I think it’s safe to say that political activists who compare themselves to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ought to be regarded with a high degree of skepticism. Alas, many on the left regard Julian Assange of WikiLeaks the way he views himself.
Katha Pollitt of The Nation has written this very eloquent piece about the belittling of Assange’s rape charges. She also notes that Israel Shamir, the writer who launched a campaign of falsehood against Assange’s accusers, is a virulent antisemite. And that Shamir published his smears in Counterpunch, edited by Alexander Cockburn, one of the most shameless and dogged purveyors of antisemitism on the far left.
That assessment of Cockburn is mine, not Pollitt’s. The fact that Cockburn still retains his post as a Nation columnist is a scandal in itself, although Pollitt doesn’t make that case.
What Pollitt also doesn’t state is that Israel Shamir works for WikiLeaks, in an official capacity. The photo above shows Assange and Shamir together (Z Word has already remarked on this, as have Harry’s Place and Michael Moynihan).
Israel Shamir, lastly, is an ally of the UK-based saxophonist and polemicist Gilad Atzmon, who routinely denies he is antisemitic despite having argued in plain though inarticulate English that it was the Jews who provoked Hitler.
I have written on Atzmon’s noxious beliefs fairly extensively.
Side note: In early November, Patrick J. of A Blog Supreme commented on Atzmon’s recent recording with Robert Wyatt and Ros Stephen, For the Ghosts Within. I thanked Patrick in the comments, and I’ll do so again here, for kindly referring readers to my argument that Atzmon is an antisemite. My position has not changed.
Update: There are reports that Israel Shamir has funneled WikiLeaks material to the thug regime of Belarus to help facilitate the unfolding crackdown there. Adam Holland has also posted background on this.