In your Features section (February 7, p. 27), there was a horrible slur against the Jews, written by Martin Luther, mistakenly attributed to Martin Luther King. Someone must have thought it was interesting, and space had to be filled up on that page, but it was actually horrific motzi shem ra!
The definition of lashon hara is derogatory information that is true, and this is obviously false, which makes it even worse than lashon hara. In addition, motzi shem ra against Jews, who are an entire group of people, is much worse than lashon hara about one person — it’s lashon hara times as many millions of Jews as there are in this world, and it’s totally impossible to ask mechilah from every Jew.
I can’t imagine how such a frum and responsible paper like Hamodia could print this!
Rabbi Shafran responds:
Dear Mrs. Moskowitz,
The key to why I don’t believe that exposing the hatred of Jew-haters, even by quoting them, is hotzo’as shem ra lies precisely in what you write: that the accusations are “obviously false.”
When deluded people’s unfactual words are quoted, they are clearly not being offered as assertions of the one who is quoting them.
In other words, you are right. There is someone guilty here of hotzo’as shem ra (and worse): Martin Luther.