December 3, 2023
December 3, 2023

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Mischaracterizations in Article on YU’s Jess Olson

I’m writing out of concern for what I see as no fewer than three mischaracterizations in a piece you published by Elizabeth Kratz attempting to smear a member of the Westchester Jewish community, YU Professor of Jewish History Jess Olson (“YU Prof. Signs B’Tselem-Linked Letter Protesting Jerusalem as Capital of Israel,” December 28, 2017).

1. Although the letter decried the US action to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, your title implied that the letter denied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital altogether. That is inaccurate.

2. While the letter quotes analysis by B’Tzelem about the current state of human rights for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, Kratz’s piece leaves readers with the impression that the letter endorses every position of B’Tzelem. It does not.

3. Most significantly, you put the article under the heading “Community News,” when in reality it was little more than a regurgitation of Stephen Flatow’s op-ed from a different publication. This is not community news.

I am proud to know Jess Olson, don’t find his signing of this letter to be of concern whatsoever and, generally, I don’t think that these kinds of purity tests around Israel loyalty are good for the Jews. But if you do think this is an important attack to launch, at least do it honestly.

Aaron Steinberg

White Plains


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