Affinity Magazine is a publication written by and for teenagers. Its Editor-in-Chief, Evelyn Woodsen, is nineteen, and its Senior Editor Alex Brown is in high school.
Its website gets between 200,000 and 600,000 views per month, and it claims that it serves a purpose of showcasing the voices of aspiring teen journalists. The publication aims to mix pop culture with social justice and politics
The young age of its writers and editors, however, does not excuse its promotion of an antisemitic conspiracy theory. In January, the magazine published an article titled, "Money and Israel Control the Media: Who Cares?" (January 8, 2017). Seventeen year-old author Zoya Wazir, relying on the antisemitic Rense website, wrote that:
Israel has political and economic ties to America of such necessity that they control the majority of the media. In fact, the big six corporations mentioned earlier all have Israeli ties and are headed by powerful Jewish families within the United States.
Given the publication's left-wing bent, Affinity's editors might be dismayed to learn that in promoting this myth, they are joining former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who made the same claim last fall. One can also find similar content on the neo-nazi sites Stormfront and Daily Stormer, and in the /pol/, or politically incorrect, section of 4chan. (Ironically, a June 15 4chan thread asked, If the Jews control the media (which they do), then why do they take such an anti-Israeli stance?)
According to the ADL, the origin of the myth of Jewish control of the media can be traced back to the antisemitic forgery, the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
The document known as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, said to be the secret plans of Jewish leaders for the attainment of world domination, is, in fact, the most famous and vicious forgery of modern times. Though thoroughly discredited, the Protocols have succeeded time and time again in stirring up hatred and racism in the twentieth century.
The seventh Protocol tells of Jewish control of the press: It is in the Press that the triumph of freedom of speech finds its incarnation. But the goyim States have not known how to make use of the force; and it has fallen into our hands. Through the Press we have gained the power to influence while remaining ourselves in the shade.'
The ADL's booklet about the Protocols cites many authorities that have concluded that the document is a forgery, including, in 1964, a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is not only a forgery, but a plagiarized forgery, with large portions copied from the 1865 work Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. Other claims made in the Protocols are that Jews control the world's economy, and that Jews are planning to put in place a world government, controlled by a despotic Jewish king.
Jewish control of the media, Ms. Wazir continues, is evidenced in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conflict that most seem to know of, but know little to no accurate information about.
While there is suffering occurring on both sides of the conflict, the Palestinian side is highly underreported because of the United States' ties to Israel. She then unbelievably to many CAMERA members (and notwithstanding the commentary on 4chan) cites an article from the New York Times as an example of pro-Israel bias.
Members and regular readers of CAMERA's website and blogs might be scratching their heads at such a claim. CAMERA has documented countless instances of media bias against Israel, including at the New York Times.
Of course, individual Jews have been extremely successful in media as well as other businesses, and there is nothing antisemitic about acknowledging that fact. The implicit or explicit assertion, with no evidence, of collusion among them, or of a shared nefarious purpose, is the touchtone of an antisemitic conspiracy. As (Jewish) lawyer and commentator Alan Dershowitz has written,
Yes, there are many individual Jews in positions of influence in Hollywood, in network television, in sports and entertainment, and in many other areas of American public life. These individuals, who happen to be Jewish, do not act together in any kind of conspiratorial manner. There is no Jewish control of any of these areas or of the many other areas, such as medicine, law, academia, finance where there are large numbers of individual Jews in high positions. Many of these individuals are Jewish only in the sense that their parents or grandparents happen to be Jews. They do not live Jewish lives or support Jewish causes. They certainly do not conspire to exercise any sort of Jewish control over the areas in which they work.
It's wonderful that Affinity's editors want to give young writers experience and exposure. As a magazine that serves to inform the teen community, however, the publication needs to do a better job at setting and enforcing standards that will weed out such falsehoods.
Update, July 5: After several Twitter and Facebook users either tweeted to Affinity or left comments on Affinity's article, the page has been removed. At this time, Affinity has not issued any statement or explanation about the matter.