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The lie’s the story

I wish to comment on the reaction of Fair Lawn High School to Bethany Koval and her computer account (“Bullying? Freedom of speech? And who’s Jewish?” and “An Israeli Jew?” January 15).

First of all, as offensive as the views expressed, the high school overreacted. Ms. Koval is free to friend or unfriend anyone in her computer circle. Any action by the high school infringes on her right of free speech and her right to associate with anyone she wants. There is no threat to either attack or harass anyone. All these actions did was to give attention to someone who deserves to be ignored.

Secondly, the best way to contest offensive speech is free speech itself.

By presenting herself with a Jewish and Israeli background when she clearly has neither, she is a liar who has no credibility whatsoever. This should have been the story, not some farfetched allegation of bullying.

Alan Mark Levin
Fair Lawn

What’s with the Times?

Your editorial on the alleged bullying by a Fair Lawn high school student, as well as your feature article about the incident, were insightful and informative — except for one thing.

Why didn’t you or your reporter contact the New York Times seeking comment on, or justification for, that newspaper’s careless publication of misrepresentations — or downright fabrications — regarding the facts and circumstances of this story?

Not that I would expect the Times to acknowledge its hypocrisy and lack of journalistic integrity in this matter, but they should at least be put on the record and quoted as to why they wrote what they did. You suggest that it’s because they accepted the student’s word that she is “an Israeli Jew.” If so, that is journalistic malpractice. But I think it was also because the implied slant of the Times story — namely that an anti-Israel opinion was being suppressed or intimidated by pro-Israel elements in the community, more closely fits the Times’ own negative narrative toward Israel.

Alan M. Schwartz
Teaneck

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