Monday, June 1, 2009

Articles about anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hate at HuffPost - and its response


The following is a chronological directory of articles and reports by other critics, concerning:
  • Accusations of prolific anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hatred among a significant portion of HuffPost's users (mostly liberals/leftists)

  • HuffPost's fomenting of and/or tolerance of same

  • How HuffPost has responded to these accusations*

To our knowledge, HuffPost has never officially responded to these accusations. If and when it does, we'll be happy to publish it on this thread.

The only parties we're aware of who have responded to these allegations are some of HuffPost's official bloggers (those who have dedicated blogspace on the site, and are its "officially" sanctioned writers), described below.

Note that while the accusations become progressively more detailed, the responses maintain a common theme:
  • That liberals/leftists cannot be anti-Semitic, and therefore...

  • All or the vast majority of such comments appearing on HuffPost are submitted by operatives of a vast right-wing/Israel-supporting conspiracy (how's that for irony?), to make the site look bad (which is a retread of a conspiracy theory suggested by Ms. Huffington herself, in regards to radical leftist hate speech on HuffPost, here)

The only exception to this is Dr. Lincoln Mitchell's notable June 11, 2009 article, in which he confirms the existence of prevalent anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hate on HuffPost.

The following is a chronology of Accusations (A), and Responses (R).

Commentary is offered as necessary.

Please send items that you think should be included here to huffwatcher1 (at)


Liberal/Progressive Anti-Semitism
Sheldon Drobney, HuffPost blogger, July 9, 2006

Drobny, co-founder of the floundering leftist radio network Air America, explained that he was alerted by his brother to the anti-Semitic hatred that is proliferating at a (supposedly) "liberal" blogsite like HuffPost, and others in that realm. Though doubtful at first, upon seeing what his brother described first-hand, in response to an earlier column of his at HuffPost, Drobney announced his conclusion (emphasis added):
"(T)he bloggers who violently hate Israel and see it in black and white terms are not really liberals... (I)t is a contradiction for a true liberal to be an anti-Semite. Furthermore, I would not put it past the right wing to flood the liberal blogs with hateful criticisms of Israel to advance a perception that liberals are anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. And I see Karl Rove's fingerprints all over this."

We note for Mr. Drobney that numerous American researchers, bloggers and columnists have provided insight into the fast-growing leftist-Islamist, anti-Semitic convergence (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Noted San Francisco photo-essayist and blogger “Zombie” has extensively documented the grotesque alchemy that has developed between these groups, on a regular basis, in the Bay area. Even al-Ahram Weekly, an Egyptian newspaper, acknowledged this phenomena, here. Google has nearly 100,000 entries for the search term “Islamist leftist convergence,” here.

(A) Thoughtful Anti-Zionist commentary Of The Day
"Allahpundit,", August 25, 2006
Consolidated excerpts (emphasis added):
It’s okay. They’re progressives. [...]

Update: Also at HuffPo today: Russell Shaw thinks a little mass murder of Americans might do us some good, especially if it were to happen just before the election. [...] This same bottom-feeder accused Israel a few weeks ago of having let its soldiers be kidnapped as a pretext to attack Lebanon. And received the full Lileks for his trouble.

(A) HuffPo Writer: At Least Hitler Meant Well
Charles Johnson,, June 27, 2007
Consolidated excerpts (emphasis added):
At the Huffington Post, your one-stop shop for leftist vitriol and deranged hatred, former Washington Post sportswriter and Seinfeld co-producer Peter Mehlman says the Bush administration is far worse than the world’s worst fascist dictators. At least the dictators meant well.
So now we’re six and a half years into Bush and everyone from Helen Thomas on down is declaring him the worst president ever. What no one is saying is the one overarching reason he’s the worst: the Bush administration is the first that doesn’t even mean well. [...]

You could argue that even the world’s worst fascist dictators at least meant well. They honestly thought were doing good things for their countries by suppressing blacks/eliminating Jews/eradicating free enterprise/repressing individual thought/killing off rivals/invading neighbors, etc.

December 3, 2009:

Not only did HuffPost not remove the blog article, Mehlman is still one of its official bloggers:

(A) Which is Worse: Kos or Huffpo?
Charles Johnson,, August 17, 2007
Excerpt (emphasis added):
The Daily Kos web site is coming in for a lot of criticism recently for its hateful content, but I’ve long believed that the Huffington Post is much worse, with a commenting “community” that thinks nothing of open antisemitism, conspiracy theories, or calling for assassination of public figures.

(A) Jew Conspiracies at Huffington
David Horowitz,, September 19, 2007
It’s apparently the season for revivals of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion or variations thereof. This is the time worn paranoia that the Jews, while a miniscule fraction of the world’s population, nonetheless run it. The unspoken (and unexamined) implication is that the non-Jewish remainder of the human race is too stupid or too pathetic to thwart these designs. Obviously center stage in this conspiracy pageant for the moment is occupied by Walt and Mearsheimer’s new book The Israel Lobby, which is about the Hebrew puppeteers who pull the strings that make Bush and Cheney jump, and who also shape the media culture that persuades them. [...]

How does Huffington Post come to print this ignorant and toxic garbage? It does so because it believes it.

(A) Accusation by Alan Dershowitz in Fortune Magazine
October 29, 2007

Official HuffPost blogger and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz is quoted in this article as claiming (emphasis added):
[HuffPost's] editors started vetting his posts and then refused to run a column he submitted recently because it conflicted with the site's hard-left editorial line on Israel.

(A) Huffington Turns Off Comments on Jerusalem Attack
Charles Johnson,, March 6, 2008
Excerpt (emphasis added):
Arianna Huffington’s hate site has turned off comments for their post on the mass murder in Jerusalem: 7 Die in Shooting at Jerusalem Seminary - The Huffington Post.

Why would they do this? Because their site is infested with virulent antisemites who will party and celebrate this atrocity just like the Palestinians have been doing. The people who run Huffington Post know this — and encourage it — and then they turn off comments on posts like this one to avoid embarrassment. [...]

Man. They’re really scared of their own readers.

(A) HuffPo: Obama Doesn't Need the Jews Anyway
Charles Johnson,, May 14, 2008
Excerpt (emphasis added):
Huffington Post “reporter” Sam Stein comes right out and says it: Does Obama Even Need The Jewish Vote?
Does the Jewish vote really matter all that much for the Illinois Democrat? The topic, perhaps surprisingly, carries no clear consensus among some academics and analysts. [...]

As one prominent Jewish Democratic fundraiser told The Huffington Post, “Obama doesn’t need me and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.” Indeed, Obama’s success in bringing in campaign cash, longtime political observers say, has fundamentally altered the relationship between candidate and constituency group.


And please note that the administrators at HuffPo have already closed the comments for this one, because they know exactly what will happen if they don’t: a deluge of vicious antisemitic hatred.

(A) HuffPo on Joe Lieberman: 'Off to the Furnace with Ya!'
Charles Johnson,, June 5, 2008
Excerpt (emphasis added):
Oops. The administrators at Huffington Post are slipping; they forgot to disable comments for an article about Joe Lieberman, and now the peaceful, tolerant lefties are showing their true colors again: Obama In Heated Conversation With Lieberman - Politics on The Huffington Post:

lieberman only cares about strengthening isreal at the expense of the u.s. off to the furnace with ya!


A lot of Israel’s problems would go away if it would try to assimilate withe the rest of the planet. They have at least 150 nuclear weapons. I think Israel should fight their own wars. Some one explain to me why the Jewish population at 2% has so much infuence on US policy. Everyone is sucking up to AIPAC so hard, it’s impossible not to notice. The question is why? When that question is addressed, we will be at the heart of the problem.

(R) Today's Obama Smear Attempt
Dave Johnson, HuffPost blogger, June 9, 2008

Background: The blog Little Green Footballs ("LGF") had been documenting the fact that (a) according to Obama’s official blogsite’s rules, only blogs that are approved by a site moderator are posted, as are comments therein, and (b) that the blogsite was overflowing with rabid anti-Semitic blogs and comments. Its most recent commentary, Searching Obama's Site for 'Jewish Lobby', with links on this issue, is located here. You can scroll through LGF’s stories on “anti-Semitism,” which includes links to HuffPost, DailyKos and other left-wing sites, here.

In response, Johnson, a "progressive" activist, attempted to discredit LGF and the others who had been documenting what was being permitted at the Obama site. He attempted to do this primarily through ad hominem attacks (supposedly a violation of HuffPost policies), and allegations that this is all part of a giant conspiracy among conservatives (that they’re the ones who are putting up the threads and comments – not leftists, Islamists, etc.). Excerpts
(emphasis added):
Here's one of the ways the right's smear machine works. Far-right blogs post something. Then a site higher up their food chain picks it up, like NewsMax, CNSNews, WorldNetDaily or Politico. Then the Drudge Report or Moon's Washington Times gets it from there and spreads the story further. Somewhere in there Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity talks about it on the air. Finally the corporate media picks it up and uses the excuse that "the story is circulating."

Here's an example today. "Someone" posted an anti-semitic comment at the Obama blog. (See if you can guess who posted a comment that a right-wing blog knew about a few minutes later.) A few minutes later the hate site Little Green Footballs wrote a post saying that the Obama blog says so-and-so. (If you don't know about this site, spend a few minutes there and you'll get the picture. No, it is not a parody of right-wing nuttiness.) Then dozens of far-right-wing sites quickly echoed the "story." It rapidly turns into a great big right-wing hissy fit. [...]

[S]o bloggers - watch out. Right-wingers are posting vile comments at blogs, and then claiming that blog's readers are saying vile things.

Note: Little Green Footballs responded to Johnson's smear and accusation,

Observe that Johnson can't point to one verifiable fact that supports his conspiracy theories (while the targets of his attacks point to abundant ones, via their reporting).

It is also interesting to note how Johnson dealt with users who posted comments in reaction to his diatribe. For those who agreed with him, he reaffirmed and expanded on his conspiracy theories. For those who pointed out the fallacies in his arguments, however, he ignored them, or accused them of being part of the conspiracy, while not addressing any of their points (ad hominem attacks). Excerpts (PDF available, in case HuffPost decides to throw the following down "the memory hole"; see Section 5 here):
Clairvaux See Profile I'm a Fan of Clairvaux
What fascinates me is that some of our trolls are clearly professionals. They do this for a living. Who pays these people -- our lovely alphabet agencies, Republican PACs, the Pentagon, conservative think tanks? There are many suspects. I would like to see HuffPost do a taxonomy of trolls, enumerating their techniques and personas.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 08:37 PM on 06/09/2008

Dave Johnson See this blogger's posts I'm a Fan of Dave Johnson
"What fascinates me is that some of our trolls are clearly professionals. They do this for a living."
Yes, Huffington Post has a lot of traffic so it is a big target, and they show up with their nasty comments a few minutes after a post is up.
During the Net Neutrality fight bloggers took the time to trace the IPs of the commenters who were swarming our sites. Most of them traced to one PR firm.
They're smarter than that now but there is no question the big corporate PR firms are offering professional blog and forum posting as a service.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:19 PM on 06/09/2008


RodefShalom See Profile I'm a Fan of RodefShalom
1) These were not a few "comments" as you call them but dozens ( hundereds ?) of full scale blogs on the Obama 08 official web site focused on one topic, Jew hatred, whose creation was officaly approved by the Obama web site moderators. The rules for creating these blogs is right there on the Obama web site and you can see for yourself that it says the blogs will only be allowed after review and approval by the Obama web staff.
2) Many of these blogs existed for not "minutes" as you claim but have been there on Obama's site for months.
3) Some of these racist blogs on the Obama 08 look so fishy that they very well may have been created as dirty tricks as you say, but were then let through as mistakes by the Obama moderators as you neglect to acknowledge. The Obama web site has the IP addresses of the originators, and if they are able to trace a single one back to a known Republican activist then I will believe you. It is a criminal offense by the way. Until then, please put up some real evidence for your kooky conspiracy theory or shut up.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 08:10 PM on 06/09/2008

Dave Johnson See this blogger's posts I'm a Fan of Dave Johnson
Uh huh.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 09:15 PM on 06/09/2008


Stonemason See Profile I'm a Fan of Stonemason
Well, no, actually. The sites I visited never once attributed the blog posts (not comments) to Obama, they were all attributed to the posters themselves. The problem seems to be that the Obama website can't seem to remain clear of hate speech. The posts mentioned at LGF had been on the site for over three months, not minutes as erroneously stated above.
Do it, take a minute and search the Obama site yourself, don't just take someone else"s word for it. I did it and it is sickening, almost (but not quite) as bad as this place.
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:40 PM on 06/09/2008

Dave Johnson See this blogger's posts I'm a Fan of Dave Johnson
You find this place "sickening," yet you come here and post comments defending right-wingers.
That's interesting. Is this your day job?
Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 07:58 PM on 06/09/2008

(A) Has the Huffington Post Become a Magnet for Israel Haters?
Steven Stotsky, Committee for Accuracy In Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), April 29, 2009

Excerpt (emphasis added):
It is the talkback [user comment] threads, however, that reveal the most egregious shortcomings of [HuffPost]. Winding through the lengthy threads that follow most pieces dealing with Israel, one encounters comment after comment reviling Israel. At times the animosity towards Israel and Jews spills over into implicit threats. The minority of commenters who challenge such ugly sentiments by offering factual or reasoned arguments often encounter derision or are accused of being either agents of Israeli PR or a nefarious Jewish lobby. The vitriol from one commenter spurs a similar sentiment in the next commenter. Soon the repetitive reciting of myths about Jewish influence and other irrational expressions of prejudice overwhelm any attempt at reasoned debate...

[T]he articles reviewed in this sampling suggest some among the Huffington Post’s readership are allowed to direct their vitriol at Israel and its supporters despite the site's declared editing policy.

Spreading Falsehoods About Israel On The Internet
Steven Stotsky, Committee for Accuracy In Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), June 10, 2009
Excerpt (emphasis added):
CAMERA's review of Huffington Post articles on Israel during brief periods in March and May, 2009 provided examples of both unchecked slander and misinformation. A particularly pernicious problem was the use of the talkback threads by some commenters to direct readers to web sites that promote both anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda.

The Huffington Post was chosen for review due to its large audience and because of the steady volume of hostile sentiment directed towards the Jewish state and its supporters that accompanies articles dealing with Israel. Several themes and tactics used by anti-Israel commenters stand out in the talkback threads [...]

(R) The Shooting, Anti-Semitism and Blogging
Lincoln Mitchell, HuffPost blogger, June 11, 2009

Note: What a welcome addition to the multi-year legacy of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic hatred that has been fomented and tolerated by HuffPost, and obfuscated and denied by its apologists. Here we have an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Columbia University who essentially confirms --- from his experience and observations as an official HuffPost blogger --- every major criticism that others have leveled at significant portions of the "community" that HuffPost has attracted and enabled.

Excerpt (emphasis added)
The shooting at the Holocaust Museum, and killing of Stephen Tyrone Johns yesterday is a terrible event and a reminder that words do occasionally lead to deeds. It is good to see so many progressive voices, on the Huffington Post and elsewhere, condemning this bigoted and twisted act of violence. However, much of the analysis of this incident seems to skirt a more troubling and confounding question.

That question is whether or not it is possible to reconcile our anger and disgust about this incident with the constant drumbeat not so much of anti-Israel rhetoric, but of the suggestion of, for lack of a more delicate way of saying it, a Jewish cabal driving American foreign policy, that one often finds in the comment section of this and other "progressive" websites? [...]

When it is suggested that Jews are subverting or controlling American foreign policy, putting what is good for Israel ahead of what is good for the US, or hoodwinking good Christians into supporting Israel, the criticism is no longer targeted on Israel. While one can criticize Israel without being an anti-Semite, suggestions of Jewish conspiracies or that Jews are not loyal citizens cannot so easily be made without being anti-Semitic. Historically, these have been at the core of the very definition of anti-Semitism.

It is not just criticism of Israel that is the issue here. It is the regularity with which, in these comments and elsewhere, virtually every foreign policy issue is related back to Israel and somehow the Jews are blamed. Some friends and I play a game with foreign policy blogs on the Huffington Post where we try to guess how long it will take before Israel or the Jews are mentioned. Usually this occurs by the tenth comment, regardless of the ostensible topic of the piece in question.

This is an obsession that is not healthy and goes beyond simply garden variety criticism of Israel. [...]

While we admire Dr. Mitchell's courage and principle in stating what he did (not to mention where he did --- right on HuffPost itself!!!), there are, however, two profoundly important issues that he's either unaware of, or chooses to leave unaddressed:
(1) The fact that according to HuffPost itself, since March 2008, the only comments that appear on its news threads are those that it has reviewed, approved and published. This means that for more than a year, as Dr. Mitchell and his colleagues were watching how long it would take before members of HuffPost's "progressive" (leftist) "community" started to falsely blame Jews for every problem in the word, those comments only appeared because HuffPost itself made the choice to publish them.

(2) The fact that HuffPost helps to foment these kinds of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic comments, slanders and blood libels, via its use of misleading/distorted headlines, photo-imagery and manipulation, and editorial acts and omissions (archive here; highlights: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

In short, Dr. Mitchell did a good, honest job of describing the symptoms --- but not their causes. We urge him to explore Huff-Watch and the links provided, above, to discover the stimulus that, in large part, generates the responses that he so articulately described.

Unfortunately, Dr. Mitchell then tossed some fresh logs onto the pyre of misconceptions that foment such hate among the leftists on HuffPost --- by falsely claiming the Holocaust Memorial murderer was a member of the "right-wing":
Today, while we in the Huffington Post community may be relieved that the shooter was a right wing white supremacist, we should ask ourselves how we would feel if the shooter was a left-wing anti-Israel fanatic and then have the integrity and honesty to recognize the future possibility and danger of that happening.

This is shameless, and Dr. Mitchell should have known better.
His HuffPost blogthread says that he posted his article at 4:58am on June 11. Twelve hours earlier, the "right-wing" blogosphere was abuzz with substantive indications that the shooter had as much if not more in common with the "left-wing" than with the "right-wing."

For example, this article was posted at June 10 at 4:21pm. Follow-on articles were published that evening, here, here, here. Despite this, HuffPost and its "community" of primarily "progressive" (leftist) users were ablaze with trying to falsely pin this on the "right wing," for supposedly producing the shooter (numerous conservatives tried to post links to the articles above, but were suppressed, and viciously attacked when their posts were actually published).

For the sake of comity, however, we will stipulate that the shooter was primarily a Jew-hating monster whose true political makeup defies clear "-wing" identification, in the hopes that Dr. Mitchell will issue an addendum to his article, clarifying the facts --- particularly as they relate to what he admitted about the growing cesspool of anti-Semitism at HuffPost.

(A) "Israel as Brutal as Iran": Huffington Post Falsely Equates Israel With Neda's Murderers, July 1, 2009
Writing on the Huffington Post, Max Blumenthal, in a posting disingenuously titled "Neda in Palestine, Sentenced to Die Alone", refers to the cold-blooded murder of the Iranian woman Neda Agha-Soltan by Iranian security forces [...]

Any comparison between the actions of Iran and Israel is not only spurious but downright despicable and seeks to reduce the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to simplistic black and white arguments. The Iranian regime has deliberately murdered and brutalized its own people, revealing its true nature.

(A) "Jewish Leaders Grapple With The Rough-And-Tumble Internet"
Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, January 12, 2010
After the botched terror plot of the "Christmas underwear bomber," David Harris took to the Huffington Post to argue that the United States had something to learn from Israel's stellar record in airport security. The argument seemed fairly innocuous as far as Israel-related matters go. But the vitriol unleashed suggested that Harris, the executive director of The American Jewish Committee, might write about the pleasant Israeli weather and still get hammered. "To read some of the reactions to anything I write about Israel is sometimes to require a very strong stomach -- it can be nasty, over the top, vitriolic and dripping," Harris said.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, was less sanguine in describing the comments responding to the material that he has posted on the Huffington Post. "It's a magnet for conspiracy theorists and for haters," Foxman said of the comments section. "I look at it and sometimes wonder why am I bothering."

A spokesman for the Huffington Post, Mario Ruiz, said the blog endeavored to screen offensive comments. "All comments made on blog posts are currently monitored by paid moderators," Ruiz said. "While every effort is made to eliminate offensive comments, they do occasionally slip through the cracks... (F)rom its inception, HuffPost has taken comment moderation very seriously, and devotes a lot of energy and resources to maintaining a civil conversation, free of name calling, ad hominem attacks and offensive language."

Ed.: Please, Mr. Ruiz... tell us more about how the HuffPost works so hard to screen out offensive comments (see report here) --- and about how HuffPost does not incite hatred against Jews, Israel or conservatives:
Archive of anti-Israel, ant-Semitic bias, libels and hate at HuffPost

HuffPo Writer: At Least Hitler Meant Well

HuffPost's protection of the most egregious violators of its "policies" --- and its banning of non-violators, on a minute-to-minute basis

Comparing HuffPost comment threads to those on other major political blogsites

Archive of false/misleading HuffPost headlines

April '08-present: User boasts about in-home interview by Secret Service re his threats against Bush on HuffPost (HuffPost: "Approved!!," protected!!)

3/23/09: HuffPost Users: "Hey, Let's Commit Murder!!!" (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

4/12/09: HuffPost Users: "Hey, Let's Murder Bankers!!!" (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

4/28/09: Suicidal user: "We must 'wipe out' Republicans to survive!!!" (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

5/2/09: HuffPost users: "Hey, someone should murder President Bush!!!" (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

7/12/08: Users unleash hatred for, libels against Tony Snow --- on the day he died (HuffPost: "Approved!!!")

Follow up from the JTA, February 10...

- A few weeks ago, I wrote about the perils of posting on the Huffington Post. A spokesman said the site endeavors to clear away anti-Semitic commentary. Huff-Watch, a relentless (and anonymous) analyst and critic of the site, makes a case that this endeavor is at times sloppy, to say the least. Blog posts are supposed to be "pre-moderated" and news items are supposed to be "post-moderated" because of their volume, but HuffWatch shows that this is inconsistent: News items have at times pre-moderated and at others not. In many instances, anti-Semitic material gets through, and stays onsite for a short period.

I'm not sure I'd draw Huff-Watch's conclusion that this is policy -- it seems to be more a matter of handling the massive volume. Moreover, the anti-Semitic users he compiles have been deactivated in one way or another (which he notes), validating HuffPo's claim that it seeks to stop these abusers. Still, there's enough here to raise concerns that the system ain't exactly working.

Here's Huff-Watch's intro, and here's the full report.

UPDATE: Huff-Watch points out to me that he has accumulated quotes from Arianna Huffington suggesting that it is, in fact, policy to pre-moderate comments on news items. (At this separate link.) Huffington's comments are in section 7 of the link (as I suggested, this research is thorough.) Scroll down to section 8 and he shows clear evidence that a news item about the Gaza war was being pre-moderated (hundreds of comments are pending); yet, immediately below the comments count (you have to click on the screen grab, but let me do it for you here) is a comment that is at least grossly offensive if not anti-Semitic, comparing Israel's actions to the Nazi invasion of Poland.

To be continued...


Also see:
Archive of anti-Israel, ant-Semitic bias, libels and hate at HuffPost

Anti-Semitism 101 (and the "Zionism" canard)


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