(April 1, 2019 / JNS) Longtime Middle East correspondent at The Independent Robert Fisk promotes dangerous anti-Semitic tropes in a March 26 piece published online, titled “US grovels to Israel the same way ‘supporters’ fawned on Saddam.”
Fisk’s central argument is that Israel controls the United States.
In the article, Fisk criticizes mainstream news outlets, like the BBC, for not granting sufficient legitimacy to Syrian claims to the Golan, but also argues that such “pro-Israel” coverage of the issue is evidence of the broader media’s “groveling, cowardly, craven obeisance to Israel,” which he maintains is motivated by their “fear of being cast into the accusatory hell of ‘anti-Semitism.’ ”
He later adds that Israel has “annexed America.”
“Fisk charges the international media with being subservient to the Jewish state, and later suggests that Jews control Washington,” said Adam Levick, managing editor of CAMERA’s UK Media Watch. “Such a narrative not only falls within the International Holocaust Remembrance Association’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism, but is nearly indistinguishable from the toxic rhetoric used by far-right extremists like David Duke,” he continued.
“In our nine years of monitoring the British media, we have rarely come across an article with such an explicit use of anti-Semitic tropes,” added Levick.
Mark Gardner, director of communications at the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity dedicated to the security of the British Jewish community, affirmed Levick’s grievances with the piece.
“This kind of overblown and catch-all rhetoric, with its echoes of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, should have no place in a respectable newspaper,” he said.
Beyond multiple instances of anti-Semitism throughout Fisk’s article, its initial headline read: “By accepting Israeli control of the Golan Heights, Trump has accepted that Israel controls America.”
Following contact from CAMERA’s UK Media Watch, the headline was amended by editors, though remains problematic, according to Levick. “Fisk’s anti-Semitic narrative, that Israel controls the policies of the U.S. government, remains in the article,” he said.
“In light of the ongoing national anti-Semitism crisis perceived by many in the British Jewish community as nothing short of an existential threat to Jewish life,” concluded Levick, their failure to distance themselves from such hateful views would represent a serious moral abdication and undermine their claim to be serious, responsible news outlet.