Copies of the French satirical weekly "Charlie Hebdo" are seen in its Paris newsroom.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Wikileaks accused the Jewish lobby of legitimizing attacks on the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, which was assaulted Wednesday by Islamist terrorists in one of the worst such attacks on French soil.
The organization, which serves as an online clearinghouse for leaked documents, tweeted on Thursday about "How the Jewish pro-censorship lobby legitimized attacks on Charlie Hebdo for 'offensive' speech," linking to a 2009 article in the magazine perceived by some to be anti-Semitic.
Three gunmen entered Charlie Hebdo's Paris office on Wednesday and opened fire, killing 12 people, including Jewish cartoonist Georges Wolinski
. The attack drew fierce condemnation worldwide, including from Jewish organizations.
The article to which WikiLeaks linked was from the British newspaper The Telegraph, which details accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against Charlie Hebdo writer Maurice Sinet for commenting on the engagement of then-president Nicolas Sarkozy's son to a Jewish woman amid rumors that the younger Sarkozy planned on converting.
"He'll go a long way in life, that little lad," Sinet wrote.
Sinet was fired after he refused his editor's request to apologize. He was subsequently taken to court by the Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme (LICRA), an organization which works to promote racial tolerance.
"Basically what [WikiLeaks is] saying is that an attempt to combat anti-Semitism through the French legal system paved the way for terrorist murder," said Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Jerusalem office.
"There is no such thing as a Jewish pro-censorship lobby. There are attempts by Jewish organizations to combat racism and anti-Semitism and thereby fulfill a very important function in society."
On Thursday evening, the American Jewish Committee castigated a number of Western news outlets for "self-censorship," because they blurred details of several cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo that had angered Muslims.
"Through this act of self-censorship, these news organizations are depriving the public of its right to know exactly what Charlie Hebdo had done to arouse the ire of the jihadists," AJC executive director David Harris said in a statement.
"Keeping this information from the public not only betrays the canons of free journalism, but also furthers the goal of the killers and their sympathizers: to create an atmosphere of fear where freedom of expression is limited and make Islam, alone among all other world religions and secular ideologies, immune from public criticism."