The New York Times published an opinion piece this week suggesting that the millennia-old Hebrew language represents “far-right Israeli militarism,” drawing ire from Jewish organizations and advocacy groups.
Titled “Yiddish Is Having a Moment,” the Sept. 2 essay by Ilan Stavans focused on the “miraculous” survival of Yiddish, once the vernacular of Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe.
Stavans wrote in part: “Hebrew, which officially became the national language of the state of Israel in 1948, is spoken by about nine million people around the world. For some, the language symbolizes far-right Israeli militarism.”
The HonestReporting media watchdog group accused the Times of Jew-hatred.
“Singling out and maligning the language of the world’s only Jewish state (that’s spoken across the political spectrum) is antisemitic,” the organization charged in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Gilead Ini, a researcher at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), pointed out that the Grey Lady has published numerous articles that condemned anti-Arabic prejudices.
“The newspaper and its writers know exactly what to think of those who recoil at hearing Arabic,” wrote Ini, adding: “They might want to self-reflect on they sound so much more sympathetic to other prejudices.”
“When did [the Times] become anti-Jewish poison?” posited veteran Israeli journalist and JNS columnist Caroline Glick on X.
“I mean, they were always bad. They hid the Holocaust, demeaned Jewish immigrants to the U.S. and were always anti-Israel. But when did they begin a policy of actively inventing and disseminating mind-bendingly hateful slanders?” Glick asked.
Hebrew, the language of the Bible, has been spoken by Jews for thousands of years before being revived as the official language of the modern Jewish state.