Hasidic Newspaper Photoshops Hillary Clinton from Iconic Photo
05/08/2011 - 09:13
Rabbi Jason Miller
A Hasidic newspaper altered a photo of U.S. leaders being briefed on the Bin Laden mission since it included Hillary Clinton
A Hasidic newspaper altered a photo of U.S. leaders being briefed on the Bin Laden mission since it included Hillary Clinton

A big hat-tip to Failed Messiah (who gave a hat-tip to Critical Minyan) for breaking the news that an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish newspaper, Der Tzitung, has determined that the photo of top U.S. leaders receiving an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden was too scandalous.

What was so offensive about the image? U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the photo and, based on good intel, the editor of Der Tzitung discovered that she is a woman. The Hasidic newspaper will not intentionally include any images of women in the paper because it could be considered sexually suggestive. The iconic photo shows President Obama, Vice President Biden, and members of the U.S. National Security Team in the Situation Room of the White House. Secretary of State Clinton, wearing a long-sleeved suit jacket, sits with her hand over her mouth. I'm not sure how Der Tzitung determined this was a racy photo. Perhaps they just don't like the idea of a woman with that much political power.

Der Tzitung edited Hillary Clinton out of the photo, thereby changing history. To my mind, this act of censorship is actually a violation of the Jewish legal principle of g'neivat da'at (deceit). I wrote about this subject a year ago following the Flotilla debacle in Israeli waters outside Gaza when the Reuters news agency doctored photos that it published by removing weapons from individuals aboard the Mavi Marmara. The doctoring of photographs like this is referred to as "Fauxtograpphing." I'm curious to hear how Der Tzitung responds to its attempt to remove Hillary Clinton from this iconic photo and thereby from this historic event.

This official photograph was released from the White House and includes the following disclaimer after the caption: "This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House."

(Cross-posted to Blog.RabbiJason.com)

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They've done it again! Hahahahaha, they've removed Angela Merkel from the protest walk in Paris:

nice. thanks for the info.

Shame on you all. You are waiting for The Messiah and you ack like this. You need to stop studying the Torah and start to follow it. Listen to yourselves, do you really think The Messiah will come to this? If you followed the V'ahhavta you wouldn't have to wait for The Messiah HE would be here. I will pray that
G-d removes the veil that has so many of you blinded and opens the eyes of your heart..

There is a reason why religious Jews should just stick with religious Jews. Because they are open for ridicule and much worse. If you are not religious and don't like the photo, then don't buy the newspaper. And, mind your darn business. I don't see religious Jews bombing buses, flying planes into skyscrapers and advocating killing innocent women and children. Leave them the heck a lone and be ashamed of yourselves for picking on these people who just want to live a good life by the word of the Torah.

Maybe they can "photoshop" my soon-to-be ex-wife out of our wedding picture?

Rabbi Miller, your comparison to the flotilla incident exposes your distorted mindset of Orthodox Judaism in general. Reuters removed the weapons to satisfy their anti-Isreal point of view. The reason Di Tzeitung removed the Mrs. Clinton from the photo is because they don’t post pics from women AT ALL. On the other hand , Reuters has no policy against showing pictures of weapons.

Your claim that they altered the photo because they’re somehow against women being in power –therefore painting Ultra-Orthodox Jews (including myself) as religious fundamentalist – is an outright defamation of this well respected group. The fact is that most Orthodox Jews voted for Mrs. Clinton when she ran for Senate; she even met with many of the major Rabbinical leaders during her campaigns. Additionally, Rabbi Albert Friedman, the publisher of the newspaper, is well involved in the local politics in NYC and was an outspoken supporter of Candidate Clinton.

That said, I definitely agree that altering the pic was a clear violation of the WH policy. Regardless, messing with any photo without a full disclosure of the changes is very unprofessional.

I note that your comment guidelines include the following;
"Be civil; name calling in any form will not be tolerated, and comments that denigrate any religion or Jewish religious stream will always be rejected."

I would hope that comments denigrating "hasids" "the Orthodox" and the like, which appear in a plethora of comments would be construed as violating the above guideline.

A true liberal would not attribute the action of one individual publisher of an obscure newspaper with negligible readership to an entire class of people; alas, true liberals are hard to find today.

bs"d. EXTREMEISM, you cry? Fundamentalists, you lament? Some have even said that they feel more akin to their Christian neighbors than to "these people!" Well, that certainly says volumes as to the low level of your Jewishness! You feel embarrassed? YOU SHOULD! Kosher food, Shabbat observance, properly teaching your children about their basic Jewish responsibility to G-d - is totally FOREIGN to you! SHAME ON YOU! You all are more like Christians than Jews! Even when we were slaves in Egypt, we kept our Jewish names, dress, and kosher food. You all have abandoned EVERYTHING! What do you all live for? Working harder on Shabbos for a larger pay check? Bigger house and car? The really, really sad thing, is that your sickness is making your children mindless zombies! In my youth I was non-religious like you all. Fortunately, my world opened wide when I first put on Tefillin. I feel embarrassed about you.

Completely inappropriate and uneducated. My comment refers directly to the top article this site published on its own commentary of the photo wherein Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was photoshopped out of an official government photo. I don't plan to deface government currenty in Israel, so why do they think they have the right to deface government photos of the U.S. It's all about respecting REALITY of what TRUELY IS today. No religion can argue that the times and acceptance of todays issues have gradually changed. We are not living in biblical times, there was no photoshop then, so why is Secretary Clinton taken out of a photo with it now. It's irrelevant that she is a female of high level government power, wearing appropriate US business attire. With all the problems and ignorant people im the world today, why must a Jewish publication (that I would hope is above many others, given their knowledge of religion, education, and finances) take precious time to remove Sec. Clinton when that time could better be used in so many ways. For the love of God, if a reader might be offended by the REALITY of TODAY (i.e. the true unaltered photo), put a disclaimer that the publication does not endorse it, but will not act so childishly as to stoop down and alter it. It's THAT SIMPLY. What goes around comes around, and I'd hope no one would ALTER any Jewish photo that appears in print that reaches the entire country. All I'd ask is that they do onto others, as they'd have others do onto them. SIMPLE, APPROPRIATE, AVOIDS problems.

Wow, so much anger. Bad, bad, bad Charedeim for photo shopping Hillary and bad secularists for being intolerant of something you don't understand.
This part of the Ultra-Orthodox community is so scared and so insulated from the outside world that they don't actually have the ability to understand the objections to the alteration of the pictures. They are fighting a holding action until the Messiah comes and that holding action is to not allow anything new to creep under the walls. In fact because of their fear of the outside, their walls are now thicker and their restrictions are much less understandable to a world that is becoming more secular by the day and more "open" for better or for worse.
Regardless of how they try, modernity does creep in. Whether its the use of drugs and rehab clinics in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods or just the street language that younger generation picks up in doing business; you simply cannot block out all influences. The Rabbis understand this. But, instead of confronting it head on they simply restrict more and more until we get to this aberration of a story.

What concerns me more is that the less ultra-Orthodox and modern Orthodox communities support these guys. They hold fund raisers for them, shop in their communities, send some money at holidays and even buy their newspapers. Is the connection sentimental? Is it because our grandparents and great-grandparents looked and spoke like them. or, is it because we ourselves have lost something that appears to be simple and straightforward about the Judaism that our ancestors practiced?
So, yell, scream and criticize and certainly make sure to tell everyone that this is not your brand of Judaism...go to town with this! Remember, that your ancestors looked like them and in many instances thought like them.

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