countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Israel makes its own versions.” If that is accurate (you never know with the New York Times), and Israel does manage to obtain the bombs domestically or from another vendor, then it undercuts the claim that cutting off the American shipments will benefit Gazan civilians. The best thing for Gazan civilians and for Israel is a rapid and decisive Israeli victory over Hamas, so if anything, the American decision is counterproductive.

When it comes to political news coverage, Biden has been, with increasing frequency, criticizing the media. “While the press doesn’t write about it — [applause] — the momentum is clearly in our favor, with the polls moving towards us and away from Trump,” Biden said on May 10 at a Seattle campaign reception, according to a White House transcript. Perhaps if Biden applied some of that same skepticism to the New York Times coverage of Israel and Gaza, the US-Israel relationship, and US policy toward Israel, would be in better shape.

Or maybe the trick is somehow to figure out how to get to Biden the Algemeiner columns debunking and answering the New York Times articles, so that he can read them together and make up his mind with more complete, less erroneous information.

Speculation about the decision has focused on a variety of factors, ranging from the influence of Secretary of State Blinken to Arab-American voters in Michigan to an Arab-American National Security Council official. The malign influence of the New York Times, though, shouldn’t be overlooked.

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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Advocacy Group Attempts to Shore Up Support for Israel Among US Democrats

US President Joe Biden addresses rising levels of antisemitism, during a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony, at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, US, May 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

A pro-Israel advocacy group is attempting to quell fears among US Democratic politicians that expressing support for the Jewish state amid the ongoing war in Gaza will lead to electoral defeat in November. 

Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), a group that advocates for pro-Israel policies within the Democratic Party, circulated a memo this week explaining that the war in Gaza is simply not a top priority for most of the electorate. The memo, first acquired by Axios news website, asserts that “it just isn’t true” that Democratic support for Israel will come at an electoral cost. 

The group argues that a series of misleading polls has caused Democratic elected officials to become more tepid in their support for the Jewish state. 

To bolster its claims, DMFI points to a poll conducted by the New York Times in May which revealed that only 2 percent of voters cite Israel, Palestinians, Hamas, or Gaza as their most important issue. Nonetheless, the Times tried to exaggerate the extent to which voters care about the Israel-Hamas war by highlighting the 5 percent of voters who cite foreign policy as their biggest issue, according to DMFI. However, these 5 percent of voters did not identify if the war in Gaza is their major foreign policy concern.

The group also points out a Harvard-Harris poll from April which showed that Americans overwhelmingly side with Israel in its ongoing war effort. Eighty percent of Americans support Israel and only 20 percent back Hamas, the poll revealed.

DMFI also suggests that Israel’s ongoing military offensive against Hamas has not had a noticeable impact on President Joe Biden’s national standing. According to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight, the president’s approval rating on Oct. 7of last year stood at 39.6 percent, and on April 23 last month, his approval stood at 40 percent. The same poll reveals that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s lead over Joe Biden did not grow over the same time period. 

DMFI president Mark Mellman told Axios that anti-Israel activists represent a small fringe of the American electorate. 

“People sometimes mistake volume for percentage, and the fact that some people are very loud doesn’t make them the majority. … It doesn’t even make them a substantial minority,” Mellman said.

The group’s efforts to reach out to Democrats come on the heels of a high-pressure effort by left-wing groups to force the Democratic establishment to stop supporting Israel. Anti-Israel organizations have organized efforts to encourage voters in Democratic primaries to vote “uncommitted” in lieu of voting for Biden. Moreover, nearly every appearance by Biden in recent months has been marked by the presence of scores of angry anti-Israel protesters

The relationship between Democratic politicians and the Jewish state has significantly soured in the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 slaughter of over 1,200 people in southern Israel. High-profile Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) have suggested that Israel is committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) signed onto a letter urging Biden to pause weapons shipments to Israel. Biden vowed to stop arms deliveries to Israel if the Israeli army attempts to dismantle the remaining Hamas battalions within the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, expressing concern about the prospect of civilian casualties during such an offensive.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

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‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know

Anti-Israel protesters outside Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City, April 22, 2024. Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

When producers from the New York Times podcast “The Daily” posted on social media looking for “Jewish students who represent a range of feelings and experiences, from being enthusiastically pro Palestinian to enthusiastically pro Israel, and everything in between,” I replied, “This is a trap! They’ll use the ‘pro-Palestinian’ (the polite term they use for the ones who want to wipe Israel off the map) ones to make it sound like the Jewish community is divided and give listeners the illusion that the anti-Israel protests aren’t antisemitic.”

Sure enough, the Times podcast episode that finally aired, headlined, “The Campus Protesters Explain Themselves,” included three students.

Mustafa Yowell, of Irving, Texas, said his mother was from “Nablus, Palestine” and described himself as a Palestinian Arab. He’s a student at the University of Texas, Austin who complained to the Times that “two IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers had infiltrated the campus.” By “IDF soldiers” he meant Israeli students at the university who had, like many Israelis, served in the army before college.

The second student interviewed, Elisha Baker, a student at Columbia University, described himself as a proud Zionist and a graduate of Jewish day school.

And the third student, Jasmine Jolly, a student at Cal Poly Humboldt, described herself as the daughter of a Catholic father and “of Ashkenazi descent on my mom’s side.” Jolly showed up at protests with a sign that said “in honor of my Jewish ancestors, I stand with Palestine.” Jolly also chanted “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

“There’s nothing that has come across to me as antisemitic if you are able to pause and remember that Israel is not Jewish people and Zionism is not Jewish people,” Jolly explained to the Times audience.

Jolly read an email from her Jewish grandfather claiming, “Israel is an increasingly apartheid state.”

This is just such a misleading view of reality on campus and in American Jewish life. Even polls like Pew that use an expansive definition of who is Jewish find overwhelming Jewish support for Israel and negligible support for Hamas, including among younger Jews 18 to 34.

In reality, a lot of the anti-Israel protesters aren’t even Palestinians; they are European or Asian students or white or black Americans who either have been brainwashed by their professors or who have underlying, pre-existing antisemitic attitudes. Few of them have been to the Middle East and many of them are ignorant about basic facts about it — remember the Wall Street Journal piece, “From Which River to Which Sea?

“The Daily” episode made it crisply concrete, with the Times representing Jews as being split 50-50, with one normative Jew and one Jew chanting “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.” That’s ridiculous, yet a similar approach contaminates other Times coverage of the Jewish community, misleadlingly portraying American Jewry as deeply divided rather than unified around the goals of getting the hostages back, eliminating the threat of Hamas, and making American college campuses safe for Jewish students.

The Times was at this game well before Oct. 7, 2023, proclaiming “the unraveling of American Zionism” and trotting out old chestnuts such as the Reform movement’s Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 and the New York Times‘ favorite Jew, Peter Beinart.

I find myself rolling my eyes at such depictions, but there is clearly some audience for them among the Times readership and top editorial ranks. The Times executive editor, Joe Kahn, told Semafor’s Ben Smith in a May interview, “I’m not an active Jew.” Maybe the New York Times can sell sweatshirts: “Inactive Jew.” Who, exactly, is supposed to find that distinction between “active” and “inactive” Jews reassuring? Maybe they can put it on top of the front page in place of “All the News That’s Fit to Print”: “Edited by someone who wants the public to know he’s not an active Jew.”

Of all the moments to choose to distance oneself publicly from the Jewish people, this is sure quite one to choose.

This “Daily” episode seems calculated to appeal to the inactive Jews, and to others who want justification to believe it’s not antisemitic to set up on Passover and falsely accuse Israel of genocide. It’s nice for the Times to include a Zionist voice on the program, but he wound up sandwiched in between a Palestinian and an “only one solution, intifada revolution” person. It’s fairly typical for the New York Times these days, but it isn’t pretty.

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. He also writes at

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