NYT: ‘Jew’ column in chart listing lawmakers opposing Iran deal ‘unnecessary’

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The New York Times corrected and removed parts of an infographic that highlights the Jewishness or Jewish ties of U.S. lawmakers who oppose the Iran nuclear deal.

The chart, posted Thursday, originally included a column with the heading “Jewish?”

Those indicated to be Jewish were highlighted in yellow, while others were not.

Following critical reports on the chart by JTA and other publications, on Friday the Times removed the column in question.

“After a number of readers raised questions, editors took another look and decided that that element of the graphic put too much emphasis on the question of which Democrats opposing the deal were Jewish,” the online edition of the Washington Post quoted New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha as saying.

As amended, the chart uses yellow highlighting to denote congressional districts with heavy Jewish populations.

While the Iran issue “was particularly contentious among many Jewish voters, and the revised version of the graphic notes that a significant number of the Democrats opposed to the deal were Jewish,” she said, “singling those lawmakers out in a separate column of the graphic seemed unnecessary, and struck some readers as insensitive.”

The nuclear deal with Iran, led by the United States and agreed upon by the Islamic Republic and six other world powers, is a highly divisive issue in the American Jewish community because many believe it endangers Israel and fiercely oppose it. But many also believe, as U.S. President Barack Obama has said, that it enhances Israel’s security because it involves some scaling back of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for the suspension of some international sanctions imposed on Tehran.

The Times also corrected a factual inaccuracy in the graphic that belonged to the article titled “Lawmakers Against the Iran Nuclear Deal.” It erroneously said that 15 of the 23 Democrats in Congress who oppose the deal are Jewish. The correct tally is eight.

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