A small Jewish newspaper based in Teaneck, New Jersey, issued an apology for a satirical article published in February regarding the shooting of Palestinians, NJ.com reported Saturday night.
The weekly publication Jewish Link had originally published an article on February 25 titled "100,000 Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers." The article in question did not refer to any violence directed at Palestinians, and was written entirely in jest to coincide with the Purim holiday. The joke itself was a pun, with "shot" being a commonly-used term to refer to the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the article itself was satire and was specifically included in a section marked Purim Satire in the paper, it still faced criticism, as many thought it was making a joke out of violence committed against Palestinians. Both the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ) and American Muslims for Palestine of New Jersey subsequently called on the paper to apologize.
The apology was issued as part of the "Letters to the Editor" section of the paper's Thursday issue.
“We apologize for our news brief in our February 25, 2021, Purim Satire section, entitled ‘100,000 Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers,’” the statement reads. “It was offensive, in poor taste and we regret it.”Below the apology was a letter to the editor regarding this specific controversy. Authored by Muslim Society of Bergen County member and Darul Islah mosque president Ather Usmani, the letter condemned the article as "offensive" and "callous satire, regardless of the true intent and premise of your article."
CAIR-NJ executive director Salaedin Maksut welcomed the apology as an important step towards reconciliation.
“We welcome the Jewish Link’s apology and hope this teachable moment be used to address internal bias and educate against the use of dehumanizing language,” Maksut said, according to NJ.com.