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May 5, 2022 10:20 am

A Question for Time Magazine: Is Supporting Assad, Putin, and Hezbollah ‘Social Justice’?

avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld


Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, in this handout released by SANA on Jan. 7, 2020. Photo: SANA / Handout via Reuters.

Hadi Nasrallah, a confessed supporter of the US-designated Hezbollah terror group, has openly called for the destruction of the only Jewish state. The Lebanese extremist also backs Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad, has cheered on Hamas’ war crimesdefended Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and mourned Iranian terror mastermind Qasem Soleimani.

Nevertheless, in the eyes of TIME Magazine, this “pro-Palestine activist” is part of the worldwide movement for social justice.

An April 29 feature titled, “Twitter Has Helped Build Social Movements Across the World. Now Organizers Fear For Its Future,” deliberately omits Nasrallah’s support for serious human rights violations, while painting criticism of his views as “smear attacks.”

The TIME article, written by freelance journalist Rebecca Chowdhury, outlines perceived concerns regarding harassment and defamation on Twitter following billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of the social media platform.

In her piece, Chowdhury presents, among others, the views of Black Lives Matter protesters, labor activists, and anti-oppression organizers on the matter. However, she opted to open her article with the following paragraphs:

Pro-Palestine activists have a long history of experiencing smear attacks targeting their places of employment or study. When Hadi Nasrallah tweeted a video of protestors confronting Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely after a late 2021 speaking engagement, he attracted the attention of David Collier.

Collier has a large following, describes himself as a journalist and anti-semitism [sic] researcher, and has targeted supporters of Palestine [sic] and conflated critiques of Israel with anti-semitism in the past. Collier, who refers to Nasrallah as an “extremist,” began sharing personal images from Nasrallah’s Facebook account. Nasrallah reported these tweets and in response, Twitter locked Collier out of his account until he deleted the tweets that violated Twitter’s rules on sharing private media.

Yet, there is no mention of what these so-called “personal images” of Nasrallah show. This, even though Chowdhury is well-aware of the contents of the photographs in question, having published a screenshot of one of the Facebook posts on her Twitter account.

As a matter of fact, Collier’s post — eventually removed after being reported to Twitter — featured a picture of Nasrallah standing on a Syrian army tank. In the caption, the Lebanese firebrand thanked the regime’s fighters for their “hospitality.” Despite what TIME implied, he had also posted the photo publicly. Moreover, after complaints, Nasrallah reposted the picture on November 10, 2021, stating: “And PROUDLY m*therf***er.”

So how can Collier’s research possibly be described as a “smear attack”?

Furthermore, the suggestion that Nasrallah works to advance social justice is as false as it is bizarre. According to the Oxford Reference definition, social justice refers to “the objective of creating a fair and equal society in which each individual matters, their rights are recognized and protected, and decisions are made in ways that are fair and honest.”

Nasrallah, in addition to posing with Syrian soldiers, two years ago praised Assad’s forces’ “noble sacrifices” — like the killing of thousands of civilians.

Mere weeks after the Syrian regime’s 2017 sarin gas attack that killed more than 80 people, he made a pro-Assad statement in central London.

Indeed, Nasrallah acts as an apologist for virtually every modern-day human rights abuser, even denying China’s persecution of Uyghur Muslims, which, according to the United States and other countries, constitutes genocide and crimes against humanity.

Many of his anti-Israel social media posts, meanwhile, breach the internationally-accepted working definition of antisemitism (see, for example, herehere, and here).

As David Coller this week pointed out, Rebecca Chowdhury nonetheless felt compelled to air-quote his description of Hadi Nasrallah as an “extremist.”

Perhaps this has something to do with the freelancer’s overt personal agenda; on Twitter, Chowdhury has accused Israel of stealing “Palestinians [sic] land and food.” She also made light of hate crimes against Jews.

And while the April 29 piece may be Chowdhury’s first report for TIME, the magazine has a history of promoting the voices of supporters of antisemitic terrorism. Readers respectfully, but firmly, should demand that the publication tell its readers the truth about Hadi Nasrallah’s pro-terrorism stances.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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