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New York Times Unloads Immense New ‘1619-Project’-Style Attack on Israel

A boy walks home in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kida, Aug. 31, 2010. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias

The New York Times has unveiled a new, 1619-Project-style attack on Israel — an error-ridden, overwrought, extensively hyped, self-referential, self-congratulatory, and super-long article.

Like the 1619 Project, this latest article comes with a catchy, short headline: “The Unpunished.”

Like the 1619 Project, this project is a product of the New York Times Magazine.

And like the 1619 Project, it comes with an introduction and display text that overstates and oversimplifies its claims: “How Extremists Took Over Israel” and “After 50 years of failure to stop violence and terrorism against Palestinians by Jewish ultranationalists, lawlessness has become the law.” Not to mention: “This story is told in three parts. The first documents the unequal system of justice that grew around Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank. The second shows how extremists targeted not only Palestinians but also Israeli officials trying to make peace. The third explores how this movement gained control of the state itself. Taken together, they tell the story of how a radical ideology moved from the fringes to the heart of Israeli political power.”

The Times article itself is so mind-numbingly long that the newspaper published a Cliffs-Notes-style summary of it that unfortunately isn’t much help, either.

The summary complains about what it calls a “two-tier situation” in which West Bank Arabs face military law while Israeli citizens there “are treated according to the civil law of the State of Israel.” Yet nearly all countries, including the United States, distinguish between citizens and non-citizens in their legal system. The Times, in all its many words, doesn’t explain why or how the distinctions Israel makes are different or worse or unjustified given the extraordinary and unusual violent terrorist threat the country faces from Arabs opposed to its existence and determined to eradicate the Jewish presence there.

The paper also claims that, “in the West Bank, a new generation of ultranationalists has taken an even more radical turn against the very notion of a democratic Israeli state. Their objective is to tear down Israel’s institutions and to establish ‘Jewish rule’: anointing a king, building a temple in place of the Jerusalem mosques sacred to Muslims worldwide, imposing a religious regime on all Jews.”

That’s a sweeping over-generalization. Jews have prayed since the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in ancient times for its rebuilding, speedily and in our days, as part of the messianic redemption. That hasn’t been a threat to anyone.

Many West Bank residents, as the Times itself has acknowledged frequently, are both “secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews” who “moved there largely for cheaper housing.” The New York Times reported in February 2023 about “religious right-wingers,” residents of Efrat in the West Bank, who “have become a visible presence at weekly anti-government protests in Tel Aviv, a bastion of secular and liberal Israelis.” It described them as “more liberal-minded religious Zionists, who support a more pluralist approach to Jewish life and a more tolerant approach to Palestinians, even while still opposing Palestinian sovereignty.” That level of nuance and complexity is absent from the summary of the latest Times investigation, rendering it inaccurate and misleading.

The full Times article is no better. The Times asks, “How did a young nation turn so quickly on its own democratic ideals, and at what price? Any meaningful answer to these questions has to take into account how a half-century of lawless behavior that went largely unpunished propelled a radical form of ultranationalism to the center of Israeli politics.”

There is a passing, brief acknowledgement that “many Israelis who moved to the West Bank did so for reasons other than ideology, and among the settlers, there is a large majority who aren’t involved in violence or other illegal acts against Palestinians.” Yet the Times‘ focus is relentlessly on the extremists, distorting the reality.

The language the Times chooses to use echoes the debate over civil rights for black Americans. “Two separate and unequal systems of justice: one for Jews and another for Palestinians.”

The Times mischaracterizes Jewish history. “While the Zionism of the earlier period was largely secular and socialist, the new settlers believed they were advancing God’s agenda,” the Times claims. “Largely” is not “exclusively.” Some of the earlier Zionists also believed they were advancing God’s agenda. To the First Zionist Congress in 1897, Rabbi Samuel Mohilever sent a message, quoted in Gil Troy’s The Zionist Ideas, saying “the resettlement of our country … is one of the fundamental commandments of our Torah.” Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence begins by stating that “the Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious, and political identity was shaped.” The document adds, “It will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.”

The Times also mischaracterizes Palestinian history. It refers to a mayor of Nablus, Bassam Shaka, as among “prominent Palestinian figures,” without mentioning that he was a supporter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) when it was a terrorist group and was jailed by Jordan as a member of the Syrian Baath Party — as was reported earlier by the Times itself.

The Times is unremittingly pessimistic. It quotes a former Shin Bet director, Ami Ayalon, saying, “We are not discussing Jewish terrorism. We are discussing the failure of Israel.” Yet Israel has not failed. It is a nuclear power with a strong economy, loyal and patriotic citizens, and strong support from the US Congress. Every year, tens of thousands of Jews from around the world voluntarily choose to leave countries such as France and the United States and move to Israel.

The Times is so negative that it manages to attack Israelis for planting trees. A photo with the article has a cutline that says, “Settlers planting trees near an illegal settlement called Mitzpe Yair, in the South Hebron hills, as a way of claiming territory.”

The Times predictably blames Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for inviting extremists into his coalition. “Netanyahu, who is now on trial for bribery and other corruption charges, repeatedly failed in his attempts to form a coalition after most of the parties announced that they were no longer willing to join him. He personally involved himself in negotiations to ally Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power party and Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism Party, making them kingmakers for anyone trying to form a coalition government. In November 2022, the bet paid off: With the now-critical support of the extreme right, Netanyahu returned to office.”

Yet Netanyahu also wooed Arab and centrist parties. Indeed, Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid refusing to join a Netanyahu-led coalition also turned Ben-Gvir and Smotrich into kingmakers. The political situation is such that nearly anyone who wanted could have been a kingmaker.

The Times reports, “Shin Bet had monitored Ben-Gvir in the years after Yitzhak Rabin’s murder, and he was arrested on multiple charges including inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization. He won acquittals or dismissals in some of the cases, but he was also convicted several times and served time in prison.” Ironically, the arrests, convictions, and prison time undercut the whole Times narrative about “a sometimes criminal nationalistic movement that has been allowed to operate with impunity.” It’s not “impunity” if there are arrests, convictions, and imprisonment. And if there’s no possibility of acquittal or dismissal, then that’s not due process or the rule of law, either.

The errors are compounded in the Times‘ “The Morning” newsletter, which explains, “Some geographical background: Mark and Ronen’s story focuses on the West Bank, which, like Gaza, is a Palestinian territory that Israel occupies.” Declaring the West Bank “a Palestinian territory that Israel occupies” denies that Jews have lived in places such as Hebron for thousands of years and that the Jewish people have longstanding historical and religious ties to the place — the West Bank literally includes Judea. The newsletter also refers to “Israel’s endorsement of settler lawlessness,” which goes beyond even the magazine article in falsely claiming an official Israeli government endorsement of violent crime.

The Times promotes this series with a video featuring New York Times magazine reporter Ronen Bergman, the Nikole Hannah-Jones of this adventure when it comes to self-regard. Text on the screen says, “How Israel Became Radicalized” and has Bergman stating, “What is happening in the West Bank is a total separation of two sets of law, one for Jews, one for the local Palestinians.”

Bergman makes much in the video about how “what is unique in the story we are publishing in the magazine, the New York Times,” is that the material is “almost in its entirety coming from Israeli officials … the professionals, in the defense establishment, and the intelligence community.” This is ironic, because the claim comes after the Times, in fine print, credits video provided by B’Tselem, a far-left Israeli human rights group that gets nearly half its funding from outside Israel, including from the UN, the European Union, and the Ford Foundation. Somehow Bergman doesn’t have the juice with the defense establishment to get video footage and needs to rely on B’Tselem?

Anyway, the claim that this is in any way “unique” is nonsense. Israel’s version of WASPs — white, Ashkenazi sabras with protektzia — have disdain for religious Jews, for West Bank settlers, and for Netanyahu. They’ve tried to undercut Likud prime ministers with leaks to friendly New York Times journalists dating back to the Begin days. Bergman has been the mouthpiece of those Israeli defense establishment types to the New York Times dating back to 2016, at least.

Nor is it unique that the Times would attack Israel in wartime by trying to falsely depict its government as being captured by extremists who, if anything, have in fact been largely sidelined since Oct. 7, 2023. Netanyahu has consistently not given them what they ask for. They aren’t in the war cabinet, not even as observers. Nor is it unique for the Times to try to define the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank as the main problem in the Middle East rather than, say, other problems such as Islamist, Iranian, and Arab extremism, corruption, antisemitism, and rejection of Israel’s right to exist.

None of this is to say that there are not some bad apples among Israel’s West Bank settlers or that Israel has sometimes struggled with policing the West Bank. Yet criminal justice in America is imperfect, too, and criminal justice in the Palestinian Authority amounts to paying official government stipends to the families of terrorists. So why the relentless focus on Israel’s shortcomings?

Just as the 1619 project monocausally blamed racist white slave owners for everything in American history, including the American Revolution, the Times wants to claim that a handful of extremist West Bank settlers explain all of Israel’s problems, and that Israel explains all of the Middle East’s problems. That is deceptive. It leaves out plenty of important factors, including, but not limited to, the Obama-Biden incorrect conviction that paying off Iran and surrendering in Afghanistan and Syria would make America or Israel safer, the State Department-Israeli left’s incorrect conviction that peace could be successfully negotiated and kept with the PLO, and the majority of the Israeli public’s correct understanding that their security couldn’t be assured by Antony Blinken or Martin Indyk absent vast changes in Arab society.

The problem is, if you make more limited claims for the importance of the settler story, it becomes much harder to justify the immense investment of reader and reporter and editor time, space, and money to devote to it. Call it the 1619 paradox. The more excessive the space and years devoted to a New York Times investigative project, the more hyperbolically excessive will be the author’s claims for its importance, and the less likely they are to be empirically true. Or, to put it simply, the bigger a New York Times investigative project, the less likely it is to give a reader an accurate understanding of the real world.

“Unpunished,” sadly, is whichever Times editor had the poor judgment to greenlight this overly ambitious and fatally flawed project. Punished, sadly, will be any Times readers or future Pulitzer Prize jurors unfortunate enough to waste any of their time reading it.

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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Why No One Mourns Iran’s Dead President

Former Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a meeting with the cabinet in Tehran, Iran, January 19, 2023. Photo: Presidential Website/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

The strange tale of our times is that Ebrahim Raisi — coincidentally — could not escape justice. He was responsible for a signature machine that executed at least 5,000 prisoners and opponents — reported to be 10,000 or more — in the 1980s, along with a host of other crimes during his four decades within the Iranian Shiite establishment.

Amidst the chaos of the news that Raisi’s helicopter had crashed, the Iranian media gradually mentioned that it was an accident. Of course, no signs of emotion or prejudice were seen on Supreme Leader Khamenei’s face. It is now believed that the helicopter may have exploded, and that its GPS malfunctioned. Regardless, Raisi’s death was announced and, according to religious propaganda, the government’s propaganda machine declared him a martyr — which is absurd.

The news of his death brought joy to the survivors of the 1980s murders, and to the families who have been killed and executed in these last three years under his presidency, or reign of terror.

What will happen next is anyone’s guess — though there’s likely to be no visible change at the moment. The clerical regime in Iran fears nation-wide protests by the dissatisfied and oppressed population, who might openly express their joy or distribute candy. There is a huge rift between the Iranian people and the crisis-stricken government, and the balance could be disrupted at any moment.

Interestingly, the pro-regime reformists outdid the conservatives in mourning Raisi’s death. Former president Khatami, who had previously written a eulogy for Asadollah Lajevardi — a notorious criminal of the infamous Evin prison — wrote a heartfelt condolence for Raisi.

Although the mullahs’ regime in Tehran still commits murders, their regime of death and terror is losing its base of power more and more each day. Gradually, both internally and internationally, society has invalidated the Islamic Republic.

Since the rise of the mullahs to power in 1979, Iran has been emptied of identity and authenticity, and has become closer to the Arabian Age of Ignorance in Islam’s emergence. The hostility and vendetta of the clerics against the history and culture of Iran is undeniable. But the culture of hatred, prejudice, mourning, ignorance, and stupidity of the clerics does not — and has not — stood against the high value of Iranian culture.

The Shiite Islamic caliphate is an unpleasant phenomenon in Iranian history that, in 45 years, has reintroduced the sword of barbarism — opening a new chapter of death, bloodshed, and destruction in the historical records.

After 1979, which was a collective suicide of a nation and a deceptive revolution, a destructive and bloodthirsty mullah came to power. And without any conservatism or discretion, it must be said that the 1979 uproar was actually a terrorist riot by Khomeini, a masterpiece of stupidity that has rarely occurred in the history of revolts and revolutions. The Iranian nation became a lab for fanatic leaders that have led a nation to the brink of destruction. The deceptive title of the republic was initially a trick, but it has actually become the Islamic caliphate of the rule of the jurist.

Still, the rebellious and defiant Iranian people — who don’t accept this theocratic and tyrannical rule — are seeking a regime change that would send the mullahs into the mire of history. They have suffered 45 years of frustration, hopelessness, confusion, clean loss, broken helm — and after 45 years of disastrous existence, they prefer an honorable government to lead them forward.

After the death and removal of Raisi, the mafia regime may turn to moderate conservatives who might quickly hold a sham election — or perhaps the government will give up on participation. Still, Khamenei needs an obedient and compliant person.

Eventually Khamenei — one of the bloodthirsty villains of this century — will go. But Raisi’s name was recorded as a criminal executioner in contemporary Iranian history. No human being who believes in humanity is praying for his forgiveness.

In the pages of history, the mullahs in Tehran will leave memories of blood, death, executions, injustice, theft, violence, and warmongering. But the terrible fall of the disaster-stricken country of Iran is also not far from the imagination. Iran might lose much more in the mullahs’ gamble.

Erfan Fard is a counterterrorism analyst and Middle East Studies researcher based in Washington, DC. Twitter@EQFARD.

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University of Michigan Clears Pro-Hamas Encampment

In the early morning hours on May 21, 2024, police cleared a tent encampment set up by an anti-Zionist group at the University of Michigan. Photo: Dave Boucher via Reuters Connect

The University of Michigan on Tuesday morning cleared a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” with the help of law enforcement, the school’s president, Santa Ono, has confirmed.

The action followed a nearly month-long occupation of The Diag section of campus by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) — an anti-Zionist group — during which both students and non-students destroyed school property, disrupted university business, and amassed outside the homes of school officials.

An inspection of the encampment by the local fire marshal prompted the university to quell the demonstration as soon as possible, Ono said on Tuesday. The marshal determined that SAFE’s “overloading power sources” and “using open flames” after repeatedly being told not to do so could have started a fire that resulted in “catastrophic loss of life.”

Police struggled to gain compliance with their order to vacate the area, according to footage of their engagement with the protesters which emerged on social media. After police approached the encampment clad in riot gear, the protesters began chanting and, locking arms with one another, tensing up for a fight. In response, the officers deployed pepper spray and began dismantling their tents. At least one non-student was arrested for assaulting an officer.

“Moving forward, individuals will be welcome to protest as they always have at the University of Michigan, so long as those protests don’t violate the rights of others and are consistent with university policies meant to ensure the safety of our community,” Ono said in Tuesday’s statement. “To be clear, there is no place for violence or intimidation at the University of Michigan. Such behavior will not be tolerated, and individuals will be held accountable.”

He added, “We must find productive ways to engage with one another. We must leverage facts and reason in a spirit of open debate and find ways to work toward solutions. If we can manage to do that here — a place that is home to some of the most brilliant minds in the country — then our state, nation, and world will continue to benefit from the diverse perspectives that our university brings together on the most important issues of our day.”

Following the clearing of the encampment, SAFE alleged that law enforcement had “brutalized” the protesters and announced a new demonstration outside the Washtenaw County Jail, where the arrested protesters are being processed.

“Please meet us there,” the group said.

The University of Michigan is one of over 100 schools where anti-Zionists took over sections of campus and refused to leave unless school administrators agreed to condemn and boycott Israel. Footage of the demonstrations has shown the protesters chanting in support of Hamas, calling for the destruction of Israel, and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus. In many cases, they lambasted the US and Western civilization more broadly.

In the past three weeks, law enforcement has cleared encampments at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and George Washington University, among other schools.

In some instances, faculty — dozens of whom attached themselves to the demonstrations — attempted to prevent police from restoring order, resulting in their arrest. That happened, for example, at Emory University in Atlanta, where economics professor Caroline Fohlin intervened to stop the arrest of a student. In response, officers tackled her to the ground while she said repeatedly, “I’m a professor!” Meanwhile, at Northeastern University in Boston, professors formed a human barrier around a student encampment to stop it from being dismantled by officers, and at the University of Texas at Austin, members of the group Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine called for the resignation of their president, Jay Hartzell, because he requested police assistance.

Mass participation of faculty in pro-Hamas demonstrations marks an inflection point in American history, according to Asaf Romirowsky, an expert on the Middle East and executive director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.

Since the 1960s, he told The Algemeiner earlier this month, far-left “scholar activists” have gradually seized control of the higher education system, tailoring admissions processes and the curricula to foster ideological radicalism and conformity, which students then carry with them into careers in government, law, corporate America, and education. This system, he concluded, must be challenged.

“The cost of trading scholarship for political propagandizing has been a zeal and pride among faculty who esteem and cheer terrorism, a historical development which is quite telling and indicative of the evolution of the Marxist ideology which has been seeping into the academy since the 1960s,” Romirowsky said. “The message is very clear to all of us who are looking on from the outside at this, and institutions have to begin drawing a red line. The protests are not about free speech. They are about supporting terrorism, about calling for a genocide of Jews.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Top Advisor to Mahmoud Abbas: ‘Oct. 7 Can Repeat Itself 100 Times … Perhaps Even More Seriously’

PA President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during a meeting in Ramallah, in the West Bank August 18, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/Pool

In an interview three days ago, a top Palestinian Authority (PA) official and advisor to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas — Mahmoud Al-Habbash — threatened Israel that “Oct. 7 can repeat itself 100 times, and perhaps even more seriously.”

Al-Habbash envisions the murder of 1,000 innocent Israeli civilians — babies, children, youth, women, men, and the elderly — more than 100 times. He vows that hundreds/thousands more Israeli women will be brutally raped, and Israeli men will be sadistically killed. He said that 100 more times, 240 innocent Israeli civilians will be taken captive and held hostage for months.

This will happen “if the Palestinian cause will not be justly, comprehensively, and permanently resolved … on the basis of the UN resolutions”:

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Advisor on Religious Affairs and Islamic Relations Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “If the Palestinian cause will not be justly, comprehensively, and permanently resolved, at least on the basis of international legitimacy, at least on the basis of the UN resolutions, then Oct. 7 can repeat itself 100 times, and perhaps even more seriously.”

[Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Facebook page, May 18, 2024]

PA leaders have repeated that they “only” want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital — but Palestinian Media Watch has documented numerous times that they tell their own people that they really want all of the State of Israel — from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition, the “UN resolutions” that the PA demands fulfilled include UN Resolution 194.

UN Resolution 194 includes the words “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so.”

While this was not totally impossible in December 1948 — when the resolution passed — today, it would mean the destruction of Israel. With 5.9 million people that UNRWA recognizes as “refugees,” UN 194 is the PA’s recipe for the end of Israel.

In fact, the PA’s insistence that all 5.9 million UNRWA “refugees” immigrate to Israel is their way of seeking Israel’s destruction under the umbrella of a UN resolution.

 The author is a senior analyst at Palestinian Media Watch, where a version of this article was originally published.

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