Adam Rubenstein, the New York Times editor who signed off on Senator Tom Cotton’s fascistic op-ed calling for US military troops to be deployed against protesters in American streets, is an anti-Palestinian activist.
Four years ago as a student at Kenyon College in Ohio, Rubenstein attacked Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and guest speaker Remi Kanazi.
He claimed that the presence of Kanazi, a published poet and a popular campus performer, “is part of a focus-grouped and incubated hatred, which is intellectualized, digitized and repeated ad nauseum. SJP targets you as the consumer for that hatred.”
Railing against the call for Palestinian rights as an anti-Semitic plot, Rubenstein asserted that the organizers who brought Kanazi to campus were engaged in a “twisted game of delegitimizing and demonizing Israel.”
SJP and Kanazi both support equal rights for Palestinians and Israeli Jews. Nevertheless, Rubenstein asserted that “Kanazi is a radical who preaches hate.”
After college, and prior to moving to The Times, Rubenstein worked for Bill Kristol’s now-defunct Weekly Standard.
The neoconservative Kristol was one of the main cheerleaders for the US invasion of Iraq.
Senator Cotton personally participated in the invasion and came away so psychologically broken that years later he could conclude that the horrors inflicted by the US military on the people of Iraq ought to be tried at home.
Jeet Heer of The Nation notes that Cotton’s connection to The Weekly Standard via Rubenstein “helped Cotton with the latest caper: publishing an op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday calling for the use of the American military to quell rioters against police violence.”
New York Times staffers are claiming that the Cotton op-ed “was handled” by Rubenstein and that several other staff “had not been aware of the article before it was published.”
But the fact remains that editorial page editor James Bennet – whose anti-Palestinian racism The Electronic Intifada highlighted last month – claims he himself didn’t even bother to read the piece prior to publication.
While Bennet might not be expected to always read every single op-ed prior to publication, it is extraordinary that he would not be involved in such an explosive article from a high-profile politician at such a sensitive moment. At the very least, this points to woefully inadequate and incompetent control.
Weiss ludicrously charged that those objecting to Cotton’s article believe that the “right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech.”
This is rich coming from someone who got her start as a campaigner to get Palestinian professors fired from her campus just because she didn’t like them speaking accurately about Israel’s history and abuses of Palestinians.
Now this anti-Palestinian bigot and crusader against academic freedom and freedom of thought is preening as a defender of free speech – but primarily for far-right-wing speakers, including a senator who wants to unleash the might of the US army on people protesting racialized police brutality.
In a recent article, I wondered if there was any limit to the anti-Palestinian racism of The New York Times. It appears that James Bennet has given his answer: As well as imperiling Palestinians, the newspaper adds incitement to endanger the lives of Black people and other activists protesting racist police killings.
James Bennet resigned Sunday.
Following publication of this story on Friday, now former New York Times op-ed editor Jim Dao tweeted the following evening: “I oversaw the acceptance and review of the Cotton op-ed. None of this is on @rubensteinadam. The fault here should be directed at the @nytopinion leadership team and not at an intrepid and highly competent junior staffer.”
This is different from the reporting on the matter by The Times which The Electronic Intifada cited. The Times article stated that editorial department staffers said the op-ed was “handled” by Adam Rubenstein. The article was later stealth edited to say Rubenstein “edited” it rather than “handled” it.
I wrote to the op-ed page on Friday prior to posting this article to request information on which editors were involved in publication and never heard back.
The Electronic Intifada stands by the story of Rubenstein’s involvement – as does The New York Times. As of Monday morning, The Times has issued no correction to its reporting of last Thursday.
Rubenstein’s anti-Palestinian activism also remains a fact. Tips sent to The Electronic Intifada following publication noted that Rubenstein interned at AIPAC. He was considered by AIPAC to be a “progressive” voice for falsely contending that Israel has “an amazing record maintaining rights for their minorities.”