Local politicians and members of New York City’s ultra-Orthodox community have
demanded an apology from The New York Post following a report in the newspaper
on possible motives for last week’s murder of hassidic Jew Menachem “Max”
“Who DIDN’T want him dead,” the New York newspaper’s front-page
headline asked on Sunday.
According to police sources who spoke with the
newspaper, “any number of people wanted to kill” Stark, a 39-yearold hassidic
Jew, dealing in real estate, and dubbed a “slumlord” in the article.
think he’s a scammer,” an anonymous police source was quoted as
Accused by the paper of involvement in “shady real-estate
transactions” as well as defaulting on millions of dollars of loans, and
refusing to pay contractors, Stark reportedly had numerous enemies.
pretty much ripped off the whole building,” one tenant of Stark’s told the
“I’ve had many conversations with him, and of course in many of
those conversations I wanted to kill him,” another quipped.
records obtained by the New York newspaper, Stark owed tens of thousands of
dollars in fines – for 148 violations spread among 17 different
Kidnapped and forced into a van on Thursday, Stark was found
in a dumpster, suffocated and badly burned on Friday.
He was said to have
borrowed 500,000 dollars immediately prior to being kidnapped and one source
told The New York Post that he “owed a lot of people money.”
Stark had a
different reputation among New York’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community,
Known to his co-religionists as a generous man, who was quick to
loan money to those going through hard times, the father of eight’s funeral on
Saturday evening drew hundreds of mourners.
Speaking with the New York
Daily News, Stark’s brother Yaakov described him as “a good man” who “helped
everyone,” and alleged that his detractors were “jealous because he was
One relative told the Daily News that he believed the murder
to have either been a “mafia job” or an anti-semitic attack.
The New York Post “crossed a line,” the ultra-Orthodox Agudath Israel of America asserted in
a statement panning the paper’s “offensive coverage of the vicious murder of a
young hassidic father.”
“Particularly at a time when Jews have been
attacked on New York streets and are regularly vilified by hateful people around
the world, the tabloid has demonstrated unprecedented callousness and
irresponsibility,” the organization asserted.
Local politicians were also
quick to attack The New York Post.
“I understand that The New York Post
wants to sell papers and that they are willing to sacrifice the standards of
propriety from time to time. But there is a difference between bad taste and
just plain indecency,” said state assemblyman Dov Hikind, an orthodox Jew, in a
“The pain that this headline caused to not only a man’s family
but to the entire Jewish community is indescribable and was so unnecessary. It
was a heartless act that should never have been allowed. It was truly beneath
New York councilman David Greenfield went even further,
accusing the newspaper of “condoning the murder and kidnapping,” in a tweet; one
of over 4,000 bearing the hashtag #StopNYPostHate.
Meanwhile, members of
the local Jewish community also took to twitter to demand that companies stop
advertising in the newspaper.
“Who did not want him dead? Who didn’t? His
children did not want him dead,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said at a
protest against the paper, according to Politicker.com.
we’re a jaded bunch... We expect many bizarre things on the cover of our
tabloids. But the one thing we do not expect is to literally kick someone while
they’re down, and to condone the murder of an innocent victim,” Politicker
quoted Greenfield as saying at the rally.