Sunday, January 5, 2014

Agudath Israel releases statement -condemns NY post coverage of Murder of orthodox Jew

Agudath Israel Condemns NY Post’s Lack Of “Basic Human Dignity”

The New York Post crossed a line today, even for a paper specializing in the sensational, with its offensive front-page cover and equally offensive coverage of the vicious murder of a  young Hassidic father of eight, Menachem Stark, Hy”d.

The paper demonstrated the poorest taste by choosing to focus on anonymous accusations rather than on the human tragedy of a wife and family’s sudden and terrible loss, and on their, and their community’s, grieving.  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.

Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect very much from a medium like the Post, but one should, we think, be able to expect some basic human decency in the wake of a family’s terrible personal loss.

Agudath Israel of America and its constituents, along with decent people of all religions and ethnicities, extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Stark’s widow and children.

We, further, commend the New York Police Department for its active pursuit of leads to Mr. Stark’s murderers, and pray that they be apprehended and brought to justice swiftly


  1. The New York Post headline was grossly offensive, but not surprising. I also came across an article about the murder and I couldn't believe how many hate-filled comments were appended to it. We simply have to understand that "the world is returning to normal". The lull in antisemitism that followed World War II and the Holocaust has come to an end and it is now again acceptable to express antisemitic feelings which are all-too-widespread, as it was in the pre-war period. It is now also incumbent for Jews, particularly American Jews to consider whether it is really true that "America is different". I am reading an interesting book by Peter Pulzer about the political history of the Jews in Germany in the 19th century and at the time something like the Holocaust and Nazism would have been unthinkable, in spite of the presence of antisemitic feeling. Germany, prior to the First World War never had a Dreyfus Affair which inflamed anti-Jewish feeling as happened in "liberal" France nor did it have pogroms and restrictions of the sort that lead to the Pale of Settlement in Russia. In Germany, Jews moved up rapidly in economic terms and even in political power as Emancipation came to Germany. Jews were on the board of the Berlin Stock Exchange before 1810 and Jews were being elected to municipal and even national parliamentary seats by the 1840's. Yet we see where this all lead. So again, we must ask, is America, especially the American that is underoing massive upheavels in demographics and values (spreading secularization, homosexual "marriage", influx of large numbers of Muslims, etc, etc), really different?

  2. Fotheringay-PhippsJanuary 6, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    It's not just anti-Semitism. To a large extent, it's just part of the price we have to pay for being a nation apart. I don't know if the headline writers were anti-Semitic (this paper has pretty low standards in general) but when you're an alien group who looks different and acts different and keeps apart, you're just not going to get the same empathy as would someone who is "one of us". It's human nature. Had it been a member of a group which is more integrated into society, the writers would have been quicker to put themselves into his shoes, or those of his grieving friends and family members. But as it is, those people are a sort of exotic "others", who the writers don't relate to to nearly the same extent.

    It's an insoluble problem, and a price you have to accept in golus.

    Especially because these protests are not going to be effective. It's not exactly like frum Yidden are a big part of the clientele of the NYP anyway. They are really not going to be affected at all.

    One thing that would be helpful would be if fewer visibly frum Yidden were in these types of businesses. I am personally underwhelmed by all the violations being reported for his buildings - I think it's an inevitable cost of this type of business, especially since the rent control rules incent real or imaginary reports by the tenants - but the fact is that landlords in low income neighborhoods are never going to be popular with their many tenants or their friends, and there are whole generations of ethnic minorities in cities like NY whose view of Jews is formed by having grown up in shabby buildings owned by Jewish landlords. Which is in addition to the financial shenanigans that seem endemic to this buisness, especially since the downturn. It's a problem.