Bret Stephens’s greatest hits
I was shocked last night when I learned that Bret Stephens has been hired as an op-ed columnist by the New York Times. Being an idealist, I’ve always believed that the Times is going to begin to reflect progressive opinion on Israel and Palestine; but this hire told me I’m dreamin. It goes to show, there really is a neoconservative bloc at the Times. That’s why Jodi Rudoren was Jerusalem bureau chief (and told readers about “a sliver of opportunity” in Gaza). It’s why Bill Kristol was a columnist for a while. It’s why editors always let through stupid headlines about Jerusalem. It’s why the op-ed page is all Zionist, from Roger Cohen to David Brooks to waffling Tom Friedman. And why the paper slags the boycott movement against Israel without rejoinder from pro-BDS voices.
But let’s hear from the temperamental Stephens himself; let’s see why I think this hire is so problematic. What characterizes Stephens’s speech is an irritable callowness that easily flares into prejudice. That prejudice is conventional neoconservative, and Jewish-centric with a boyish gloss. A former editor of the Jerusalem Post— the launching pad for Wolf Blitzer and Jeffrey Goldberg — Stephens is often Islamophobic.