WikiLeaks director Julian Assange is currently in police custody in London awaiting possible extradition to the United States, after spending almost seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy. He is being charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion in connection with Chelsea Manning’s leak of more than 750,000 American military and government documents.
Assange is one of the most notorious and controversial global figures of the 21st century. But what many may not know is that he has long been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism, despite the fact that some of his most loyal employees and public defenders are themselves Jewish.
Employing a Holocaust denier
For years, Wikileaks employed an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier who goes by the name Israel Shamir. Shamir has claimed that Jews perpetrate a mind control conspiracy and “asked God to kill, destroy, humiliate, exterminate, defame, starve, impale Christians, to usher in Divine Vengeance and to cover God’s mantle with blood of goyim.” Assange long denied that Shamir was on the WikiLeaks payroll, but a former WikiLeaks employee confirmed it in a 2013 tell-all article.
A Jewish conspiracy?
In 2011, Ian Hislop, the editor of the British magazine Private Eye - which combines Onion-like satire with investigative journalism - interviewed Assange about Shamir and other anti-Semitism issues that had begun to pop up around WikiLeaks. According to Hislop, Assange named a number of British journalists who were apparently part of a conspiracy against him - all of whom, Assange allegedly said, “are Jewish.” In fact, one of the people he listed was not Jewish, and when Hislop pointed this out, Assange reportedly replied, “forget the Jewish thing.” Assange claimed that he was misquoted by Hislop, who admitted that he took no notes of the conversation but stood by his reporting.
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Assange is widely believed to operate the @wikileaks Twitter account himself. In July 2016, the account published a series of tweets apparently mocking Jews who had appropriated the anti-Semitic “echoes” meme of putting parentheses around Jewish names.
“Tribalist symbol for establishment climbers? Most of our critics have 3 (((brackets around their names))) & have black-rim glasses. Bizarre,” went one tweet. Many of the tweets were deleted later that day, and the Wikileaks account denied there was any anti-Semitic intention.
This was not the first time the WikiLeaks account sent a tweet criticized for anti-Semitism: In 2015, the account blamed “the Jewish pro-censorship lobby” when a cartoonist for the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo was put on trial for publishing anti-Semitic cartoons.
A major leak of messages in 2018 from the WikiLeaks organization’s internal chat system showed Assange again bringing up the Jewish heritage of a critical journalist. Referring to Associated Press reporter Raphael Satter, Assange wrote in 2016, “He’s always ben a rat. But he’s jewish [sic] and engaged with the ((()))) issue.”
He compared himself to Nazi victims
The WikiLeaks website’s online shop in 2016 sold a t-shirt with the words “first they came for Assange” - an allusion to the famous Martin Niemoller poem about the Nazi Party’s rise to power.
That year, Assange also refused to deny that the death of Seth Rich - a Democratic National Committee staffer who died in 2016 in what police believe was likely a botched robbery - may have been connected to WikiLeaks’ massive dump of DNC emails.
“We’re not saying that Seth Rich’s death necessarily is connected to our publications — that’s something that needs to be established,” Assange told Fox News. “(But) this organization will go after anyone who may have been involved in some kind of attempt to coerce or possibly, in this kill a potential source.”
Rich was Jewish, and many of the conspiracy theories surrounding his death had anti-Semitic overtones.