You don’t have to be an antisemite to get promoted by The Washington Post. But it sure seems to help. That is the inescapable conclusion from the paper’s news, editorial and opinion sections, which with growing frequency whitewash antisemites and others whose opinions on Israel and/or Jews are well outside of the mainstream.
Take, for example, The Post’s coverage of Ilhan Omar, the freshman Congresswoman from Minnesota. In 2012, Omar accused Israel of “hypnotizing the world”—an age-old antisemitic canard, as The New York Times’s Bari Weiss detailed.
Omar has, on several occasions, questioned the loyalty of Jewish-Americans, who, she has asserted, exert an undue influence in government and thereby in American public life. The Congresswoman has also expressed her support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which singles out the Jewish state for opprobrium and openly seeks its destruction.
But these readily available facts are missing in The Post’s July 6, 2019 report on Omar. In 3,639 words, reporters Greg Jaffe and Souad Mekhennet glossed over Omar’s disturbing history and comments. As CAMERA has noted, Omar’s rhetoric meet both the State Department and the widely adopted International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definitions of antisemitism.
As CAMERA highlighted in a Feb. 17, 2019 Algemeiner op-ed, The Post has previously run several op-eds defending Omar.
On June 3, 2019, the newspaper gave column space to Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who used it to decry her being denied a visa to enter the U.S. The Post, however, failed to inform readers about Ashrawi’s disturbing history.
In a November 2000 interview with the Associated Press (AP), Ashrawi endorsed the murder of Israeli civilians saying, “Settlers have become legitimate and select targets of Palestinian resistance.” As Adam Levick of UK Media Watch, a CAMERA affiliate, has documented, Ashrawi has defended terrorist groups like Hezbollah and has previously declined to renounce anti-Jewish violence.
In a similar fashion, The Washington Post has also run several commentaries by journalist/activist Daoud Kuttab. In a June 23, 2019 op-ed, Kuttab lamented the lack of a “safe passage” between Gaza and the West Bank but omitted the reason why: Gaza is ruled by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terror group that calls for Israel’s destruction and has a history of placing operatives in the West Bank. Kuttab also blames Israel for the lack of a Palestinian state—omitting that Palestinian leaders have rejected U.S. and Israeli proposals for Palestinian statehood in 2000,2001, and 2008, among other instances.
To be sure, Kuttab is not Ashrawi; although he also perennially omits important context, he hasn’t claimed that Israeli civilians are legitimate targets nor has he declined to renounce anti-Jewish violence. But as CAMERA has noted, he has defended the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) policy of providing payments to terrorists and their families. And in an April 23, 2019 tweet, Kuttab defended Khalil al-Wazir, aka Abu Jihad, a Palestinian terrorist who perpetrated numerous terrorist attacks against Israelis, including the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 38 civilians, including 11 children, were murdered. U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt took to Twitter to criticize a “Palestinian school” glorifying Abu Jihad by posting a painting of the terrorist. In response Kuttab wrote, “Mr. Greenblatt you clearly don’t know much from neutral sources about Abu jihad and his role in supporting non-violent intifada empowering unions & supporting education in Palestine. Please ask any of neutral western friends and not Israelis before making wide ranging judgments.”
The Post has also heavily promoted Issa Amro, described by the newspaper’s Ishaan Tharoor as a “nonviolent dissident” and a “Palestinian Gandhi.” But as the writer Petra Marquardt-Bigman has documented, Amro “is on friendly terms” with “individuals known for their antisemitism and their open support for Hamas,” including Miko Peled, who compares Israelis to Nazis, and members of the Tamimi clan, who have assaulted IDF soldiers and trafficked in antisemitic blood libels. And, as Marquardt-Bigman notes, both Amro and his group, Youth Against Settlements, have used social media to incite anti-Jewish violence. So much for being a “Palestinian Gandhi.”
Perhaps most infamously, The Post employed Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, as a contributor. Khashoggi was brutally murdered in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, allegedly by men linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The Post subsequently memorialized their slain columnist, authoring numerous editorials and reports attacking the Saudis and hailing Khashoggi as a fearless journalist. The newspaper has even established a fellowship in his name.
Yet, as CAMERA and others have noted, The Post itself quietly acknowledged that “text messages between Khashoggi and an executive at Qatar Foundation International show that the executive, Maggie Mitchell Salem, at times shaped the columns he submitted to The Washington Post, proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government.” The newspaper also admitted that Khashoggi “appears to have relied on a researcher and translator affiliated with the organization.” Put simply: Khashoggi was less an impartial journalist than someone who was regurgitating the views of an entity linked to a country, Qatar, that is hostile to the Saudis and which itself supports Hamas, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
Further, Khashoggi had a long history of antisemitic remarks and tweets. As The Jerusalem Post’s Seth Frantzman documented in an April 14, 2019 column: “Writing on Twitter from 2011 until 2018, [Khashoggi] said Jews had no roots in historical Palestine, that one must know how to speak to Jews when meeting them, and that Jews were conspiring to divide al-Aqsa Mosque. The tweets, still online as of April 14, show a pattern of anti-Jewish views that even hinted at references to the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and complained that the West had laws preventing Holocaust denial.”
Thus far, The Post has refused to explain why they hired someone with openly antisemitic views who also associated with Azzam Tamimi, a Hamas promoter who has praised suicide bombings and called Hamas’s smuggling of rockets into Gaza “a miracle.” Nor have they fully explained why they’re still hailing Khashoggi, despite revelations that others were writing and influencing his columns—a blatant violation of journalistic ethics and standards.
When they’re not running columns by Hamas’s defenders, The Post is busy publishing propaganda pieces by the heads of antisemitic militias. On Nov. 8 2018, The Post published a piece by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the leader of an anti-American, Iranian-backed militia. The Houthi motto—“Death to Israel, Curse the Jews”—is openly antisemitic.
And—despite The Post’s professed concern about antisemitism and the welfare of journalists—the Houthi militia also has a history of targeting journalists. As does Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories, jailed record numbers of journalists, and supports Hamas. Nonetheless, The Post has published Erdogan, most recently on March 19, 2019.
Democracy may die in darkness, as The Washington Post’s masthead warns. But antisemites and their apologists seem to be thriving in the newspaper’s pages.