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October 21, 2022 2:22 pm

We Are Undeterred After Being Targeted by Iranian Press TV

avatar by Gil Hoffman


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi brandishes a photo of assassinated Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani during his address to the UN General Assembly. Photo: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

My organization, HonestReporting, came under attack this week for its success in highlighting antisemitic social media posts of journalists who praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and terrorist attacks that killed dozens of Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

Normally, we don’t address such criticism, which comes and goes. But this time, we were shocked to see that we garnered the attention of Press TV, a state-owned and funded news network of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this cannot be ignored.

The Iranian regime  — which has killed more than 200 critics of its policies toward women in recent weeks — found time to target HonestReporting, devoting its “Palestine Declassified” program to the question: “Honest Reporting or Dishonest Intimidation?”

The show accused the staff of HonestReporting of working for the Israeli government and the Israel Defense Forces, singling out staff members who served their compulsory military service. The decision by The New York Times to no longer work with journalists following their antisemitic social media posts was falsely attributed to a vast conspiracy.

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Host Chris Williamson said the show would reveal “the way in which the Zionist regime marshals its forces internationally to remove critics from their jobs.”

Reporter Latifa Abouchakra concluded her report by saying: “It’s clear that Hosam Salem, a Palestinian photographer from Gaza, was fired from his job at The New York Times by the Israeli military.”

The truth is that HonestReporting merely did its due diligence in vetting journalists who worked for mainstream media outlets from the Gaza Strip, which has no freedom of the press under the regime of the Iranian-backed Hamas, which is officially recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States.

There is no “calculated, coordinated effort to target anyone who stands up for the Palestinians,” as analyst David Miller alleged in the program. But grave antisemitism in both the mainstream and on social media must be properly monitored and called out.

Program analyst Adri Nieuwhof called HonestReporting editor Akiva Van Koningsveld, who revealed the antisemitic tweets, “brutal.” But is there anything more despicable than Press TV depicting staff members of HonestReporting with their children, in a vile attempt at intimidation?

A cursory look at those involved in the program reveals how far away they are from normal news reporters and analysts.

Williamson was suspended as a Labor Party member of the UK parliament for suggesting that the party under Jeremy Corbyn was “too apologetic” for its well-documented antisemitism. In a 2017 interview with The Guardian, he described Labour’s antisemitism problem as “bullsh**” and “smears.”

Miller was a sociology professor at the University of Bristol, specializing in Islamophobia. In 2019, he was fired for antisemitic and anti-Israel comments made to students, calling Jewish students “political pawns by a violent, racist foreign regime.” During the recent Iranian protests, Miller told state media that activist Mahsa Amini was not murdered, as reports have shown, claiming that the story was “invented by sources who had a reason to invent such things,” including “the Zionists.”

Nieuwhof has written about “the politicization and abuse of the term anti-Semitism,” “robbing it of any utility,” and has made countless comparisons between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany (see, for instance, here, here, and here). She stands in close contact with multiple Israel-designated terror groups, as well as the Palestinian BDS National Committee, which advocates for an end to Jewish self-determination.

For her part, Abouchakra, who worked as both a citizenship teacher and teachers union official in the UK, wrote about “dirty Zionists” and shared a post on social media saying that “Zionism is not just racist and genocidal. It’s stark raving mad.” She described assassinated Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani as a “hero” and shared an image of a Jewish effigy represented as the devil.

The fact that an Iranian mouthpiece devoted an entire program to attacking HonestReporting proves the importance of what we fight for day in and day out.

Pro-Israel organizations working together to stymie efforts to smear Israel obviously worries Iran, and it should. Media outlets should be more careful and sensitive in what they publish, knowing that HonestReporting and other organizations are watching closely.

Press TV works out of London, which is increasingly problematic, as Iran supports terror against civilians around the world.

Miller said on the show that pro-Israel groups were “panicking due to Palestinian resistance,” and predicted that “the collapse of the Zionist entity may happen sooner than we think.”

It is clear that it is Iran that is panicking, as international and internal pressure on its nefarious regime intensifies.

And if HonestReporting is being attacked by the likes of Iran, and the most anti-Israel groups in the US and around the world, we must be doing something right.

They will continue to criticize. Israel and HonestReporting will continue going strong.

The author is the Executive Director of 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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