Mondoweiss / March 24, 2022
For the past 52 days, senior New York Times editors have been squirming. Finally, they had to mention Amnesty International’s report that Israel practices “apartheid.”
For the past 52 days, senior editors at The New York Times have been squirming. The paper’s refusal to write about Amnesty International’s landmark report that found that Israel practices “apartheid” has prompted growing criticism and contempt — not least because Times reporters continue to cite Amnesty’s views about human rights violations in other countries, seven times so far in this month alone.
The Amnesty apartheid finding prompted widespread public debate, including refutations from the Israel lobby, but The Times could not report any of it because it had ignored the original story. The Times columnist Bret Stephens, who normally leaps to Israel’s defense, also had to keep quiet.
The Times’s news blackout sparked blistering criticism, from this site and others. Top editors must have realized that the paper needed a way to smuggle mentions of the Amnesty report into print without admitting its journalistic malpractice over nearly 2 entire months. Today, it finally made its move.
Jerusalem bureau chief Patrick Kingsley used another apartheid report, this one by United Nations special rapporteur Michael Lynk, to finally slip Amnesty International into his paper. Kingsley wrote that Lynk, a distinguished Canadian law professor appointed by the U.N.’s Human Rights Council, had “accused Israel of committing the crime of apartheid in the occupied territories.” He quickly summarized Lynk’s finding, gave Israel’s foreign ministry and other critics a chance to respond — and then, right at the end, mentioned briefly that Amnesty, among others, had produced a “similar” report.
Kingsley’s article today is only 13 paragraphs long. It only appeared online, not in the print edition. It did not summarize the Amnesty report, nor include a link to it.
And meanwhile, simultaneously, the paper in a different article cited Amnesty International Australia, once again proving that it considers the human rights organization a valuable source — for everywhere outside of Israel/Palestine.
The Times can now technically deny that it has blacked out the Amnesty International “apartheid” finding. What it can’t plausibly deny is that this site, and others in the global movement for human rights in Israel/Palestine, have finally shamed it into action, even if today’s correction is grudging and half-hearted.
James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large