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April 7, 2016 7:14 am

Major Jewish Organization Condemns New York Times Smear of the Orthodox

avatar by Ira Stoll

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New York Police Deparment vehicle. Photo: wiki commons.

New York Police Deparment vehicle. Photo: wiki commons.

After an Algemeiner article on Wednesday highlighted a New York Times dispatch that gratuitously mentioned the religion of two businessmen related to an FBI corruption investigation of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is weighing in, describing the reference as “disturbing” and “irresponsible.”

In a statement, the New York regional director of the ADL, Evan Bernstein, said:

It is disturbing that the reporters and editors at the New York Times thought it relevant to identify the religious affiliation of two businessmen, Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg, whose gifts to NYPD are allegedly being investigated by the F.B.I.

Why was it necessary to refer to them as ‘Orthodox?’ The controversy surrounding the investigation has nothing to do with religion, and we believe that listing Rechnitz’s and Reichberg’s religion as part of the story was irresponsible.

The author of the Times article, William Rashbaum, referred a question about the story to the paper’s Metro editor, Wendell Jamieson. Mr. Jamieson responded with an email contending that the religion of the businessmen was relevant, but acknowledged that the article was suboptimal. Mr. Jamieson said the paper would try to do better going forward:

The Orthodox communities of Brooklyn, which you know are very politically involved, have long had a complex relationship with the NYPD and City Hall. Mayors go to great lengths to court these communities and work closely with them, partly because they have considerable influence. We’ve done tons of stories that touch on this over the years.

That said, we could have explained it better in today’s story, and will endeavor to do so in the stories that will inevitably follow.

Sometimes we do mention religion, sometimes we don’t. For example, we do mention Catholic folks when discussing the St. Patrick’s Day parade, etc.

For comparison, on the same day that the Times published the story describing the religion of Mr. Rechnitz and Reichberg, it ran a longer article about another businessman involved in a federal investigation, Andrew Caspersen. That article made no mention of Mr. Caspersen’s religion.

In the past, the Times has stated a policy according to which: “The religion of a person in the news should be mentioned only when it is pertinent and its pertinence is clear to the reader.”

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  • Thom McCann

    The American Council for Judaism was formed in 1942 solely to fight the creation of a Jewish state—while 20,000 Jews were being sent to the German gas chambers every day.

    One of its founding members was NY Times owner Arthur Hays Sulzberger.

    Now we can understand the Times pro-Palestinian stance today.

    Matt Seaton, staff editor for the Times opinion section said that the NY Times will not scrutinize Palestinian racism “until Palestinians have a sovereign state of their own.”(Algemeiner, Oct 30, 2014)

    Does that also apply to Hezbollah, ISIS, the Moslem Brotherhood, the Taliban, Al Queda, etc.?

    Arthur S. Brisbane in his final column as The New York Times public editor (ombudsman, a position solely created in the wake of the Times 2003’s Jayson Blair scandal) said:

    “Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.”

    That includes covert anti-Semitism as well.

  • Joel

    Wow! How anti-Semitic is the last line of the NYT response. The analogy they introduced is (in SAT form):

    Judaism : Crime :: Catholicism : St Patrick’s Day

    That’s blatant and actually worse than the mention of the suspects’ religion in the article.

  • Ben

    Regardless of your opinion on the Times, it is absolutely fair game to call them out as Orthodox. The story isn’t just the potential wrongdoing; it’s the hypocrisy of wrongdoing being perpetrated by the same people who advertise to the world through their appearance that they submit themselves to a higher standard. That is the story here. Not that they are Jewish. It’s that the people who want you to believe that they are one thing, are actually something else.

  • Abbushuki

    “Mr. Jamieson responded with an email contending that the religion of the businessmen was relevant” How so? Unless one believes that Jews are basically thieves and therefore it goes to validate that ‘fact’.

  • Mickey Oberman

    Where are they?

  • John Train

    “Sometimes we do mention religion, sometimes we don’t. For example, we do mention Catholic folks when discussing the St. Patrick’s Day parade, etc.”


  • Mickey Oberman

    It’s the New York Times.

    They are incapable of discerning the difference between news and hate propaganda.

    Their days are numbered.

  • dante

    more lies, excuses, rationalizations from the anti-Jewish nyt.

    always ask yourself if the nyt would write whatever it writes about the Jews about the blacks or any other favored group. in other words, in the case at hand, would the nyt make a point of identifying some suspect as black? and, then, would some unprincipled reptile from the nyt say that the blacks are politically active and that the identification was, therefore, proper?

    the answers are too obvious to require statement or elaboration. and the hatred and mendacity of the nyt are equally obvious.

  • barbara stern

    It is the new york times – enough said