The Media Review Network’s (MRN) Iqbal Jassat yesterday authored an article dismissing claims made by David Saks that the MRN had once showcased an unrepentantly anti-Semitic article on their website about a Jewish Broederbond conspiracy "which had ruled South Africa for the past 50 years and continues to dominate the power structures of our country."
This was but one of a number of items of evidence which Saks used to dispel claims made by MRN fangirl Virginia Tilley, who said that the MRN and Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) have a noble track record in campaigning against Israeli human rights abuses and that they high-mindedly insist on distinguishing between anti-Zionism and anti-racism.
Jassat responded to Saks’ accusations by simply denying them. Here’s his article entitled “Hajaig spat takes new turn as anti-semitism debates continue in the wake of new questions about Israel's future”. Jassat writes:
|To support his knee-jerk response in the form of "evidence", Saks cited a document entitled "The Jewish-Broederbond Syndicate" as having featured on MRN’s website. Again – as in the case of Fatima Hajaig – Saks deliberately finds it expedient to not only isolate any context but to intentionally conflate issues in keeping with his objective to slanderously demonise MRN as anti-semitic.
Since I have no recollection of any such article published on MRN’s website, my quick google search elicited 10 results – none of them listing Media Review Network as host. In any event, it may have featured alongside thousands of articles – many of them construed by the SAJBD as anti-semitic given that authors and journalists like Mathatha Tsedu, Anthony Holiday, Tim Modise, Barney Pityana and Virginia Tilley amongst others have been cited in annual "anti-semitism reports" compiled by Saks for the Stephen Roth Institute in Israel.
Ok, so Jassat is partly right. A search for ‘Jewish Broederbond Syndicate” does not implicate the MRN. But that’s a normal search on the content on his website today, which he knows doesn’t currently contain the offensive article. I remember that the article disappeared, quite suddenly, some time ago. I think I was one of a number of individuals that contacted Talk Radio 702 after they interviewed the MRN, and asked them to read some of the views that the MRN espoused, including the conspiracy of a Jewish syndicate that was and still is, in complete control of South Africa. The MRN probably caught wind of this “why don’t you read what they want others to read” tactic, and removed some of their favourite articles.
Jassat will be surprised to know that it's actually very difficult to remove something from the Internet. Before I get to this, one more point. Jassat realises that they once showboated this anti-Semitic article, and he therefore dimly couches his denial in protective language, saying that they never “hosted” the article. In this non-legal context, that’s irrelevant. What matters here, is that the association with the articles implicates the MRN's shared conspiratorial worldview.
The Internet Archive Wayback Machine allows us to view cached pages of websites as they were years ago. I used the Wayback Machine to see if I could find this notorious article, and find it I did.
It’s important to realise that this isn’t just one of thousands of articles that the MRN links to, as Jassat claims. For years it was linked to in their section called ‘publications’ - one of, on average, 12 (not thousands!) links for the years when it was featured. There can be no doubt that they fully endorsed the views in this article and aimed to distribute it as widely as possible, even if they never “hosted” it.
The archive shows that two articles in particular, one on the Jewish Broederbond Syndicate and the other on Holocaust denial were prominently displayed from at least 2001 to 2005. The screenshot below is for the year 2001.
The text at the top reads: The Publications section contains some of the publications written by the Media Review Network. Please check back often as new information is constantly added to the section.
Later in his response, Jassat says that the issue with the Jewish Broederbond article was originally blamed on some “unnamed South African Islamic website”. He then says that this website bears no resemblance to the MRN.
But in the archive links, on average 8 of the 12 or so links are directly from the website (www.islam.co.za) that actually hosted the articles in question. This makes it very difficult for Jassat to state that there was no connection between the MRN and the website.
The MRN should have the courage of their convictions and repost the links to these foul articles that attack Jews as Jews. I'm sure they will still be able to rely on the likes of Virginia Tilley for defence and legitimisation.