Violent Attack On LA Synagogue Downplayed By New York Times

The New York Times is facing criticism for its portrayal of a violent protest outside a Los Angeles synagogue, accused of minimizing the severity of the attack by pro-Hamas demonstrators. Journalists Jill Cowan and Jonathan Wolfe devoted much of their article to discussing the right to protest rather than the violence inflicted on Jewish worshippers.

The protest in LA’s Jewish enclave, marked by the use of bear spray and chants of “Intifada!,” was reported differently by the Los Angeles Times, which included these critical details. The incident prompted swift condemnation from leaders like President Biden, who stated, “Intimidating Jewish congregants is dangerous, unconscionable, antisemitic, and un-American.”

Pro-Palestinian groups defended their actions, arguing that protesting at a synagogue was not inherently antisemitic. The protest specifically targeted a real estate fair at Adas Torah synagogue. Code Pink, an antiwar group supporting the demonstration, criticized Biden’s response as a mischaracterization.

Rabbi Dovid Revah disputed claims that the synagogue’s event promoted illegal land sales and expressed doubts about hosting similar events in the future. Meanwhile, the NYT’s coverage seemed to gloss over the violence, focusing instead on abstract discussions about the right to protest.

The Los Angeles Times provided a more comprehensive account, noting that police officers tried to prevent protesters from entering the synagogue and describing the use of bear spray, which caused significant distress among Jewish attendees.

The differing accounts highlight the controversy over media coverage of violent protests and the need for accurate, detailed reporting on such incidents.