October 27, 2011
Mr. Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr.
The New York Times
620 Eight Avenue
New York, NY 10018
Dear Mr. Sulzberger,
I am writing to let you know how appalled I was by the insensitivity of The New York Times editorial following the release of Gilad Shalit (October 18, 2011). This was a difficult gut-wrenching decision which touched raw nerves and raised difficult issues which required grappling with difficult sensitive matters for Israeli society. The nation and its leaders were forced to weigh the difficult decision of whether or not to release unrepentant terrorists convicted of acts of murder for one Israeli soldier. Interestingly, despite the fact that polls indicated over 50% of the country felt that the release of over 1,000 convicted terrorists would pose a security risk for Israel, nevertheless, 79% of the public supported the action.
Rather than focus on the decency, humanity and difficulty of the decision or the moral issues it raised, you chose to view it exclusively from a political perspective. Rather than highlight the contrast between barbaric actions of the freed prisoners and their reception and the mood in Israel, you chose to focus on how this action would affect Prime Minister Netanyahu’s political standing and posturing.
While Israel wanted to make a deal due to concern over the uncertainty of the future nature of the Egyptian government, the truth is, it was Hamas, who weighed political concerns and agreed to terms they had previously rejected in order to boost their position and to weaken the Palestinian Authority.
Instead of mentioning any of this, you cynically contend that Prime Minister Netanyahu would prefer to deal with Hamas. You also write with certainty what his future intentions are. I thought you only report (or misreport) current affairs and offer editorial comments. I did not know that The New York Times is also capable of reading minds.
All I can say from the bottom of my heart and with true sincerity is – shame on you for such an insensitive and truly obnoxious editorial, the most offensive I can ever recall reading in your paper.
Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt
Director, Israel Policy and Advocacy
Chairman, Rabbinic Cabinet
Jewish Federations of North America
Also published on Medium.