Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Russia: Journalist quits, accused of being Zionist stooge

Liz Wahl is an American journalist who used to work for Russian broadcaster RT.  After the Russian occupation of Crimea, she resigned, saying she felt she was part of a propaganda campaign.

In response, she became the target of an antisemitic harassment campaign.  Even though RT is an antisemitic broadcaster and dabbles regularly in antisemitic conspiracy theory, Wahl was shocked when that antisemitism was directed straight at her.  She suddenly 'discovered' the antisemitism that is anti-Zionism.

Via Jerusalem Post (h/t Documenting Anti-Semitism):
That decision put me at the center of a viral news story. I received a flood of messages, mostly on social media. Many were encouraging and inspiring but plenty were also bizarre and vile. Beyond the profanities and sexist remarks, I found the wave of anti-Semitic hate particularly shocking and confusing. I am not Jewish and I do not have any ties to Israel. But the accusations of being a “Zionist neocon” were unrelenting.

The assertion was that I was part of a Jewish, Zionist plot. Some radical anti-Israel activists wrote an article portraying my resignation as part of a conspiracy with war-hungry neocons pulling my strings to provide a pretext for another Cold War. I had become used to the knee-jerk reaction of a paranoid population attributing any atrocity to a nefarious conspiracy by power-hungry evildoers intent on controlling the world. But here they accused the Jews specifically of being behind it.

The Russian media often uses conspiracy theories to create division and paranoia.

This is nothing new. Conspiracy theories have been used to vilify Jews for centuries. Jews are accused of orchestrating economic ills or false-flag operations, and we are familiar with the more common stereotype of the war-hungry Zionist. Disagreements over Israeli policies and advocating for the Palestinian underdog often morph from anti-Israel sentiment into anti-Jewish bias. Indeed, the “counter-culture” environment at RT often fostered such an anti-Israel stance.

While the Middle East has long been a divisive topic, I find many young people attracted to this “anti-establishment” narrative of an all-powerful Israel victimizing the Palestinians. For one reason or another, it seems believing this narrative is the “cool” thing to do, whether or not you know or understand anything about the Middle East conflict.

However, when I felt this hate in my own life it was not only uncool, it was downright disturbing. I had never realized the extent of the anti-Semitism of the US leaders of the far Left, from Max Blumenthal to Glenn Greenwald – who have amassed a substantial online following.

Their followers hang on their every word under the guise of fighting US imperialism, Islamophobia and perceived injustices perpetrated by Western powers. I have painfully experienced how they cling to hateful rhetoric and aggressively spread and promote these anti-Semitic messages through nasty social media trolling.
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