Brooklyn-based Hasidic newspaper Der Zeitung has apologized for publishing an iconic photograph of President Obama and his national security team with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security team member Audrey Tomason photoshopped out.
As the blog Failed Messiah first noted last week, the newspaper published the edited White House photograph showing the national security team monitoring the mission against Osama bin Laden despite a White House note that "[t]he photograph may not be manipulated in any way." (A portion of the altered image is above at left; that portion of the original is at right.)
The Jewish Week subsequently suggested the photograph had been altered because including women in photographs "could be considered sexually suggestive."
Der Zeitung has now released a statement saying that "[w]e 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 Orthodox Jewish newspaper Vos Iz Neias reports.
Der Zeitung addressed what it cast as "allegations" that the women had been removed from the photograph because "religious Jews denigrate women or do not respect women in public office," calling such suggestions "malicious slander and libel."
The newspaper offered kind words for Clinton and said it respects all government officials, but that religious considerations prevent it from showing images of women.
"In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status," Der Zeitung said. "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."