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LETTER to NYT's new Public Editor - Mistaken Numbers - and NO "judenrein" again

Dear Public Editor, dear Mr Clark Hoyt,


I wish you good luck and great positive influence in your very important new job as The New York Times' ‘Public Editor'. Such a job with independent views and positive influence would be needed in every serious journalistic enterprise. Definitely so in The NYT, which has acquired very powerful US and international influence, not always matched by similarly powerful constant self-check and strive for balance. Your first writings I read at http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/thepubliceditor/index.html  demonstrate experience, knowledge, self-constraint and integrity  - impressive qualities required for you task.  I wish you, and the NYT, again:  good luck and success.


I am sending you here a major recent case for your review and possible treatment.  As Chairman of Take-A-Pen, our international fully volunteer media-watch and letter-writing network, I sent a Letter to the Editor,  Re: "Fictions on the ground by Tony Judt, June 22, 2009 - attached below FYI.

We are not surprised that this letter has not been published in Letters to the Editor and not received any response, because, according to our experience - and we have been following the fairness of international coverage of Israel for 9 years now in 12-18 languages - in comparison with some other great papers in he world the NYT stands out by not or rarely publishing readers' letters not fitting to its underlying political credo.

But at least one bluntly false figure you had published and our letter pointed out should have received your response and correction.  The author, Tony Judt, speaking in an authoritative manner but without much demonstrated justification for this, stated that:   "the settlers today number more than half a million people". The full sentence reveals that he reached this impressive figure by adding to the actual number of the Jews settling in Samaria and Judea beyond the green line (about one half of the above number), the number of the whole Arab population of Eastern Jerusalem too.

Adding the population of New Jersey also in order to inflate the figure couldn't be more irrelevant. I wonder whether you, as Public Editor, can bring to an open and whole-hearted apology and a correction of this blunt mistake - if not blatant manipulation.


But the main point of Take-A-Pen's letter was much more significant than the false figure. We think that while in Israel 1.3 million Arabs are living among the Jewish majority in peace and with more human rights than their brethren in any Arab country, why couldn't five times less Jews live peacefully among a Palestinian Arab majority anywhere? If those Jews want to live in Samaria and Judea where their ancestors lived 3000 years ago, choosing all the difficulties there, let them do it; independently whether those areas will belong to a new Palestinian state or to Israel - through an area and population exchange or otherwise.  

As a Holocaust survivor I find the Palestinian demand that Jews should not live among them as appallingly racist.  I believe that no land on earth should be declared "judenrein" or "Jew-clean" ever again, and that the NYT should by no means support such a demand.


Looking forward to your considered reply,




Chairman, Take-A-Pen


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