Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mondoweiss' fundraising hoax

As reported here yesterday, the blog Mondoweiss first published, then rescinded without explanation, a fundraising plea falsely claiming the blog needed help because it was "under Israeli attack".  When a regular reader who had seen the original version posted a sympathetic comment asking what form the Israeli attack on Mondoweiss had taken, an editor of the blog was forced to admit that the charge had been false, but failed to explain how it came to be published.  The headline was changed to something innocuous  and the fraud was forgotten.  (Read here.)

At the suggestion of someone who read my initial post about this, I went back and found a cached version of the original post with the fraudulent headline.  Here's a screen shot of it:

Mondoweiss fundraiser with fraudulent headline

That fundraising pitch, while signed by the blog's co-editors Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz, was posted by a Mondoweiss blogger by the name of Alec Kinnear (read here).  The Vienna-based Kinnear not only blogs on Mondoweiss, he also maintains his own blogs.  From one of them, we learn that Kinnear believes that 9/11 was "probably" done by the Mossad under the direction of Dick Cheney (read here), and that Rachel Corrie was murdered on the direct orders of Ariel Sharon in order to gauge the American reaction (read here).  On another blog he maintains, we learn that Kinnear was an admirer of the late neo-fascist Austrian politician Jörg Haider (read here), although, oddly, he fails to mention Haider's troubling politics.

It is impossible to know for certain which of these three Mondoweiss bloggers, Weiss, Horowitz or Kinnear, wrote the fraudulent fundraising headline which falsely claimed that the blog needed help because it was "under Israeli attack".  That question has not been addressed on the blog.  We do know that Kinnear has made no secret of his bizarre political opinions -- in fact, he has expressed them on the Mondoweiss website, where he writes that he literally worries that Israel will stage a covert op to disrupt a benefit for the blog (read here).  That a person with such views has unsupervised blogging privileges at Mondoweiss, and that the blog entrusts its fundraising to him and lets him post as true completely false reports which they then delete without explanation, raise serious questions about Mondoweiss and its editors -- questions about journalistic ethics and judgement which the blog should address.

If any readers of this post think these concerns inflated, consider the following.   If a blog publishes a false report in order to raise funds, would you consider that an attempted fraud?  At the very least, having been caught soliciting money from their readers based on a falsehood, wouldn't that blog owe their readers a full accounting of how this happened and an offer to return any funds raised via deception?

Moreover, doesn't Mondoweiss owe its readers an explanation of their lapse in judgement in granting Alec Kinnear unsupervised blogging privileges on their website?  After all, his bizarre political views are on the public record.

Kinnear, in fairness, has written in his own defense that he can't be an anti-Semite because, he says, "I have many Jewish friends and colleagues".  Yet, in the column that elicited that familiar defense (read here), he predicted the following for Jews:

Logically the quandary is thus posed:

--the state policies of Israel are totally unacceptable to civilised man
--it is our duty as a state to oppose these Israeli policies
--many Jews support these policies and other Jews support these policies clandestinely, indeed Jewish advisors led America into this preposterous war
--thus no Jew can be trusted in government any longer, as he may be working against his own state to support the inhuman policies in Palestine

In the Spanish Inquisition, many Jews would convert superficially to Catholicism but continue to practice their faith, until discovered. At that point, the unfortunate Jew (and others) would suffer persecution if not death, until finally the Jews were driven from that country. A similar unwelcome fate awaits Jews around the world if this madness cannot be stopped.

Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz recently published a column which used neo-Nazi leader David Duke's term to define Zionism and opposition to anti-Semitism: "Jewish supremacism".  (Read here.)  Now they have turned over some of their blog's fundraising to someone who admires Jörg Haider and predicts a reprise of the Spanish Inquisition.   In spite of all this, they claim that their blog represents a "progressive Jewish" point of view.  (Read here.)  Can a legitimately progressive and Jewish point of view include common ground with the opinions of David Duke,  Jörg Haider and Torquemada?  At what point will Mondoweiss' sponsors and readership look at this madness and say "enough"?

[NOTE (7/11/11): In the hours since this was published, Mondoweiss editors have scrubbed some of the webpages discussed in this post from their website in an apparent attempt to cover up the fraud.  A cached version of the revised fundraising pitch and the attached comment by an editor indicating that the initial report was false is available in cached version here.  A report about Mondoweiss' cover-up featuring screen shots of the some of the deleted documents can be read here.]

Below, screen shot of Alec Kinnear's column entitled "Farewell Jörg | Abschiedsbrief Jörg Haider", which eulogized far-right politician Jörg Haider:


Benjamin said...

First off, thank you for taking my suggestion; hard evidence is needed to show their idiocy and bigotry, and takes away their ability to call a source 'unreliable' (as Silverstein did when I posted in his blog). From this and other postings, it's fairly obvious that the blog has tumbled into the realm of Counterpunch 'radicalism'.

As for responsibility, I think it's fair to hold Weiss and Horowitz at least partially responsible for the fraud posting, and other noxious posts on the blog. They're co-editors, and if they knowingly or unknowingly post falsehoods and bigotry, then they're guilty of either abetting said bigotry/idiocy, or being ignorant. Or, shockingly, of only caring about justice as far as it allows them to flog Israel and Zionism.

As a side note: Is Kinnear comparing 'subversive Jews' to victims of the Inquisition? That's... a bit disingenuous, and fairly disturbing, as far as comparisons go.

Gadi said...


You are realy doing a great job.
Nothing better then hard evidence to push all those anti so called pseudo jews to the corner.

Keep on with the great work

Benjamin said...

And, like I predicted, the bloggers have pulled a Falk and covered their asses by deleting the page entirely:

Bella Center said...

I suggest you send a link to all this to The Nation Institute which provides cover and funding to Mondoweiss. Of course The Nation, being solidly anti-Israel may not pay any attention but I think it's worth making a big fuss if that ends up being the case.

Roadie in Vancouver said...

I love it, thanks Adam. I post on Mondoweiss, what a nest of anti-semites! Kol Hakavod.

Benjamin said...

I love being right about the hack

Anonymous said...

Mondoweiss is now part of CERSC.

Can CERSC's non-profit status be challenged due to their support of purveyors of hate?

Anonymous said...

"under Israeli attack". Not directly but indirectly. You are an agent of Israeli hasbara and you are attacking mondoweiss so yes indirecly they are under attack. if the only thing you found wrong is that phrase, then they must be doing a hell of a job kicking you arse. Your attempt at 'guilt by association' is not working either. Afterall I cant blame the evil deeds of Ariel Sharon on you. Or should I

Adam Holland said...

The idea that I am "an agent of Israeli hasbara" shows an amazingly high degree of paranoia. In making this charge, you resort to a McCarthyite approach. By this way of thinking, anyone who acts in a way which can be construed as supporting an ideology or its advocates can be called an agent of that ideology. So, for example, the defender of constitutional rights and liberal democracy thus can be labeled an agent of the international communist conspiracy. To consider that anyone who makes the case for Israel must be an agent of Israel similarly defies reason.

Even you must admit that your claim has no factual basis and is a absurd diversion. If you had a legitimate reason to say such a thing, why wouldn't you reveal it?

Moreover, taking your argument at face value -- that I am an Israeli agent and I am attacking Mondoweiss -- would you consider it legitimate for me to call you an agent of Palestinian and to claim that you are attacking me? How absurd! If I were to claim that I needed money to defend myself against Palestinian attacks, I would be committing the same fraud that Mondoweiss committed.

With respect to your use of the "guilt by association" defense, I do not accuse the editors of Monodweiss of associating with Alec Kinnear, I show very clearly that they gave him blogging privileges on Mondoweiss and gave him a forum to post a lie to raise money. I do not say they are guilty by dint of their association with Kinnear, but because let him post a fraudulent fundraising pitch.

Your comments concerning my purported (imaginary, of course) link to Ariel Sharon and concerning Mondoweiss somehow "kicking (my)arse" were pretty silly and don't merit a response.


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