WikiLeaks 'disgraceful' for antisemite links, says Guardian writer

By Jennifer Lipman, April 11, 2011
Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir

A Guardian journalist has rounded on WikiLeaks as "disgraceful" and said Julian Assange and his colleagues should be ashamed of themselves for giving documents to "known antisemite and crook" Israel Shamir.

David Leigh, the newspaper's non-Jewish deputy editor who last month was accused by the WikiLeaks founder of being part of "a Jewish conspiracy" out to get him, made the comments at a media debate in Norway.

During the discussion he challenged the WikiLeaks' spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson on the organisation's claim that cables were only leaked to "trusted journalistic sources".

Mr Leigh, who has written a book about WikiLeaks, said this was untrue and that there was evidence that Russian cables had been given to the "antisemite propagandist" Mr Shamir.

The same claim was made in a book by former WikiLeaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who said that Mr Shamir and Mr Assange maintained close ties.

Mr Shamir was once described by anti-fascist campaigners as a Holocaust denier and has faced criticism for his support of the authoritarian regime in Belarus. His personal website hosts a collection of anti-Zionist articles.

Later in the debate Mr Hrafnsson confirmed cables were given to Mr Shamir but he argued that this was because he was a journalist who had contributed to Russian media.

Mr Leigh said: "For you to try to talk your way out of this is disgraceful, in a hall full of professional journalists committed to free speech, honest journalism and truthfulness. You should be ashamed of yourself."

He added: "Would you like me to produce the material where he says the world is dominated by the Jews? Where he says US media is dominated by the Jews?

"Is this the kind of person Wikileaks should be associated with? Is this in the name of democracy?"

Last updated: 5:03pm, April 11 2011