Guardian appears to get it wrong in claim Jewish NYT journo compared Israel to alt-right

We listened to the NY Times podcast the Guardian contributor is likely referencing, and, contrary to his claim, the NY Times journalist never makes anything resembling the claim that Netanyahu's "racial policies" have made Israel a "model" for the alt-right on how to construct an "ethno-state". 

A Guardian article by Ed Vulliammy (How Trump’s presidency has divided Jewish America, Nov. 14) highlights the views of Jonathan Weisman, a New York Times journalist and author of a book on the American Jewish community.

The piece includes the following paragraph:

“On the right,” writes Weisman, “anti-Semitism and militant Zionism can co-exist quite comfortably.” [Richard] Spencer calls his movement a “sort of white Zionism”. In a New York Times podcast, Weisman even posits that recent racial policies by the Netanyahu government have made Israel a “model” for the alt-right on how to construct an “ethno-state”.  

We listened to the NY Times podcast the author is almost certainly referring to, and Weisman never makes anything resembling the claim that Netanyahu’s “racial policies” have made Israel a “model” for the alt-right on how to construct an “ethno-state”. 

Upon researching the words attributed to Weisman, it appears as if it’s at least possible the author was conflating the NY Times podcast with an interview Weisman did with Alternet, in which case he still got it wrong.

Here’s the relevant quote from Weisman in his Alternet interview:

“I think the more you study alt-right ideology, the less strange it appears. Unlike the kind of anti-Semitism that you see emerging in the British Labour Party or on the French left, the alt-right is not especially anti-Zionist. They view Israel as a model ethno-state for their own country. There’s no incompatibility with white nationalism because they believe Jews have a place to go and should go there.”

As you can see, Weisman is merely characterising how some on the alt-right view Israel.  He isn’t asserting, in his own voice, that the “racial policies” of Israel’s government have made the state a model for the alt-right, as the author claims.

Note that this isn’t the first time a Guardian contributor attempted to associate Israel with the white nationalism of the alt-right. Back in August, we posted about a truly vile cartoon by Steve Bell which suggested that Zionism was a racist ideology, akin to apartheid and white supremacy.

We’ve reached out to Weisman in an attempt to find out with certainty if he’s ever made such a comparison.

We also tweeted the journalist and complained to Guardian editors.  However, among all the media outlets we monitor, Guardian editors are the most unresponsive to our complaints.  So, unsurprisingly, we haven’t received a reply.

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