Telegraph removes toxic “Chosen Race” accusation

We recently took aim at a Telegraph review of a new book about Elie Wiesel.  The reviewer, Rupert Christiansen, castigated the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate for his putative failure to criticise Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Among one of the more troubling sentences within the review was this:

[Wiesel] was righteously furious with God, who had mysteriously abandoned the Chosen Race in its darkest hours… [emphasis added]

We noted that there’s no record of Wiesel ever referring to Jews as the “Chosen Race” — which was curiously capitalized by the journalist. Nor, for that matter, do we know of any Jewish figure who’s used that term. While the idea of Jews as the “chosen people“ is common — often meant to refer to the task of “communicating the monotheistic idea and a set of moral ideals to humanity” — the term “Chosen Race more closely resembles the concept used by the Nazis to refer to the alleged racial supremacy of Aryans.

We then complained to Telegraph editors, asking them to remove the term “Chosen Race”, because of the fact that Wiesel never used such language, and due to its Nazi connotations. Our complaint was upheld and the term “Chosen Race” was removed.

Here’s the new sentence, in which “Chosen Race” is replaced by “Jewish people”.

[Wiesel] was righteously furious with God, who had mysteriously abandoned the Jewish people in their darkest hours…

Unfortunately, editors didn’t add an addendum at the bottom of the article noting the correction – inconsistent with normal journalistic practices when making a substantive correction.

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