NYT Suppresses History to Celebrate Communist Davis as 'Civil Rights Activist and Scholar’

January 10th, 2019 7:25 PM

The New York Times did some historical suppression in a story by Niraj Chokshi about a Birmingham, AL group rescinding a “civil rights” award for radical leftist and former Communist Party vice-presidential candidate Angela Davis, amid protests over her support for boycotting Israel.

Davis received the Lenin "Peace Prize" from East Germany in 1979, when that country was a Communist police state. On the home front, she is a former fugitive for murder (who made the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List) who backed the imprisonment of Soviet political dissidents and defending the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The Jewish Journal pointed out: “Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote in his 1991 book Chutzpah that when he urged Davis to denounce the Soviet Union’s imprisonment of Jews, Davis’ secretary told him that she wouldn’t do so because “they are all Zionist fascists and opponents of socialism.”

Naturally, the Times skipped all that in the story posted Tuesday, in favor of noting Davis as a “progressive.... civil rights activist and scholar” known for her work against mass incarceration (except for “Zionist fascist” Jews, apparently):

Angela Davis, the activist and scholar, said this week that she was “stunned” after a civil rights group in her native Birmingham, Ala., reversed its decision to honor her with an award amid protests over her support for a boycott of Israel.

Professor Davis, once a global hero of the left who has since earned renown for her scholarship, had been selected for the human rights award months ago by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, but the group’s board rescinded the honor on Friday.

In announcing the move, the institute did not offer an explanation, saying only that “she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based.” But Professor Davis said in a statement on Facebook on Monday that she had learned it was because of her “long-term support of justice for Palestine.” The revocation of the award, she added, was “not primarily an attack against me but rather against the very spirit of the indivisibility of justice.”

(A photo caption read: The civil rights activist and scholar Angela Davis speaking at the University of Michigan-Flint in 2015....)

The piece continued (click "expand"):

The institute did say in its statement announcing the revocation that it had begun hearing from “concerned individuals and organizations” in late December, around the time the magazine Southern Jewish Life published a piece about the award by its editor, Larry Brook.


Mr. Brook noted that Professor Davis has supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, known as B.D.S., which seeks to apply economic pressure to Israel until it ends the occupation of the West Bank, treats Palestinians equally under the law and allows the return of Palestinian refugees.

Many Israelis and their allies oppose the movement, viewing it as anti-Semitic and an existential threat to the country. Supporters, including Professor Davis, describe it as a necessary response to what amounts to modern-day apartheid.


Professor Davis became a global progressive leader nearly half a century ago. At the time, she was agitating on behalf of three California inmates accused of murdering a white prison guard when guns she had purchased were used in an attack that was aimed at freeing the inmates but left four people dead, including the assailant.

Chokshi worked to absolve Davis from responsibility for the assassinations at the Marin County Courthouse:

She was not present during the attack and witnesses testified that the guns were purchased for defense, but Professor Davis nonetheless spent 16 months in jail before an all-white jury acquitted her of all charges. In the interim, “Free Angela” had become a rallying cry.

Since then, she has been recognized for her scholarship and activism around feminism and against mass incarceration. Last year, a Harvard University library acquired her personal archive.

The same ‘60s radical who backed the imprisonment of Soviet political dissidents, whom she called common criminals.

Some more details about Davis that The Times skipped, from the article in Southern Jewish Life:

Davis has called for “political prisoner” Marwan Barghouti to be released from jail. A leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Barghouti is serving five life terms for participation in murders of Israelis. A leader of the First and Second Intifadas, in 2014 he called for an end to Palestinian security cooperation with Israel and advocated a Third Intifada. Davis also was a supporter of Rasmea Odeh, who was convicted of a 1969 bombing in a Jerusalem grocery store, killing two students. A member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Odeh was deported from the U.S. for immigration fraud, lying about her terror ties and not disclosing her terrorism conviction.

The Times has previously celebrated Davis, including a February 2018 story about her selling her papers to Harvard in the enthusiastically reported “The Davis Papers: Harvard Gets Them – Angela Davis’s personal archive traces her evolution from obscurity to activist.