Rabbi Richard Block is a leading Reform rabbi and president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. He also describes himself as a “lifelong Democrat” and “a political liberal.”
Despite his liberal credentials, Block has publicly declared he is dropping his New York Times subscription over what he call’s the paper’s “incessant denigration of Israel, a torrent of articles, photographs, and op-ed columns that consistently present the Jewish State in the worst possible light.”
Penning an article in Tablet magazine, Block wrote:
Knowledgeable observers have long assailed the Times lack of objectivity and absence of journalistic integrity in reporting on Israel. My chronic irritation finally morphed into alienation and then to visceral disgust this summer, after Hamas renewed its terrorist assaults upon Israel and the Times launched what can only be described as a campaign to delegitimize the Jewish State.
The rabbi derided the New York Times for its “obsessive focus … on Palestinian civilian casualties, especially children, publishing photos of their corpses and little else, as if they tell the whole story,” when in fact the “whole story” included Hamas digging tunnels “from his nursery to your nursery in order to blow up your home” or to kidnap Israelis.
He further blasted the paper for neglecting to publish photos of Hamas militants launching rockets from next to mosques, a church, a hotel where the international media were staying and UN facilities, and questioned why the Times did not report on threats to journalists which inhibited them “from telling the true, full story.”
Block compiled a long list of article headlines in the paper, whose examples included, “Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats;” “Foreign Correspondents in Israel Complain of Intimidation;” “Israel Braces for War Crimes Inquiries on Gaza;” and “Resisting Nazis, He Saw Need for Israel. Now He Is Its Critic.”
He also cited titles of op-eds which appeared during the summer hostilities such as: “Israel’s Puppy, Tony Blair;” “Israel Has Overreacted to the Threats it Provoked;” “Zionism and Its Discontents” and “Israel’s Colonialism Must End.”
The straw that broke my subscription’s back came on Aug. 19, when Hamas violated yet another truce, sending a fusillade of rockets into Israel. The Wall Street Journal’s headline read, “Gaza Rocket Strikes End Cease Fire.” A U.S. State Department spokesperson condemned the renewed rocket fire, holding Hamas responsible for causing the ceasefire to break down. The Times headline: “Rockets From Gaza and Israeli Response Break Cease-Fire.” Seriously? A newspaper that cannot distinguish between starting a fight and defending oneself is intellectually deficient, morally obtuse, and profoundly unworthy of its readers.
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which tracks anti-Israel bias in the media, in July called out the paper for its headline, “Israel presses air barrage and Hamas strikes back.”
CAMERA said that headline was “completely inverting reality” on what was really occurring in on the ground. The watchdog group currently has a campaign underway to highlight what it calls the paper’s attacks against Israel, which it has likened to Hamas.
Read Block’s full analysis of the Times coverage at Tablet magazine in which he concluded, “I know the Times won’t miss me. The feeling is mutual.”