Newsweek’s Nina Burleigh Problem

National politics correspondent for Newsweek outs herself as a conspiracy-prone Jew-hater.

Newsweek has a serious problem and it’s called Nina Burleigh. Burleigh, who despises Trump and maintains left-wing ideological proclivities, covers national politics for Newsweek. But on January 14, Burleigh distinguished herself in another way. She revealed herself to be a rabid conspiracy theorist and an anti-Semite to boot. Credit for the discovery goes to prolific blogger Aussie Dave from the blog Israellycool.

A twitter post by left-wing ideologue Sarah Kendzior prompted Burleigh’s bizarre conspiracy-riddled post. Kendzior expressed a desire to write a “thread of articles” on the “massive and horrific crimes that have been carried out with impunity by people in Trump's camp…” That comment elicited the following disturbing response from Burleigh; “Israel, mossad, Chabad and black cube…you’re hitting the third rail of American journalism, Sarah.”

Headquartered in Crown Heights Brooklyn, Chabad is an orthodox Hassidic sect known for its outreach programs and message of inclusivity. But according to Newsweek’s national politics correspondent, Chabad along with the State of Israel, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and Black Cube (a privately owned Israeli risk-consulting company) are the sources of “massive and horrific crimes that have been carried out with impunity by people in Trump's camp.” In the conspiracy-laden world of Burleigh, a cabal of Jews or Jewish-related entities is conspiring with Trump and his team to inflict “massive and horrific crimes.” Such malevolent opinions are similar in tone and content to those found in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an early 20th century anti-Semitic forgery, which finds receptive audiences among the hard-left and radical right and throughout the Muslim world.   

This isn’t the first time that a journalist for Newsweek dabbled in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. In May 2014, Newsweek’s Jeff Stein ran a now discredited story on how Israel’s intelligence agencies infiltrated the deepest echelons of U.S. government to obtain sensitive information and influence American policies. According to Stein, the Israelis monitored Vice President Al Gore’s bathroom activities and employed women or so-called honey traps as bait to lure American officials to betray top secret information.

Most of Stein’s Newsweek piece rested on anonymous sources except for one individual, a sordid character named Paul Pillar. But one look at Pillar’s resume betrays an individual who is an Israel-hater to his core and judging by the company he keeps, is likely anti-Semitic as well, which is not surprising since the two usually go hand-in-hand.

The mainstreaming of antisemitism in print and electronic media platforms is a disturbing phenomenon that has taken root in left-wing circles. The New York Times recently provided author and the rabid Jew-hater Alice Walker a forum to advertise anti-Semitic publications. After receiving substantial backlash, the Gray Lady doubled down and defended its interview with Walker stressing that the paper does “not issue a verdict on people’s opinions.”

In November, CNN fired contributing commentator Marc Lamont Hill after he legitimized violence against Israelis and called for Israel’s destruction. CNN did the right thing but Hill’s ties to Nation of Islam head Louis Farrakhan were well known so why did it take so long for CNN to cut ties with a staunch Farrakhan supporter?

Newsweek’s Burleigh has revealed her true colors and it is incumbent on Newsweek to take action. The online news site must terminate her employment forthwith if it is to maintain a shred of credibility. Any course of action short of termination would be seen as legitimizing and mainstreaming anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

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