WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange recently agreed to sit down with Ian Hislop, an editor with Private Eye, the satirical British news magazine, to respond to the accusation that he associates with anti-Semites. According to Hislop, Assange said the rumor started because there were a cadre of Jewish reporters out to get him.
[Assange] went on to say that we were part of a conspiracy led by the Guardian which included journalist David Leigh, editor Alan Rusbridger and John Kampfner from Index on Censorship—all of whom "are Jewish."
I pointed out that Rusbridger is not actually Jewish, but Assange insisted that he was "sort of Jewish" because he was related to David Leigh (they are brothers-in-law) When I doubted whether his Jewish conspiracy would stand up against the facts, Assange suddenly conceded the point. "Forget the Jewish thing."
Hislop admits that the quotes were based on what he "remembered," and that he did not take notes or record the interview.
WikiLeaks immediately disputed the report. Assange:
"Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, 'Jewish conspiracy' is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting. Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, perhaps not surprisingly, to justify one smear with another in the same direction. That he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist as a result, does not mean that it is right.
The problem with Julian Assange, of course, is that he's the silver-haired man of mystery who sees conspiracies everywhere. And as Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson have shown us, anti-Semitism is on the conspiracy theorists all-time greatest hits. The fact that some of Assange's theories have turned out to be true — like the HBGary fiasco — means this comes down to who is more believable. Is there anyone left who takes Assange's statements at face value?
Julian Assange: My Enemies Are All Jews and Sissies [Gawker]
Related: Julian Assange Picks a Media Fight With the Guardian