Op-ed on Israeli Gay Rights Lifts Without Credit
Italian columnist Giulio Meotti praises Israel’s record, in others’ words
An op-ed published on Ynet yesterday that praises Israel’s treatment of gays, particularly in contrast to other countries in the region, appears to lift or adopt several quotations, from previous sources that made the same point, without attribution.
Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist who published the book A New Shoah and publishes regularly at Front Page and Ynet, argued yesterday that attacks on Israel and Israeli officials for touting the country’s stellar gay-rights record have it backwards: in fact, he said, Israel truly is “not only a holy emerald city for gays; it’s the only place in the Middle East where gays are free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public.”
Echoing James Kirchick’s polemic in Tablet Magazine a few months ago against the charge of “pinkwashing,” Meotti writes, “One would be hard-pressed to find a country that oppresses its gays and treats its Jews well, or vice versa. From Nazi Germany to the Middle East, societies that persecute Jews will get to homosexuals eventually.”
Except those are actually Kirchick’s words.
It’s one of four instances in which Meotti, who elsewhere in the piece cites writers like Yossi Klein Halevi, appears to lift quotes. Meotti wrote in an email that he penned the article in Italian and then translated it into English. “I took inspiration from this very important column of my friend Bret Stephens. And that of Kirchick,” he said, when asked about the similarities between passages in his essay and in other essays. “I had no idea of the others. I write extensively in Italian about gays in Israel.”
In his column Meotti writes: “One would be hard-pressed to find a country that oppresses its gays and treats its Jews well, or vice versa. From Nazi Germany to the Middle East, societies that persecute Jews will get to homosexuals eventually.”
In 2010, Kirchick wrote: “One would be hard-pressed to find a country that oppresses its gays and treats its Jews well, or vice versa. From Nazi Germany to the Middle East, societies that persecute Jews will get to homosexuals eventually.”
Meotti writes: “Israel has been in the forefront of granting legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
In 2003, Bret Stephens wrote: “Israel has been in the forefront of granting legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation.”
Meotti writes: “Gay men are sort of a ‘canary in a coal mine’ for what is happening to other minority groups in the entire Middle East.”
In a 2010 interview, Michael Luongo said: “The issues for gay men are sort of a ‘canary in a coal mine’ for what could happen to other minority groups.”
Meotti writes: “Gays are the clearest proof possible that Israel is the only free oasis in the desert of fear.”
In 2011, Gal Uchovsky wrote: “Gays, in their minds, are the clearest proof possible that Israel is the only modern, open oasis in an ever-more extreme Muslim desert.”
All four of the other essays appeared in English-language publications.
Repeated attempts to contact an opinion editor at Ynet were unsuccessful.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sources from which Meotti appears to have lifted all share his perspective: namely, that Israel has a stellar record on gay rights, one that puts the rest of its region to shame.
“I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Kirchick told Tablet Magazine when told of the lifts.
“I guess I should be outraged—outraged!—but frankly I’m somewhat flattered that someone remembered a column of mine from nearly a decade ago,” said Stephens. “In any event, his column makes a point worth repeating.”
UPDATE: Meotti has been accused of this sort of thing before.
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