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, 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.
In the infographic published Thursday, the paper noted that “Though more Jewish members of Congress support the deal than oppose it, the Democrats against the deal are more likely to be Jewish or represent Jewish constituencies.”
The article came out ahead of the long-anticipated vote in Congress on the Iran nuclear deal.
A disapproval resolution for the agreement on Thursday fell two votes short of the 60 needed to move forward as most Democratic and independent senators banded together against it.
The Times’ charts highlighting the names of Jewish lawmakers and listing the estimated Jewish populations of their districts in yellow particularly irked social media users.
Journalists and activists launched numerous tirades against the paper for what they deemed a tasteless highlight of the Jewish identity of lawmakers, making frequent allusion to Nazi Germany’s identification of Jews with yellow star badges.
— Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson) September 10, 2015
Hey @Sulliview what is the NY Times policy on keeping public lists of Jews? Asking for the NY Times.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) September 10, 2015
Has the New York Times ever done something analogous with e.g. Black, Latino, Asian, etc. Congressmen? Just Jews? https://t.co/rMw41nLO30
— Lee Doren (@LDoren) September 10, 2015
Whew. I'd nearly forgotten how many Jews there are in Congress till the Times made this handy list re the Iran deal: http://t.co/AyyjdOssRk
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) September 10, 2015