TIME covers featuring Hitler, Israel-Hamas conflict misconstrued as 'endorsing genocide'

By: Ishita Goel
March 13 2024

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TIME covers featuring Hitler, Israel-Hamas conflict misconstrued as 'endorsing genocide'

Screenshot of social media post claiming that TIME magazine supported genocide by naming Adolf Hitler ‘Man of the Year’ in 1938 and opposer of the Israeli attack on Palestinians ‘Antisemitic’ in 2024. (Source: Facebook/X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

Both TIME magazine covers featured in the viral post have been misconstrued as 'supporting genocide' and have been circulated with misleading context.

Claim ID 1f3d34dd

A collage featuring two TIME magazine covers—one depicting Adolf Hitler and another headlined "THE NEW ANTISEMITISM"—is circulating widely among Facebook users in the U.K. Claims suggest that TIME magazine endorsed genocide by naming Adolf Hitler ‘Man of the Year’ in 1938 and by labeling those who criticize the Israeli actions against Palestinians in 2024 as ‘antisemitic.’

The image has been shared on Facebook and X (archived here), accompanied by the caption: "TIME magazine supported genocide in 1938 making Adolf Hitler, 'Man of the Year'… TIME magazine supporting genocide in 2024 by labeling those opposed to the genocide of Palestinians 'Antisemitic' (sic)."

Screenshots of the viral posts on social media. (Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the claim is misleading as the TIME covers have been shared without context. 

What are the facts?

Taking a cue from the volume number displayed beneath the Adolf Hitler cover image in the viral post, we discovered that the cover dates back to April 13, 1936. Additionally, there is no reference to him being named 'Man or Person of the Year' on this cover.

The image can be found on TIMES. (Source: Screenshots/TIMES Website)

Further, we found that TIME did name Hitler Man of the Year in their January 2, 1939 edition. In the article, TIME wrote about Hitler's 'ruthless foreign policy’ and how ‘methodical, Nazi-directed events' threatened a world war over Czechoslovakia. The cover image, however, showed Hitler symbolically "depicted as a tiny figure with his back to the viewer, playing a massive organ with his murdered victims spinning on a St. Catherine's wheel. Underneath the stark, black-and-white illustration was the caption, "From the unholy organist, a hymn of hate."

Was TIME's recognition an endorsement of Hitler or his policies?

TIME addressed this question in 2019, on the 130th anniversary of Hitler's birth, clarifying that Hitler remains a symbol of evil. The magazine explained that being named ‘Man of the Year’ was not an honor but a distinction for the individual who had the most impact on world events, for better or worse. This decision was articulated by TIME's founder, Henry Luce.

Furthermore, in 2018, TIME elaborated on the criteria for their Person of the Year title, stating it goes to "the person or persons who most affected the news and our lives, for good or ill, and embodied what was important about the year."

Therefore, the portrayal of TIME's ‘Man of the Year’ title as an endorsement is misleading.

The second cover image

We discovered that the second cover image dates from February 2024, and the featured article, 'The New Antisemitism' by Harvard Professor Noah Feldman, contends that 'criticism of Israel is not inherently antisemitic.' This piece served as the cover story for TIME's March 11, 2024 edition.

The image can be found on TIMES. (Source: Screenshots/TIMES Website)

In the article, Feldman explained, "It is also essential not to tar all critics of Israel with the brush of antisemitism, especially in wartime, when Israel, like any other war-waging power, is properly subject to the strictures of international humanitarian law. To deploy the charge of antisemitism for political reasons is morally wrong, undermining the horror of antisemitism itself. It is also likely to backfire, convincing critics of Israel that they are being unfairly silenced."

It is evident that neither Feldman nor TIME labeled 'those opposed to the genocide of Palestinians' as 'antisemitic' in the said article, contrary to what has been claimed in the viral post.

Logically Facts also contacted Professor Feldman, who said, "The claim is incorrect. I argue forcefully and expressly in the essay that even the claim of genocide against Israel (which I myself consider incorrect) is not inherently antisemitic."

The verdict

Both TIME covers in the viral post have been misinterpreted as 'supporting genocide.' The cover featuring Hitler is unrelated to his designation as ‘Man of the Year’ in 1938, which did not qualify as TIME’s endorsement. The 2024 cover, featuring an article by Professor Feldman, actually contends that ‘criticism of Israel is not inherently antisemitic.'

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