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April 23, 2021 12:26 pm

Fox News Anchor Fails to Challenge Conspiracy Theorist’s Antisemitic Trope

avatar by Gidon Ben-Zvi


National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci addresses the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, US January 21, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Author and known conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf claimed during an April 19 interview on “Fox News Primetime that Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, “Doesn’t work for us … He got a million dollars from the State of Israel for a humanitarian gift.”

This classical antisemitic trope — that some Jews somehow control US domestic and foreign policy — went unchallenged by anchor Ben Domenech, who instead ended the segment by saying that Wolf’s criticisms of COVID-19-related restrictions would be “vindicated.”

Wolf may have been booked to appear on the program because of her strong opinions about the US government’s response to the pandemic, but her history of inflammatory remarks about Israel — which in this case crossed the line into antisemitism — should have given Fox News cause to reconsider allowing Wolf to potentially influence the network’s massive audience.

Naomi Wolf: Jerusalem Controls Washington

First, a short selection of some of Wolf’s previous problematic comments about the Jewish state.

In a 2015 interview, she said there is a pro-Israel lobby in Washington that ensures that Jerusalem gets preferred treatment from the US by:

Funding seed money to candidates so by the time people are elected, they really can’t deviate from support of Israel or whatever Israel is up to, or they won’t have money to get re-elected.

Moreover, this powerful group is ostensibly part of an “unholy alliance,” the conspiracy theorist claimed. Wolf has also implied that this cabal not only controls politicians but the media as well:

Basically, it’s AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] and a number of other entities that are primarily funded by war … If you’re War, Inc. you have to prime populations — especially in democracies — for years and years of conflict because that’s where the profits are generated.”

The above are modern manifestations of a very old antisemitic canard. Wolf is trafficking in a type of conspiracy theory known as “Zionist-occupied government,” which claims that Jews secretly control the political systems of Western states.

Naomi Wolf: Israeli “Genocide” to Blame for Antisemitism

Had “Fox News Primetime” done a bit of due diligence, the show’s producers would have discovered that Wolf has alleged that a purported Israeli “genocide” is fueling Jew-hatred.

Her blatant disregard for the existence of Palestinian terrorism, as well as the use of human shields and child soldiers by Hamas, a US-designated terrorist group, is clear:

Right now, we’re [Israel] killing their [Palestinian] kids. We’re not saying we’re sorry. Why don’t we stop killing their kids, obey international law, and not engage in atrocities?”

And in 2019, responding to a Twitter poll asking, “Which nation is the biggest threat to peace in the world?,” she implied in a tweet that the Jewish state fits the bill:

When Silence Isn’t Golden: Fox News Lets Wolf Howl

Nevertheless, Fox News opted to invite Wolf onto the program. While she was ostensibly meant to criticize coronavirus-related restrictions promoted by Dr. Fauci, the network did a poor job vetting its guest.

It should not have been surprising that, given Wolf’s background, the April 19 interview transformed into a broadside against Israel:

I’m going to tell you something very upsetting. He doesn’t work for us. He’s so conflicted that I don’t think you can say that he’s a bureaucrat whose job it is to serve public health for the American people … He got $1 million from the state of Israel as a humanitarian gift…”

In fact, Fauci never received a gift from the Israeli government. Rather, he was given the Dan David Prize, founded by the late Romanian-Israeli philanthropist of the same name, and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. Fauci was cited for his achievements in public health and praised for his dedication to combating the coronavirus.

People living in an open, democratic society are entitled, even encouraged, to question and critique the decision-making of their key public officials. However, doubting Dr. Anthony Fauci’s loyalty to the United States crossed a red line.

And allowing antisemitic tropes to be spewed live on air without being questioned, is nothing less than an act of journalistic malfeasance.

This article was first published at HonestReporting, where the author is a contributor.

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