Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, New York Times opinion editor Bari Weiss not only complained about the media and her own paper’s tendency to pander to what excites the Twittersphere, but she also called out her fellow left-wingers who have been tolerant of anti-Semitism.
She and fellow liberal Krystal Ball, formerly of MSNBC, got into a heated debate as Ball proved that, in spite of her recent criticism of MSNBC, she is has not become more moderate as she claimed that “apartheid” exists in Israel and praised the far-left Green New Deal environmental plan.
Setting up a discussion of her new book, How to Fight Anti-Semitism, Maher recalled that Jews have been attacked from both extreme right and left wings, and that Weiss had suggested that anti-Semitism has become more tolerated in American politics. The Times writer began by invoking European anti-Semitism, including that of British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and then turned to American politics as she added:
My fear is that that sort of thing could be happening in the Democratic party, and I see that in, you know, the Squad … where some members of the Squad support the BDS movement against Israel which seeks nothing less but elimination of the Jewish state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
In Weiss’s book, she not only takes aim at far-right anti-Semitism, but she also devotes a substantial portion to the anti-Semitic factions of the left wing, plus the left’s tendency to cover not only for anti-Semitism on their own side, but also that of radical Muslims whom she blamed for most of the anti-Semitic hate crimes in Europe.
She also points out that, while Nazi Germany’s mass murder of Jews gets the attention it deserves, the Soviet Union’s similar mass murder of its Jewish population and promotion of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world tend to be ignored in modern American education.
Turning back to the Real Time panel segment, Ball eventually jumped in and complained that the discussion between Maher and Weiss had focused on the left’s anti-Semitism as she declared: “What concerns me is this whole conversation focused on some comments that were off color from a few freshman members of Congress when we have an entire alt-right online violent movement.”
As Ball and Weiss went back and forth, Weiss seemed to forget about radical Muslim terrorism as she suggested that anyone who would walk into a room and murder Jews would certainly be right-wingers, Maher jumped in to point out that it makes little sense to omit the death toll from the 9/11 attacks and only count terrorist attacks since September 12, 2001.
Ball referred to Israel as “an unacceptable apartheid state” as she concluded her comments.
There was also a discussion of Weiss’s problems with Twitter’s influence on the media and politics generally:
I believe if all of the journalists who work for the New York Times — and frankly every other paper in this country — got off Twitter for six months, we would see a wildly different and improved way of covering the news. … And it’s not just journalists, it’s politicians. I was talking to chief of staff of a popular congresswoman, and he was talking about how all of the staffs of all of these politicians literally just look at Twitter, look at the reaction, and just calibrate what the politician’s going to say based on that immediate response.
And the same thing, I think, is happening in journalism, which is that we’re looking to what enrages readers, and, frankly, if you’re a normal human being, you don’t want to step into a mine field … but that is the problem is because we have just this immediate media response, I fear that it’s sort of corrupting the work we do.
A while back, Weiss was notably critical of journalists who pounced on the Covington kids and portrayed them as aggressors without first taking the time to learn the context of the infamous edited video clip that circulated on Twitter.