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November 5, 2023

NYT staff writer leaves role after accusing Israel of complicity in 'genocide'

A journalist with the New York Times magazine has reportedly resigned in the wake of her decision to sign a letter alleging Israel's involvement in the genocide of Palestinians and to blast the outlet's coverage of the conflict with Hamas, as the New York Post reports.

The departure of Jazmine Hughes, who worked as a staff writer for the Times, departed the paper on Friday, according to an internal email reviewed by the Post.

Petition signed, fate sealed

As The Hill explains, Hughes affixed her name to a petition titled “Writers Against the War on Gaza,” a document that declares the war against Hamas to be “genocide” and lays the blame on Israel for the deaths of its own citizenry on Oct. 7.

Jake Silverstein, editor of the magazine that employed Hughes, noted in the aforementioned email communication, “While I respect that she has strong convictions, this was a clear violation of The Times's policy on public protest.”

“This policy, which I fully support, is an important part of our commitment to independence,” Silverstein added.

The editor went on, “She and I discussed that her desire to stake out this kind of public position and join in public protests isn't compatible with being a journalist at The Times, and we both came to the conclusion that she should resign.”

Incendiary claims

As the Post noted, the petition contained a series of controversial declarations in support of Palestinians, stating that its signatories “stand with their anticolonial struggle for freedom and for self-determination, and with their right to resist occupation.”

Taking aim at the Times and other outlets, the petition's signers said, “We condemn those in our industries who continue to enable apartheid and genocide.”

“We cannot write a free Palestine into existence, but together we must do all we possibly can to reject narratives that soothe Western complicity in ethnic cleansing,” the group added.

Hughes not alone

Notably, it was not just Hughes who departed the Times magazine for assuming public stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict, as another contributing writer, Jamie Lauren Keiles, also announced he would cease work for the outlet immediately.

Keiles also blasted his former workplace on the way out the door, saying, “Sources were increasingly asking me to answer for what they understood to be shoddy coverage of BLM, trans stuff, [I]srael,” he wrote on X, as The Hill noted.

“Though I love my editors and have always felt supported, I ultimately decided the institution was taking more from me than giving to me,” Keiles added, but perhaps some time without a steady income will alter that perception and give rise to real regret over running afoul of the journalistic standards to which he and Hughes arguably ought to have been committed.

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