On Friday, Carol Morello, diplomatic correspondent for the Washington Post, covered a conference lambasting Israel’s supposed influence over America. The conference was sponsored by the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs (WRMEA), which Morello described as “a D.C.-based magazine featuring articles questioning Israeli government policies and U.S. aid to the country.” That’s a curiously mild description given WRMEA’s history, legacy, and outlook.
WRMEA is famous for an obsession with Israel that goes beyond simple criticism and instead centers itself in conspiracy. Consider, for example, its suggestions that the Mossad killed John F. Kennedy, its belief that Israel was involved in the 9/11 attacks, its embrace of the most noxious USS Liberty conspiracies, and its description of American supporters of Israel as a “cancer.” In its May/June 1998 issue (no longer online), it suggested that Nazi Germany did not kill six million Jews. “New evidence, if true, would cut in half the Zionists’ original claim that six million died under the Nazi regime,” it argued, adding, “It would also raise the questions (sic) of, “Why did the Zionists grossly exaggerate the original numbers of Jewish victims?”
The conference organizers also advertised a book by Roger Garaudy, a Holocaust denier convicted in France for racial libel, which purported to examine “the Holocaust myth of Jewish extermination.” Anti-Semitic obsessions go deep. In June/July 1997, its publisher’s page declared, “Israel controls Congress, the media, the White House, and the State Department.” And, as for the media, Morello and her editors at the Washington Post might consider exactly what the conference sponsors say about her publication and other mainstream newspapers in December 1997: “[E]very New York daily newspaper… is Jewish owned …Technically speaking, the Washington Post… is not Jewish-owned. But it is owned by the descendants of the late Eugene Meyer, who was Jewish…”
Let’s give the Washington Post benefit of the doubt: It is doubtful Morello understood the background of the conference sponsor, although that itself is deeply problematic. She also apparently didn’t know much about the speakers either. She describes Larry Wilkerson as “chief of staff to former secretary of state Colin L. Powell,” but didn’t see fit to mention that he’s spent much of the period since his retirement arguing that Syria’s chemical weapons use was actually a Zionist false flag.
To cover the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs conference without understanding the publication or the record of its speakers would be akin to covering an Executive Intelligence Review conference on economics without realizing its ties to conspiracy theorist and felon Lyndon LaRouche, or covering a American Renaissance conference on the Black Lives Matter movement without realizing that that publication was dedicated to white supremacism. The Middle East is a deeply complex region and it deserves nuanced reporting. It’s time for some serious introspection into the Washington Post’s newsroom about just how and why the paper gave credence to what amounts to a hate group. Did reporters or editors allow their own political feelings to blind them to true nature of what went on? Or has an outlier which no serious journalist would once give the time of day now moved into the center of the debate and, if so, what does that mean about the campaign to delegitimize Israel? Only one thing is certain: Whatever Morello’s reasons, be they ignorance or deliberate, her coverage for the Washington Post has granted WRMEA and its Israel-obsessed editors a publicity jackpot that was probably beyond their imagination.