NY Times Cartoonist says criticism “made through the Jewish propaganda machine”
Reporters in The New York Times (NYT) newsroom could hear the protesters outside on Monday. “Shame on you!” they shouted. Some held signs that accused the newspaper of being anti-Semitic. Others waved American and Israeli flags.
The demonstrators packed Eighth Avenue in New York City in response to a recent cartoon that was baldly anti-Semitic. The image appeared in international editions of The Times last Thursday. It called to mind “a very dark time in Jewish history,” lawyer Alan Dershowitz said at the protest. “I ask myself, how could it have happened?”
That’s what staffers at The Times wanted to know too. In interviews this week, 16 Times staffers described a short-staffed international publication; an opinion section prone to self-inflicted wounds; and an ongoing debate about the newspaper’s biases and blind spots.
They said the episode has prompted embarrassment inside the newspaper. But several staffers said they were impressed by a set of changes that Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger announced on Wednesday.
In an interview with CNN, conducted in Portuguese, Antunes said he was surprised by the outrage. He said he has the “utmost respect” for the Jewish peoples’ past, but said that doesn’t mean they can be “above criticism.”
He claimed that anti-Semitism charges are a misunderstanding “made through the Jewish propaganda machine, which is, anytime there’s criticism it’s because there’s someone anti-Semitic on the other side, and that’s not the case.”
He blamed right-wing figures: “The Jewish right doesn’t want to be criticized, and therefore, when criticized they say ‘We are a persecuted people, we suffered a lot… this is anti-Semitism.’”
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