Largest newspaper in Puerto Rico removes anti-Semitic column from its website


(JTA) — The largest newspaper in Puerto Rico removed from its website an opinion column that blamed Puerto Rico’s economic crisis on the Jews who “control” Wall Street and the U.S. government.

The El Nuevo Dia newspaper apologized late last week for publishing on January 8 the column by Wilda Rodríguez titled “What does ‘the Jew’ want with the colony?” but never removed it from the website.

Rodriguez said in a statement on the newspaper’s website: “I deeply regret that my writing is interpreted as anti-Semitic… I apologize to those who in good faith have felt hurt by my political allusion.” She said she “can understand the psychic reaction of some to the mere use of the Jewish word. But the intention is not to provoke offense, but to contribute to public discussion.”

A publisher’s note said that the newspaper “apologizes to the Jewish community and to the rest of our audience that has been offended.”

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“We assume our responsibility and we want to be totally emphatic in that we do not promote content that can be interpreted as anti-Semitic,” the publisher also said.

The column had said, in part: “For Israelis, recognizing Jewish power over the United States is no offense. It is the victory of their diaspora.” She added that: “Jewish itinerary is so loaded with wars and profits that they rarely think about Puerto.”

Earlier this week the StandWithUs Israel education organization called on the newspaper to remove the column from its website. As of Wednesday, the link for the article takes readers to a page with an error message.

“We are grateful to the editors for finally deleting it,” StandWithUs CEO and co-founder, Roz Rothstein, said in a statement. She noted that when the column appeared there was “an initial backlash from the Jewish community in Puerto Rico that sparked the two very limited apologies.”

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