The anti-Palestinian bias of the The New York Times has long been a subject of complaint and derision among supporters of human rights and competent journalism.
But the “newspaper of record” outdid itself this week by publishing and promoting an op-ed by Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon claiming that “a national suicide of the Palestinians’ current political and cultural ethos is precisely what is needed for peace.”
Danon argues that a Palestinian “surrender” to Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid “will create the opportunity to transform Palestinian society.”
Danon’s grotesque racism drew much sharp outrage from commentators.
One of them, UCLA professor Saree Makdisi, tweeted, “Imagine The New York Times publishing a piece asking what’s wrong with Blacks, Latinx, Native American or any other community abjectly surrendering to racism, inequality and oppression.”
“This special treatment is reserved for Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular,” Makdisi added.
Though the Times’ anti-Palestinian record predates their hiring by decades, it is no surprise to see such an execrable piece published in 2019 when the newspaper’s op-ed staff and columnists include Bari Weiss, who as a student mounted campaigns to ruin the careers of Arab and Muslim professors for daring to criticize Israel, and Bret Stephens who has his own lengthy Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian record.
As for Danon’s demand that Palestinians surrender, it could well have come from one of the leaders of apartheid South Africa in the 1980s and have been directed at Nelson Mandela.
After all, the racist regime in Pretoria, just like its racist counterpart occupying Jerusalem today, held overwhelming, seemingly insurmountable power over its subject population.
Yet just as Black South Africans proved a generation ago, and Palestinians are showing again, oppressed peoples have their own insurmountable power: the power to say “no” to the oppressor, the power to refuse to become partners and collaborators in their own eradication.
Israel’s demand that Palestinians recognize its supposed “right to exist as a Jewish state” is a demand that Palestinians bless and approve their own oppression and dispossession – it’s precisely the surrender that Danny Danon yearns for.
But as I’ve noted previously, this demand is an admission of weakness on Israel’s part: it’s an acknowledgment that the Zionist project and the racist, apartheid state it produced, can never be legitimized or achieve stability without the consent of its victims: the Palestinians.
In that context, the Trump administration’s Bahrain conference going on this week, as well as its supposedly forthcoming Deal of the Century, are yet more efforts to bribe, bully and blackmail Palestinians into surrendering their basic human and political rights.
But Palestinians have not surrendered despite all the atrocities Israel has committed and commits against them.
And op-eds using genocidal terminology in The New York Times will not bring them to their knees either.