Some 10,000 copies of a fake, anti-Israel edition of The New York Times were handed out to New Yorkers on Tuesday morning.
Anti-Israel activists handed out the spoof edition across Manhattan, including at Grand Central Station, Penn Station, Times Square and other heavily trafficked landmarks.
The faux Times announces a “new editorial policy” regarding the paper’s coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting that coverage to date has been pro-Israel.
“It has come to our attention that, during the period of September-October 2015, eighteen headlines depicted Palestinians, while none depicted Israelis, as instigators of violence. Our news stories referred to Palestinian violence 36 times and Israeli violence only twice. We used the word ‘terrorist’ to describe Palestinians 42 times, but only once to describe an Israeli.”
The print edition is accompanied by an online version.
“We are aware that a disproportionate number of our news stories in the past year and a half have focused on Israeli government statements and positions or the views of Israeli Jewish citizens; only a small fraction have featured Palestinian speakers, whether officials and advocates or residents who experience the effects of Israeli policies in everyday life. When reporting on victims of violence, we have profiled and named Jewish Israelis more frequently than we have Palestinian victims. Beginning now, we will attempt to redress this and other imbalances,” the pretend announcement read.
The “Corrections” section lists by name the 150 Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces in recent months, most of who were killed while carrying out terror attacks against Israelis, with several dozen being killed during clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
On the front page of the broadsheet, one story tells of Democratic presidential candidate “Hilarity Clifton” abandoning her White House bid in order to head up a women’s non-profit based in Ramallah.
Another “story” reports that the US Congress will reconsider its military aid to Israel, and uses an infographic to illustrate the disparity in aid given to other Middle Eastern countries.
The front page also features several pretend ads, including one for Shalom Cement, a company specializing in building “apartheid walls,” and another for a luxury watch that reads: “The time is now to end Israeli military aid.”
A spokeswoman for the actual New York Times said the paper “objects to this group (or any group’s) attempt to cloak their political views under the banner of The New York Times. We believe strongly that those advocating for political positions are best served by speaking openly, in their own voice,” according to a quote cited by The Independent.
It was not immediately clear who is behind the prank, though it bears many similarities to a 2008 prank by The Yes Men.
The Anti-Defamation League called the prank “deceptive.”
“The diatribe, published anonymously, conveys false facts and themes consistent with anti-Israel advocates and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “We welcome The New York Times objecting to this assault on their brand, and support their belief that ‘those advocating for political positions are best served by speaking openly, in their own voice.’ New Yorkers are sophisticated enough to see that this ‘news’ was not fit to print.”
The genuine New York is often highly critical of Israel in its editorials, last week reprimanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for what it said were his “unfair rebukes” of US Ambassador Dan Shapiro, after the latter expressed concern this week over Israel’s settlement expansion and its policies toward the Palestinians.