The Forward - A Troubling Editorial Slant

We are not in the business of giving Jewish publications their editorial slant. We are in the business of questioning whether that editorial slant is good for Jews and the Jewish community. We also are in the business of asking, based on their editorial slant, is the publication being honest and forthright in their reporting? We don't always have the answer, but sometimes asking the question is the important part. Asking pointed questions has been a part of Judaism for thousands of years.

This brings us to the Forward and two recent articles. We're not going to link to those articles, but we will link to critiques of the articles. Links to the Forward are in the articles we're linking to, so you can still read them if you'd like.

The first is from Elder of Ziyon. Elder calls out the Forward as they asking for readers' help in digging for dirt against Jewish charities while they heap praise on Islamic charities for their alleged help in the wake of recent anti-Semitic attacks.

But then Elder goes the extra mile:

Given previous reporting from that reporter, Josh Nathan-Kazis, we know that he will scrutinize and report on every piece of dirt, real or imagined. To the Forward, Jewish charities are suspect while Muslim charities are assumed righteous. Interestingly, The Forward itself is a non-profit. And it's own records show some interesting things that donors might want to know about that organization. For example, in 2016, the Forward Association lost some $7.6 million according to its NY State CHAR500 filing. That's a lot of money, more than double what it lost in 2015. But its president, Sam Norich, had $462,000 in compensation - an $80,000 raise over 2015. Is this the best use of charitable funds for The Forward Association? (Norwich apparently had a lifetime salary but they decided in 2014 to pro-rate his salary for the next few years over his expected lifespan. Maybe other non-profits give sweetheart deals to their executives, but that is hardly a responsible use of non-profit funds.) It gets worse. The Forward Association spent $539,000 on fundraising, but (when you subtract the money automatically transferred over from The Forward Fund (which requires no fundraising) the total amount raised was $1.4 million, meaning fundraising was an astounding 38% of the total amount raised, a percentage that would raise eyebrows for any auditor of a charity. Speaking of auditors, the 2016 return was audited and found to have a ton of mistakes, the sort of thing that Nathan-Kazis would crucify any other Jewish organization for.

Yes, it seems the Forward has the typical double standard shared by Jew haters. Maybe their non-profit hands aren't as clean as they should be?

Meanwhile, Abe Greenwald, at Commentary Magazine, points out an article by Ari Feldman in which Feldman ties to deny the obvious anti-Semitic element from recent attacks on Jews.

At the Forward, Ari Feldman reflects on whether or not recent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn are the result of anti-Semitism. The article is gaining a bit of attention because of its nonsensical premise and because of a few choice quotes. Feldman cites a local salesman as saying, “It’s less of an anti-Semitic thing than they needed a target to respond to this word: gentrification.” And he quotes someone named Mark Winston Griffith from the Black Movement Center, who says that the attacks may be the result of black people’s seeing Judaism as “a form of almost hyper-whiteness.”

To reject these explanations as preposterous and offensive is, of course, righteous. But to do that alone is to miss something critical. It’s also important to take these claims at face value. Not because they have merit, but because they show precisely how anti-Semitism works and what it is.

The Jew is hated as whatever the anti-Semite holds responsible for his own misfortune. If you’re a capitalist, the Jew is a Communist; if you’re a Communist, the Jew is a capitalist. If you’re a pacifist, the Jew is a warmonger. If you’re a warrior, the Jew is a coward. Depending on your circumstance, the Jew can be grimy or snobbish, rootless or nationalist, invader or separatist. And if 100 years ago, American bigots saw Jews as Asiatic cross-breeds, today bigots see them as “hyper-white.” If you want to know what a culture considers most problematic, look at its brand of anti-Semitism. When you have headlines about “white privilege” and “evil white men,” Jews become the epitome of whiteness—except, of course, for neo-Nazis, who see Jews as hyper-integrationists.

There is also a link to a helpful Ruth Wisse article in which she explains how anti-Semitism works. It is required reading for anyone who wants to understand. We hope writers at the Forward have read it and have taken it to heart - but they probably haven't and probably won't.