Jewish Voice For Peace Helps New Yorkers Imagine A More Balanced New York Times
Published in partnership with MintPress News.
NEW YORK — Big Apple commuters may have been a bit bewildered by the headlines in their morning copies of The New York Times on Tuesday.
The New York chapter of Jewish Voice For Peace, a progressive Jewish group opposed to Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians, collaborated with local group Jews Say No! to create a parody edition of the Times. They distributed over 10,000 copies of the free “special edition” of the newspaper to New York transit customers on Feb. 2.
The Times has been criticized for its support of Zionism, including overlooking Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians and attacking the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to put economic pressure on Israel to end its apartheid policies.
The parody edition prominently featured a story claiming the Editorial Board was “Rethinking Israel-Palestine.” It read, in part:
Having met for the past several months with leaders of Palestinian and Jewish peace organizations, our editorial staff recognizes that accusations of bias have been well-founded. For example, it has come to our attention that during the period of September-October 2015, eighteen headlines depicted Palestinians, while none depicted Israelis, as instigators of violence. Our news stories referred to Palestinian violence 36 times and Israeli violence only once. We used the word “terrorist” to describe Palestinians 42 times, but only once to describe an Israeli.
The spoof supplement also included coverage of a Palestinian village receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and a report that Congress would soon debate whether to continue providing foreign aid to Israel.
The story on Congress begins: “As Congress resumes discussions about spending on defense and foreign assistance, vocal disagreement over aid to Israel continues.” But, in reality, Congress frequently votes unanimously to support Israel’s war crimes, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the media last month that his nation, which received over $3.1 billion in military aid from the U.S. in 2015, is close to sealing a deal for even more aid over the next decade.
On Wednesday, Jane Hirschmann, an organizer from Jews Say No!, told Democracy Now! that she hoped the parody paper would expose readers to the pro-Israel bias throughout the mainstream media:
The media bias is extraordinary. And months ago, we came together to discuss: What can we do about this, the fact that the coverage never has any context to what’s going on in Israel and Palestine? People are not aware that there’s a 67-year occupation, that they’re not two equal peoples. The press—and it’s not just The New York Times, it’s really all the press. They always typecast the Palestinians as the terrorists, and the poor Israelis are the victims. And we felt that the time had come to really put out the news, the real news, about it.
Watch “Jewish Peace Groups Reveal Role in Spoof New York Times That Criticized Paper’s Stance on Israel” on Democracy Now!:
Donna Nevel, another member of Jews Say No!, told Salon she edited the paper because she wanted to expose the stories obscured by that media bias:
Our goal in creating this paper was to make visible the need for reporting that addresses, rather than hides, the realities of Israeli apartheid and that is responsible and accurate in its coverage of conditions in Palestine and Israel.
The paper’s designer, JVP-NY member Sarah Sills, agreed:
The Palestinian story is not told … The media is incredibly biased in favor of Israel and I wanted to participate in creating a paper that would help rectify this egregious imbalance.
Watch “All the News We Didn’t Print: New York Times Parody Edition” From Jewish Voice For Peace: