Anti-Semitism and the Knicks

Apparently, anti-Semitism is no worse than a technical foul

when it comes to the National Basketball Association. New York Knicks guard

Charlie Ward is getting away with a slap on the wrist for contemptible

anti-Semitic remarks he made recently to The

New York Times Magazine . Compare the light-handed rebuke Mr. Ward received

from N.B.A. commissioner David Stern with the $50,000 that Dennis Rodman was

fined after making derogatory comments about Mormons, and the $25,000 that New

Jersey Nets coach John Calipari was fined after slandering Mexicans. Apparently

Mr. Stern, who is himself of the Jewish faith, was concerned about appearing

too Jewish, and so let Mr. Ward off the hook.

Mr. Ward’s statements to The

Times were of the standard, lunatic anti-Semitic variety. He said “Jews are

stubborn,” that they persecute Christians every day and that Jews “had blood on

their hands” for the death of Christ. Teammates Allan Houston and Mark Jackson

have leapt to his defense, with Mr. Jackson saying, “I wish there were more

guys like Charlie Ward in this league, in this world in general.” Where did Mr. Ward and his teammates learn that

anti-Semitism is acceptable? One can surmise it comes from “role models”

such as Jesse Jackson and Louis

Farrakhan, who weave anti-Jewish messages into their appeals to young

African-Americans.

Leaving aside for a moment Mr. Ward’s bigotry, one must also

question his intelligence: He plays in New York City, home to the largest

Jewish community outside of Israel. Did he think his comments would fall on

deaf ears? And when the Knicks guard took

the floor in Sunday’s game, he had written Biblical references-”Romans

16:20″-on his sneakers, as if to reinforce his bizarre   mental state.

Joining Mr. Stern in

coddling Mr. Ward are Charles Dolan, chairman of Cablevision, which owns

the Knicks, and David Checketts, president of Madison Square Garden, neither of

whom has shown the courage to strongly condemn Mr. Ward’s comments. Likewise,

the would-be candidates for Mayor have been conspicuously silent. Equally

reprehensible was a column by The New

York Times’ William C. Rhoden, in which he essentially dismissed Mr. Ward’s

behavior as just a case of “boys will be boys,” rather than the virulent

anti-Semitism that it really is. Mr. Rhoden’s subtext was that winning is

everything and erases anything so minor as anti-Semitism.

Mr. Ward is responsible for his ugly words, but it is the

refusal of so many others, especially those in positions of power, to stand up

to those words that is truly shocking.

N.Y.U. Makes a

Village

During the past 30 years, as New York University has

transformed itself from a commuter school into one of the world’s largest

private universities, it has also uplifted the surrounding area. There remain

those, however, who cast the university as a villain whose growth threatens

Greenwich Village. The New York Times

recently reported on activists who have been fighting the construction of

dormitories and a student center. The irony is that those who oppose N.Y.U.

would likely have fled the Village years ago, had it not been for the

university’s profoundly positive impact on the area’s cultural life, public

safety, cleanliness and livability.

N.Y.U.’s relationship

with Greenwich Village is a case study in how an institution of higher learning

can not only elevate the lives of its students, but also enrich a city’s

economic and intellectual life. The university, which has more foreign students

than any other U.S. university, is a tremendous force for diversity: Fifteen

years ago, 50 percent of the N.Y.U. freshman class was from the city; today,

only 18 percent are from New York. The 50,000 undergraduate and graduate

students at N.Y.U. often remain in the city, replenishing our talent

base by working in the arts, sciences, finance

and the media. And the quality of incoming students is only increasing: In

1991, the acceptance rate was 65 percent of applicants; now, it is 28 percent.

The university literally saved its neighborhood. Washington

Square Park was a drug-infested,

crime-plagued mess until N.Y.U. and the New York Police Department began

working together in the 1970′s to clean it up. And by housing more than 2,000

full-time and adjunct professors in the Washington Square area, N.Y.U. has created a dynamic intellectual

community in the heart of Manhattan. All New Yorkers who take pride in

the city’s status as a powerhouse of culture and intellect owe a debt of

gratitude to N.Y.U.

Let Murdoch Keep His Post

Not for the first time, the Federal Communications

Commission may force Rupert Murdoch’s News

Corporation to sell the New York Post

before it will approve his acquisition of a New York–area television

station. Have you heard this one before? Yes, you have.

When Mr. Murdoch bought

WNEW–Channel 5 in the 1980′s, the F.C.C. demanded that he give up the Post , because the rules barred ownership

of a television station and newspaper in the same market. He did as he was

told, and the Post nearly folded

twice before Mr. Murdoch was given a waiver and allowed to buy back the paper. Clearly, only a company like News Corp., with its

vast resources, can support an enterprise like the Post.

Mr. Murdoch once again requires an F.C.C. waiver if he buys

WWOR–Channel 9. The waiver should be granted; indeed, it should not even be

required. New York is not a one-newspaper town, nor is it at risk of falling

under the influence of a single media mogul.

In fact, it is diversity that will be served if Mr. Murdoch retains

ownership of the Post . Under his

stewardship, the Post has provided

views that a past generation of New York’s journalistic gatekeepers would have

suppressed. Its columnists, reporters and editorials offer opinions that are

available in no other media outlet.

The New York Post

under Rupert Murdoch has become an invaluable, vibrant part of New York City.

The paper and its owner should be left alone. Indeed, the Post should be celebrated as an example of media diversity in

action.