Glenn Greenwald doubles down on claim that pro-Israel factions nixed Massad essay (Updated)

See update below.

As we reported yesterday, Glenn Greenwald Tweeted his outrage after Al Jazeera recently published and then deleted an appallingly antisemitic essay by Joseph Massad – titled, ‘Last of the Semites’ – which you can read here. Massad’s nearly 4000 word attack on Jews and the Jewish state explicitly advanced the argument that there is an “ideological similitude” between Zionism and Nazism and, in sum, was difficult to distinguish from the bile found on extremist websites.

Greenwald expressed his outrage over the removal of Massad’s pseudo intellectual assault against Jews, thusly:

As we noted, the identity of Greenwald’s “usual suspects” wasn’t difficult to determine, as he linked to a predictable take on the Massad row by Ali Abunimah at Electronic Intifada which accused the Qatari-based media group of caving in to “Zionists extremists” – naming the Jewish trio of  Jeffrey Goldberg, John Podhoretz and Rahm Emmanuel.

Though Greenwald refused to answer our query, during a Twitter exchange, asking him to clarify his allegation against “the usual suspects”, we didn’t have to wait long to receive an answer, as the ‘Comment is Free’ columnist addressed the topic in his latest post titled ‘Al Jazeera deletes its own controversial op-ed, then refuses to comment.

The fact that Greenwald, per the title, was indeed unable to get a clear answer from Al Jazeera on why they removed Massad’s essay didn’t represent a significant obstacle in his determination to reach a ‘conclusion’ about the media group’s decision.  After addressing the “controversial” nature of Massad’s Zionism-Nazi allegations – writing: “I’m not expressing any views here on the merit of Massad’s arguments because that’s irrelevant to the issue” – he then pivoted to the question of who was to blame for the stifling of Joseph Massad. 

Greenwald writes the following:

I spent much of the weekend emailing various Al Jazeera officials for comment, to no avail. Everyone either ignored my multiple inquires or said they were barred from commenting and referred me to the head of the outlet’s PR department, who never responded.’

Greenwald, further into his post, begins to reveal “information” he was able to receive from unnamed ‘sources’:

Al Jazeera’s deletion of this Op-Ed, and especially its refusal to provide any explanation for what happened here, is significant beyond just this one episode. Several people who work for the outlet, none of whom was willing to speak for attribution due to fear of retaliation by the network’s officials, say that Al Jazeera officials have become much more cautious and fearful ever since they purchased Current TV last December for $500 million and prepared to enter the US television market under the brand name “Al Jazeera America”

Greenwald then expands on the cause of the Arab news outlet’s new-found caution.

In particular, these sources say, the primary impetus for the removal of the Op-Ed came from Ehab al-Shihabi, who was recently named to head the American TV network. They say that he is petrified that angering “pro-Israel” factions in the US will bolster the perception of Al Jazeera as both anti-American and anti-Israel, thus dooming the network with both corporate advertisers and cable carriers and render it radioactive among mainstream politicians. Al-Shihabi, they say, went to the network’s top executive in Doha, Director-General Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, and demanded the removal of the Massad Op-Ed.

The question is whether this can continue now that Al Jazeera is seeking to establish a serious TV presence in the US. The Qatari regime is a close American ally, hosting several vital US military assets used to wage the war in Iraq. But the regime has come under criticism from US officials and “pro-Israel” commentators for its support of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is hard to see how a US television network owned by the regime in Qatar will regularly broadcast journalism that is truly adversarial to its close ally, the US government, or air commentary that offends influential political factions in the US.

As we’ve documented continually, this particular accusation is par for the course for Greenwald, who has shown himself to be seemingly obsessed with the alleged power of “influential” “pro-Israel factions” in the US.

Here are a few examples from his former blog at Salon:

So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations…”

Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”

“Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack (obviously) but also, revealingly,pronounced:  ”Even if we are the only country on earth that sees the facts here, the United States should stand up for Israel.”  In other words:  who cares how isolated it makes us or what harm we suffer?”

It is simply true that there are large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups which are agitating for a U.S. war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests…”

And, it is simply true that the ideological territory which Glenn Greenwald claims routinely endorses tropes about the injurious influence of Jewish power which share a long and toxic antisemitic pedigree. 

UPDATE: This evening Al Jazeera reposted the Massad piece, which prompted Greenwald to Tweet the following:

Al Jazeera editors explained their decision to republish Massad’s hateful screed thusly:

After publication, many questions arose about the article’s content. In addition, the article was deemed to be similar in argument to Massad’s previous column, ” Zionism, anti-Semitism and colonialism“, published on these pages in December.

We should have handled this better, and we have learned lessons that will enable us to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity.

Our guiding principle has always been “the opinion and other opinion”. Our pages have always been – and will always be – open to the most thought-provoking thinkers and writers from across the globe.

Al Jazeera does not submit to pressure regardless of circumstance, and our history is full of examples where we were faced with extremely tough choices but never gave in. This is the secret to our success.

Evidently, those “influential” “pro-Israel factions” aren’t so influential after all!

15 replies »

  1. Interesting that Greenwald cites Abbas’ doctoral thesis, as it supposedly engenders “debate” on Zionist-Nazi links.
    But he forgets — deceptive, and obscene propagandist that he is — relying as ever on the ignorance of his cheerleaders, that Abbas’ core argument was that there were NO gas chambers employed by the Nazis, and that the total death count couldn’t have exceed 800,000
    This is blatant Holocaust denial; Abbas was actually forced to apologise(which he did, however grudgingly, and ambivalently). And now he has found another gleeful admirer pushing his mendacious lies to vogue(Outside of Stormfront, et al that is).
    A new low for Greenwald.
    (Abbas’ “thesis”:

  2. Glenn G: “I spent much of the weekend emailing various Al Jazeera officials for comment, to no avail. Everyone either ignored my multiple inquires …”

    That’s because the Salafis don’t like Jews Glenn.

    • No, but Greenwald is exactly the kind of Jew that Salafis can do business with. If there were a war where not only Israelis, but also Jews in the diaspora were imperiled, I’m confident that Greenwald would be actively working with those seeking the destruction of the Israelis and Jews.

  3. He’s really crossed the line from rabid Israel hater to complete caricature. His views are so extreme that they are getting into the “so sociopathic we can ignore them” category. I just pity him.

    • Oooo, but that’s what they WANT you to think! Those Jews Zionists are so tricksy that they’ll pretend not to be all-powerful just so you’ll think they’re not really all-powerful.

      Just like they give their Arab citizens full civil rights just to fool you into thinking Israel’s not really an apartheid state.

    • “It looks like they re-posted it.” Perhaps some lobbying made them reconsider. Who knows, maybe it was a rather powerful lobby.

  4. This post was just updated to reflect the fact that Al Jazeera republished Massad’s essay, and to note Greenwald’s response.

  5. But truly — TRULY — the implications of deleting Massad’s op-ed were just too terrible to contemplate. Naturally, Massad’s fans knew all along whom to blame for Al Jazeera’s decision to remove his column. As the “Angry Arab,” Massad’s colleague As’ad AbuKhalil put it, the decision was “due to pressures from Zionist hoodlums,” and there were TRULY momentous implications: “The Qatari ruling dynasty is now at the feet of Zionists.”

    Phew, this was a close call — happily, with the re-publication of Massad’s piece, this dreadful scenario has been banished!!!

    • The PR Dept of the Elders made a huge mistake ordering Al-Jazeera to pull Massad’s article. Revoking the order didn’t help, he damage has been done, the length and number of our tentacles surprised even the all knowing Greenwald.

  6. Now if the intrepid inspector Clouseau, oh, I mean Greenwald could get to the bottom of the Julie Burchill matter. I guess that one doesn’t turn him on. Besides, she likes Jews.

  7. It is a revolting story, full with disgusting media enterprises, persons and clans, like Al Jazeera, Al Guardian, Massad, Greenwald and the Al Thani.