On Friday, Anti-Defamation League president Abraham Foxman blasted Huffington Post for its anti-Semitic splash page pushing against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is pushing for harsher sanctions against Iran. The page showed Menendez speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and carried the headline, “SABOTEUR SEN. LAUNCHING WAR PUSH.”
To the Editor:
We were deeply disturbed by the Huffington Post's front-page handling on December 19 of the bipartisan introduction in the Senate of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act.
The initial headline, "Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push," by itself was outrageous and inappropriate. While legitimate arguments can be made in support of and against the legislation, your headline impugned Senator Menendez's loyalty, insinuating that he is not acting in the best interest of the United States as he sees it. Running a photo of Sen. Robert Menendez speaking at the podium of an AIPAC event further implies that he was trying to "sabotage" the administration's efforts on Iran for reasons related to Israel under pressure from American Jews. We are shocked that a version of the anti-Semitic theme that "Jews manipulate the U.S. Government" was boldly featured on your site.
Whether done intentionally or not, it is deeply troubling to see how easily even a well-respected mainstream media outlet like the Huffington Post can fail to see the ugly stereotype projected when the language of "sabotage" is combined with the image of an identifiably American Jewish organization known for its effectiveness in promoting U.S. political support for Israel. The charge of dual loyalty leveled against Jews has, for centuries, been a catalyst for scapegoating and vilifying Jews. It has no legitimate place in our society.
We also seriously question the premise of the front page headline concluding that the proposed bipartisan legislation is a "War Push." Indeed, we and many in the U.S. and around the world believe that setting the table now for future sanctions against Iran that would kick in if diplomacy fails to achieve a nuclear accord will enhance the likelihood for reaching that agreement without the need for military action. Yet your front page headline suggested only the opposite. We know Sens. Menendez, Kirk, Schumer and the 22 other co-sponsors of the legislation are not pushing for war. They are pushing to increase the chances of averting war.
Abraham H. Foxman
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center agreed with Foxman, stating that the obviously anti-Semitic headline “goes back to the age old canard that certain people have never seen a war that they can’t find a way to blame on the Jews.”
Huffington Post quickly ran to anti-Israel front group J Street in its own defense, with president Jeremy Ben-Ami acting as apologist for the anti-Semitic headline, writing, “Once again, we’re seeing how some in the American Jewish community who ought to know better are all-too-quick to bring out the anti-Semitism charge.”
But the Huffington Post has a long history of anti-Semitic coverage. This headline was part of a pattern, not a mere exception to a rule.