Jewish groups are expressing outrage over an article in a well-known current-affairs publication promoting antisemitic websites as legitimate sources of information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Responding to the piece, published on Monday in Salon, spokesmen from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) told The Algemeiner on Tuesday that the article serves as propaganda against Israel and continues to promote antisemitism.
"Israel is a country like others that has policies one could agree with and disagree with. It is surely not beyond legitimate criticism," said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the ADL. "Unfortunately, the resources referenced here share one characteristic: the demonization of Israel — in effect blaming Israel entirely or almost entirely for the continuing conflict and the plight of the Palestinians."
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the SWC, said the Salon article is "a hit piece on Israel and an excellent summation of the toxic anti-Israel Kool Aid which the author and many others have imbibed."
David Palumbo-Liu's article — "Brutal, ugly & illegal: 9 things you need to know about the Israeli occupation of Palestine" — instructs readers to turn to known anti-Israel sites, such as Mondoweiss, Electronic Intifada and B'Tselem, for explanations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Do not rely solely on the US mainstream media for your information," Palumbo-Liu, a professor of comparative literature at Stanford, wrote.
Mondoweiss, as previously reported by The Algemeiner, has been described as a "virulent pusher of antisemitic tropes" and a "website that sprouts antisemitism." The head of Electronic Intifada, wrote pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon, "openly supports and encourages terrorism against Jews." The If Americans Knew website originally appeared on the list, but was later removed by the author. A special update in the article notes the removal: "While the organization If Americans Knew, which was previously listed here, provides much useful information from reliable, neutral sources, I disagree with many of the public comments of its director. I have removed the original reference to prevent any confusion."
Alison Weir, founder of If Americans Knew, is "so toxic in her behavior...that other anti-Israel organizations are treating her like she has the plague," Elder of Ziyon wrote. In a blog post on her personal website, Weir accuses the "Zionists" of colonizing Western democracies and "turning them into obedient puppets." She argues that the term antisemitism is "the most powerful weapon in the tribal Jewish verbal armory" used to gain sympathy by the Jewish race.
"Anyone who is interested in spreading anti-Israel propaganda would turn to these sources. Someone interested in balanced coverage would look elsewhere," said Jacobson. "Unfortunately, Palumbo-Liu would have people seek out information only from sources that share his perspective, including those who demonize Israel and Zionism, such as Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss. These sources propagate allegations of Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocide and their chiefs are frequent speakers at anti-Israel programs and conferences across the United States."
Among the many accusations made against Israel in the article, Palumbo-Liu claims that Israel is killing Palestinians "quickly" and "slowly," violating the human rights of Palestinians and engaging in the "only continuous, ongoing project of colonization in the world." Cooper characterized the article as "nasty propaganda thinly disguised as journalism."
"The Salon article, to partially paraphrase its title, is brutal, ugly and dishonest. There is nothing 'neutral' about any of the groups and websites invoked by the author," said Cooper. "The readers are exposed to a Palestinian narrative sans any presentation of the counter-narrative based on 3,500 years of Jewish history and Jewish rights in the Holy Land. Deleting one source changes nothing. The author gets an 'A' for style and a 'D-/F' for content."