Anti-Israel campaigners distributed a fake edition of The New York Times to commuters on Tuesday morning, proclaiming that the US congress will debate its aid package with Israel and that Hillary Clinton has quit the presidential campaign.
Campaigners handed out the paper at venues across New York City including Grand Central station, Penn station, the Times Square subway station and outside corporate offices.
Under the banner: “All the News We Didn’t Print”, the publication included a story announcing that Democratic candidate Ms Clinton had given up the presidential bid and had been appointed Director of Human Rights for All Women Foundation, “a new nonprofit organization with headquarters in Ramallah, New York City, Nairobi and Charleston, S.C.”
The second story announced that Congress would debate US aid to Israel, and said the US has given the country more than $121 billion in bilateral assistance since Israel was created in 1948. The article also made a point of denouncing deaths of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces.
Using data from website howmuch.net, the campaigners displayed an infographic of how much US aid has been spent on countries including $1.3 billion military aid on Egypt, while Mexico, a constant target in the Republican presidential debate due to its reported crime and gangs, receives very little aid.
A spokeswoman from The New York Times said in a statement: “We're extremely protective of our brand and other intellectual property and object to this group (or any group's) attempt to cloak their political views under the banner of The New York Times. We believe strongly that those advocating for political positions are best served by speaking openly, in their own voice.”
The scam ignited a debate on Reddit, with one post saying: “Their goal is to get as many people as possible talking about Israeli aid. I'd say it's working.”
The publication was distributed by campaign group JewishVoiceforPeaceNYC to condemn The New York Times' "pro-Israel" slant.
Shahar Azani, north east director of StandWithUs, an international Israeli education organization, said spreading “lies” and “demonizing Israel” will not bring peace.
“Any attempt to subvert it [shared values and strategic interests] is doomed to fail, especially in the face of a tumultuous Middle East, where Israel remains one of the only anchors of stability and the only democracy, a true and lasting friend of the American people,” he said.
“It is a shame there are those who chose to waste paper and contaminate the environment with unwarranted garbage,” he added.
The fake paper also had a weather forecast for Tuesday of “windy, cloudy, high 22.”