Indy hypocrisy in calling out antisemitic dog whistle

If the Independent wants to be taken seriously as a respectable anti-racist publication, they need call out antisemitic tropes advanced by extremists, world leaders...and even their own correspondents.

An article in the Independent (“Trump accused of using antisemitic trope during UN speech”) centered on the US President’s use of the term “globalists”.

“The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to strong, independent nations,” the president said, while discussing international trade.

The Indy contextualized it thusly:

While it has been suggested the term ‘globalist’ is not necessarily antisemitic when juxtaposed with ‘nationalist’ – or ‘patriot’ – many on social media interpreted the president’s deployment as offensive.

Though the term can be problematic depending on the context, what really strike us is the Indy’s double standards in their putative concern for the use of antisemitic tropes.

Readers may recall our post earlier in the year about an article by their long-time Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk that used explicitly antisemitic language.  The original headline for the March 26th piece, for US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was something out of Strormfront:

Though, following complaints, the Indy toned down the headline to something slightly less offensive, they refused, after repeated communications with our office, to revise equally offensive sentences from the article, such as Fisk’s characterisation of what he called the media’s “grovelling, cowardly, craven obeisance to Israel”. 

There was more. 

Despite condemnation by the CST, Indy editors also refused to revise the last paragraph where Fisk attacked those who fail to “complain about the dual loyalties of their countrymen”, who “grovel” and are “in thrall” to the Jewish state.  Nor did editors see evidently anything problematic with Fisk’s conclusion, echoing the raw venom of far-right extremists, that Israel has “annexed America“.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that, in our ten years of monitoring the British media (including the Guardian), we’ve never seen such explicitly antisemitic language in an article or op-ed.

As CST aptly put it at the time: 

“Such overblown and catch-all rhetoric, with its echoes of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, should have no place in a respectable newspaper.”

So, if the Independent wants to be taken seriously as a respectable anti-racist publication, they need to consistently call out antisemitic tropes advanced by extremists, world leaders…and even their own journalists.

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