(December 30, 2019 / JNS) The New York Times removed a section of columnist Bret Stephens’s latest column, which cited a study by someone with white-nationalist views. The daily newspaper also defended Stephens and his writing of the piece.
The Dec. 27 column, titled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” was about how Jews have contributed much to society despite the small percentage of the world population—all while facing increasing anti-Semitism.
“An earlier version of this Bret Stephens column quoted statistics from a 2005 paper that advanced a genetic hypothesis for the basis of intelligence among Ashkenazi Jews,” said the Times in a statement on Sunday. “After publication Mr. Stephens and his editors learned that one of the paper’s authors, who died in 2016, promoted racist views. Mr. Stephens was not endorsing the study or its authors’ views, but it was a mistake to cite it uncritically. The effect was to leave an impression with many readers that Mr. Stephens was arguing that Jews are genetically superior.”
“That was not his intent,” continued the statement. “He went on instead to argue that culture and history are crucial factors in Jewish achievements and that, as he put it, ‘At its best, the West can honor the principle of racial, religious and ethnic pluralism not as a grudging accommodation to strangers but as an affirmation of its own diverse identity. In that sense, what makes Jews special is that they aren’t. They are representational.’ We have removed reference to the study from the column.”
The column was posted amid a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in New York.
The latest involved a black male, 38-year-old Grafton Thomas, carrying a long machete and entering a home and prayer hall known as Rabbi Rottenberg’s Shul in Monsey, N.Y., on Dec. 28, the seventh night of Hanukkah, slashing and injuring five of the around 100 celebrants at a holiday candle-lighting party.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
JNS is more than just another news website and syndication service. It is an organization devoted to nonstop reporting, and telling the truth about Israel and Jewish issues unburdened by the biases and institutional blinders that distort so much of what we read, hear and see about these topics elsewhere in the secular and even Jewish press.
At JNS, you get the facts about Israel and Jewish issues without the bias that so often tilts the argument against the Jewish state. JNS articles and columns are republished every week by digital outlets and print newspapers across the globe. But in the age of round-the-clock news coverage, advertising and syndication revenues are not enough to support our continued growth. We need your financial help to keep JNS on target as we continue our fair and accurate reporting.
Please help us take JNS to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.