UK newspaper apologises for antisemitic letter

Last week, we published a post criticising an appalling letter to theeditor published in the print edition of The Journal – a newspaper based in Newcastle.

You can read the text of the letter in this post:

UK paper publishes letter suggesting Jews are repeating crimes of the Nazis

We argued that the letter clearly suggested that the treatment of Palestinians by Israeli Jews today demonstrates that Jews haven’t “learnt” from their history (that is, the systemic murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust), and are repeating crimes on par with Nazi atrocities.  We noted that this morally odious charge evokes the Nazis-Israel analogy deemed antisemitic by the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism released the following comment:

“Equating Israeli policies to those of the Nazis is antisemitic under the International Definition of Antisemitism. Newspaper editors are under no obligation to print letters and, while letters do not necessarily represent the views of the editors, the choice to print an antisemitic letter reflects the editors’ ignorance of the manifestations of anti-Jewish racism. The editors must apologise to readers and clarify what steps are being taken to avoid a repeat in future.”

We complained to the paper’s managing editor and encouraged our supporters to the do the same.

After several follow-ups, they agreed to publish an apology:

Though we would have preferred if they acknowledged that the letter included racist rhetoric, such mea culpas are extremely rare in the media, so we commend the managing editor for disavowing the views expressed by the letter writer and apologising for the offence.

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5 Comments

  • it is clear that letters to the editor of any paper are selected for publication, and, therefore, do reflect the views the paper in question. The Journal could have chosen not to publish that letter.

  • Amusing, I disagree. Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of the newspaper that publishes them. What they do reflect is a professional determination by the paper that the contents of the letter deserve to be disseminated because they are within acceptable debate parameters. While to some extent it may be a distinction without a difference, at the very minimum, this paper felt the Nazi-Israel comparison was appropriate for publications to its readership – which in itself is very problematic.

    The so-called apology is irrelevant and no more than a misdirection. Had it been sincere, the paper would be reviewing its internal procedures to determine how a letter with plainly antisemitic content was selected for publication in the first place, who made that decision and what the paper is doing going forward including bringing potential disciplinary proceedings against the offending party. Of course, none of that will happen. We may just need to wait for a similar “mistake” is made in connection with a more publicly acceptable or feared minority.
    .

  • Apologies, I was auto-corrected with the very first word. I typed “Akus” to respond to the first comment, but became “Amusing” which this entire topic definitely is not.

  • The newspaper know full well that many were offended by such a publication, so sensational as to enhance their failing distribution figures. They knew the public reaction as an on-line letter of complaint was sent by thousands, so his apology was a false apology to cover his backside if ever there was an investigation, shameful hypocrisy.

  • An apology is acceptable when you accidentally bump into someone…the publication required forethought…much different…
    One the bullet hits the target , you bleed

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