After all, the most influential media voice in the United States -- where the government is the main backer of Israel's power -- was proclaiming that the mass killing by the Israeli military was regrettable but not objectionable.
The night after the Times editorial went to press, the killing escalated. Among the calamities: the Israeli military shelled the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya throughout the night with nonstop tank fire that allowed no emergency services to approach. Eyewitness media reports from Shejaiya recounted scenes of "absolute devastation" with bodies strewn in the streets and the ruins.
Two days after the editorial reached Times newsprint, over 150 more were counted dead in Gaza. No media enabler was more culpable than the editorializing voice of the Times, which had egged on the Israeli assault at the end of a week that began with the United Nations reporting 80 percent of the dead in Gaza were civilians.
The Times editorial was in step with President Obama, who said -- apparently without intended irony -- that "no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens." Later, matching Israeli rationales for a ground invasion, the president amended his verbiage by saying: "No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders or terrorists tunneling into its territory."
An important caveat can be found in the phrases "no country" and "no nation." The stateless people who live in Gaza -- 70 percent of whom are from families expelled from what's now southern Israel -- are a very different matter.
By the lights of the Oval Office and the New York Times editorial boardroom, lofty rhetoric aside, the proper role of Palestinian people is to be slaughtered into submission.
Abba A. Solomon is the author of "The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein's Speech 'The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.'"