‘Major factual inaccuracies’: Legal scholar blasts Washington Post for ‘hysterical’ Law of Return article

Law professor notes major errors in article about proposed changes to Law of Return, says the inaccurate story “ramps up atmosphere of crisis” between Israel and American Jewry.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Legal scholar Professor Eugene Kontorovich slammed The Washington Post on Twitter last week over “major factual inaccuracies” within its recent article about potential changes to the Law of Return.

“Corrections [are] needed,” he wrote, tagging the Post and the article’s author, Tel Aviv correspondent Shira Rubin, in his tweet.

Currently, Israel’s Law of Return grants citizenship and residency rights to any person with one Jewish grandparent, along with his or her spouse and children.

An amendment that is being discussed would see the law changed to limit a streamlined path to citizenship solely for Jews and their children.

The Religious Zionism, Shas, and United Torah Judaism parties are pushing to repeal the “Grandfather clause,” which grants rights to people with Jewish roots stretching back three generations.

Kontorovich listed a number of assertions made in the Post article and explained how they are incorrect and misleading.

The Post piece asserted that the change to the law would only permit immigration of those with a Jewish mother, which is incorrect.

“Article says reform [to the law] would make someone with a Jewish father but no Jewish mother ineligible for aliyah. Not true. All children of Jews would remain eligible,” Kontorovich wrote.

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He noted that the Post claimed Religious Zionism Chair Betzalel Smotrich is attempting to change a law that was ratified in 1950.

Basic research into the law shows that the original Law of Return, which was unanimously passed in 1950, limited immigration to Jews, their spouses, and their children. The grandfather clause was not added until 1970, and was controversial at the time it was brought for a Knesset vote.

Furthermore, “contrary” to the article’s implications for U.S. Jewry, “the proposal would have virtually no effect on American Jewish aliyah. Recent [research] shows that an average less than 1% of American olim [immigrants] come to Israel under the clause.”

The Post article stated that Reform and Conservative Jews may no longer be eligible to immigrate to Israel, which is also a falsehood.

“Finally, there is simply no political proposal to limit Aliyah to people who are Halachically [legally] Jewish, as the article suggests,” Kontorovich wrote.

“It is an unsourced suggestion, would have no political support. Such mistakes push American Jews away from Israel and ramp-up atmosphere of crisis,” he added.

“This is the key point. False narratives (i.e. lies) like this one support the political campaign to ‘drive a wedge’ between Israel and American Jews,” NGO Monitor founder Gerald Steinberg replied to Kontorovich.

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“Are Reform and Conservative leaders demanding corrections?”