Monday, October 31, 2016

About a week ago, popular anti-Israel activist Rania Khalek arrived for a visit in her ancestral Lebanon and was immediately disappointed. As she announced to her almost 100,000 Twitter followers: “I’m back in Lebanon for the 1st time in 9 years and struck by how few ppl care about Palestine & Israel. Ppl are consumed by Syria & ISIS.”

Given how freely she admitted that she was utterly clueless about what’s going on in the region to which she dedicates so much of her “journalistic” output, it’s perhaps useful to recall that Khalek told a fan last year in an interview: “I became a journalist by accident … I majored in exercise science and was working in cardiac rehabilitation and preparing to go to nursing school.” But then, some day in 2008, exercise science major Rania Khalek discovered by chance that the mainstream media kept all sorts of important news from her, and she promptly decided to do something about it; in particular, she soon began devoting herself to educating the world about the endless evils committed by Israel.

A noble mission, no doubt – but despite Khalek’s undeniable passion for her new calling, her ‘accidental’ journalism has begun to look more and more like a terrible train wreck. To be sure, none of Khalek’s fans were much disturbed by her openly displayed antisemitism, though there were a few raised eyebrows when she once tried to argue that a site promoting Holocaust denial also provided “completely factual” material about the unspeakable evils of Zionism. More recently, however, Khalek got caught in the backlash against her good friend Max Blumenthal, who alienated many of his fans when he tried to present the heroic Syrian rescuer group “White Helmets” as part of a sinister Western conspiracy against jolly good old Bashar Assad. In the ensuing controversy about the unsavory views of some prominent anti-Israel activists, it turned out that Khalek had been rightly accused of plagiarism. At about the same time, a piece she had written in late September for The Intercept – a publication co-founded by Israel-hater Glenn Greenwald – suddenly attracted sharp criticism; the article on the supposed impact of sanctions against the Assad regime was even denounced as “yellow journalism” and – somewhat belatedly, in my humble opinion – there were complaints about “Khalek’s demonstrable contempt for factual accuracy and [her] proven record of misleading readers.” I’ll admit that I’m tempted to say “I told you so”…

But Rania Khalek was far above such criticism, and soon after arriving in Lebanon, she confidently asked her fans to finance her trip to the region on which she had “reported” for years without having visited for almost a decade. As she writes in her fundraising appeal: “I wanted to go to the region first hand to get a real sense of what’s happening.” Initially, she wanted $ 12,000 for a month; in the meantime, she has become a bit more modest and is now asking for only $8000 (she has received pledges for almost $2800). Interestingly, she lists among the services she has to fund “translators,” which presumably means that even though her parents are Lebanese and she sometimes complains about experiencing discrimination as an Arab and Muslim, she doesn’t know Arabic.

Shortly after Khalek started her fundraising campaign, it became clear what had finally brought her to the Middle East: it was quite obviously not just the urge “to go to the region first hand,” but rather a “conference” organized by none other than Bashar al-Assad’s father-in-law. As the Guardian put it, “critics” were denouncing this conference as “little more than a Syrian regime propaganda exercise.” The announcement for the invitation-only event described it as a “workshop” under the rather cynical title “State of Play in Syria.” The program featured several “sanctioned war criminals” and, astonishingly, Khalek was listed as co-chair and presenter for a session on the effects of Western sanctions, where she perhaps planned to recycle her discredited Intercept article.

When she was faced with a fast and furious backlash on Twitter, Khalek decided to dig herself in a little bit deeper: she posted an utterly insincere statement, claiming she was just visiting Syria “with other international journalists” and that the conference would also be attended by “reporters from major international outlets” such as the New York Times and the Washington Post – that is to say: media outlets for which Khalek had always expressed nothing but contempt were suddenly useful for providing her some cover. She also claimed that she had thought she would participate in the conference under “Chatham House rules” – i.e. the identity of speakers and participants would remain confidential – which amounts to admitting that she had hoped it wouldn’t come out that she had agreed to co-chair a session and also serve as a speaker.

She was bitterly mocked in response, with some people including graphic images of the victims of Assad’s atrocities. Soon the criticism also extended to Ali Abunimah’s Electronic Intifada, where she was not only a regular contributor but also an editor. Apparently, Abunimah was more interested in saving his own skin than in defending Khalek, and she eventually announced with considerable bitterness: “The outrageous attacks against me have expanded to @intifada. So I’m stepping down as an editor. The professional smear artists won.”

That turned out to be too little too late, as e.g. reflected in the disappointed musings of one fairly prominent (former) Intifada fan who lamented: “After years of fine journalism, the obtuse and abrasive nature of @intifada’s senior figures has caught up with them.” “Recent conduct of @intifada figures is a lesson for how you can build a strong activism brand, then destroy it in a few disastrous weeks.” “For years they used Palestine as a fig leaf; as an ‘instantly gain moral high ground’ card.” “I don’t know which is more sad. That @intifada shot itself in the foot, or that its leading figures were revealed for what they are.”

I will admit that I can see no reason for sadness – in fact, I think it’s great that leading anti-Israel activists have been “revealed for what they are.”

But Rania Khalek seems to be quite desperate now: she has posted yet another statement “[in] response to the ongoing deluge of questions, innuendo and attacks,” where she even admits that it was “a careless mistake” not to pay “close attention to the details of the workshop” – which she now claims not to have attended. That sounds like an admission that her critics were right, doesn’t it? It also sounds like an admission that her previous statement defending her participation in the workshop “under Chatham House rules” was just so much BS…

In the end, it has come to this: I find myself completely agreeing with a (now former) Intifada colleague of Rania Khalek: “If a journalist can’t figure out the nature of a conference she’s speaking at, she’s been discredited as a reliable judge of info + sources.”

And yes, this obviously means that Khalek didn’t resign from Abunimah’s Intifada, but that she was fired: “EI fires Rania Khalek. her now ex EI colleagues disavow her to try to preserve whatever appearances are left.”

Abunimah himself has taken a vacation from Twitter – perhaps he needs some time to figure out how best to preserve whatever appearances are left?

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

search eoz



follow me

Follow by Email


Share on Whatsapp


For $18 donation

Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever


Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 12 years and over 25,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options

One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!



The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs


Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid arab refugees Arafat archaeology art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF Ilan Pappe impossible peace incitement Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Nakba Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive