The editor of Ami Magazine acknowledged earlier this week that the front page of this week’s issue depicting the White House draped in Nazi flags with Nazi storm troopers marching in front “may have been a poor choice,” reports Stewart Ain in the Jewish Week.
“The swastika is the present day symbol of Nazism and we did it to make a journalistic statement about the spread of neo-Nazism,” explained Rabbi Yitzchak Frankfurter, the magazine’s publisher and editor-in-chief. “The White House was used as a symbol of the U.S. and not to suggest anything about the present administration or its occupants.”
The magazine, which is not affiliated with any organization, is published each Wednesday in New York and Israel.
Although this week’s cover generated some complaints “I would not call it a storm,” Rabbi Frankfurter said.
“We’ve had storms in the past about editorial positions we took or articles we ran,” he said. “We had people ask us this week about our choice [of cover illustration], but I wouldn’t say there was an uproar. … Some people said they felt it was a poor choice, and in retrospect we think it may have been.”
In the same issue of the magazine, Ami has a feature about activist Yossi Gestetner, whom the publication calls “the chareidi Rush Limbaugh.”
Rabbi Avi Shafran, director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America and a regular contributor to the magazine, said in an email that he was “taken aback” by the cover.
“The intent, of course, was not in any way referring to [President Barack] Obama but to a nightmare future scenario of American neo-Nazis taking over,” he wrote. “Still and all, the image itself was offensive. I told the editors so, and they agree it was a bad judgment.”
Rabbi Frankfurter said this was a particularly “sensitive” time to have run the illustration so soon after the recent street demonstration in Jerusalem by some who wore yellow stars on their jackets with the word “Jude” in the center.
“Because of the uproar in Israel over the use of the Jewish star, we may have made a poor choice and we regret putting that in this week’s issue,” Rabbi Frankfurter said.
He pointed out that his magazine “condemned” the Nazi imagery used in the street protest in “very strong” terms.
“We unequivocally condemned the abuse of the Holocaust memories. Now people may make the equation that we are doing the same thing. But if you look at any neo-Nazi Website, you will see that the swastika is their symbol – it is still being used and people are associating it with neo-Nazism.”
Asked if the magazine is going to say anything in next week’s issue about the cover illustration, Rabbi Frankfurter replied: “We may apologize. We don’t want people to think this was an abuse of the Holocaust memory. If anyone would think that, we want to correct that mistake and apologize to people who were offended.”
In the article, author John Loftus wrote that anti-Semitism has been increasing in the U.S. for the last 30 years and “by leaps and bounds around the world.” He said he has detected an “all too-common tendency of government and social organizations to sweep anti-Semitic or terrorist incidents under the rug. The FBI has been frequently accused in the press of deliberately mislabeling attempted terrorist attacks to improve their statistics. My friends inside the Bureau blushingly admit that the accusation has merit.”
Read the full report in The Jewish Week.