'LA Times' publishes column excusing antisemitism

The newspaper was slammed by critics for publishing an op-ed dismissing the Women's March's ties to Louis Farrakhan.

January 6, 2019 14:13
3 minute read.
People walk past the building of Los Angeles Times newspaper

People walk past the building of Los Angeles Times newspaper, which is owned by Tribune Publishing Co, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. on April 27, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON)


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The Los Angeles Times published a column on Friday evening excusing the charges of antisemitism against the leaders of the Women’s March.

The op-ed, written by the newspaper’s columnist Robin Abcarian was titled, “Can you admire Louis Farrakhan and still advance the cause of women? Maybe so. Life is full of contradictions.”

In the column, Abcarian claimed that she thinks “it is possible to be repulsed by [Farrakhan’s] hateful rhetoric about white people, especially Jews, and still appreciate some of the empowerment work that he has done in the black community.”

Though she criticized the Women’s March organizers for taking too long to respond to accusations of antisemitism, Abcarian wrote that the fruits of the march were so inspirational as to eclipse that.

“While organizers of the Women’s March battled over who said what to whom about Jewish people when, and the merits of a noted antisemite, American women stood up by the millions and changed the country,” Abcarian wrote. “For that, everyone involved in the Women’s March can take a bow.”

But many people – Jewish and non-Jewish alike – were far from moved by Abcarian’s dismissal of antisemitism by both the Women’s March and Farrakhan.

A tweet from the newspaper’s “L.A. Now” Twitter account with a link to the article was subject to what’s known on Twitter as “the ratio.” As of Sunday morning, the tweet had been liked just 294 times, while it had been the subject of close to 2,500 irate replies on the social media platform.

Karen Pollock, the chief executive of the UK’s Holocaust Educational Trust, wrote on Twitter, “Great work championing women’s rights, don’t worry about hatred of Jews. How depressing.”

Jewish Chronicle editor-in-chief Stephen Pollard shared a link to the article, writing, “Ladies and gentlemen, here’s this year’s ‘Mussolini made the trains run on time’ piece.”

Rabbi Joshua Yuter pointed out that this was “the second week in a row, a Woman’s March apologia for antisemitism gets disseminated on Shabbat.”

And historian, economist and former White House official Bruce Bartlett shared a link to the article, writing, “The open displays of antisemitism I see today would have been unthinkable in the past.” Hundreds of other social media users accused the newspaper of hypocrisy and of whitewashing antisemitism.

Responding to one such criticism on Twitter, Abcarian essentially doubled down on her column, writing that she wasn’t okay with admiring Farrakhan, but rather that she “questioned the very need for such a women’s organization. I believe it is possible to work to advance women’s rights and also, foolishly, embrace a bigot.”

Thousands appear to disagree.

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