Brooklyn, NY – After Outrage Hasidic Newspaper Issues Statement On Altered White House Photo

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    A photograph of President Barack Obama and his staff watching the operation that killed Osama bin Laden that was digitally altered to remove Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason is shown in last week's edition of the Brooklyn weekly Di Tzeitung, Monday May 9, 2011. The Orthodox Jewish newspaper has apologized for digitally altering the photo, saying that its photo editor had not read the "fine print" accompanying the White House photo that forbade any changes. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)Brooklyn, NY – Much has been written about a controversial altered photograph of the White House situation room published by Der Tzeitung, a Chareidi newspaper, based out of Brooklyn. The photo, which was taken live as senior officials were watching the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, showed neither Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor Director of Counterterrorism Audrey Tomason, both of whom were present but were removed from the photo in keeping with Chareidi standards of modesty.

    News of this photo spread quickly, with major news services worldwide lambasting Der Tzeitung for removing the two women from the photo, something that was deemed both an insult to Clinton, Tomason and women worldwide, in addition to violating specific White House instructions that the photo not be altered in any way.

    Der Tzeitung released the following statement today in response to the furor that has erupted regarding the altered photo:

    The White House released a picture showing the President following “live” the events in the apprehension of Osama Bin Laden, last week Sunday. Also present in the Situation Room were various high-ranking government and military officials. Our photo editor realized the significance of this historic moment, and published the picture, but in his haste he did not read the “fine print” that accompanied the picture, forbidding any changes. We should not have published the altered picture, and we have conveyed our regrets and apologies to the White House and to the State Department.

    The allegations that religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office, is a malicious slander and libel. The current Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary R. Clinton, was a Senator representing New York State with great distinction 8 years. She won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities in her initial campaign in ’00, and when she was re-elected in ’06, because the religious community appreciated her unique capabilities and compassion to all communities. The Jewish religion does not allow for discrimination based on gender, race, etc.

    We respect all government officials. We even have special prayers for the welfare of our Government and the government leaders, and there is no mention of gender in such prayers.

    All Government employees are sworn into office, promising adherence to the Constitution, and our Constitution attests to our greatness as a nation that is a light beacon to the entire world. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. That has precedence even to our cherished freedom of the press! In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.

    We are proud Americans of the Jewish faith, and there is no conflict in that, and we will with the help of the Almighty continue as law-abiding citizens, in this great country of our’s, until the ultimate redemption.

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