Carta aberta ao”The New York Times

João Lemos Esteves
Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa /Lisbon Law School, Alameda da Universidade,
Cidade Universitária, Lisboa, 1649-009 Lisboa (Portugal)
To: Editor of “The New York Times”
620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018.
REGARDING THE ANTI-SEMITIC CARTOON BY ANTONIO:
HATEFUL SPEECH IS WAY MORE SERIOUS THAN YOUR
POLITICAL PLOT AGAINST PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Dear Sir/Madam:
1.My name is João Lemos Esteves and I am writing you from Lisbon,
Portugal, where I teach Law at University of Lisbon. Additionally, I am a
political analyst in two major portuguese newspapers (“SOL” and “i”),
where I comment the main political, economic and social events in the
national and international landscape, with a particular focus on USA, Israel
and european politics.
Before proceeding I would like to add a personal note: I have grown up
reading the “New York Times” (International edition) and “The Times”
was one of main sources for me to learn and develop my skills of english
language. As you can easily infer, for me, “The New York Times” has
always been like the bible of excelent and trustworthy journalism. Until,
the recent months and, specially, this week episodes of anti-Semitism.
2.As a matter of fact, I was very terrified to check in your prestigious and
historic journal the most anti-Semitic cartoon which has ever been
published in a mainstream news outlet. Specially, because you decided to
put in print a cartoon that appeals to every anti-Semitic mantra: the current
political leader of the Jewish nation identified as a dog, a “filthy animal”,
who is manipulated by strange superior international forces – and President
Donald Trump featured as the blind leader of the international zionist
conspiracy, who represents a global threat to people’s future.


That is the core message of nazi propaganda movies aiming to inculcate
anti-Semitic sentiments in the population in order to legitimize their
barbarian, inhuman and murderous program of Jewish people
extermination. The Holocaust is the manifestation and expression of a
devil’s idea which was set up by one of the darkest pages of our collective
(as mankind) history; it is, therefore, quite troublesome that “The New
York Times” embraces the devil in such acritical and disgraceful way. The
cartoon by Antonio is – we must stress this out once again (never is enough
or even sufficient to describe your poor judgment and lack of taste this
time) – one of the darkest episodes ever played by your journal.
3.And it is not as if your system of selecting materials to be published in
your very pages is not very demanding or complex: I have myself sent you
some original articles written by me trying to have the honor and high
privilege to belong to your (overall) glorious history. However, you have
just declined the publication, because – I assume! – I am a portuguese, who
has a foreign perspective on US politics and my rational argumentation just
do not fit into your anti-President Trump narrative. I strongly disagree – for
principle and pragmatic reasons – with this attitude of yours, albeit I can
fully understand it.
What I think it is unbelievable for such a publication which claims (and
with historic credit and own merits to do so) to be the lasting shining torch
of real, true and free journalism is the decision to publish a cartoon, a
satire piece, illustrated by a fellow portuguese, just because it diminuishes
President Donald Trump and the democratically reelected Prime-Minister
of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. In short: if I send you a rational, lenghty
piece showing my arguments (in a rational manner) to explain President
Trump’s decisions from a portuguese-european point of view, to
demonstrate to the american audience how you are dead wrong very often
concerning what is happening in european political landscape – you simply
analyse every word of it or perhaps you dismiss it right away only because
you consider that you should not have a portuguese (or a no-american)
columnist in your pages (which for your progressive fame is not very
flattering).
4.It is a very hard, almost impossible task, to be even worthy of your
attention, let alone to have the privilege to present and explain my thoughts
in the old and seminal “The New York Times”. Notwithstanding,

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concerning a cartoon made by a non-american (a portuguese just as me),
you decided immediately to publish it and throw away every internal
procedure of quality assessment ….again, just due to the elementar fact that
this cartoon mocks President Trump and Israel – the two main targets of
far-left discourse.
Therefore, if only I wrote an article offending President Trump, Christians
and Jews in a Adolf Hitler’s kind of style, I would have gotten a beautiful
front cover highlight in your international edition. This is not the “The New
York Times” I used to appreciate reading; the true “The New York Times”
would have stood against hate speech, not disseminate it. The genuine
“The New York Times” would have celebrated american democracy,
denouncing what in their perspective should be denounced, but never –
ever! – trying to inflame hate in people’s souls, playing with the extremely
dangerous and despicable fire of anti-semitism. Specially, in a time when
we are observing a new wave of anti-semistism rising here in Europe: in
France, jewish cemiteries and synagogues are under threat; in Belgium,
Carnival celebrations and jokes were used as a device to spread anti￾Semitic messages; in Germany, there are members of Bundestag (the
german Congress) who are openly anti-Semitic and Nazi sympathizers.
5.Here in Portugal, anti-Semitism is disguised with the anti-zionism flag,
propagated by far-left parties. In reality, the author of the anti-Semitic
cartoon which you considered funny and appropriated to be in your
international edition is a supporter of far-left agenda here in my country.
Let me be clear: as far as I am concerned, the far-left should be represented
– as every political ideology and convictions – in the public sphere,
including in mainstream media. The point is not that; the relevant point
here is that it seems the current “The New York Times” ONLY embraces
far-left views, seeking to lead USA democracy to a chaotic atmosphere, so
divisive, so unstable which would eventually culminate with President
Trump’s deposition.
With all the due respect for your work and professional ethics, your
political bias and fanatism is a betrayal of “The New York Times” legacy
of democracy, freedom, tolerance and rejection of any form of hate speech.
The “New York Times” of the good old times , which accomplished to
become a symbol of freedom of press and speech, would have never


published a cartoon which mobilizes every nazi’s anti-Semitic pieces of
propaganda.
6.Your words and the propaganda you decided to embrace in order to
leverage radical left in the political arena has consequences. Regretably, the
publication of the anti-Semitic cartoon by Antonio coincides with the
horrific shooting motivated by hate against Jews in San Diego, California,
which resulted in a death of an innocent life. Shortly after, Rabi Ysroel
Goldstein declared that the community will never surrender to hate and
violence; on the contrary, they will always stand up against any kind of
bigotry (and, just out of curiosity, Rabi Goldstein said he received a very
warm and niece phone cal by President Donald Trump, expressing his
condolencies and solidarity in this painful moment – information which
your paper omitted from readers…). So should do the “New York Times”,
according to your social responsability.
The author of the shooting in California was a 19 years old young man,
who most likely has never read about the faith and the fate of Jews
throghout the ages, but knew for sure the persisting bias against the Jewish
people. He has certainly read the infamous conspiracy theories targeting
Jewish people and how they supposedly are engineering na insidious plan
to conquer and master the world – therefore, every problem of mankind
must bear on jews. And, unbeknown to us, this young man decided to
spread terror against Jews who just wished to pray to God.
Unfortunately, these conspiracy theories entered in the public sphere, as a
widely credible idea adopted by so many, just because the violent far-left
has absorbed far-right political narratives. By the way, Antonio – the author
of the cartoon which you adored – is a supporter of “Bloco de Esquerda”
(Far-left Bloc), a portuguese far-left party which follows David Duke (the
leader of the despicable KKK) and his standings on Israel and Jewish
people. So, does the “The New York Times” want to be associated with
these radical fellows? If your answer is affirmative, then you are not worth
of the journal’s outstanding and most valuable history. Please, never forget
that anti-Semitism is a devil that never dies, as Daniel Goldhagen pointed
out so accurately.
7.Freedom of press can not be a justification for the ressurrection of “Jud
Süß”, a monstruous nazi german motion picture, from 1940, produced and


directed at behest of Joseph Goebbels, the nazi propaganda Minister. The
elements of the most anti-semitic movie of all times are present in
Antonio’s cartoon: the objective was to dehumanize Jews, treating them as
animals. Ridiculing the Jewish people and the Jewish nation.
Today, more than ever, it is crucial to remember Justice Ruth Bader
Ginsburg words of strong condemnation of anti-Semitism during her
confirmation hearing and throughout her tenure in the bench of the United
States Supreme Court; or the unforgettable testimony of bravery , legal
wisdom and civic virtues by Justice Felix Frankfurter or Justice Louis
Brandeis – Jewish, strong defenders of Jewish people and dedicated and
honorable American patriots. And these former two, were proud New
Yorkers as well.
8.In short: in matters of moral judgment and decency, one can not have a
double standard – one for the political adversaries; and other – quiet
different! – for political friends and beloveds. For a journal, as yours,
which (unjustly) tries, at every cost, to paint President Trump as a racist or
a xenophobe – we, your readers, were expectating to read a strong
statement of disapproval concerning Representative Ilhan Omar’s anti￾Semitic and pro-BDS (a terrorist organization and a true franchise of death
and bigotry – never forget this on behalf of Justice and Truth) tropes.
Up to this date, you have just done the right opposite: you have been
protecting Representative Ilhan Omar’s anti-Israel political positions,
promoting her public persona and, sincerely, acted like journalists and
media outlets should never act: taking sides and mobilizing all the
resources to manipulate public opinion. Democracy is not what “The New
York Times” wishes it to be; democracy is the system where free men and
women, exercising their public virtues, free will and rational discourse,
chooses the best for them and their country in each period of history.
I strongly hope – and believe – the once great “The New York Times” may
return to his best days: and may it become again a true guardian of
democracy, freedom, pluralism and – above all – decency.
9.We wish you are able to recover the traditional “The New York Times”
with no political agenda other than seeking the truth and the formation of a
truly informed and educated civic society. Anti-Semitism is a virus – once
you unleash it, an apology is not enough. Let’s recover decency, a sense of

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American patriotism and solidarity among all the people of every creed
who believes in tolerance and human compassion. Please, put the “The
New York Times” on the right side of history.
With all my warmest regards,
João Lemos Esteves
(Assistant Professor of Law at University of Lisbon)

Editado por Costa Moreno com autorização do autor

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