NY Times denounced for smear of Orthodox Jewish prison reform group

New York Times accused of anti-Semitism for profiling Jewish group who lobbied Trump Admin for prison reform.

Dan Verbin ,

New York Times masthead
New York Times masthead

An Orthodox Jewish organization, working on behalf of prison reform and mass incarceration issues, was smeared in a New York Times piece published on its Sunday front page, say critics of the paper's story. The subject of the investigative piece was a group fighting for clemency for prisoners sentenced to excessive time in jail, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

The Times article made use of classic anti-Jewish stereotypes such as Jews working on behalf of “wealthy or well-connected people” and claimed that a secretive network was operating behind the scenes. The illustration provided with the article has also been criticized for implying that leaders of Aleph where controlling Trump’s puppet strings. The group was one of the parties who worked with former President Donald Trump on the The First Step Act, prison reform bill.

Writing on Twitter, Batya Ungar-Sargon, Newsweek’s deputy opinion editor, said “Who needs the Daily Stormer when you’ve got the New York Times?” The Daily Stormer is a neo-Nazi website and discussion board.

She made light of how the article used classic anti-Jewish stereotypes of money and influence and the group’s connection to Trump as a way to claim they were acting in an underhanded manner for financial gain.

“Anyone else who had done as much to mitigate mass incarceration would be lauded as a hero. But when Orthodox Jews do it, the whole enterprise is tainted by their ‘lobbying,’ their ‘lawyers,’ their ‘loose network’ and of course, the crime of being Orthodox Jews to begin with!” she tweeted.

She also accused the newspaper of using their dislike of Trump as an excuse to spread anti-Semitism.

“You can't bring yourself to write about the First Step Act? Fine. You can't bring yourself to admit (Jared) Kushner did something good? Fine. But you don't get to use your institutional allergy to reporting the facts to spread disgusting anti-Semitism,” she wrote.