The Daily Telegraph Makes Another Error About Jews

When I'm in England, I read the Guardian and the Financial Times. The FT may be the best written paper in the English-speaking world, and it has great international coverage. The Guardian has great UK political coverage, good jokes, and they spell as badly as I do. I would never be caught dead with the right-wing and relatively lowbrow Daily Telegraph (before Rupert Murdoch destroyed the Times of London, which could then claim to be the best paper in Britain, the old putdown used to be that 'gentlemen read the Times and their footmen read the Telegraph').

But when I'm in the US I tend to get my British news from the Daily Telegraph online instead of the Guardian. Partly this is because the Telegraph used to have a much better web site although the Guardian is catching up; mostly it's because the DT updates much earlier and I get tomorrow's news before going to bed.

Ordinarily that's ok, especially as I never read the editorial page, but every so often the Telegraph's biases set my teeth on edge. And one subject that they absolutely cannot deal with properly is Jews. The level of casual and unthinking antisemitism is beyond anything we'd tolerate in the US, at least before the new Mel Gibson movie hits the streets.

Today's example is fairly trivial compared to, say, John Keegan's defense of Holocaust denier David Irving but it was pretty typical. (I wrote the DT to complain about the Keegan article, but they edited out my claim of antisemitism, and only ran it online…plus it doesn't seem to be in their archives. The only copy I could find online today is at a Holocaust “revisionist” site, and I'm not going to link to it.)

Like I said, today's example is much tamer, but it's still annoying because it's hard to believe anyone could get this one so wrong. In an otherwise unremarkable account of the Yale ties of the Bushes and many of the Democratic candidates, and a fairly tame account of the Skull and Bones connections, the Telegraph reported (free registration needed) that,

Mr Lieberman, the grandson of immigrants, arrived from a state school, probably a beneficiary of an unofficial 10 per cent quota of places for Jews that Yale then operated.

In fact, the suggestion that Lieberman may have benefitted from a quota system is completely backward. Yale's notorious Jewish quota (not abandoned until the early '60s) was a maximum, not a set-aside, and existed because so many Jewish applicants had stronger academic credentials than the Protestant applicants then so dear to the university's WASP leadership.

Leiberman didn't benefit from a quota—he got in despite it.

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2 Responses to The Daily Telegraph Makes Another Error About Jews

  1. Hudson says:

    Just like the quotas mentioned above, many things at Yale have changed. Scholarship students and non-preppies were not allowed to be in charge of important Yale extracurricular groups (such as the Yale Record, once the equivalent of the Harvard Lampoon) for some time.

    Similarly, the influence of Skull and Bones is really diminished — if it ever was much of a force to begin with. See my article on that topic at:

    http://hudson.typepad.com/line/2004/02/with_the_growin.html

    Or click my URL.

  2. eszter says:

    Thanks for reporting on this. I can’t believe what a stupid mistake that is! To think that there was a quota to be met for admitting Jews.. what ignorance about how the system worked!

    A few years ago my Mom heard from a colleague/friend who is a Princeton alum. I was chair of the Grad Student Gov’t at Princeton at the time and was featured in an article in the alum magazine. My Mom’s friend wrote to tell her how times have changed: the idea that a Jewish woman could be the head of anything at Princeton had been unthinkable during his time there.

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