fbpx

Our Front in the War: Fighting Against Media

Israel’s struggle for existence is not only threatened by bullets but also by bias.  
[additional-authors]
October 11, 2023
artisteer/Getty Images

In 1948, as Israel fought its War of Independence, another front of the war erupted: The battle to win public opinion. Abba Eban, one of Israel’s bravest warriors, entered the battle in New York at the United Nations. There, he argued and defended the infant Jewish state against the vast majority of world governments. Over the course of his career, Eban taught us an important lesson: Israel’s struggle for existence is not only threatened by bullets but also by bias.  

As Israel suffered a brutal surprise attack at the hands of Hamas militants, as more than 700 Israelis have been murdered, thousands wounded, and hundreds taken hostage, more battlefronts have emerged. Hezbollah’s rockets rain down across the northern border. The Palestinian representatives defend Hamas at the United Nations.  Israel is engaged in many different battlefronts.  Yesterday morning, a front emerged for us as well.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. What is The New York Times trying to convey with its disproportionate representation of Israel as aggressor?

On Sunday, October 8th, The New York Times “Morning Edition” ran an article titled “Good Morning. After a surprise assault, Israel says it is at war with Gaza.” While the text reads as accurate, the only photo is a destroyed building in Gaza. On their homepage, under the article “Israel Battles Militants as Netanyahu Warns of Long War,” the three rotating images are rockets from Gaza intercepted by Iron Dome, Israeli soldiers in a tank, and the destruction in Gaza from an Israeli airstrike. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. What is The New York Times trying to convey with its disproportionate representation of Israel as aggressor?

We are watching the media intentionally undermine Israel’s right to defend herself from the outset. Where are the myriads of images of the inhumanity and horror perpetrated by Hamas?

This morning, The LA Times ran a front page headline: “Israel, Hamas toll rises over 1,100,” as if there is a moral equivalence. We are watching the media intentionally undermine Israel’s right to defend herself from the outset. Where are the myriads of images of the inhumanity and horror perpetrated by Hamas?

Hamas committed egregious war crimes against the Jewish People. My family – including my children – have been flooded with gruesome, shocking images of civilians slaughtered, women and children kidnapped, Palestinian celebrations over dead Israeli bodies.  Do these images of Israel’s suffering invalidate the agenda of The New York Times? Do the images weaken the media’s absurd agenda of moral equivalence? When The New York Times selected an anti-Israel photo to accompany its story about the invasion and attack on Israel’s most vulnerable, in this moment, in so many ways, it feels like a declaration that it has selected sides in this battle between good and evil.  

The New York Times has benefited from an industry that has spent years reporting on Israel’s flaws and predicting Israel’s demise. As it shrinks in revenue and relevance, it has clutched onto this core principle. Deriding Israel must be good for selling its stories. Fighting back against the media and insisting upon its honest representation of the war is a moral imperative for the Jewish People. 

We can’t fight Hamas for Israel.  That battle remains for the Israel Defense Forces.  But, we must engage in the anti-Israel front in New York today.  As Abba Eban taught us, we must speak up.  What can we do?  We can flood the email box of nytnews@nytimes.com with feedback. Then, we can cancel our subscriptions.

With boundless choices of news options, please consider supporting one that does not choose again and again to contemptuously insult Israel. Please consider subscribing to Israeli news sources such as Jerusalem Post, Haaretz or Times of Israel. There is a difference between criticism of Israel and undermining its case.

While we might lack the eloquent inspiration of Abba Eban, this moment demands that we each speak up as our own best Abba Eban. We cannot allow mistruths and underhanded misleading reports to remain unchallenged. We must take action. The American media sets the table for the international media. It’s that crucially important. That’s why the American media is our front. We must not accept defeat.


Rabbi Nolan Lebovitz is the senior rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino, CA. A Fulbright Scholar, Lebovitz spent time last year studying at Bar Ilan University in Israel. He wrote and directed two documentaries: “Roadmap Genesis” in 2015, and “Roadmap Jerusalem” in 2018.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Are We Going to Stop for Lunch?

So far, the American Jewish community has been exceptional in its support for Israel. But there is a long road ahead, and the question remains: will we continue with this support?

EXCLUSIVE: Inside Hollywood’s “Meeting of the Masters” Brunch

Guy Shalem’s Meeting of the Masters is more than just a dinner club; it’s a testament to the power of food, conversation, and community in bringing people together and creating a space where everyone, regardless of background or belief, can find common ground and friendship.

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.