Is The Minnesota Daily anti-Israel?

Some readers expressed displeasure over the publication of a letter they felt was chosen for “shock value.”

The decision by The Minnesota Daily to publish a letter criticizing Israel has sparked a flood of comments in the last week.

A view written by Koby Nahmias is representative: “Quite frankly I am not surprised to see it grace the pages of the MN Daily whose anti-Semitic bias reached new heights this year.”

The decision to run this particular letter was based on the commitment of the “letters to the editor” section to provide space for a discussion of diverse views and issues.

Editors hope that opinions in the Daily spur conversation and an understanding of views different from one’s own.

After expressing her displeasure with the content of the letter, an anonymous caller expressed a belief that the letter was chosen solely for its “shock value.”

While many might find the letter shocking, if this causes readers to re-examine issues or discuss something not often talked about, the “letters to the editor” section is serving its purpose.

Nahmias is also concerned that no editorials have appeared in the Daily this year condemning actions by the Palestinian Authority.

Michal Haimov concurred: “The Daily should be ashamed of itself for continuously publishing articles criticizing Israel.”

Jennifer Selvig, the Daily’s editorials and opinions editor, said editorial positions are “based on consensus. If we feel that Israel screwed up, we write it. The same for Bush, Kerry or Palestine.”

She added, “No one on the board is inherently biased one way or the other.”

Asked whether she feels the Daily is harder on Israel than on the Palestinian Authority, Selvig said, “The Palestinian Authority is much looser, harder to pin down because it is not yet a sanctioned state.”

The board’s emphasis on Israel-Palestine is because “it is considered bigger news. Students know and read about it all the time,” Selvig said.

Realizing the continual focus on the Middle East conflict in editorials is detrimental to the examination of other issues, the editorial board has recently begun to look more extensively at events in Asia and Africa in order to address events and issues of interest to the broader University community.

John Schaus is The Minnesota Daily’s readers’ representative, and as such acts as the Daily’s ombudsman. He is independent of the newsroom and welcomes readers’ comments about the Daily’s reporting, or its absence, at [email protected]