U.S. Orthodox Newspaper Apologizes for Altering White House Photo

The Yiddish weekly Di Tzeitung edited U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton out of the image of the Obama administration watching the raid on Osama bin Laden's house.

An American Orthodox Jewish newspaper apologized on Monday for digitally deleting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a photo of President Barack Obama and his staff monitoring the raid by Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden.

The Brooklyn weekly Di Tzeitung, which says it doesn't publish images of women, printed the doctored photo Friday. It issued a statement saying its photo editor hadn't read the fine print accompanying the White House photo that forbade any changes. The newspaper said it has sent its regrets and apologies to the White House and the Department of State.

White House situation room - AP - May 1, 2011

A second woman, Counterterrorism Director Audrey Tomason, also was deleted from the photo, which captured the historic moment in the decade-long U.S. effort to apprehend the man called the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Di Tzeitung said it has a long standing editorial policy of not publishing women's images. It explained that its readers believe that women should be appreciated for who they are and what they do, not for what they look like, and the Jewish laws of modesty are an expression of respect for women, not the opposite.

The weekly said Clinton, a Democrat who represented New York state as a U.S. senator, had won overwhelming majorities in the Orthodox Jewish communities because they appreciated her unique abilities, talents and compassion for all.

Di Tzeitung, published in Yiddish, is sold at city newsstands, especially in Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Borough Hall neighborhoods, which have many Orthodox Jewish residents. It acknowledged it should not have published the altered picture.

An editor at the Forward, the Manhattan weekly that has covered Jewish issues since the 1890s, addressed why the Brooklyn newspaper might have altered the image. The Forward's managing editor, Lil Swanson, said that removing women from photos is in keeping with the belief of some ultra-Orthodox Jews that showing images of the female form is immodest.

In the original photo of the White House Situation Room, Obama and his national security team are gathered around a table, following the operation that culminated in the killing of bin Laden at his Pakistani compound on May 1.

The White House, which issued the photo, had no comment Monday on the removal of the women from it.