Following an article praising the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov in Turkey, New York Daily News (NYDN) columnist Gersh Kuntzman has been surprised by pushback from readers, suggesting also that ‘this is a disturbing trend’ – that Americans may empathize with a Russian killed by an Islamic terrorist.
It seems that, despite the best efforts to revive mid-20th-century Cold War stereotypes, mainstream media is falling for them once again. The New York Daily News columnist now can attest to it, from his own experience. On Tuesday December 20, Kuntzman wrote a piece with a headline that speaks for itself: ‘Don’t cry for Russia’s slain envoy, who was Putin’s lackey.’ The article glorified the murder of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov, and stooped to calling it an example of “justice being served.”
Why would an American journalist do this? Well, the deceased is Russian, and that, according to Kuntzman’s logic, should be enough. Kuntzman then compares Vladimir Putin and today’s Russia to Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany; following his story by likening Karlov’s assassin, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, to Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish Jew who assassinated a Nazi embassy official in 1938. Kuntzman also claimed that he hoped that Karlov’s assassin, who shot an unarmed diplomat in the back nine times, would be vindicated by history in the same way that Grynszpan was.
But the majority of NYDN readers were shocked and disgusted by Kuntzman’s words. The newspaper’s Facebook page was flooded with comments denouncing the columnist. “Gersh literally praised terrorists for killing an ambassador, what’s more pathetic and low than that, maybe you should go to Syria and see just how barbaric your idols are first hand,” read one comment. “Gersch Kuntzman, you do not deserve to call yourself a journalist. Your parents should be very ashamed of raising you with such lack of humanity and basic decency,” reads another.
Russian authorities joined in the denunciation: Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on her Facebook page wrote to Kuntzman: “Do you realize that you have equated the struggle of the Jewish people against anti-Semitism in the 1930s with the terrorist methods of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, who claimed responsibility for the attack?” She also said the Ministry will demand an official apology from the NYDN’s chief editor.
Eager to take advantage of his newfound spotlight, Kuntzman followed his original article with another on Wednesday. “Apologize, Russia? Only if you go first and apologize for Putin’s thuggery… and you’ve got a long list of things for which to atone,” he states, accusing the Russian President of everything from intervening in Syria, hacking the US election, and murdering Polish President Lech Kaczynski in 2010. Kuntzman then lashes out at fellow Americans who personally wrote to him to express their outrage over his glorification of terrorism: “I received dozens of emails from American readers also siding with Russia against me on this one. This is a disturbing trend. The British government has called Putin a war criminal. Yet my hate mail suggests that Americans trust Russia more than our greatest ally, Great Britain.
” In the ‘war criminal’ quote, Kuntzman refers to remarks by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who said that Russia may have committed war crimes in Syria. However, if the NYDN columnist takes everything Johnson says so close to heart, he should remember that it is the same person who was applauding Syrian President Bashar al Assad just this March after the liberation of Palmyra: “Hooray, I say. Bravo – and keep going.” It’s the same person, who suggested “half-Kenyan” Obama may have an “ancestral dislike” of the UK. And, since Kuntzman prefers Nazi Germany analogies, he probably knows that Boris Johnson often uses this analogy as well: he compared the EU to Nazi Germany, while campaigning for Brexit.
Still surprised your readers are disgusted, Mr. Kuntzman?