In long obit for Hedy Epstein, ‘NYT’ buries Palestinian solidarity

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The great Hedy Epstein has died and the New York Times has all but covered up her most significant moral achievement.

The Times has a 24-paragraph obituary for Hedy Epstein, the activist who was an inspiration to many on our site, who died in St. Louis at 91 on May 26. This is how they characterize her:

Ms. Epstein, a Holocaust survivor who spoke widely about the persecution of the Jews in Germany, and who spent most of her adult life working for a broad range of social justice movements.

The fact that Hedy Epstein was outspoken for Palestinian rights doesn’t come till the very end of the story, after Vietnam, Cambodia, Black Lives Matter, fair housing, Kristallnacht, the kindertransport, and other causes and events.

After the massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, Ms. Epstein channeled her energies into the Palestinian cause. She helped found the St. Louis chapters of the Palestine Solidarity Committee and Jewish Voice for Peace.

We venture to say that were it not for her channeling her energies into Palestine, Hedy Epstein would not warrant 24 paragraphs in death in the New York Times. Obituaries often describe exemplary lives, and the reason Hedy Epstein’s was so exemplary is that she experienced the tremendous historical trauma that was the basis for Israel’s creation by world powers in 1948 and yet turned against the idea of a Jewish state. That’s what makes Hedy Epstein so special.

The obit notes that in 2011 at age 86 Hedy Epstein was on the boat the Audacity of Hope trying to break the Gaza blockade. That should have been the first sentence in the Times article. The fact that it is not and her Palestinian work is buried in the story is yet another example of bias (conscious or not, it doesn’t matter) aimed at preserving Israel’s positive image in the minds of New York Times readers.

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New York Times has all but covered up her most significant moral achievement. sorry, i had a different reaction to the obit. i liked it. aside from the opening/introduction, there were more paragraphs about her activism for palestine than any other acts of justice she pursued. yes, it was at the base of the article, but it did come at the end of her life. also, because the author directly proceeded with quotes from her… Read more »

On the other hand, the picture in the NYT at the top of the article, taken during the Cairo Gaza March clearly shows Hedy on a hunger strike for Gaza.

NYT still needs to be taken to task, but interesting that they chose that picture.

I love Mondoweiss! I donate, I share, I know some of the founders but I have to agree with Annie Robbins here, I think they covered her I/P activism pretty well, she had a long life, did a lot of things, experienced a lot of things, they honored her well in my opinion.

I agree with Annie’s take on the obituary. Hedy pushed and shoved for Palestinian rights and finally broke down the walls of the New York Times. The result is an obit that is plenty good enough. I also agree with the subconscious orientation towards action, action, action — not whining all day about Zionist media bias. Zionist media bias is everywhere, but I say shut the hell up about it and push for boycotting Israel.… Read more »

The dramatic incident featured at the beginning of the Times obituary of Hedy Einstein was significant because of her age: 90. The photo above the article was enough to draw the reader into wanting to learn about her Palestinian activism as well.

All New York Times readers should subscribe to Barbara Erickson’s excellent critiques of New York Times bias in her blog