The New York Times's Israel Problem

(Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
January 3, 2024

There was a time when liberal journalists said the New York Times was too nice to Israel. They can't make that mistake anymore.

Since Hamas attacked the Jewish state on October 7, the Times has committed to running false and demeaning coverage about Israel. Hours after terrorists began the siege that left 1,200 dead, the Times rushed to humanize the terrorists with a puff piece.

"Gaza Has Suffered Under 16-Year Blockade" aimed to educate readers about why some Gazans saw Hamas's rapes, murders, and kidnappings as a "justified response" against Israel:

The Palestinian territory of Gaza has been under a suffocating Israeli blockade, backed by Egypt, since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007. The blockade restricts the import of goods, including electronic and computer equipment, that could be used to make weapons and prevents most people from leaving the territory.

More than two million Palestinians live in Gaza. The tiny, crowded coastal enclave has a nearly 50 percent unemployment rate, and Gaza's living conditions, health system and infrastructure have all deteriorated under the blockade.

Rather than feature pictures and stories about the innocents killed and taken hostage, the front pages of the Times on October 8 and 9 featured Hamas fighters bulldozing a border fence and firing rockets into Israel.

When a hospital explosion rocked Gaza City, the Times was one of several mainstream media outlets that rushed to blame Israel for the explosion. But the Gray Lady didn't just echo the false claim: It relied on Hamas as its primary source.

After it became clear that the rocket was fired by Gaza-based terrorists, the Times issued an editor's note admitting that it "relied too heavily on claims by Hamas." But even after making that admission, the Times went back to blaming Israel:

The Times's finding does not answer what actually did cause the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital blast, or who is responsible. The contention by Israeli and American intelligence agencies that a failed Palestinian rocket launch is to blame remains plausible. But the Times analysis does cast doubt on one of the most publicized pieces of evidence that Israeli officials have used to make their case and complicates the straightforward narrative they have put forth.

By November, as fighting reached Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, many mainstream media outlets, including CNN, took seriously the evidence that Hamas used the hospital as a military base. Not the Times, which claimed Israel had "stormed" the hospital and turned it into a "death zone."

When Israel later that month struck a deal to swap Hamas prisoners for innocent hostages, the Times expressed sympathy for the terrorists. The paper profiled Israa Jaabees, a "disfigured woman" who the piece heavily implied was a victim. The Times did not mention that Jaabees was disfigured in an attempted suicide bombing.

For good measure, the Times has an odd habit of hiring staffers, writers, and freelancers who traffic in anti-Semitism, including a freelancer who praised Hitler.

Nor does the Gray Lady appear to be slowing down. Following the deaths of three Hamas hostages, the paper suggested that Israel's resistance to a ceasefire that would empower Hamas was to blame:

Now, the actions of the Israeli soldiers who killed hostages, rather than rescue them, may give even more impetus to those who argue that the intense military campaign, with its bombing and street fighting, is endangering those still held captive, as well as bringing Israel into disrepute.

That the Hamas terrorists who took the Israelis hostage to begin with could be to blame is lost on the Times. But isn't it always.