The effort to discredit Julian Assange continues, with The New York Times reporting on a claim that Assange made anti-Semitic comments in complaining about a “Jewish smear campaign” against him and WikiLeaks.
After the Bush administration implemented a worldwide torture regime, The New York Times (and many other American media outlets) infamously—and so very courageously—refused to use the word “torture” to describe what was done. Their excuse was that there was a “debate” over whether the authorized tactics were in fact torture, and media outlets should not take sides in that debate.
Earlier today, Ian Hislop, editor of a magazine called Private Eye, published a lengthy article recounting what he claims are anti-Jewish remarks made to him by Julian Assange in a private telephone call (meaning a call in which only Hislop and Assange participated). Hislop claims that Assange complained that an earlier Private Eye story about a Holocaust-denying, Russian WikiLeaks volunteer was part of an anti-Wikileaks conspiracy orchestrated by several Jewish editors and reporters at The Guardian, with whom Assange has been feuding.
Assange vehemently denies the story as asserted by Hislop—both its particulars and its general claims. WikiLeaks, on its Twitter feed, quoted Assange as stating that “Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase”; that the “‘Jewish conspiracy’ [claim] is false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting”; and that “we treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world.”