Italian Journalist Also Plagiarized in U.S. Outlets
Ynet, ‘Commentary’ have severed ties with Giulio Meotti
Last week, I reported that the Italian journalist Giulio Meotti had appeared to lift quotes without attribution—in short, to plagiarize—for a Ynet column about Israel’s record on gay rights. Since then, several observers, including Tablet Magazine contributors James Kirchick (who was plagiarized for the Ynet column) and Michael Moynihan, noted on Twitter and elsewhere several other instances in which Meotti had plagiarized. You can see them in Max Blumenthal’s catalogue (on which more later). Additionally, I’m afraid I’ve found two other posts in which Meotti plagiarized, these in the National Review’s well-trafficked blog, The Corner. And Moynihan pointed me to a post Meotti contributed to Commentary‘s Contentions blog that also contains plagiarisms. All three were published in 2011.
John Podhoretz, Commentary‘s editor, emailed today, “Commentary ended its relationship with Giulio Meotti the same month that these acts of plagiarism occurred, with the exception of a single article that appeared on our website in February. I am saddened and outraged that Commentary hosted such theft and I apologize deeply to the writers who had their words appropriated.” The 2012 post does not appear to be plagiarized.
“I very much regret the apparent conduct of Mr. Meotti, an outside contributor who is not a Ynet employee,” a Ynet editor emailed today. “We have now decided to terminate our relationship with him.”
Kathryn Jean Lopez, the editor of National Review Online, did not respond to a request for comment lodged late last evening. (Lopez interviewed Meotti in 2011.)
“I took inspiration from this very important column of my friend Bret Stephens. And that of Kirchick,” Meotti, who said he translates his own articles from Italian into English, had told me. “I had no idea of the others.” The first part of this is, essentially, an admission; the second half of it is basically impossible to believe, especially in light of his other thefts.
Shown these new instances, Meotti responded last night: “This has nothing to do with ‘ethical journalism,’ it’s ridiculous. As I told before it was my carelessness if I quoted without credit. But this is a personal attack against my person and work of ten years, a demonization, a witch hunt against one of the last and few pro-Israel journalists in Europe. An attack in which arrogant and failed journalists didn’t hesitate to call me ‘hasbarist’ and ‘zionist’ in Arab newspapers. It seems that they don’t understand the consequences and the severe risks that an author like me in Europe can suffer because of their incitement.”
In a post last October on The Corner about the freeing of Gilad Shalit, Meotti wrote: “No other country would conceivably act in this manner: The deal reveals the compassion Israelis share and the lengths they will go to avoid forsaking their sons on the battlefield.”
In a column published the day before in The Jewish Week (and published on a personal blog two days before that), Isi Leibler wrote: “No other country would conceivably act in this manner, and it reveals the compassion Israelis share and the lengths they will go to not to forsake their sons in the battlefield.”
In the same post, Meotti wrote: “It will also be much easier to recruit terrorists when they are encouraged to believe that no matter how many Israelis they kill, there is every likelihood that, if apprehended, they will be released.”
Leibler wrote: “it will be much easier to recruit terrorists when they are encouraged to believe that no matter how many Israelis they kill, if apprehended, there is every likelihood that they will be released.”
In a post on The Corner about the Jerusalem bus station bombing in March 2011, Meotti wrote: “Word has it that a meeting has been held in Khartoum by members of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, attended by Palestinians, Egyptians, Tunisians, and even English people, where they supposedly coordinated a large-scale international plan for terrorist attacks, to be headed by Iran, the primary target of which would be Israel.”
More than a week before, Fiamma Nirenstein, a fairly prominent Italian politician, wrote: “Word has it that a meeting has also been held in Khartoum by members of Hamas and sundry Muslim Brothers, attended by Palestinians, Egyptians, Tunisians and even English people: they supposedly coordinated a large-scale international plan for Islamic terrorist attacks to be headed by Iran, the primary target of which would be Israel.”
Meotti wrote: “The background to the Jerusalem bombing is, on one side, that of the ‘Arab revolution,’ and on the other side that of the most traditional form of hatred.”
Nirenstein wrote: “The background to the attack carried out the other night is on one side that of the revolution occurring in the surrounding Arab countries, and on the other side that of the most traditional form of hatred.”
On Commentary‘s Contentions in early 2011, Meotti reported on the Muslim Brotherhood. He wrote: “Perhaps the best illustration of the Brotherhood’s capability was its remarkably efficient and politically opportune response to the 1992 Cairo earthquake. The Brotherhood’s engineering and medical branches built shelters and medical tents that served thousands of victims. The group’s growing financial resources provided an influx of food, clothing, and blankets, and the Brotherhood even donated US$1,000 to every newly homeless family in the city.”
In 2009’s The Mubarak Leadership and Future of Democracy in Egypt (h/t Moynihan), Alaa Al-Din Arafat wrote: “Perhaps the best illustration of the Brotherhood’s capability was its remarkably efficient and politically opportune response to the 1992 Cairo earthquake. The Brotherhood’s engineering and medical branches built shelters and medical tents that served thousands of victims with food, clothing, and blankets, and the Brotherhood even donated $1,000 to every newly homeless family in the city.”
In the same post, Meotti wrote: “University dormitories and lecture halls were, and still are, overcrowded, and the costs of textbooks, lecture notes, food, and transportation constituted a serious economic hardship for students. Again, these are the circumstances in which the Brotherhood traditionally has been most successful.”
In 2003 in Harvard International Review, John Walsh wrote (h/t Moynihan), “University dormitories and lecture halls were, and still are, horribly overcrowded, and the exorbitant costs of textbooks, lecture notes, food, and transportation constituted a serious economic hardship for students. Again, these are the circumstances in which the Brotherhood traditionally has been most successful.”
In the same post, Meotti wrote: “A nostalgic, utopian, and well-ordered traditionalism is the future heralded by the Brotherhood.”
In 1995 (!), John Balzar wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “A nostalgic, utopian and well-ordered traditionalism is the future heralded by the brotherhood.”
In the same post, Meotti wrote: “The Islamists running these unions offered medical insurance for tens of thousands of members, loans to buy houses and cars, as well as short-term funds for getting married.”
In 2003, Geneive Abdo wrote in the Boston Globe: “The Islamists running these unions offered medical insurance for tens of thousands of members, loans to buy houses and cars, as well as short-term funds for getting married.”
Intriguingly, the blog on which Nirenstein’s work appeared later quoted Meotti’s very post. Which suggests it’s possible that, in that one instance, his lifting was sanctioned. But it was still unattributed. And quoting without attribution is plagiarism, which is extremely serious and never justified—is, in fact, theft.
It is not, however, proof that the politics espoused by both plagiarist and plagiarized are mendacious, or even proof of groupthink. This is what Max Blumenthal accuses, writing, “Because Kirchick, Stephens and Meotti draw their arguments from the same storehouse of recycled Likudnik hasbara, their columns are virtually indistinguishable and completely interchangeable.” Actually, they are very easily distinguishable and obviously not interchangeable, because Stephens and Kirchick wrote their words by themselves, whereas Meotti, by his own admission, plagiarized them. Podhoretz’ apology further disproves Blumenthal’s thesis. Blumenthal doesn’t care about the plagiarism—he just wants to use it as evidence of the bankruptcy of “neoconservatism.” He should save his false piety about journalistic standards.
“Serial Plagiarist or Common Hasbarist?” Blumenthal asks. The answer is simply: “serial plagiarist.” As if there were any other kind.
The Jerusalem Bus-Station Bombing: A Chilling Reminder To Us All [NR The Corner]
The Shalit Affair: Inviting Aggression The Shalit Affair: Inviting Aggression [NR The Corner]
How the Muslim Brotherhood Built Its Empire [Commentary Contentions]
Related: Giulio Meotti: Serial Plagiarist or Common Hasbarist? [Max Blumenthal]
Earlier: Op-Ed on Israeli Gay Rights Lifts Without Credit
Park Slope synagogue will use funds to restore building, says rabbi
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