If there's even a hint of racism or sexism, count on the New York Times to lead the fight in its news and editorial pages. But when the subject is antisemitism the Times seems somewhat reticent to condemn. This is astonishing. According to the FBI's hate crime statistics Jews are the ethnic group that suffers from the highest rate of hate crimes in this country. (Check out page 13 of the report. Yes I know that more hate crimes are directed against blacks, but blacks have roughly 7 times the population of Jews in the U.S.)
The problem is with the Times's coverage of the new trial of Lemrick Nelson. After two trials, in which he's claimed that he never stabbed Yankel Rosenbaum during the 1991 Crown Heights pogrom, Nelson is changing his story. Now he's admitting to having stabbed Rosenbaum but that he wasn't motivated by hate. There's a problem with this claim. But in the Times report on Nelson's change this is left until the last paragraph.
Mr. Rosenbaum's older brother, Norman Rosenbaum, a former prosecutor in Australia, dismissed Mr. Jasper's arguments with a snort. Mr. Nelson, he said outside the courthouse, did not appear drunk in videotapes of the scene. As to the contention that Mr. Nelson's attack on his brother was motivated not by racial bias but simply by the excitement of the moment, Mr. Rosenbaum said it would have been impossible not to know what the excitement was about.In fact what's worse than waiting until the last paragraph to note that the mob that attacked Yankel Rosenbaum yelled "...get the Jew" is that Newman (the Times reporter) presents that information through Norman Rosenbaum, Yankel's brother. Many accounts of the riot I've found, note that the members of the crowd identified Rosenbaum as a Jew. Unless drinking made Nelson deaf, this story establishes his motive as being based on hate. The information should have been presented earlier in the story to discredit Nelson's legal strategy and not simply as a statement of a bereaved brother.
"The excitement was when that mob called out, `There's a Jew, let's get the Jew,' " he said. "It was the excitement of getting the Jew."
Things are not going well for Nelson. Or shouldn't be. After essentially claiming that Nelson was deaf yesterday, (apparently he drank so much he couldn't hear anyone say "...get the Jew." the defense can't even establish that Nelson was drunk!
Lieutenant Sanossian testified yesterday in United States District Court that Mr. Nelson did not appear to be drunk, did not smell of alcohol, did not have problems following instructions and had no difficulty walking up the stairs of the station house when he and other officers took him back there from the hospital.I would like to see the Times get as upset about this patently dishonest attempt to escape justice for murder as it did about Trent Lott's offensive but essentially harmless (to other people) remarks about Strom Thurmond's 1948 candidacy for president.
I won't hold my breath.