The one thing you can’t fairly say about the New York Times’ decision to publish “How Israel Silences Dissent”

You may have seen the piece published in the New York Times this past weekend, penned by an American-Israeli named Mairav Zonszein, and titled “How Israel Silences Dissent“. I’m not going to rehearse Zonszein’s claims, or even take issue with them directly. Instead, I just want to talk about “The Truth About Israel and Dissent“, a rebuttal penned by Liel Leibovitz in Tablet.

Leibovitz’s piece is subtitled “The New York Times substitutes a bogus headline for actual reporting,” and that sentence does a pretty good job summarizing his main point. Leibovitz eschews directing his primary criticism at Zonszein and instead takes aim at the Grey Lady. His primary complaint goes something like this:

If the newspaper truly believes Zonszein’s premise, it should push its reporters on the ground to do their jobs and report on these very serious allegations: if Israel has joined the ranks of the world’s most benighted regimes, and is silencing the voices of dissenters, such news ought to be reported not on the op-ed page but on the front page.

Just one problem: Leibovitz appears not to have done any serious research before claiming that this is a topic the Times was only willing (and able) to cover through its opinion page. Here’s one of the first articles that comes up when you search “israel dissent” on nytimes.com:

Israel dissent NYTimes

Listen. There are a lot of reasons to take issue with Zonszein‘s piece. That the New York Times has never asked its reporters to cover this issue isn’t one of them.

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2 thoughts on “The one thing you can’t fairly say about the New York Times’ decision to publish “How Israel Silences Dissent””

  1. There’s a huge difference between private reaction to speech and government restrictions on speech. “How Israel Silences Dissent” has a clear connotation that Israel’s *government* has joined the ranks of Iran, China, etc. Notably, the Times article you cite second does not carry such a misleading title.

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