November 15, 2019

NY Israel Consul General Calls Al Jazeera Host ‘Bigot’

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Consul General to Israel in New York, Dani Dayan, called Al Jazeera host Mehdi Hasan a “bigot” in an Aug. 22 Twitter exchange between the two on anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

It all started with Hasan saying on CNN earlier in the day that “lots of anti-Semites support Israel and [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.

CNN contributor Peter Beinart defended Hasan’s remarks in a tweet that stating that Hasan “has a long and courageous record of calling [anti-Semitism] out even within his own community.”

Dayan then responded to Beinart’s tweet, stating, “I know @mehdirhasan personally. I have no doubt he doesn’t hate Jews per se. He – a self-described Anti-Zionist – ‘only’ denies Jews the right of self-determination in any part of their homeland. A ‘small’ thing. Call it what you like but that’s blatant bigotry.”

Hasan said his claims on anti-Zionism were “false” and tweeted that it was “rich” for Dayan to accuse him of bigotry when he was “the former chair of the West Bank settlers council – settlers being among the biggest bunch of racists around.”

Dayan shared a photo of one of Hasan’s prior tweets that read, “I consider myself an anti-Zionist and critic of the Israeli settler state and its ongoing ethnic cleansing project” but urges people to be careful with criticizing Zionism given the rise of anti-Semitism.

Hasan then clarified he meant that anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism; Dayan doubled down on calling Hasan a “bigot” and argued that Hasan never denied “my claim that you deny the Jewish People the right of self-determination in ANY part of its homeland” and to “enjoy the ‘likes’ from the anti-Semitic crowd.”

David Reaboi, vice president of the Security Studies Group think tank, wrote in a May Jewish Journal cover story that Al Jazeera, Hasan’s employer, “pushes a stream of vile, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and attempts to rile up religious and extremist Muslims against attempts at positive, human rights reforms in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states” in their Arabic channel. But in their English AJ+ network, they masquerade as “progressive and left-wing” in order “to obscure the Islamist-run network and to appeal to younger people in the West.”