Colin Kahl is not an anti-Semite
April 9, 2021
There is a lot to like in the Heritage Florida Jewish News. The paper does an excellent job of keeping us up to date on the activities of Jewish organizations in central Florida, such as the Jewish Federation and the JCCs. Especially appreciated are the features on the kids at the Jewish Academy of Orlando and the seniors served by the Jewish Pavilion! I also enjoy the cultural and historical articles about Jews of central Florida and across the nation and the world. And I never miss reading Gloria Yousha’s “Scene Around” for finding out what’s going on around town, for her fascinating reminisces about growing up in Brooklyn, and her hilarious jokes!
But there are some things not to like in Heritage. As Marilyn Shapiro pointed out in a [Feb. 26] letter to the editor, the political coverage is acutely unbalanced, with nearly all political columnists and articles being pro-Trump and pro-Netanyahu. Given that Jewish political opinion is diverse, why can’t Heritage give us a broader range of views?
Even worse than the lack of balance are the false and malicious items that are becoming more frequent in Heritage. An absolutely shameful article appeared in the March 26 edition with the headline “Biden appoints two more anti-Semites.” One of the alleged “anti-Semites” is Colin Kahl, who is nominated for undersecretary of defense. The evidence given for him being an anti-Semite is that he supported the Iran nuclear deal, opposes sanctions against Iran (in line with the nuclear deal), has called opponents of the deal “hawks” and “possibly” was involved in removing a statement affirming the Jerusalem is the capital of Israel from the 2012 DNC platform. None of these come close to being evidence of anti-Semitism or does the Heritage also think that Chuck Schumer, who holds similar views, is also an anti-Semite? I googled “Colin Kahl” and was not able to find anyone or any publication other than the Heritage calling Colin Kahl an anti-Semite. I did find a JTA article stating that he was a vocal critic of President Trump; is that what has irked the Heritage’s ire? The JTA article also notes that Kahl has the support of three former Israeli generals (Gadi Shamni, Amos Gilead and Amos Yadlin) who cited his strong commitment to Israeli security when he was in the Obama administration. Dennis Ross and Abe Foxman have also cited his strong pro-Israel credentials.
At a minimum, the Heritage needs to apologize to Kahl and Uzra Zeya, the other falsely accused Biden nominee. The Heritage also needs to explain why this item was published and what it will do in the future to prevent publishing such false and malicious “news.”
Editor’s Note: The article being referred to was written by Charles Jacobs of America for Peace and Tolerance. The error Heritage made was to place it as a news article rather than an opinion piece, and not to identify the source.