How the Washington Post torpedoed the DC Jewish solidarity rally

People attend the "NO FEAR: Rally in Solidarity with the Jewish People" event in Washington, Sunday, July 11, 2021, co-sponsored by the Alliance for Israel, Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, B'nai B'rith International and other organizations. (Times of Israel / AP).

Rather than providing readers with honest coverage of the rally by focusing on the fight against antisemitism, the daily’s reporters clouded the story with their own political agenda.

In its coverage of the recent “Rally in Solidarity with the Jewish People,” the Washington Post seems to downplay the need for such a rally.

In its article, Hundreds denounce antisemitism during rally at Capitol, the daily cherry-picks statistics in order to minimize the threat to Jews, citing an Anti-Defamation League report that, while incidents of harassment against Jews were up 10% in 2020 over 2019, “acts of vandalism and assault declined by 18% and 49%, respectively.” Well maybe that had something to do with the lockdown during the worst pandemic in 100 years?

According to the FBI’s latest annual crime report from 2019: FBI – Victims, over 60% of all religious hate crimes were perpetrated against those of the Jewish faith. That is more hate crimes than against all other religious groups combined. That statistic is especially alarming considering that Jews make up only 2% of the US population.

In 2021, hate crimes against Jews have risen substantially. Hate crimes against Jews in L.A. rose nearly 60% in first half of 2021.

Most readers have seen the horrendous videos of gangs attacking Jews in New York and elsewhere, outside of restaurants and bagel shops, solely because they were Jewish. This is clearly reminiscent of the pogroms that caused many Jews to flee to the United States in the first place.

Yet these shocking facts are ignored by the Washington Post, which shows little regard for the crime wave against Jews.

One of the two photos accompanying the article revealed more editorial distaste for the rally against antisemitism. The lead photo showed four Orthodox Jews who objected to the rally. The caption – “Orthodox Jews make their opinion known” – falsely implied that religious Jews generally oppose protests against antisemitism.

Why highlight this tiny handful of nonconformists? Apparently, the Washington Post was trying to discredit the purpose of the gathering.

Next, the paper distracted from the theme of antisemitism by putting Israel on trial. One speaker at the rally was Elisha Wiesel, son of Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. Although Wiesel’s speech emphasized the importance of Jewish unity, the Washington Post undercut that message by quoting his parenthetical remark that some “disagree on Israel.”

It seems the Washington Post would prefer to embarrass the Jewish community by noting their mix of opinions about Israel rather than reveal their overwhelming solidarity on the issue of antisemitism.

The same article tried for a second time to spoil the occasion by hinting at intra-faith conflict. The piece stated that “while the event and its speakers displayed goals of unity, there was a brief moment of tension.” Their evidence? Two people “got into disagreements with attendees” and one woman yelled at a “group of Orthodox Jews.”

Does the Washington Post really believe a few exchanges of heated words by three people can be equated in a massive public demonstration to a “moment of tension”?

The reporter must have been desperate to find fault with the Jewish event.

The piece even tried to minimize the rally’s attendance figure by claiming only “hundreds” were there, in comparison to the Jewish News Syndicate’s account of 3,000.

In further contrast to the report, the Jerusalem Post report on the rally used only quotes that accurately reflected the purpose of the demonstration.

For example, the Jerusalem-based paper quoted Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, as saying, “‘We are bolstered by the presence of our Jewish brothers and sisters from across America. And we are strengthened by the support of our interfaith allies and friends. We value this unity, because even our nation’s capital has not been immune to the rising tide of antisemitism. None of us should need to be at a rally against antisemitism in 2021, but we do need to be here because we must again respond to vile rhetoric, physical attacks and symbols of hatred against our people.”

He went on to declare that “the Jewish people will not be divided” and that “we will fight antisemitism from the Right and we will fight antisemitism from the Left; we will hold both of our political parties and all of our elected representatives accountable for protecting Jewish Americans from hatred and oppression.”

Now that explains the rally!

The Washington Post could have provided honest coverage of the rally by focusing on the fight against antisemitism. Instead, the reporters clouded the story with their own political agenda. Readers had to wade through the entire piece to finally capture the essence of the occasion. The last line noted that the crowd “sang in front of the Capitol, ‘I’m a Jew and I’m proud!’ ”

And that, WaPo, is unity and solidarity!

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