By Rabbi Benjamin Blech,
This time the New York Times really outdid itself.
If there were an award for hypocrisy, the hands-down winner should clearly be the paper which has long regarded itself as “the newspaper of record.” Within the span of just a few months, the Times editorial board took heated and diametrically opposed positions on the identical issue – the only difference being whether an accommodation was being made for the religious sensitivities of Muslims or of Orthodox Jews.
This past February, when the city of Toronto allowed for women-only sessions at a public pool at specific hours at the behest of Muslim residents, the Times was delighted. Although it was a story from across the border, the editorial writers of the newspaper gushed at this beautiful demonstration of “community integration.” This was a “model of inclusion.” Here was Canada showing us how citizens with differing views of modesty and morality could be extended the courtesy of understanding and the consideration of a policy which would be willing to extend community benefits to all at the cost of minimal sacrifice. The pool might not be open to everybody at all times, but everybody could find some times to enjoy a publicly funded recreation.
So religious accommodation, the Times effusively affirmed is a good thing even if, just like any accommodation, it requires a little compromise. But remarkably enough that is not the way they saw it at all when the ideal was now offered as justification for Orthodox Jews having a few hours during the week set aside at a municipal pool in Brooklyn for women whose religious scruples prevent them from swimming together with men.
Suddenly the former defendants of inclusiveness viewed the matter in a totally different light. This desire on the part of, as it turns out, an exceedingly large number of residents in that particular area of Williamsburg to be true to their traditions of modesty is, according to the New York Times, an affront to “the laws of New York City and the Constitution.” The same Constitution in whose name liberals today so vociferously demand equality for (…) and a host of other “rights” which may upset others it seems according to the interpretation of the Times is unequivocally opposed to granting consideration to Orthodox Jews for their beliefs.
It is a stunning illustration of an attitude exemplified by a classic story: An old Jewish lady sees a gentleman in a long black coat, big beard and black hat on a bus. She goes over to him and says “Why can’t you Hassidim dress a bit more modernly? Why not wear a nice suit and trim your beard so you can look a bit more respectable. This is the 21st century in New York City and you are an embarrassment to all of us.”
The gentleman responds to the lady, “I am not Jewish. I am Amish and I am dressed in accord with the traditions of my people.”
The lady respectfully apologizes. “Please forgive me. I didn’t realize. And by the way I truly admire the way you people have kept your customs.”
Substitute Muslims for Amish and you have the essence of New York Times anti-Semitism. As a liberal newspaper constantly on guard against the slightest indication of the sin of racism or of Islamo-phobia, political correctness rules every article and editorial.
Change the victim, however, from Muslim to Jew or from Arab to Israeli and the perspective suddenly shifts 180°. One can only wonder if this almost incomprehensible insensitivity and abandonment of reason isn’t in some measure due to the fact that the original owners of the Times were Jews – and history has given us more than enough examples of that remarkable phenomenon of self-hating Jews desperately trying to become beloved by denying and disparaging their own identity.
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Image By Jim.henderson – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43222200