I don’t really follow celebrity gossip much, but someone (OK, it was Jono) brought this piece from The Daily Beast to my attention:
Taylor Swift, Queen of the Zionists?
Is there a coming pro-Palestinian backlash against Taylor Swift? . . .
It’s still up in the air whether or not the “Shake It Off” songstress will seal the deal to perform in Israel this year. But if she does, it’s safe to say that her decision will cause controversy.
“Just as during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa artists were expected to not cross the picket line and perform in Sun City, artists today should heed the Palestinian boycott call and not help Israel whitewash its denial of Palestinian rights,” Ramah Kudaimi of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation told The Daily Beast. “Taylor Swift can stand on the right side of history by refusing to perform in Israel, which will send a very clear message that there cannot be business as usual with an apartheid state that commits war crimes such as the killing of more than 500 Palestinian children in Gaza this past summer.”
Writing about celebrities is simply no excuse for printing slanders from a propaganda group as truth, with no rebuttal. If you choose to write about celebrities, write about celebrities. It may be true that this is an area in which quotes from people who have no idea what they are talking about regularly pass for “news.” But when Asawin Suebsaeng chose to write about politics, he incurred the same obligation that an actual journalist would have, to at least make a pretense at being factual.
Had he done so, he might have learned that the comparison between Israel and apartheid-era South Africa is a complete fabrication. As explained by Dr. Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African Parliament who lived through actual apartheid, “this ridiculous accusation trivializes the word apartheid, minimizing and belittling the magnitude of the racism and suffering endured by South Africans of color.”
With even a modicum of effort, he might have also ascertained that his source, Ramah Kudaimi, a veteran of Code Pink with degrees in journalism and conflict resolution, is not remotely qualified to make determinations of whether war crimes have been committed. He might have also consulted his own publication to learn the reasons for last summer’s conflict, such as, that the man who was arrested for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli boys “acknowledged during interrogations that he received money and direction from Hamas leaders in Gaza to conduct the June 15 kidnapping” and that “no one in Israel [was] safe from [Hamas] missiles.”
This piece, ostensibly about Taylor Swift, sounds like it belongs on the hate site Electronic Intifada. Suebsaeng is obviously not remotely qualified even for the beat he has been assigned, and if the Daily Beast ever wants to have any respectability it should remove this person from its staff.