The New York Times this week edited a November glow-up of Palestinian literature professor Refaat Alareer, adding a more than 250-word editor’s note conceding that the original version of the article failed to note that his teaching of Israeli literature includes an awful lot of, uh, antisemitism.

And by “antisemitism,” I mean he tells his students Israeli literature is "a tool of colonialism and oppression." He also tells them it’s "in part to blame for the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine."

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

The original version of the New York Times article characterized Alareer, who works at the Islamic University of Gaza, as a thoughtful and noble professor, one who "calmly teaches Israeli poetry.” In the original version, the New York Times paints a picture of Alareer leading a discussion on a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Alareer calls the poem "beautiful"; he marvels at its portrayal of Jerusalem as a place "where we all come together, regardless of religion and faith"; he instructs his students in the ways it underscores the “shared humanity” of Israelis and Palestinians.

In the original version of the profile, Alareer is described as a professor who "studiously analyzes the work of some of [Israel's] leading poets," going as far as to teach his students to empathize with famous Jewish protagonists in classic literature, including Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

Though the initial article does concede that Alareer often “rages against Israel” on social media, and though it does quote a tweet wherein he proclaims, “No form, act, or means of Palestinian resistance whatsoever is terror. All Israelis are soldiers. All Palestine is occupied,” it does so only to play up his supposedly gracious and gentle real-life persona against his online persona.

As it turns out, though, there’s not a lot of daylight between how Alareer behaves online and how he behaves in the classroom.

For starters, Alareer actually despises the Israeli poem the New York Times originally reported he found so beautiful and awe-inspiring. A video from 2019 shows him telling his students the poem is “horrible” and “dangerous.” He also says it “brainwashes” readers by portraying Israelis “as innocent.”

In case there is any doubt regarding just how badly the New York Times screwed this up, Alareer assured the paper in follow-up remarks that it has always been his position that the poem is indicative of a larger Jewish plot against Palestine.

The New York Times profile now bears an editor’s note that is as long as it is embarrassing. It reads:

After publication of this article, Times editors reviewed additional information that is at odds with the article’s portrayal of Refaat Alareer, a literature professor at Islamic University in Gaza, who was described as presenting Israeli poems in a positive light to his Palestinian students.

In the class witnessed by a Times reporter, Mr. Alareer taught a poem by the Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai, which he called “beautiful,” saying it underscored the “shared humanity” of Israelis and Palestinians. He said he admired how it showed that Jerusalem is a place “where we all come together, regardless of religion and faith.”

However, in a video of a class from 2019, he called the same poem “horrible” and “dangerous,” saying that although it was aesthetically beautiful, it “brainwashes” readers by presenting the Israelis “as innocent.” He also discussed a second Israeli poem, by Tuvya Ruebner, which he called “dangerous,” adding “this kind of poetry is in part to blame for the ethnic cleansing and destruction of Palestine.”

When The Times asked Mr. Alareer about the discrepancy, he denied that there was a “substantial change” in his teaching and said that showing parallels between Palestinians and Jews was his “ultimate goal.” But he said that Israel used literature as “a tool of colonialism and oppression” and that this raised “legitimate questions” about Mr. Amichai’s poem.

I’m sure it was all just an oversight by the New York Times.

Let he who hasn’t failed to investigate the subject of his profile cast the first stone.