Al Jazeera management orders Joseph Massad article pulled in act of pro-Israel censorship

In an unprecedented act of political censorship Al Jazeera English has deleted an article by noted Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days.

Massad told The Electronic Intifada that he had “received confirmation” from his editor at Al Jazeera English that “management pulled the article.” The Electronic Intifada was able to independently confirm that the article was pulled.

The piece, “The Last of the Semites,” published on 14 May, was taken down from the main Al Jazeera English site Sunday morning – the link now redirects to Al Jazeera’s main page. It has also disappeared from Massad’s personal page on the Al Jazeera website.

The article had been one of the most viewed and emailed articles on the site and had been tweeted hundreds of times.

Al Jazeera has yet to offer any public explanation for its action.

Intense criticism

Since its publication, the article generated intense criticism from Zionist extremists, including a columnist in the virulently anti-Palestinian Jerusalem Post, and condemnation on Twitter from President Barack Obama’s favorite Israel lobby gatekeeper and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg:

John Podhoretz, editor of the neoconservative anti-Palestinian Zionist magazine Commentary, tweeted about Massad: “Congratulations, donors to Columbia University, for paying this monstrous fuckhead’s salary!”

The backlash has been so intense precisely because Massad goes to the core of Israel’s claim to represent Jews and to cast its critics as anti-Semites by showing that indeed it is Israel and Zionism that partake of the same anti-Semitism that targeted European Jews.

In doing so, Massad pulls the rug from under Zionists and Israel lobbyists by demonstrating that they are the anti-Semites and taking away the most formidable weapon they wield against critics of Israel: the accusation that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

By neutralizing this ideological weapon that Israel has used so effectively in the Western media to cover up its colonization of Palestine, Massad’s pro-Jewish position and strenuous attack on Zionist anti-Semitism is clearly understood by Israel lobby figures such as Goldberg as a complete obliteration of their ideological arsenal.

Zionism and anti-Semitism: two sides of the same coin

Goldberg’s claim that Massad’s article is an “anti-Jewish screed” could not be further from the truth.

Massad has long argued – convincingly – that Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin. It is a theme he develops with great erudition in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, and one to which he returns in his latest article, “The Last of the Semites,” published on Al Jazeera on 14 May, which opens thus:

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.

Last December, in another piece for Al Jazeera, Massad explained how “Zionist leaders consciously recognized that state anti-Semitism was essential to their colonial project” in Palestine, a recognition epitomized by the notorious Transfer Agreement Zionist leaders signed with the Nazi government of Germany in 1933.

A theme that Massad develops in his latest piece is that European, and especially Germany’s, support for Israel after 1948, is no break with the anti-Semitic past:

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s.

The “The Last of the Semites” was based on a lecture Massad gave at a conference in Stuttgart (PDF), Germany, to a largely German audience, just last week:


Although Qatar-based Al Jazeera receives much criticism, and often deserved, for reflecting Qatar’s foreign policy, the censorship of Massad’s article for political reasons is unprecedented because the English-language website had, until now, enjoyed complete editorial independence.

It is well understood that Al Jazeera’s red lines have always been criticism of Qatar or its Emir, and yet, Massad has even published several articles on Al Jazeera English that harshly criticized both Qatari foreign policy (See here, here and here) and the Emir himself without ever being censored.

And Massad has written plenty of articles that have enraged Zionists.

This indicates, without doubt, that the decision to remove Massad’s article today was taken at the highest level.

But why would this happen now?

One reasonable interpretation would be that the removal of Massad’s article reflects a tightening of the editorial line as the network launches its new channel, Al Jazeera America, which will rely – for access to cable systems, and “mainstream” credibility – on forging good relations with US elites.

An illustration of what this process might look like was on display when Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of Al Jazeera’s international operations and the official responsible for setting up Al Jazeera America, recently visited Chicago – which will be home to a major Al Jazeera bureau.

While in the city, Al Shihabi struck up a cozy relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff.

Emanuel, a major powerbroker in America’s ruling Democratic Party, is, of course, also notorious for his hardline pro-Israel positions.

It is unknown if Al Shihabi had anything directly to do with the removal of Massad’s article – that decision would almost certainly have been taken at an even higher level in Doha – but his dalliance with Emanuel is a good indicator of who Al Jazeera is out to impress.

Until late Sunday, Massad’s piece could still be read in full on Al Jazeera’s mobile site, but by late evening, that too had disappeared.

Below is a PDF image of the censored article.




I read Al Jazeera quite a lot and normally like the stuff they do, but I obviously am disappointed with their decision to cave to Zionists, ESPECIALLY since this (I assume) was under the 'Opinion' section - which is very frequently and indeed intended to be controversial. I'll be writing to them to ask them to reinstate it, or at the last give their reasoning for its removal.


How foolish of you to think that Al-Jazeera is controlled by "zionists". You have really got to be kidding. How would that have taken place?!


And how foolish of you to read 'cave to Zionists' as 'controlled by Zionists'.
You think the Chinese Lobby or the embassy of Costa Rica got that article censored ?


Maybe AJE deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt. It just released an excellent special documentary on the Nakba. I've seen more left-leaning and pro-Palestinian articles and videos on AJE than any other mainstream news outlet. We should keep that in mind when examining this incident.


How shameful! Still it does not surprise me. The Qatari-owned, US-lauded news station (despite its coverage of the 2008-9 Gaza Massacre) has more and more been offering nothing but lip service to the Palestinian cause every since it became the main source to propagate the romanticized ideals (as well as in Syria, its own country's speculative motives) of the "Arab Spring" to a world audience.

Timely coverage of Israeli settler violations, BDS wins/developments, and most of all the plight of hunger striking prisoners most notably Khader Adnan have proved EI a far superior station on Israel/Palestine news than AJE - culminating in this hapless surrender to Zionist outcry.

AJE's removing Dr. Joesph Massad's lynchpin argument, which uses Theodore Herzl's own words to re-present an uncomfortable truth of how European Jews became strangers in the land of Palestine, reveals the true colors of the movers and shakers of this questionable news station - perhaps a new beginning to its end of Palestinian trust.


It is sad that because of their decision to open offices in America, Al-jazeera has resorted to censorship. Al-jazeera represented freedom to write was was actually going on in the world unlike western news outlets who no longer post what is happening in our world with credibility. I am deeply disappointed, will this be the norm in the future if someone complain loud enough that Al-jazeera will start to censor others because someone in the 1% is not happy with a video or article?
The problem is that once Al-jazeera starts it will be hard to backtrack because it will ruin its reputation. I find it no longer credible and if Al-jazeera wants to retain its readership they will have to backtrack. They didn't gets so many likes on facebook because they are opening an office in the US it was because people trusted them, they credibility.


It is attached to this post! See above. Have also added the video of Massad giving it as a lecture in Germany last week.


Posting via a blurry PDF that is awkward to read is not great.


Al Jazeera used to be a respected publication but you cannot ignore the fact that it is a mouthpiece for Qatar's monarchy. Part of their soft power to allow them to have a bigger say in regional affairs. Doesn't surprise me at all given the amount of journalists who have left in the last 2 years citing censorship/government meddling in the running of the station.


Ali Abunimah as usual spends most of his time fixating on criticisms of everyone else. If he spend half the time he did calling Norman Finkelstein, Chomsky, etc liberal zionists as he did engaging in actual activism, we'd have a state.

Its always the "I'm more Palestinian than anyone or anything else", never mind giving time for others that have done great work for Palestine to explain their reasoning.


This comment has nothing at all to do with this post, but I can’t resist correcting this nonsense. I’ve written precisely two articles about Norman Finkelstein’s views, which you can read here:

Finkelstein, BDS and the destruction of Israel

Finkelstein renews attack on BDS “cult,” calls Palestinians who pursue their rights “criminal”

I certainly hope people will read them. I don’t think I’ve ever written about Chomsky, though I certainly have disagreements with him. 

In any case, I’d be thrilled if either Finkelstein or Chomsky wanted to write for EI. Both have very broad platforms however and don’t need EI to speak out. As far as I know, Finkelstein has never responded to my criticisms. I’d truly welcome it if he did — on EI or anywhere else. Surely you are not suggesting I have the power to stop him?


"Its always the 'I'm more Palestinian than anyone or anything else', never mind giving time for others that have done great work for Palestine to explain their reasoning."

Given this illogical nonsense, I wonder what "Abdullah" is a pseudonym (or anagram!) for. And please let us know, "Abdullah", what "great work for Palestine" you have done.


Wait till it clears up why they did it and give ALJ the benefit of doubt, it only deserves it.
You people really need to calm down nobody whats all this shaming and "disappointments". Just wait till the management talkes about it and stop being hysterical.


Anoter example of this idea being censored. Giorgio Bassani's novel Garden of the Finzi-Contini uses the Jewish cemetery as an allegory for Zionism. Vittorio De Sica's Italo/Hollywood film version of the novel dropped all references to this.


Someone at Al Jazeera must have read Ali's article, because now the mobile site no longer has the article either. They don't even have the guts to tell readers what they've done. All they have to say is this:


An error occurred while processing your request."


Of course AJE knew that the article could not be removed from the internet completely. It was there already five days, copies all around. This is a muscle show too -- or most importantly a muscle show.


As daughter of a German anti-nazi who fled Germany 1939 to Latin America because of prosecution I can assure you that Massad is fully true.
My father had a lot of jewish friends in studying time, never let them go because of nazis will and never saw them different to any other Germans, as well as they themselves didn't.
Refer to Heinrich Heine, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Kurt Tucholsky, Albert Einstein, Karl Marx and many, many other jews of German or Austrian descent: they NEVER saw themselves different from their nation or culture. And nobody who reads their books will ever see them as works born from an other culture and nation than the own one.
There is no jewish race and the whole so-called anti-semitism is nothing else than old christian hostility towards other religions, now thrown against islam.


I grew up with and was educated from this man.
Who should know better?
These are not opinions. These are facts.


I don't know about the rest of al Jazeera, but al jazeera US has been largely inflitrated by liberal zionists right from the beginning..the informal network of lib z's were the ones al jazeera contacted about getting US correspondents, and with the likes of Cami Graves reporting for al Jazeera US, the zionists have had nothing to fear from it.


The story by Joseph Massad, "The Last... " should not have been censored, should be carried by every major American newspaper, indeed, global carry, have the audience of Aljazeera readers.

The Zionist fear and actions, official and of self-appointed, evidences their criminality in this regard.

To not have refuted, instead, is something of its criminality in action.

And to the story/article itself, to anyone reading it, will be of such revelation as to become a cause to make it and its thesis all the more valuable and worthy of defense.

Bravo! to Joseph Massad. I have read past stories/articles and printed them for distribution to those who have any chance of seeing beyond the propaganda of the Zionist juggernaut.


I'm editing the text EI liked to, it's all mixed up. If only this guy had used a Danish ghost writer and added a few cartoons this would be a widely available embodiment of free speech. Too bad he's not Danish, bad luck all the way around.


Shame on Al-Jazeera's censors. It should be clear that zionism is the most evil ideology that has plagued humankind, exceeding nazism, fascism, and communism. For the eventual betterment of humankind, it, too, will ultimately be defeated as all others had perished, and its adherents that were responsible for the war criminality that they inflicted upon the innocent peoples of Palestine and Lebanon and continuen to do so with impunity will be summoned before the forthcoming Jerusalem Tribunals to be tried and punished under the precedent of the Nuremberg Trials and israel's own trial and execution of the nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Not the inept 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide will bring about their downfall, but rather those increasingly numerous warm-hearted anti-zionist Jews who have won my admiration and respect will do so. Jew-hating Jew zionists refer to them as "self-hating Jews". I refer to them as the world's emerging saviors of humankind's calamity under that despicable ideology. The Palestinians and Lebanese who suffered the immense anguish, misery, pain and suffering at the hands of zionists and their radical, extreme, ultra fundamentalist, hypocritical Christian eschatological fanatical supporters will have their Day of Joy. Patience, my brothers and sisters. Mssrs. Time and History are your guarantees.


Chris Hedges wrote "Death Of The Liberal Class." What does 'the death of the liberal class' mean? It means the light in the world dimmed. It has been dimming since Adam and Even and it is dimming now and will dim further, until that is stopped.

I happen to believe that money is, as the Christian Bible states, a root of all sorts of evil. (It doesn't say that it's 'the' root of all evil, take note.) Money brings the worst out of imperfect human beings. Clearly. And if we were perfect? We wouldn't, I suspect, need a money system at all.

A tally is being kept my friends.

As the light dims, and mafia capitalism in our neoliberal (fascist) era digs in, professionalism goes out the window. Increasingly, It isn't what you know and do (from a technical standpoint), but who you know and what you're willing to do for the 'right' people. The system is irreformable. Why did AJ's management sign off on a pathetic plan to cash in Wikileaks's popularity some time ago if there isn't an all too great a an emphasis within AJ on making money, something that shareholders and owners are not going to ease up on? If you don't recall, AJ and the Wall Street Journal, reportedly, set out to offer services similar to Wikileaks. 'Send in your leaks, we'll vet and publish and the world will be a better place!' AJ would have hung it's leakers out to dry had it gone ahead with it's plan. I don't follow AJ religiously, so I don't know exactly what it's up to today. But that news, courtesy of Hann Fakhoury (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2011 certainly caught my attention.

It's good, no doubt, to try to hold major media's feet to the fire. But? Caring staff of AJ are no doubt demoralized. The Right is no doubt correspondingly thrilled. Hold fast to your principles good people. But know that man alone can't rescue this dark, godless world. Individuals can be rescued but this world needs to be buried. Keep that in mind when contemplating biting the hands feeding you


As a regular reader of AJE, while I've found much to respect on the site, I've also noticed a definite trend away from hard news challenges to U.S. policy over the last couple of years. I think the turning point was Al Jazeera's coverage of the civil war in Libya. It was Al Jazeera that first ran the false story claiming that Libyan planes had attacked anti-Qaddafi demonstrators, a fiction that turned out to be crucial in establishing the propaganda cover for the U.S.-NATO invasion. The genesis of that story remains unclear, but it's worth noting that AJE has a very good series that critiques media errors ("The Listening Post"), but that this very eventful journalistic misfire has never been examined there, to the best of my knowledge.

I'm afraid the censorship of Dr. Massad is one more link in that very unfortunate chain. Though he deserves credit for his original contributions to cultural history, what Massad writes about Zionism is anything but new and is supported by much writing on the subject. To name just one (recent) example, the important links between Nazism and the Zionist intellectual leadership of the 1940s are discussed in some detail in The Invention of the Jewish People by Israeli historian Shlomo Sand.

Beyond the shame of appeasing American power, AJE's real crime in this instance is its suppression of an important set of truths. I hope this turns out to be an exception, not the new rule.


Ola, just FYI, the article is back up with a lengthy, and respectable, intro, and you should update this article to reflect this. Thanks.