Al-Jazeera publishes, pulls, then reposts Joseph Massad piece

On May 14, al-Jazeera published a long Op-Ed from Columbia University’s Joseph Massad entitled, “The Last of the Semites.” Massad wrote:

Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question.” What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

Massad’s argument, that Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism, ignited considerable backlash. On Twitter, Jeffrey Goldberg said the piece was “one of the most anti-Jewish screeds in recent memory.” Journalist Liam Hoare wrote that Massad’s view boils down to “a total perversion of Jewish history and what Herzl actually thought and wrote.”

Consequently, without a clear explanation, Al-Jazeera removed the piece, but then, after being accused of bowing to outside pressure, put it up again with an apology:  ”We should have handled this better, and we have learned lessons that will enable us to maintain the highest standards of journalistic integrity.”


In response to this perceived act of censorship, Ali Abunimah, creator of the website Electric Intifada, wrote a long post of his own decrying the censorship.

The Jerusalem Post has a more in-depth round up on the matter here.

Joe Winkler is the online coordinator for JTA.