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NYT Criticized Over Fawning Profile of Rashida Tlaib

The New York Times is being criticized over its fawning profile of Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) that will be published in its Sunday magazine.

The lengthy profile, which was first published on March 3, stated that “Tlaib has been criticized, sometimes viciously, by Republicans and pro-Israel Democrats for calling Israel an ‘apartheid regime,’ and for her support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to end military occupation by exerting economic pressure on Israel” and she has been accused of being antisemitic over ‘her criticism of Israeli policies.’” The article goes onto describe her rise to Congress and how she, as a child, played with Israeli settlers’ children when visiting her grandmother in the West Bank, so she sees “the humanity of people on both sides” of the conflict. The article later claims that the American Jewish community “has begun to fracture” over support for Israel, citing a Jewish Electorate Institute poll saying that “43 percent of Jewish voters under 40 say that Israeli treatment of Palestinians is comparable to racism in the United States, versus 27 percent of those over 64.” The article says there was a “shift” in bipartisan support for Israel after “social media was flooded with testimonials and videos of Israeli airstrikes, which killed nearly 1,500 Palestinian civilians” during the 2014 Gaza War.

Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro tweeted, “This piece is a cornucopia of lies, including the anti-Semitic lie that Israel targets civilians. But that’s no shock. It’s the NYT, which has been pushing this garbage for decades.”

Stop Antisemitism Executive Director Liora Rez said in a statement to the Journal, “Rashida Tlaib claims she’s not antisemitic yet holds Jews and the Jewish nation to standards unlike no one else. Rashida Tlaib claims people only see her as a Palestinian but her social media accounts obsessively focus on the Israel/Palestinian conflict. Rashida Tlaib claims she cares about her family in the ‘West Bank’ but refused to travel to Israel to actually see them. For the New York Times to misrepresent Tlaib’s true anti-Jewish nature is a grave injustice.”

Writer Lilac Sigan tweeted that the Times profile portrays Tlaib as “heroic” and says that she has been called antisemitic, “but fails to explain the reason or magnitude of her hateful stand.” “The marginal fact that Tlaib and this story keep avoiding, is that Palestinian rights are mostly trampled on by Palestinian leadership,” she wrote. “Not by Israel. Therefore focusing on Israel as the major problem of the Palestinians its actually antisemitic.”

Sigan also noted that Palestinians born in Syria and Lebanon are “2nd class citizens” and that the profile wrongly refers to the West Bank as being Palestinian land prior to the Six Day War. “The area was under Turkish rule for 400 years, then under British rule, then captured by Jordan [and] Egypt in 48,” she wrote. “Israel captured it from the capturers when Jordan [and] Egypt tried to annihilate us in 67. [Palestinians] deserve self definition, but the truth is this was never Palestinian land. Why casually change historical facts? The complexity is that the land is no-one’s, the people want self definition, and their leadership strives to erase Israel.”

Sigan also rejected the article’s comparison of Black Lives Matter to the Palestinians, stating: “BLM is not anti-American, whereas Palestinian leadership defines itself as a sworn enemy of Jews, Zionism, and Israel. The comparison is just so twisted. It assumes Israel should embrace its sworn enemies that are out to kill it, and therefore is antisemitic in itself. Bottom line: this story portrays antisemites as heroes, and again – doesn’t describe the true situation.”

Media critic Ira Stoll argued in a March 3 op-ed for The Algemeiner criticized the Times profile for defining BDS as aiming “to end military occupation by exerting economic pressure on Israel.” “In fact, ending ‘military occupation’ is not the goal of the BDS movement, unless one considers all of Israel to be militarily occupied,” Stoll argued. “According to the movement’s official website, it also favors allowing ‘more than 7.25 million Palestinian refugees’ a ‘right to return to their homes.’ That would eradicate Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.”

Stoll also lambasted the Times for citing the Jewish Electorate Institute poll to support its claim that support for Israel among American Jewry is starting to fracture, as he views the poll as “flawed.” “When the 800 ‘Jewish voters’ respondents in the poll were asked ‘what is your present religion, if any?’ only 85 percent of them said they were Jewish,” he wrote. “In addition, the ‘comparable to racism’ question was a split question, meaning it was only asked of 400 of the 800 respondents. Looking at variation between age groups in a question only answered by 400 people total, 15% of whom say their religion is not Jewish, is statistical garbage. The margin of sampling error is so large for such a small sample that it doesn’t generate reliable results.” Stoll acknowledged “the risk that the Democratic left or young American Jews may shift away from Israel” but argued that thus far predictions of the Democrats moving away from Israel has mostly “been hype, not reality — a fringe phenomenon, like Tlaib herself.”

In a March 4 Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) op-ed, Jonathan Tobin contrasted the Times’ Tlaib profile to Representative Ted Deutch’s (D-FL) announcement that he’s going to retire from Congress and head the American Jewish Committee. “With people like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (81), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (82), as well as President Joe Biden (79) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (71), clearly representing the past, Democrats need people such as the 55-year-old Deutch to step up to lead them, lest the party leadership ultimately fall into the hands of the popular and far more youthful champions of the intersectional left, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Tlaib,” Tobin wrote. “In that context, the boost that The Times Magazine gave Tlaib is a clear harbinger of the efforts that progressives (whose numbers make up almost half of the Democratic House caucus, even if the more flamboyant Squad is much smaller), will make to ensure that they seize control of one of the nation’s two dominant parties. “