Creeping anti-Semitism in the New York Times

By all counts, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu received more than two dozen standing ovations during his address to a joint session of Congress.  When he entered the House chamber, the first standing ovation lasted more than two minutes.

So what accounts for this super-warm reception for the Israeli leader by lawmakers of both parties?

Could it be that they genuinely believe that Israel shares America's deepest social and political values?  That Israel is the only true, functioning democracy in the Middle East?  That  Arabs enjoy greater rights in Israel than in any Arab nation?  That their ovations reflected the views of U.S. voters, who consistently tell pollsters -- by margins exceeding 70 percent -- that they want the U.S. to support and side with the Jewish state?  Or that, in their hearty welcome and applause for Netanyahu, they simply echoed the feelings of constituents in their own districts or states?

Any or all of these reasons for the thunderous ovations in the House chamber sound fairly plausible.  But that's not how the New York Times accounted for the Netanyahu-Congress love-fest?  Not even close.

In a May 25 article, national correspondent Helene Cooper and Jerusalem bureau chief Ethan Bronner write that the lawmakers appeared eager to demonstrate their support for Israel "as part of an effort to secure backing "from one of the country's most powerful constituencies, American Jews."  ("Netanyahu Gives No Ground in Congress Speech" page A6).

So it's not out of conviction or the views of their constituents that they embraced Netanyahu.  It's because Jews in the United States are so transcendently powerful that they can force lawmakers to do their bidding.

This goes well beyond journalistic cynicism.  This alleged overweening power wielded by Jews is but the latest version of age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy tales that Jews are secret Rasputins with the power to effectively dominate entire societies.

It's the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" redux -- a 19th Century tsarist forget that depicted a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

The Times, in more polite tones but substantively at one with such anti-Semitic conspiracy libels, wants readers to believe that American Jews constitute "one of the country's most powerful constituencies" and that it's their extraordinary power that accounts for all the applause and standing ovations Netanyahu received from a compliant and obedient Congress..

What is so telling about this institutional view at the Times of Jews wielding such great power is that all the editors who read and edited the Cooper-Bronner article before it was put into print nodded their approval as well for this not-so-subtle anti-Semitic poison.
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