Now Reading
L.A. Times Draws Fire for Antisemitic Photo Caption

L.A. Times Draws Fire for Antisemitic Photo Caption

L.A. Times Draws Fire for Antisemitic Photo Caption

After years of punishing losses, the Los Angeles Times can ill afford to lose any more readers. But last week one of the Times’ photo captions, of all things, set off a firestorm of controversy that has some in the Jewish community so enraged they’re calling for a boycott of the paper. 

The latest controversy revolves around a July 3 story about a Los Angeles City Council motion to provide upwards of $1 million to fund additional security for L.A. synagogues and other places of worship. The move followed a nationally publicized battle outside Hollywood’s Congregation Adas Torah, in which pro-Palestinian activists blocked entry to the synagogue and faced off with Jewish protestors who had mobilized outside the temple. The resulting fracas resulted in scores of injuries and arrests and drew condemnation from Karen Bass and Joe Biden.

The Times’ caption, which ran under a photograph of protesters at City Hall objecting to the measure, described the motion as funding for “Pro-Israel vigilante/security companies for Zionist defense training,” though Jewish activists insist that the groups involved have no explicit ties to Israel and are focused on combating a growing wave of antisemitism at home. 

“I think the blatantly false caption reflects a deep bias against the legitimate safety concerns of Jewish residents in Los Angeles,” says Sam Yebri , a Jewish activist and onetime city council candidate. He points out that the organizations designated to receive the funding have been longtime mainstays in the Jewish community which perform a wide variety of philanthropic services. One of the groups, The Jewish Federation, was founded in 1911, decades before the founding of the state of Israel, and operates programs that provide food to hungry Angelenos and send disadvantaged kids to summer camps. The other two nonprofits provide security training to Jewish businesses and schools at a time when anti-Jewish violence and vandalism in the city and cross the nation are at an all-time high.

“Protecting Jewish Angelenos from being bludgeoned in their neighborhoods or at their synagogues should not be controversial or even connected to the Israel Palestine conflict,” Yerbi says.

Times insiders told Yebri the caption was actually a draft that had been accidentally published before it was finalized. After pushback on social media, the paper issued a modest correction later that day: “Earlier captions accompanying this article stated that city funding was being proposed to pay for pro-Israel vigilante groups. The proposal called for funding for pro-Israel security companies.”

That correction did little to placate some of the Times’ Jewish critics, who have been distressed by what they see as a pattern of slanted reporting since the war in Gaza began, pointing to such pieces as a recent op-ed defending the practice of protesters disguising their identities by wearing masks.

See Also
Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos Have a good time Anniversary After Kiss Confession

Indeed, friction inside the paper over coverage of the Gaza war may be one of the reasons executive editor Kevin Merida left the Times in January. About a month after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, more than three dozen Times reporters signed a statement severely critical of Israel’s invasion of Gaza but barely mentioning Hamas. Merida’s decision to restrict, for 90 days, signers of the petition from participating future coverage of the conflict set off a clash with the paper’s owner, Patrick Soon-Shiong, as well as his daughter, Nika, who has not been shy on social media about expressing her pro-Palestinian leanings.   

“The L.A. Times editorial board and increasingly the newsroom exhibit a deep anti-Israeli and now anti-Jewish bias,” Yebri says. “The examples range from using Hamas’ uncorroborated casualty numbers to quoting fringe activists who happen to be Jewish to claim that a large portion of Jewish Israelis are siding with Hamas over Israel which is demonstrably false.” 

The Times has not yet responded to Hot Source’s request for comment.

Copyright © MetaMedia™ Capital Inc, All right reserved

Scroll To Top