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Posted in: Anti-Semitism

Published on Nov 01, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

A Swastika is not as Important as a Noose

Politics As usual at Columbia and at The New York Times


DAY TWO AND COUNTING:

So, I scanned my hard copy of the New York Times today and did not find any further or in-depth coverage of the swastika incident at Columbia. Perhaps they plan a huge weekend feature. I have my magnifying glass at the ready.

NEWSFLASH! A CORRECTION.
I have just been told that the New York Times described this incident in their online edition today–not at length, not in any depth, but the swastika has definitely made it onto their radar screen. My informant happens to be my son–and therefore we both agreed that it would be safer and wiser if he sent it to me for a final, maternal inspection. What can I say? I am relieved, my faith redeemed, etc. I look forward to their in-depth hardcopy coverage of the many ways in which Israel and Jews have been demonized on American college campuses.
END CORRECTION

Just when I think I've seen it all–there is always more to see.

I am talking about my favorite newspaper: The even-handed, totally objective, fair-minded, high-stepping Grey Lady aka The New York Times and their unwritten policy about the Jews and Israel.

I know, I know: My standards are impossibly high and to boot, I am allegedly "paranoid" on the subject of the Jews and Israel. That's precisely the word that their managing editor, Bill Keller, used to describe me in a note he sent my way. (I had asked why the Book Review and the paper itself had decided not to review my book about anti-Semitism or to interview me about the issues the book raised or to allow one of their own reporters to continue working on a story about anti-Semitism and the demonization of Israel on college campuses way back in 2003-2004).

Fast forward to 2007. When the noose was found outside Professor Madonna Constantine's door at Columbia University Teacher's College, the Times published not one, not two, but three stories about it with many accompanying photos. As well they should have. As I recall, they may even have published a fourth story exonerating another female professor who was implicated in a rivalry with Professor Constantine.

On October 10, 2007 Sewell Chan wrote a piece titled "Noose Puts Columbia at Center Stage Again." On October 10, 2007, a second article also appeared in their pages, (perhaps only online, I am not clear about this), written by Anahad O'Connor and titled "Hate Crime Investigation at Columbia." On October 11, 2007, a third article, written by Elissa Gootman and Al Baker appeared, titled "Noose on Door at Columbia Prompts Campus Protest."

This morning, in the New York Sun, I read that a "Swastika Is Found at Columbia." The article, written by Sarah Garland, tells us that Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky, of Columbia's Teacher's College, found a swastika painted on her office door. Professor Midlarsky is Jewish and she researches the European Holocaust against the Jews.

I dutifully scanned each and every page of the New York Times's main and metro sections. I held the newspaper up to the light and looked at it in my bathroom mirror (just in case it was written in invisible ink or backwards). I even considered calling upon Harry Potter or Nancy Drew to help me out.

Perhaps the Times is working on a longer story. As well they should. But still: I wonder what they said at their editorial meeting about whether to cover this story or not. When the Times finally does the story I hope they research it fully. Why? I have been told, very confidentially, that similar swastikas have recently appeared on the doors or in the offices of two other Jewish professors at Columbia, both of whom decided to keep it quiet. Perhaps they wanted to demonstrate that their greater loyalty was to the university and not to any "narrow" Jewish interests; perhaps they felt that the media can only make things worse and that publicity might lead to more copy-cat incidents.

I have not been able to confirm these incidents. Perhaps they never happened. But surely, the Paper of Record will get to the bottom of this. And when they do, I will be the first to congratulate them.


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