The New York Times was caught stealth-editing a report that suggested progressive lawmakers struggled to vote against funding Israel‘s Iron Dome amid pressure from “powerful” rabbis and lobbyists after the paper was criticized on social media for the story’s original framing.
On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly voted in favor of providing $1 billion towards Israel’s defense system after the Democratic “Squad” had initially stripped the funding from the larger spending bill, sparking backlash from the more moderate wing of the party.
The bill, which received strong bipartisan support in a 420-9 vote, was dramatic until the very end as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. changed her vote from “no” to “present,” a decision which apparently caused her to shed tears on the House floor. Her “Squad” colleagues like Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., voted against the financial aid towards Israel.
However, a report published by the Times documenting the turmoil among the Democrats offered a peculiar description of how conflicted the progressives felt when casting their votes.
“Minutes before the vote closed, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tearfully huddled with her allies before switching her vote to ‘present.’ The tableau underscored how wrenching the vote was for even outspoken progressives, who have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party, such as influential lobbyists and rabbis,” Times congressional correspondent Catie Edmondson initially wrote.
That paragraph raised eyebrows among critics on social media.
“.@nytimes frames the #IronDome vote as pitting ‘principles’—-the honorable goal of Israeli civilians getting murdered by Hamas—and the raw naked power of the evil Jew Lobby. Including rabbis! It’s that bad!” journalist Gary Weiss reacted.
“97% of the members of Congress supported a resolution to fund the #IronDome because it saves lives. But the @nytimes wants people to believe it was a tough call, between *principles* & *powerful lobbyists* What a sick way to frame the issue of protecting civilians from missiles,” Joel M. Petlin, a contributor to the Jewish newspaper The Forward, reacted.
“I do think most #Jews find it offensive – if not outright #antisemtic – to frame #rabbis as coercive conspiring emotional blackmailers into true belief – @AOC can make up her own mind – do better @nytimes,” Dr. Sara Yael Hirschhorn, a visiting assistant Israeli Studies professor at Northwestern University, scolded the Times.
“When rabbis identifying antisemitism are “powerful pro-Israel voices” but hateful bigotry is “principle,” the @nytimes has gone the way of Izvestia & Der Sturmer,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken of the Coalition for Jewish Values tweeted, referring to the Soviet Union and Nazi propaganda newspapers.
“‘caught’ between their principles and, uh, powerful jews?” Washington Examiner commentator Becket Adams asked.
“Rabbis made AOC cry,” National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote.
“NYT would like us to feel sympathy for tearful @AOC. That pressure from ‘powerful pro-Israel voices and rabbis’ must have been hard for her to bear. But probably more bearable than a direct hit from a Hamas rocket on your family without any defense,” Michael Dickson of the pro-Israel group StandWithUs wrote.
“Times editor forgot to take out the open antisemitism. Whoops!” Jerusalem Post correspondent Lahav Harkov exclaimed.
After Twitter backlash, the paragraph was later changed to simply read, “The tableau underscored how wrenching the vote was for even outspoken progressives, who have been caught between their principles and the still powerful pro-Israel voices in their party.”
There was no editor’s note or official retraction listed on the article to document the change. However, there was a correction listed for an error that accidentally misstated the final vote as “490 to 9” instead of 420 to 9.
The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last week, the Times was similarly caught stealth-editing a report involving the Hunter Biden laptop story, scrubbing the word “unsubstantiated” that was initially used to describe the New York Post’s reporting.
The Times spokesperson told Fox News after the laptop story, “We regularly edit web stories—especially breaking news stories—to refine the story, add new information, additional context or analysis. This story was completely revised to incorporate the news regarding Snapchat.”
When asked if the Times regrets calling the Hunter Biden laptop reporting “unsubstantiated,” the spokesperson did not comment.