“Is Anything Sacred?” was the title of a post
a couple of days ago on The New Republic’s blog, The Plank. The
subject: Publication of the note that Barack Obama placed in the
Western Wall when he visited last week. The daily Ma’ariv ran that
“scoop,” and immediately found itself under intense criticism -- from
rabbis, talk-show hosts, and a lawyer who began organizing a consumer
boycott of the paper -- for violating Obama’s privacy and Jewish
But the Plank’s Zvika Krieger wasn’t aiming his question at Ma’ariv.
He was asking if Obama considered anything sacred. For in responding to
the firestorm, a Ma’ariv spokesman had told various Israeli papers
(English here, Hebrew here):
“Barack Obama’s note was approved for publication in the international
media even before he put [it] in the Kotel…” Krieger accepted that
statement. A fairly early version of his post (via Google’s cache) said:
Obama may be above politicizing our troops, but if his
campaign did approve the note for publication before he placed it, then
I guess he isn’t above politicizing religion.
Clever: A snarky reference to Obama’s canceled visit to wounded U.S.
soldiers, casting doubts on his reasons for canceling, as prelude to a
statement that the candidate was willing to trash Jewish sensitivities
for politics’ sakes. Truly, Obama had hit the trifecta: apostate Muslim with radical Christian preacher
desecrates Jewish holy sites. But by writing the story this way,
Krieger actually doubled down on Ma’ariv’s failed journalistic
judgment. At least he has been doing a somewhat better job of backtracking.
Start here: Ma’ariv’s story from last Friday on the note is still available on line (in Hebrew). It explains how the paper got the note: