The Rosenberg Affair
December 8, 2000
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The New York Times today continues its love affair with those Communist spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
It does this by reprinting an obituary of the Rosenbergs' prison rabbi, Irving Koslowe. The obituary was already printed in yesterday's New York Times, but apparently the Times considers the rabbi such an important figure that his obituary deserves to be published for two days running. In fact, it will be a wonder if the Times decides to exercise some restraint and not publish the obituary for a third time in tomorrow's paper, just for good measure.
Today's version of the obituary is slightly different from the one that ran yesterday. Today's includes an additional six paragraphs of information about the rabbi taken from an interview with one of the Rosenbergs' sons, Michael Meeropol, and from a book co-authored by Mr. Meeropol.
The Times notes parenthetically that "In news reports of the cold war era, the Rosenbergs were often portrayed as godless communists." But it quotes Koslowe as having told Mr. Meeropol, "I found them responsive at all times and respectful. I read some material about the fact that they had a disdain for religion. From my contact with them that was not apparent at all."
This is interesting to Cold War history buffs like the editor of Smartertimes.com, but in a larger sense, the Times account is misleading and irrelevant. Whatever the Rosenbergs' private attitude was toward prison Judaism, the fact is they were atomic spies for a regime -- the Soviet Union -- that was one of the cruelest offenders ever known against the freedom of religion. The magnitude of the evil wrought by the Soviet regime for which the Rosenbergs spied dwarfs whatever respectfulness the Times is able to conjure up as part of its continuing efforts to rehabilitate the Rosenbergs.
Remote Location: An article in the Weekend section of today's New York Times reports on the naming of David Marwell as director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York. The article reports that "Despite its rather remote location, the museum has become a popular destination for school groups."
"Rather remote location?" This is ridiculous. The museum is located in Battery Park City. It's not remote to the residents of Battery Park City or of Lower Manhattan. It's not remote to the thousands of tourists who visit Battery Park to take ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. It's not remote to residents of Brooklyn Heights who can get there by taking the 4 train one stop to Bowling Green. It's not remote for anyone who works on Wall Street. The museum is a short stop from the Bowling Green station on the 4 subway line, which runs up and down the East Side of Manhattan. The museum, in fact, is not even remotely remote. What city is the Times living in?
Buy a Yacht: Mark this sentence, a gem, from New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman's offering today: "Indeed, when we wake up 20 years from now and find that the Atlantic Ocean is just outside Washington, D.C., because the polar icecaps are melting, we may look back at this pivotal election."
Indeed. A checkable prediction. Try to remember 20 years from now to measure just how close the Atlantic Ocean -- not the mighty Potomac, mind you, the Atlantic Ocean -- is to flooding the White House. And either Mr. Friedman or Smartertimes.com will have a good "I told you so."
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