Sid Zion vs. The World

Tablet Magazine is featuring a delightful piece by Sidney Zion's old friend Victor Navasky, which proves that Navasky is, in a manner of speaking, a Zionist after all. Read the whole thing, but here's one irresistible anecdote:

I've already said that Sid had a love-hate relationship with the Times. Let me give an example. In his last years at the Times, Sid got a tip that Judge Henry Friendly, then perhaps the preeminent appellate court judge in the country and prominently mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court nominee, many years earlier failed to disqualify himself from ruling on a case in which he had a conflict of interest. Assured by Managing Editor Abe Rosenthal that if he got the goods the Times would print the piece, Sidney spent the next weeks definitively documenting the story. But when the time came to print it, Rosenthal was overruled by James Reston, who was then running the paper. Reston summoned Zion into his 10th floor office, and from behind his imposing desk, explained that if Friendly actually received a Supreme Court nomination, the Times would run the story. But absent that, Reston was not about to run a piece that would cast a dark shadow on Friendly's otherwise distinguished career.

"The difference between you and me, Mr. Zion," Reston said, "is that you were brought up as a poor Jew on the scrappy streets of Passaic, New Jersey, whereas I was brought up in the Church of Scotland outside of Glasgow." At this point, Sidney rudely interrupted. "I thought that the difference between us," he said, "is you are sitting there, whereas I am sitting here."