Haaretz Journalist Objects To Morgunblaðið Interview - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Haaretz Journalist Objects To Morgunblaðið Interview

Published December 28, 2011

A journalist for Haaretz, who recently wrote an article about Jews in Iceland, has objected strongly to an interview Morgunblaðið conducted with one of her interviewees.
Judy Maltz, the journalist in question, wrote the article – Iceland Jews are left out in the cold – for Haaretz. Among the people she interviewed was Hope Knútsson, director of Siðmennt, the society of ethical humanists in Iceland.
In an interview with Morgunblaðið, Hope said that the Haaretz piece was “full of inaccuracies,” among them, that she doubts that there are many Jews too afraid to self-identify as such. She also said that she believed Dorrit Moussaieff’s not attending Jewish functions was overstated.
Judy Maltz contacted the Grapevine, initially believing that our story was our own interview with Hope – despite our article stating “Speaking to Morgunblaðið, Hope says the Haaretz article was ‘full of inaccuracies’.”
Maltz nonetheless preferred to address Hope’s points via us than to contact Morgunblaðið. In response to Hope’s points, Maltz states:

1. That there are Jews in Iceland who are afraid to identify as such — Ms. Knutsson said in the piece that she has “doubts about that,” insinuating that I made this up. I repeat then what I wrote in my previous email [Maltz sent an initial e-mail expressing anger at what she thought was our interview with Hope, in response to which we asked her to expand upon her objections.] — that I did contact Jews in Iceland who were afraid to be interviewed for the piece lest it be discovered that they are, in fact, Jewish. I spoke to them — Ms. Knutsson did not, so her “doubts” are completely baseless, in my view, and certainly no grounds for citing “inaccuracies” in the article. In fact, you need only scroll down a few paragraphs in my piece to find quotes from Andrea Cheatham Kasper, confirming that these fears do, indeed, exist. I would also remind Ms. Knutsson that she herself, who doubts Jews would be afraid to identify as such in Iceland, cited in our conversation a “nasty” incident in which the spouse of an acquaintance of hers said in her presence that “the only mistake Hitler made was that he didn’t finish off all of the Jews.” If other Jews in Iceland have been exposed to such rhetoric, this could certainly explain their inclination to maintain low visibility.
2. That Dorrit Moussaieff keeps her distance from the Jewish community — as my piece noted, the two people in the Jewish community who have taken it upon themselves to organize events on Jewish holidays are Mike Levin and Sigal Har-Meshi, both of whom are quoted in the piece [as saying Dorrit has not reached out to them]. Do you really need further proof than that to see that once again Ms. Knutsson’s claims of inaccuracy are completely groundless?

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