WASHINGTON – Sexism, shmexism, this is as wrong as it is unethical. I don’t care what religion is involved. Religious extremism really is a curse to women.
Via Jezebel, Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic newspaper, Der Tzitung, photoshopped Sec. Hillary Clinton out of their cover story photo, as well as Audrey Tomason, who is identified in the photo on Flickr as Pres. Obama’s Director for Counterterrorism.
Newsweek reporter Daniel Stone wrote about Ms. Tomason in the Daily Beast. It’s not like she wondered in from the ladies room to find herself in the middle of all hell breaking loose.
When The Daily Beast asked the White House press office about Tomason, an official said she worked with the National Security Council, a White House agency closely involved with the intelligence that led to bin Laden. The official intimated that the White House generally doesn’t discuss personnel at any of the government’s covert or intelligence agencies. Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the NSC, confirmed she worked with the agency. When asked why she had never been identified or mentioned before, Vietor responded “Well, we’ve never killed bin Laden before.”
In the 21st century, this is unacceptable. Sec. Clinton and Ms. Tomason are women appointed to the Executive Branch by the president himself, with Clinton confirmed by the United States Senate.
The people who made the decision to rewrite U.S. history, including the publisher of Der Tzitung, a woman, have shown themselves to be part of the problem in this world. Across the globe women are treated like second class citizens in places, but particularly in the Middle East.
This goes well beyond sexism.
All Government employees are sworn into office, promising adherence to the Constitution, and our Constitution attests to our greatness as a nation that is a light beacon to the entire world. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. That has precedence even to our cherished freedom of the press! In accord with our religious beliefs, we do not publish photos of women, which in no way relegates them to a lower status. Publishing a newspaper is a big responsibility, and our policies are guided by a Rabbinical Board. Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women, and we regret if this gives an impression of disparaging to women, which is certainly never our intention. We apologize if this was seen as offensive.
So, freedom of religion takes precedence over freedom of the press, which means that if some religious extremist wants to eradicate women from the historic hunting and killing of Osama bin Laden they can. No amount of reason can compete with such immature rationalizations. That’s the problem with any fundamentalist religion.
Der Tzitung has rewritten history to purposely misrepresent the role of women in Pres. Obama’s administration to suit their religious extremist point of view. No one gets to do that without being held to account.
We all know how Der Tzitung will handle the situation of bin Laden’s wives, who were important witnesses to history, including possibly knowing something about who in Pakistan was aiding him, because it’s clear someone was.
As one American official said after Mr. Donilon spoke Sunday: “Our guess is that the wives knew just who was keeping Bin Laden alive for all these years.” He added later, “It’s the Khan case all over again.” – U.S. Raises Pressure on Pakistan in Raid’s Wake
For the record, though I’ve posted this photo before, and because Sec. Clinton and Director Tomason are critical members of Obama’s White House team who helped get the worlds most wanted terrorism, or as in Sec. Clinton’s case, has to attempt to keep the lid on diplomatic engagement with Pakistan, never an easy feat, particularly now as more and more information reveals significant points of concern.
Taylor Marsh is a Washington based political analyst, writer and commentator on national politics, foreign policy, and women in power. A veteran national politics writer, Taylor’s been writing on the web since 1996. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her blog.