NYT Editor Who Sent Anti-Semitic Tweets Says Cotton Op-ed Endangers Blacks

The New York Times building on 8th Avenue / Getty Images
June 4, 2020

A New York Times editor who was forced to delete and apologize for anti-Semitic statements is expressing concern that the paper’s publication of an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) puts black lives at risk.

Newsletters editor Tom Wright-Piersanti retweeted the NewsGuild of New York union's statement criticizing the Times for Cotton's op-ed, which calls for the military to quell violent uprisings in American cities. Wright-Piersanti also retweeted a message shared by dozens of Times staffers and editors about the piece: "Running this put Black @nytimes staffers in danger."

Wright-Piersanti apologized last August after Breitbart exposed tweets he sent in 2009 and 2010 referring disparagingly to Jews. In one, he wrote, "I was going to say ‘Crappy Jew Year,’ but one of my resolutions is to be less anti-Semitic. So… HAPPY Jew Year. You Jews." In another, he referred to the "Jew-police." New York City experienced a record number of hate crimes against Jews in 2019 and its most since 1992.

He also deleted tweets where he said he hated "mohawk Indians" and "Indians with mohawks."

Wright-Piersanti has only six tweets on his profile, and five of them are retweets. None of them weighed in on the Times decision last year to publish an anti-Semitic cartoon portraying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a seeing-eye dog for President Donald Trump. He did not reply to a request for comment.

Cotton's op-ed set off an uproar at the Times and prompted a tweetstorm from editorial page editor James Bennet to explain why he published it. He noted the newspaper's liberal editorial board had "forcefully defended" the protests and criticized the use of force against them. The Times also published a news article about its own newspaper's internal strife over the op-ed.

"It is not unusual for right-leaning opinion articles in The Times to attract criticism," reporter Marc Tracy wrote.

The Times has also published op-eds by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and deputy Taliban leader S

Cotton has been a U.S. senator since 2015 and is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.