JTNews editor chastises pro-Israel readership

Painting of blood libel in Sandomierz Cathedral (Wikipedia Commons)

The JTNews, under the leadership of Editor/Publisher Joel Magalnick has exhibited a disturbing neutrality when it comes to the safety and welfare of the Jewish state. Stubbornly blind to the difference between disagreement and incitement, Seattle’s  Jewish community newspaper has repeatedly shared its pages with not merely those who are critical of the Jewish state but with those who advocate for its demise. The Mike Report has previously criticized the JTNews for offering a forum to Linda Frank, a woman who libels Israel with the canard of using snipers to target and murder children.  We have argued that the issue is not about free speech, a right to which Ms. Frank is most certainly entitled, but rather about the immorality of providing a platform to a woman who propagates a modern-day blood libel.

 In the August 28th edition of the JTNews, Mr. Magalnick took the unusual step of chastising those in the Jewish community who objected to the inclusion of Ms. Frank in the pages of our community newspaper. Wrapping himself in the mantle of a warrior for free speech and inclusion, Mr. Magalnick failed to address the real issue, his embracing of Linda Frank, along with her hateful baggage, under our community umbrella. You can find Mr. Magalnick’s letter here and my open letter response below.

AN OPEN LETTER TO JOEL MAGALNICK, EDITOR OF THE JTNEWS

Last month the Seattle Jewish Federation, owner of the JTNews, condemned a bus ad in defense of Israel while remaining silent regarding the precipitating ad libeling the Jewish state. Now you follow in their footsteps, chastising advocates for communal responsibility while embracing a woman who defamed the Jewish community with the most vulgar of accusations. You self righteously hold forth the principle of free speech as if those whom you criticize don’t share this value. The issue is not one of free speech or of printing articles with which we may disagree.  We would not have objected to the inclusion of Linda Frank’s letter if it had been submitted by anyone else, the actual content was easily refutable boilerplate.  Our objection is to the inclusion of Ms. Frank.  Ms. Frank disseminates the most despicable of canards against the Jewish people,  accusing Israel of targeting and murdering gentile children. Her remarks are no different from those who once accused us of poisoning wells or killing Christian children to mix their blood with our matza.

You condescendingly scold those with whom you disagree, telling us what is appropriate and what is not.  Mr. Magalnick, there is always room for disagreement, but it is never appropriate to provide comfort, succor, legitimacy, or respect to the propagator of a blood libel.  People such as this should be condemned, excluded and ostracized.  Historically blood libels have resulted in lynching and pogroms. In a world where the internet gives every person an instant worldwide platform Linda Frank’s canards are no less dangerous.

Your paper should have been the first to expose Ms. Frank

You speak of a responsibility to the community while you behave in a grossly irresponsible manner.  Your paper should have been the first to expose Ms. Frank for the classical anti-Semite that she is, instead you construct sanctimonious straw man arguments about free speech, vibrancy and community inclusion (as if anybody opposes these things).

There is nothing brave or lofty about legitimizing Ms. Frank.  Nor is it courageous or principled to chide those who demand minimal moral standards of our community funded newspaper.

You declare Ms. Frank to be part of our community.  Ms. Frank left our community of her own accord when she spread the outragous calumny that 84 Palestinian children had been deliberately targeted by IDF snipersThere is nothing brave or lofty about legitimizing Ms. Frank.  Nor is it courageous or principled to chide those who demand minimal moral standards of our community funded newspaper.

Ms. Frank has the right to free speech; she can spread her poison via any vehicle willing to give her access. Your assertion that OUR community newspaper must be that vehicle is where you have failed your community, and it is, to use your own words, “not appropriate”.

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