A few days ago, the New York Times ran the following ad in its print edition:
After the usual thrill of seeing my name in print, my reaction was concern. This is the 21st century. These advertisers are either in their dotage, or running out of money. The whole production reeks of cheap. Terrible graphics, terrible fonts, terrible choice of medium; it seems to come with built-in smudge. The verdict may be harsh, but it’s quite sincere.
Ten years ago, this sort of thing might have been cause for alarm; now it reveals the pitiable state of Israel’s friends. As for the text, the hysteria is palpable. The tiny number of people who will take this seriously need help.
But what about the New York Times, which ran the ad? I sent them this:
To Whom It May Concern:
On or about April 23rd, you ran an ad on your op-ed page, A21. (I cannot give the date because I have seen only a scan of the ad, not its place in the paper.) The ad referred to ‘…Michael Neumann, of Trent University who has said that the “core” of Israel’s ideology is Nazism.’
It’s not just that I never said any such thing. (One online extract from my book was called “The Core of Zionism”, and can be found at https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/01/26/the-core-of-zionism/. It never so much as mentions the Nazis.) It is also that I have repeatedly and explicitly distanced myself from any such comparisons.
“I intend to trace the ravages of ethnic nationalism, not by any means to make Zionists into Nazis. It is entirely unnecessary to take this false step, which would obscure rather than clarify the repellent aspects of Zionism.” https://www.counterpunch.org/2009/10/14/fearsome-words/
“In what follows I will from time to time compare the position of Jews to the position of Germans in the Nazi era and afterwards.
This is in no way an attempt to say that the Israelis either are Nazis, or are as bad as the Nazis. I have never at any time made such claims, and never will.” http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JustPeaceUK/message/6960
So the statement in the ad is not only false; it contradicts my own publicly available pronouncements.
The Times is responsible for propagating this defamatory statement about me. It should acknowledge this state of affairs.
I was not disappointed to receive no response of any kind, and no doubt you would have thought me naïve to expect anything else. The only disappointing aspect of this is that we no longer expect the Times to give a shit about the truth.
Michael Neumann is a professor of philosophy at Trent University in Ontario, Canada. Professor Neumann’s views are not to be taken as those of his university. His book What’s Left: Radical Politics and the Radical Psyche is published by Broadview Press. He contributed the essay, “What is Anti-Semitism”, to CounterPunch’s book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. His latest book is The Case Against Israel. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org