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Conspiracy Theories Linking Israel to WikiLeaks Circulate on the Internet

Posted: December 23, 2010

Updated: January 18, 2011


As the story about WikiLeaks's release of U.S. diplomatic cables gained media attention around the world, a number of Web sites across the ideological spectrum began to circulate conspiracy theories alleging that Israel was secretly involved in the publication of the cables.


Although the theory that Israel orchestrated the WikiLeaks' affair is circulating on a relatively small number of Web sites, it has gained traction with those catering to the far right and the left, as well as on some Arab and Islamic sites, and others dedicated to spreading "anti-Zionist" messages like Islam Times and Hezbollah's Al-Manar Web site.


To date, these sources have promoted two major claims regarding WikiLeaks's relationship to Israel. One claim is that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange "struck a deal" with Israel to withhold the cables that were "embarrassing" to Israel. This narrative about Israel negotiating with Assange may have first surfaced in Al Haqiqa, an online publication affiliated with a Syrian opposition group, which was cited as a source by other articles posted in Arabic and English, as well as select press agencies. Others furthered this claim by alleging that Israel's "deal" with Assange either aimed to undermine the United States or sought to create an opening to attack Iran.


Another theory circulating online is that Assange actually works for Israel as a "spy," with the alleged evidence being the scarcity of cables related to Israel in the materials that were leaked to the public and the press. 


Conspiracy theorists have also concluded that because the leaks show Israel's perceived enemies in a poor light, Israel is the only country that stands to gain from the controversy sparked by the cables, and thus is behind the affair.


Many of the conspiracy theories about Israel and WikiLeaks are being promulgated by an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist named Gordon Duff on his Web site Veterans Today, which features anti-Israel and Holocaust denial materials. Duff has authored numerous articles and appeared in interviews advancing his allegations that Israel orchestrated WikiLeaks as a public relations campaign. In an undated interview with British-based IQRA TV, Duff even implicated India's intelligence agency as being part of the conspiracy to bolster Israel's image.


In another interview with the mainstream the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on December 17, 2010, Duff told the paper that, "WikiLeaks is obviously concocted by an intelligence agency. It's a ham-handed action by Israel to do its public relations."


Duff's articles have also appeared on white supremacist sites, including Stormfront, a popular forum for extremists, former Klan leader David Duke's site, as well as Newsnet14, which re-posted a Duff column under another title: "Wikileaks: Is the Stench Coming from the Jews?"


Aside from Duff's theories, other allegations against Israel had their origins in the left-leaning Web site Indybay, which furthered the claim that WikiLeaks collaborated with Israel to restrict the publication of cables that could appear damaging to Israel.


Some cartoons featured in mainstream Arab papers echoed this same theme. On December 20, 2010, a cartoon appeared in the Emirati newspaper Al-Ittihad which portrayed Wikileaks as only exposing issues that would embarrass the Arab world while concealing Israel's alleged actions against peace.


Videos circulating this conspiracy have also surfaced on YouTube. The narrator of a video clip uploaded on December 6, 2010 says: "The information released by Wikileaks…is overloaded with as much propaganda as the day to day Zionist media is. This propaganda is benefiting someone. And that someone is the illegal usurping entity of Israel." Another video, by former Klan leader David Duke, was uploaded on December 2, 2010 under the title, "Julian Assange Wikileaks Exposes Zionist Treachery."

Although they constitute a small minority, a few world leaders have used the WikiLeaks controversy to make anti-Israel statements, alleging that Israel is complicit in the affair or behind some of the cables. On December 1, 2010, Hüseyin Çelik, a deputy leader of AKP, Turkey's ruling party, hinted that Israel could be responsible for WikiLeaks in comments during a press conference. Çelik reportedly marveled at the fact that Israeli officials seemed to know that the documents wouldn't hurt the Israeli government: "Israel is very pleased [with the WikiLeaks controversy]. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents."

On December 21, 2010, the Palestinian Fatah party condemned particular WikiLeaks' cables as "fabrications and lies" by Israel's security services in order to deepen divisions among Palestinians. Fatah denied a WikiLeaks' cable that revealed Fatah representatives had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007 and said the WikiLeaks revelation was "conspiracy" by the Shin Bet.


The following is a sampling of articles circulating the conspiracy theory that Israel is at the center of the WikiLeaks' controversy:


  • January 10, 2011: American Free Press, an anti-Semitic conspiracy-oriented newspaper, reprinted the December 8, 2010 column by Gordon Duff, "Busted—WikiLeaks Working for Israel," renaming it "WikiLeaks: Freedom's Friend or Zionism's New 'Best Ally'?" The column appeared with another article by AFP writer Victor Thorn, who claimed that AFP "publishes stories on a weekly basis that far surpass WikiLeaks in terms of bombshell material." As examples, Thorn refers to AFP's various conspiracy theories blaming Israel for orchestrating murders and assassinations, as well as for harvesting the organs of victims worldwide.

  • December 27, 2010: In an article on the Veterans Today Web site titled, "ADL: Wikileaks Vital to Israel's Intelligence Program," Gordon Duff claimed he was in contact with an anonymous "ADL source." This fictitious source allegedly said ADL was "tasked by the Tel Aviv government to begin operations against journalists and online publications."  Duff goes so far as to quote the source as saying, "I just hope something doesn't come up where it gets so serious that Assange will have to be assassinated.  He is really a loveable dupe."

  • December 26, 2010: Ireland's Sunday Business Post published a letter to the editor by Charles Murphy titled, "Where's Israel in Wikileaks?" He charges that since Israel is "not much mentioned" in the leaks, the controversy "could simply be an old-fashioned propaganda campaign" by Israel. Murphy supports his conclusion with the allegations that "Iran [is] portrayed as the only villain in The Middle East," and that "Turkey - recently fallen out with Israel - also comes out poorly."

  • December 22, 2010: Gulf News (UAE) published an article by Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, titled "Did WikiLeaks reach a secret deal with Israel?" The article refers to the absence of cables from US embassies in Israel or Beirut as "most telling," adding that, "It seems inconceivable that he [Assange] would protect Israel from censure when the WikiLeaks website categorically states that its 'primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes...and unethical behaviour [by] governments and corporations."

  • December 16, 2010: In an article on his Web site titled, "Wiki-Warning – Little Green Men Coming," Gordon Duff charged that the Mossad, as well as "a Rothschild law firm, the pro-Israel gang at The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel," removed cables with "dirt" on Israel.  

  • December 15, 2010: Gordon Duff published an article on the anti-Semitic site Rense, where he plainly stated, "WikiLeaks is Israel." Duff alleged that former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion when he was said in an interview on PBS on December 2 that WikiLeaks is the front for an "intelligence agency" and that the material leaked was of a "pointed" nature.

  • December 14, 2010: The Opinion Maker, a Pakistan-based conspiratorial site, published an article titled, "A Missing Leak: All Roads Lead to Tel Aviv," by Ghayur Ayub. Ayub alleged that Israel is holding back a "missing leak" that would have proven Israel's culpability in the affair. He wrote, "Here comes the million dollar question. Is there a 'missing leak' exposing Israel's heinous motives despite the leaked documents stating that 'there is no Israel lobby involvement to involuntarily force US in a war to serve Jewish interests'…?"[Original emphasis retained.]

  • December 13, 2010:  In another article on Gordon Duff's Web site, "Turning Our Enemy's Inherent Decency into the Vehicle of Their Own Demise….Mossad," he claimed that WikiLeaks was working with the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad to create a false war against Iran. He wrote, "Wikileaks has issued a virtual declaration of war against Iran, part of the Mossad's 'war by deception' of which Wikileaks is a proven component.  Blog after blog followed suit, spreading the same 'poison,' Wikileaks again 'leaks' false information citing Iran for having a nuclear weapons program long proven not to exist."

  • December 13, 2010: In an article titled, "WikiLeaks 'Struck a Deal' to Keep Away Anything Damaging to Israel," published on Al Manar, the Web site affiliated with the terrorist group Hezbollah, the author alleged: "A number of commentators, particularly in Turkey and Russia, have been wondering why the hundreds of thousands of American classified documents leaked by the website last month did not contain anything that may embarrass the Israeli government…The answer appears to be a secret deal struck between the WikiLeaks 'heart and soul', as Assange humbly described himself once, with Israeli officials, which ensured that all such documents were 'removed' before the rest were made public."

  • December 12, 2010: Islam Times, an online publication whose stated purpose is to produce media "that is not tainted by the Zionist control over the western media structure," published an article titled, "Is Israel behind WikiLeaks to Crush US Credibility for Potential Talks with Iran?" The author, Mnar Muhawesh, alleged that the leak of these documents was of obvious benefit to Israel and the "Israeli lobby," because it refocused the world's attention on Iran. Muhawesh cited another article by conspiracy theorist Jeff Gates who suggested that a "forensic analysis" would ultimately find Israel responsible for the WikiLeaks scandal, since Israel had motive to leak the cables. While Muhawesh never overtly states that Israel is responsible, she repeatedly insinuates as much.

  • December 11, 2010: Maidhc Ó Cathail, an anti-Israel Irish blogger posted an entry on his blog titled, "WikiLeaks: Advancing an Israeli Agenda?" in which he outlined how WikiLeaks has benefited Israel. His conclusion: "But just like 9/11, no matter how much WikiLeaks has benefited Israel, most observers still seem loath to consider the Tel Aviv connection," implying that Israel was involved in both 9/11 and WikiLeaks.

  • December 11, 2010: Zuhair Belqurshi (aka Zuhair Najjaah) wrote an article titled, "Wikileaks: in the Service of the Zionists' Goals," published in both the Arab Times (of Conroe, Texas) and the Arab Voice (of Paterson, New Jersey). Belqurshi alleged, "I will not discuss the conspiracy theory that has been confirmed in the leaked information, but I will pay close attention to the selectiveness of the published leaks, which serve the interests of the Zionists and the neoconservatives in America, the Zionist Republican Party, to Judaize occupied Palestine and thus Judaizing Jerusalem."  

  • December 10, 2010:  Zuhair Belqurshi (aka Zuhair Najjaah) wrote another article titled, "Wikileaks: Who's Lying about It…Who's Laughing at It…" published in the Arab Times (of Conroe, Texas) in which he questioned why none of the "known" crimes of Israel are mentioned in the Wikileaks' cables. He wrote, "And what of Israel's relationship with this report, which did not mention the genocide practiced by them, using all international banned weapons, contrary to the Geneva Conventions, nor the dirty war it waged on Lebanon, not even the disclosure of the assassinations carried out by the Mossad from Hariri…to Mabhouh assassinated in the UAE."

  • December 9, 2010: Ramzy Baroud, editor-in-chief of The Palestine Chronicle, published an article in his online publication questioning why Israel had been "spared much of the embarrassment" of the Wikileaks cables. He alleged that this is "particularly suspicious," in light of the numerous and rather consistent leaks from many different parties who expressed the desire to eliminate Iran's nuclear program. Alluding to Israel, Baroud wrote, "It seems as if someone, or some entity, wants to enliven the conflict with Iran, and spread it throughout the Middle East."

  • December 8, 2010: In an article on Gordon Duff's Web site titled, "Busted! Wiki Leaks Working for Israel," he claimed, "Reports have come in today, tying Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, directly to Israeli intelligence and "Israel friendly" media outlets. We are told Assange, while at a Geneva meeting, agreed to allow Israel to select or censor all Wikileak output."  Duff alleged that "Assange 'the martyr' now appears to be Assange 'the Israeli spy.'" Duff also claimed that Assange has ties to Rupert Murdoch and the Fox Network and Newt Gingrich and described all three as "avid Zionists."  

  • December 7, 2010: An anonymous individual named "LikiWeaks" published an article on titled, "WikiLeaks 'Struck a Deal with Israel' Over Diplomatic Cables Leaks" in which the author alleged that Israeli officials and WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange made a deal ensuring that documents that were embarrassing to the Israeli government were removed prior to the leak. The article cited the report from Al Haqiqa, a publication affiliated with a Syrian far-Left opposition group, claiming that Israel paid Assange not to release certain documents.

  • December 6, 2010: The online Arabic-language publication Al Haqiqa, also known as "Syria Truth," affiliated with a Syrian far-Left opposition group, published an article that claimed that WikiLeaks made an agreement with Israel to avoid publication of documents that "may harm Israeli security or diplomatic interests." According to the article, a former WikiLeaks official alleged that Julien Assange, Wikileaks' founder, met with representatives of an Israeli secret intelligence agency in Switzerland to carve out the deal. Al Haqiqa identifies the author of the article as Leah Abramowiz, referred to as an Israeli-born journalist and the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

  • November 30, 2010: Conspiracy theorist and anti-Semite Jeff Gates published an article in The Palestine Chronicle, titled, "Wikileaks: The Tel Aviv Connection." Gates alleged that Israel orchestrated the Wikileaks scandals in order to delegitimize the United States and remove itself from scrutiny. He writes, "Tel Aviv knows that the phony intelligence on Iraq leads to those skilled at waging war 'by way of deception'—the motto of the Israeli Mossad. Wikileaks are noteworthy for what's missing: the absence of any material damaging to Israeli goals." The same article was also published by Veterans Today on December 2 under the title, "Wikileaks and Espionage – Israeli Style."

  • November 27, 2010: In an article on Gordon Duff's Web site, "Wikileaks, a Touch of Assange and the Stench of AIPAC," he alleged that Israel was using WikiLeaks to destabilize the United States.  He wrote, "Wikileaks is an intelligence operation to weaken and undermine the American government, orchestrated from Tel Aviv, using dozens of operatives, dual citizens, some at the highest authority levels, spies for Israel. Through leaking carefully selected intelligence along with proven falsified documents, all fed to a controlled press, fully complicit, Wikileaks is, in fact, an act of war against the United States." Duff also alleged that AIPAC, a Jewish lobbying group, is behind Wikileaks and its actions.
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Conspiracy Theory Links Israel to WikiLeaks; ADL Says Latest 'Big Lie' is Taking Root Among Anti-Israel Conspiracy Theorists

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