A haredi (ultra Orthodox) newspaper in Israel, not wishing to offend the eyeball modesty of its readership, photoshopped German Chancellor Angela Merkel out of a photo of a recent march in solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo, where 12 people were recently murdered in a terrorist attack. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt were also erased, although they left behind a bit of Schmidt's hand.
The paper was an ultra-Orthodox daily called HaMevaser; the photoshopping was first spotted by Walla, another Israeli paper. The before shot is up top; here's the after:
Merkel is gone from the front right; only Schmidt's hand remains from the left side of the frame. Besides Hidalgo, and in place of Swiss President Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, who was towards the right side of the frame in the second row, we have a horrifying blur. The other woman who appears to have gone missing is EU foreign affairs and security chief Frederica Mogherini.
Mediaite's Tina Nguyen has led the coverage of this weirdness. She has an analysis of all the Photoshop evidence left behind: weird facial discoloration of some of the men left behind, that stray hand, a blurry man formerly standing behind Merkel, now thrust front and center. The entire photo has been re-aligned to make it make sense.
Besides refusing to print photographs of women, HaMevaser routinely refuses to print their names, even when the women in question are members of the Knesset. And of course this isn't the first time a haredi newspaper has erased women: Hillary Clinton was famously photoshopped out of a 2011 photo of the White House situation room during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
One could argue that the worst possible way to cover a march against religious extremism is to overlay your own peculiar brand of religious extremism on top of it. Or that editing women entirely out of your news coverage is, you know, lying, and the most absurdly warped version of Jewish modesty principles you could possibly come up with.
In the case of the Clinton photo, the bad publicity against the paper, Di Tzeitung, eventually got so fierce that they were forced to issue an apology. Let's see if we can't get something similar going here?
Original photo via AP