As we’ve demonsrated on these pages, Robert Fisk, who died last year, had a long record of using the pages of the Independent to peddle racist tropes about Jews.
Back in 2018, we complained to Indy editors about a piece by Fisk that peddled the antisemitic ‘dual loyalty’ canard. Fisk suggested that American Jews who work in the White House in roles related to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, such as Jared Kushner, are more loyal to Israel than to their own government.
Here’s the headline of that analysis:
Though the piece focused on Jared Kushner, to provide historical context, Fisk complained that the principle US Mid-East peacemakers under Bill Clinton “were all Jewish Americans”* and then derided “the myth that American peacemaking [could be] even-handed, neutral, [or] uninfluenced by the religion” of top officials.
He then quoted what he framed as wisdom by Israeli commentator Meron Benvenisti, who, on the pages of Haaretz in 1993, wrote that “it is hard to ignore the fact that manipulation of the peace process was entrusted by the US in the first place to American Jews…”, warning of “the tremendous influence of the Jewish establishment on the Clinton administration”.
In our complaint to the Indy managing editor at the time, we noted that the “dual loyalty” charge is codified as antisemitic by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition of Antisemitism, and cited CST, which wrote, “the ‘dual loyalty’ charge is one of the oldest antisemitic canards”. However, our complaint was rejected, as the editor disagreed that Fisk had engaged in antisemitism. (The outlet also rejected a complaint by Campaign Against Antisemitism)
However, yesterday, the Indy published the following:
Here are the opening paragraphs:
Former President Donald Trump told associates that his Jewish son-in-law and senior adviser was more loyal to Israel than the United States, Washington Post writers Bob Woodward and Robert Costa reveal in their forthcoming book, Peril.
“You know,” Trump joked in another meeting, mocking his son-in-law, Mr Kushner, who was raised in a modern Orthodox Jewish family and was working on Middle East peace, “Jared’s more loyal to Israel than the United States,” according to a copy of the book The Independent obtained ahead of its 21 September release.
Mr Trump’s use of what the Anti-Defamation League characterises as an anti-semitic trope was nothing new for the now-former president.
It’s the idea that Jews are more loyal to their religion than their country – and thus can’t be trusted.
The Nazis used similar charges of ‘dual loyalty’ to suggest Jews were traitors – leading to the eventual Holocaust.
After Israel was founded after World War II, the charge turned into Jews being more loyal to Israel than their own countries.
The fact that the Indy is willing to clearly call out the dual loyalty charge as an expression racism after having defended it when employed by Fisk,is an example of how media outlets often circle the wagon to protect their ‘star’ journalists, defending the indefensible rather than calling out their factual errors or bigotry.
Moreover, it’s to the great shame of Indy editors that, during his three decades at the paper, they consistently tolerated Fisk’s anti-Jewish animus, including his use of a particular toxic calumny that – their journalists now concede – helped unleash the most lethal hatred history has ever known.
(*Fisk was wrong about the make-up of Clinton’s Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiation team. Whilst most – Dennis Ross, Aaron David Miller, Robert Malley and Daniel Kurtzer – were indeed Jewish, one, Gamal Helal, was Arab.)
Fisk and his Infinite Set of Lies. His colleagues and editors knew he was lying but never challenged him. Though he ended up at the filthy rag, the Independent because not even the Guardian would touch him anymore.
I wonder what those alleging ‘dual loyalty’ would say if asked whether the interests of their own country/government are more important than justice abroad.