Feb 20 2014
Oh, BOO HOO! Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, an outspoken Jew-hater, who was, until this month, Opinions Editor at Rutgers University’s student newspaper, ‘The Daily Targum,’ claims she was targeted by Jewish groups on campus because “I wear a bag on my head and was the only Arab Muslim in a leadership position at the newspaper.”
NJ.com Amani alleges editors repeatedly bowed to pressure from pro-Israel groups on campus, causing dissent within the newsroom, according to an essay published on the Huffington Post.
“I wear a scarf on my head. I believe it was in part because of these things and the polarized political environment at Rutgers that I was placed under a microscope as soon as I took up my position as opinions editor. There allegedly is evidence to support the claim,” Al-Khatahtbeh writes. She alleges she nearly lost her job as opinions editor after campus Jewish leaders complained about how a letter from a Hillel member was edited before it was published in the newspaper.
Later in the year, Israeli-Palestinian tensions rose on campus after Rutgers Students for Justice in Palestine passed out controversial mock eviction notices in campus dorms to raise awareness of Palestinian home demolitions. Al-Khatahtbeh said the Daily Targum’s board of trustees, which includes the mother of a campus rabbi, told her what to publish in the newspaper’s opinions section.
“They wanted me to publish a pro-Israel letter at the time of their choosing to benefit from increased readership — an advantage that no other on- or off-campus organization receives. I was threatened with termination if I did not oblige the overbearing influence they were exerting over my editorial decisions,” Al-Khatahtbeh wrote.
“In response, almost our entire editorial staff co-signed a letter denouncing this lack of journalistic integrity in our newspaper and planned to have it published in my section, only to be censored by the Board of Trustees, who said that they didn’t want us to ‘air our dirty laundry,’ ” she wrote.
Al-Khatahtbeh said she backed out of a plan to go public with the internal dispute last year because she “was scared.” Instead, she wrote a farewell column about the problems, which the Daily Targum refused to run this month. Alexandra Meier, the Daily Targum’s new acting editor-in-chief, declined to comment on Al-Khatahtbeh’s allegations because they took place before she took office. She referred questions to an interview former Targum managing editor Skylar Frederick gave to College Media Matters, a news site.
In the interview, Frederick, whose term at the paper recently ended, denied most of the charges in Al-Khatahtbeh’s column. She said the Daily Targum’s board of trustees, made up of alumni and others, stepped in at the newspaper staff’s request during controversies involving Hillel and the Israel-Palestine debate on campus.
Frederick also said the Targum refused to run Al-Khatahtbeh’s column about the controversy because it bashed the student paper. “It clearly states in our policies you can’t defame the Targum in any way or embarrass the Targum on social media, in the paper or anything. And that’s exactly what she was doing,” Frederick said.