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:
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.