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May 29, 2019

In Robert Bernstein Obit, AFP Inappropriately References His Judaism

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Robert Bernstein (Courtesy the New Press)

In its obituary yesterday for American publisher Robert Bernstein, Agence France Presse inserted an inappropriate reference to the Human Rights Watch founder who later turned on the organization due to its disproportionate fixation on Israel at the expense of closed societies around the world.

The AFP reported:

In 2009, Bernstein -- who is Jewish -- turned against Human Rights Watch, accusing the organization he helped found in 1978 of being biased against Israel.

How is Bernstein's Judaism relevant to his objections to what he saw as HRW's completely disproportionate and unfounded obsession with Israel, at the expense of focus on closed societies elsewhere?

In the UK, the Editors' Code of Practice states:

Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

The only way mentioning Bernstein's religion is relevant in this context is to imply his Jewishness helps explain his turning against HRW - which would be an inherently antisemitic allegation.

Update, 9:10 am EST: Times of Israel Removes Inappropriate Reference to Robert Bernstein's Judaism

Posted by TS at May 29, 2019 01:48 AM

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