British news outlet, The Guardian, cut ties with political columnist and Current Affairs editor, Nathan J Robinson earlier this month. Editor in Chief for The Guardian’s US edition, John Mulholland informed Robinson that his column had been discontinued by the publication due to a tweet.
The, now deleted, tweet was from Dec. 2020 saying, “Did you know that the US Congress is not actually permitted to authorize any new spending unless a new portion of it is directed toward buying weapons for Israel? It’s the law.”
Robinson then clarified was a joke adding to the Twitter thread, “Or if not actually the written law then so ingrained in political custom as to functionally be indistinguishable from law.” The news publication didn’t take the joke lightly, saying it was “fake news.” They also have stated that while Robinson is a regular columnist on The Guardian, he never had any contract, so they technically never fired him.
The tweet was satirical, but it was in reference to a very real issue. It came off the heels of a stimulus package, for Coronavirus, signed by Congress in which $500 million of military aid was sent to Israel.
Robinson’s criticism of the United States’ military aid is that it helps Israel’s modern-day apartheid on Palestine. The situation has gotten so bad that the International Criminal Court in Hauge announced that the court now has jurisdiction over territories occupied by Israel. Palestine joined the ICC in 2015 and has been an advocate for this since. It is a response to war crimes in the West bank. Which Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to be anti-Semitic and fake war crimes.
Its also important to note that critics of Robinson’s tweet slander and denounce him as an anti-Semite. This is wrong because his criticisms of the Israeli state are solely based on their persecution of Palestinian peoples. In fact, there are Jewish organizations making those same criticisms, such as the Jewish Voice for Peace.
The threat of anti-Semitism is a real issue that should be taken very seriously, especially considering the growing population of Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists in the US and Europe. However, to denounced legitimate criticisms of a state oppressing a specific group of people is very unhelpful to fighting anti-Semitism, which is a whole other beast to be dealt with.
Robinson has since responded with an article in Current Affairs about why he was let go and has continued his criticism of Israeli war crimes on Palestinians. He has continued writing and editing for Current Affairs.