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September 29, 2014

To Slam Israel, a New York Times Op-Ed Deceives Its Readers

Was a famous Israeli comedian fired because she said she felt bad about innocent Palestinian deaths during the recent round of fighting between Hamas and Israel? That’s what The New York Times would have you believe.

A recent Op-Ed in that newspaper seeks to convince Americans that Israel is engaged in “aggressive silencing of anyone who voices disapproval of Israeli policies or expresses empathy with Palestinians.? Yes, such hyperbole from the Israeli political fringe is not uncommon in the pages of The Times. After all, this is the same newspaper that has cited as a credible source an activist who openly celebrated the death of Israelis.

And yes, the larger idea that Israelis can’t speak their minds is absurd. As CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal points out, dissent is alive and well in Israel, perhaps more so than in most other countries.

But what about the comedian? Here’s how the New York Times Op-Ed contributor, Mairav Zonszein, put it: “In an interview during the Gaza war, the popular comedian Orna Banai said she felt terrible that Palestinian women and children were being killed — she was subsequently fired from her position as spokeswoman for an Israeli cruise ship operator.?

The cause and the effect are plain for all to see. Banai was fired because she feels bad about the loss of innocent Palestinian lives. Israelis don't tolerate dissent, or even empathy.

Except it is not true, and New York Times readers are being severely misled. The cruise ship operator, Mano, announced it would no longer use Banai in its advertisements on July 20. This was only after the comedian made controversial and insulting statements aimed at her fellow Israelis, which went far beyond mere expressions of sympathy for innocent Palestinian casualties.

Banai said she would not join those who said “let the IDF win? in its operation to put a stop to Palestinian rockets. More insultingly to the average Israeli, to whom Mano intended her to sell cruise tickets, the comedian said that “most? people in her country are “driven by hatred and narrow-mindedness,? and expressed shame at being a part of the people of Israel.

A few days later, as the Palestinian rockets continued to rain down on Israel, Mano announced on Facebook that it would no longer be using Banai. The first sentence of the announcement seemed to be a direct response to Banai’s damaging expression of embarrassment and her equivocation about an IDF victory. “We wish all residents of Israel, which we are so proud and happy to be a part of, better and quieter days.?

It’s beyond the scope of this piece to comment on whether Mano should have severed its relationship with the comedian. But of course it makes perfect sense from a marketing perspective. And it seems obvious that it was marketing, and not any “silencing of dissent,? that drove the cruise operator’s decision.

But the bigger issue isn't marketing but media. The New York Times has severely misled its readers by concealing Banai’s more controversial statements and pretending empathy for Palestinian civilians was what got her fired. They owe readers an apology, and a clarification.

Posted by GI at September 29, 2014 05:22 PM


You were expecting the truth? This is the NY Times afterall.

Posted by: Robin at September 30, 2014 10:40 PM

Beyond obvious that the NY Times has become a cesspool of biased, unethical, and fundamentally dishonest bashing of Israel.

The people writing there now are a disgrace to the once-noble tradition of this newspaper and should be ashamed of themselves for promulgating such racist trash.

Posted by: John Jaffe at October 2, 2014 04:51 PM

I have never read such garbage as that the NY Times is now spouting in a flood of pure pro-Islamic anti-semitic rage. Ever notice how people filled with hate are the most likely to go flying off into the clouds with any thought true or untrue that makes their point? They have been conditioned by their couch therapists to believe that if they have such angst it must be someone elses fault. Hence "I feel bad for the Palestinians" ergo Israel must be destroyed. That's about how deep the writers on staff at the NY Times are expected to go. I do not believe they will change. they are like a bunch of monkeys and if you contradict them with facts they might stick their pen in your eye. Let them rattle their cage sooner or later they will consume themselves, because at heart they are cannibals. Trying to have a discussion with these "journalists" can only be counter productive by suggesting they are capable of having a discussion, next you will hold out they hope they are capable of learning.

Posted by: jeb stuart at October 4, 2014 07:38 AM

And once again the new York slimes live up to their reputation

Posted by: Jon Peer at October 5, 2014 01:12 AM

On July 4, 2010, NY Times columnist Nick Kristof
announced his "\surprise" that Israel had been
telling the truth, and there was no human rights
catastrophe in Gaza,even as there were widespread charges of disastrous public malnutrition. That was itt--"surrprise". No apology to the public for having misled the readership. No apology to Israel for having helped demonize that country falsely for a period of years. No explanation of how he was
duped by Leftist NGOs(let's be realistic)into
pritic unvetted and inaccurate propaganda. No
identification of those sources, although their dishonesty should rule out Kristof protecting them. Just "surprise".

For 4 years, I wrote to Kristof himself, to the letters editor, the public editor, and anyone else
I could think of, to no avail. Finally a few months ago the Times printed a critique based on the above, piggy-backed on another issue,
but no explanation from Kristof as to how he permitted the contamination of his column. That
vital information never appeared.

Posted by: arcaneone at October 26, 2014 07:34 AM

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