In an attempt to shore up support for President Obama’s much-hated Iran nuclear deal, the New York Times published a list of legislators who voted against the deal. But the list immediately sparked charges of anti-Semitism because one of the categories identified whether or not the Senators were Jewish. It wasn’t long before the list was taken down.
The paper’s “Democrats against the deal” list, initially published on Thursday, featured several categories, including what the estimated Jewish population of a Senator’s state was and at what percentage he has voted with his party in past votes. But the list also had a category marked “Jewish?”
It was the latter category that upset many in the Jewish community, drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany’s practice of forcing Jews to wear the yellow star. Others slammed the list as the Time’s “Jew Tracker” list.
Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, was sharply critical of the list, saying, “It’s a grotesque insult to the intelligence of the people who voted for and will vote against [the deal].”
Another representative of a Washington-based Jewish group said, “I guess we should be grateful the New York Times chose not to illustrate its Jew tracker by awarding a six-pointed yellow badge to every Jewish opponent of this catastrophic sellout.”
Twitter exploded with condemnation of the “paper of record,” as well.
A man who calls himself a “liberal” in his Twitter description asked, “When did publishing lists of Jews come back into style?”
Twitter user Ben Crystal was also critical.
— Ben Crystal (@Bennettruth) September 10, 2015
Yet another Twitterer noted how unsavory the “loyalty” notation was on the Times list.
My favorite part of the NYT Jew tracker is the part where specifically track how loyal to the political party the Jews are
— Political Math (@politicalmath) September 10, 2015
By Friday the “Jewish?” notations on the graphic were gone and a disclaimer added to the page explaining that the Thursday publication had “oversimplified a complex aspect of the debate” with its Jewish categories.
The paper explained that it had eliminated the criticized parts of the list because it didn’t meet the paper’s standards of noting the “religion or ethnicity of someone.”
“[T]he chart did not include this context, or make clear that Jewish voters and lawmakers, like other Americans, were sharply divided on the issue. Its emphasis may have left the impression that their Jewish identity was a decisive factor for Democrats who opposed the deal, an assumption that was not supported by reporting,” the disclaimer now reads.
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