The New York Times defends its decision to publish a controversial op-ed exploring why “Jews are smart”

In its correction, The Times said that the endorsement of Jews being genetically superior was “not [Stephens’] intent”

The New York Times defended an op-ed written by columnist Bret Stephens on Friday which provoked heavy criticism and led to canceled subscriptions.

In the column, titled “The Secrets of Jewish Genius,” Stephens explores the idea that Jewish people, in particular the Ashkenazi Jewish ethnic group, are predisposed to be more intelligent than other groups.

Notably, the article referenced a 2005 paper measuring IQ which was scientifically questioned and written by a professor with ties to white nationalist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Backlash to the article argued that the assertion also promoted a school of thought called eugenics, which suggests that the human race can be improved by encouraging the reproduction of people with “desirable traits.” This same ideology has been used to justify atrocities like slavery and the Holocaust.

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii wrote that the column “crossed a very important line and for no reason other than to be provocative.”

Read more: BI