Jewish World Review / March 11, 1998 / 12 Adar, 5758

Jonathan S. Tobin

Jonathan S. Tobin A powerful voice is silenced

Remembering Eric Breindel

LAST SATURDAY, one of the brightest lights of contemporary American journalism was extinguished. The untimely death at the age of 42 of Eric Breindel, editorial page editor of The New York Post from 1986 to 1997 brought an end Eric Breindel to a career that was as brilliant as it was short. The son of Holocaust survivors, Breindel's ascent to the control of a major daily newspaper's editorial column was meteoric. But once in place, Breindel created a body of work that will stand the test of time. Unlike many of in his field, Breindel was unafraid to stand up to the paladins of political correctness. While this mass circulation daily is a garish if entertaining daily tabloid, Breindel's editorial page was always a beacon of conservative reason, intellect and civility - a perfect reflection of the man himself.

Unlike many Jews who have attained prominence in the secular journalistic world, he was a proud Jew and an unashamed Zionist. Indeed, in the course of his 11 years at the Post, he wrote in defense of the Jewish State at a time when it seemed as if everyone in the media had turned against it. Rather than running with the pack of editorial wolves that have hounded Israel and unfairly judged it by double and triple standards, Breindel wrote and spoke courageously. On issues like the anti-Jewish riots in Crown Heights, it was Breindel who provided outspoken leadership when many so-called Jewish "leaders" were afraid to speak out. He was also an admirable scholar whose work on the history of American Communism -- and in particular on the moral failures of the Jewish left -- was vital to our understanding of this phenomena.

And through it all, he endured a long struggle against illness without complaint or the need for mawkish exhibitionist displays of suffering as is the current fashion. In short, his was an honorable life filled with a glittering record of accomplishment. Due to principled stands, he may not have gained the accolades that some less deserving writers have earned, but he brought honor to the American Jewish community and all who knew him. He will be greatly missed.

May his memory be for a blessing.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger.


3/8/98: Getting lost in history
3/5/98: Follow the money to Hamas
2/22/98: Re-writing "Anne Frank" - A distorted legacy
2/15/98: Religious persecution is still a Jewish issue
2/6/98: A lost cause remembered (the failure of the Bund)
2/1/98: Economic aid is not in Israel's interest
1/25/98: Jews are news, and a fair shake for Israel is hard to find

©1998, Jonathan S. Tobin