A few weeks ago the Washington Post published a vile opinion piece in its religion section titled "Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence." The author was Arun Gandhi, yes the Mahatma's grandson, who is now
"president and co-founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, now at the University of Rochester in New York"
The title says it all.
Inundated with objections the WaPo decided to publish Mr. Gandhi's equally vile, kind of, sort of, not really apology. The president of the University of Rochester, where Ghandhi's non violence institute is located, weighed in
"I believe that his subsequent apology inadequately explains his stated views, which seem fundamentally inconsistent with the core values of the University of Rochester"
before adding the usual multi culti qualifier
"Among the University of Rochester¹s values are a commitment to promoting diversity and being a welcoming and inclusive community. We respect the religious and cultural heritages of all people, and indeed our Interfaith Chapel is an institutional expression of our commitment to support religious diversity, to encourage free and open dialogue among diverse religions in a civil manner."
And now the WaPo/Newsweek editors themselves have been forced from their lofty perch, issuing this amazingly passive, don't blame us limp apology.
Gandhi Post Regrettable
As "On Faith" readers know, a post by Arun Gandhi on January 7 has produced an enormous response from readers who found Gandhi's initial remarks anti-Semitic and his subsequent apology insufficient. When we undertook this project over a year ago, we wrote that our goal was to shed light on a subject-religion-that too often generates heat. The Gandhi post failed to comply with that mission, and we can only ask our readers to extend "On Faith" a measure of forbearance and tolerance as the site endeavors to conduct a civil and illuminating conversation. We regret the initial posting, and we apologize for the episode.
Had Gandhi written the same opinion pieces but used the words black Americans instead of Jews, would the editors have asked for "forbearance and tolerance" while fending off Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other outraged readers? I don't think so. Would they have even published it?
The real question though is how did these two pieces so easily glide by the editors? The WaPo has a long, sad history of publishing one sided, anti Israel news stories and editorials; these two merely fit their pre conceived framework and thus they saw nothing wrong with them. As they admit, their readers found Gandhi's remarks anti Jewish; apparently they didn't. Thus, aside from this small notice they aren't going to do anything to improve or change; it is the reader who must bear the burden of action, "to extend...a measure of forbearance and tolerance" for what they refer to as a "civil and illuminating conversation."
Huh? They really just don't get it; just don't understand why readers responded so forcefully, so negatively. But then, who expected them to?