Op EDRepressionSmearVoices

Open Letter to NorthJersey.com Chief Editor Daniel Sforza

Daniel Sforza, I am Bob Witanek, and I edit a hyper focused news site called FIghtBackBetter.com – advocacy news – we report on NJ’s efforts to end the US – Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people.

I publicly objected to a quoted assertion from a NorthJersey.com article about the Livingston School District situation – its hosting of and supporting a pro-Israel lobby group promotional event.

The article made the following false assertion attributed to the sponsors of the pro-Israel Livingston district hosted event:

“They said that attempts to cancel the event by other groups amounted to antisemitism.”

The North Jersey article provided no information supportive of that assertion of purported anti-Semitism. Several community groups representing Arab, Muslim. Palestinian constituents as well as this editor and many others were involved in opposing the allocation of education district resources toward promoting the position of a foreign government – especially given the nature of the situation in Gaza.

My question is was this likely a slight inadvertent journalism oversight? That is the most understandable explanation. And if that is the case it is probably acceptable to request a correction and apology. Do you think it would be possible?

The bigger question is – you can visit FightBackBetter.com – and you can see that New Jersey is alive like never before with vigor around the issue of Palestine. There is tremendous collaborative effort because people do not want the genocide to continue. We need to know if North Jersey is going to be fair in covering the struggle of this effort in NJ – a power struggle indeed – or is it going to boost unsupported accusations?

North Jersey has a strong interest in exactly how such issues are reported. Care must always be taken to assure that attempts to influence the media with innuendo and smear are not successful in getting to the public and when mistakes are made corrections can be made so the record is clear. Now the record is murky and that is due to this falsely reported accusation of anti-Semitism by North Jersey News.

Anti-Semitism is a real problem as is anti-Arab racism and religious bigotry. To wantonly use anti-semitism as a political smear against opponents of your stance and for a media outlet to take that false accusation and run with it without support undercuts the fight to end actual cases of anti-Semitism.

Criticism of Israel is permitted and is not anti-Semitism. Indeed Jewish people are at the forefront of the anti-genocide movement in the US and in NJ. Within Israel as well there are many Jewish groups and individuals calling for a stop to what is happening.

It is ok to oppose genocide and that does not make anyone anti-Semitic. Conflation of opposing policies of governments including the support of Israel by the United States with the concept of “anti-Semitism” is a manipulated unsupported accusation. Hopefully NorthJersey.com and all other outlets reject conflation of criticism of Israel, especially during outright genocide, with smearing accusations of “anti-Semitism.”