Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan sent a scathing letter to the executive editor of The New York Times, Joseph Kahn, on Wednesday, accusing the newspaper of overt anti-Israel bias.
In the letter, Erdan pointed to asymmetry in The Times' coverage of Israel, from opinion columns to news stories, calling it “disgraceful.” Erdan backed his claims by presenting statistics from a study by Israel’s Bar-Ilan University during the course of 2022.
The study found there were 361 articles focused on Israel published last year, most of which were disparaging and branded Israel a human rights violator. The study showed that the number of opinion columns condemning Israel was almost double the number of columns condemning Iran, despite nationwide protests against the Islamic regime for its oppression and lethal brutality.
Erdan also noted that, in 2022, “The Times published only four negative articles about Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad combined,” referring to three terrorist organizations that are active in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.
As an example of bias, Erdan mentioned that two-thirds of The Times’ headlines pertaining to journalist fatalities in 2022 were dedicated to slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
“While this was a tragic incident, why were the deaths of the 64 other journalists killed around the globe in 2022 so insignificant to your publication?” he asked. The ambassador accused Kahn of omitting details and distorting the reality on the ground.
“The cornerstones of journalism ethics are truth, accuracy and objectivity – values that, when it comes to Israel, The Times deliberately refuses to uphold. When The New York Times chooses to demonize Israel, the very least professional journalism demands is that the reader be exposed to the whole story in order to formulate an unbiased opinion. Yet when The Times reports Israel’s actions with nearly non-existent context, it actively contributes to warping the truth.”
“Due to your whitewashing of Palestinian terror and the propagation of half-truths, your readers are hardly aware of these jihadist organizations’ existence, let alone the constant threat they pose to Israel,” Erdan stressed.
“In the future, if Israel is again forced to defend itself against indiscriminate Palestinian rocket fire on our home front, whether from Gaza or Lebanon, your readership will unknowingly infer that Israel is the aggressor, despite the exact opposite being true. Through this deceitful coverage, The Times not only twists the truth, but also incentivizes terrorism,” he said.
The Israeli ambassador also mentioned the rising anti-Semitism in the United States, partially blaming The New York Times for its contribution to it.
“Much of today’s violent Jew-hatred takes the form of Israel-hatred,” Erdan argued. “And part of the blame for this growing bigotry lays on your shoulders. The New York Times’ libelous narratives are actively contributing to the growing hatred of my country, and as a result, your publication plays a role in endangering Jews around the globe.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.