The Washington Post is being accused once again of using controversial figures in the Arab world in its “global opinions” editorial page after recently publishing a piece by an Al Jazeera news presenter accused over a year ago of anti-Semitism.
The “global opinions” page by the Washington Post has courted controversy in the past for publishing a piece by a Houthi militant leader accused of war crimes, as well as a piece by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming to an advocate for “government transparency” yet known for running an administration charged with being one of the top jailers of journalists in the world.
The latest example of this was when the Washington Post published an op-ed column by Al Jazeera news presenter Ghada Oueiss, in which she claims that pro-Saudi social media accounts hacked her phone and released her personal images to add to their accusations that she had exchanged sexual favors for her success.
“Almost all of the accounts abusing me displayed the Saudi flag, a picture of MBS, as the Saudi crown prince is often known, or a photograph of Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed,” she wrote.
Over a year ago, Oueiss was accused of anti-Semitism when she tweeted a video of a village in western Saudi Arabia, which had a predominantly Jewish population 1,391 years ago, and questioned whether Jews should return there instead of returning to Palestinian lands.
“Aerial footage of the Fort of Marhab in Khaybar, Saudi Arabia, which was a Jewish stronghold! Shouldn’t they return there instead of Palestine?” the tweet which was written in Arabic reads.
Oueiss has also recently caused some controversy on Twitter when she posted a photo of an empty New York City with the “Who would have imagined New York empty, broken, oppressed, defeated? Not because of a plane that entered its twin towers, but because of what the naked eye does not see: the Coronavirus.”
When a Twitter user condemned the presenter for dismissing the importance of preventative measures such as social distancing, she accused him of being spiteful.
“Rasheed is a spiteful extremist who makes a living from his spitefulness. It is an honor to have someone like him hate me, especially since I am keen to oppose his spiteful behavior and to confront his extremism and expose his livelihood. Anyway, I all the extremists, haters, ISIS members, crusaders, Zionists can’t stand me,” she replied.
المدعو رشيد متطرف حاقد ويسترزق من حقده.وشرف لي ان يكرهني واحد مثله خاصة اني حريصة على مخالفة اسلوبه الحاقد ومواجهة تطرفه وفضح استرزاقه.وعلى اي حال كل المتطرفين والحاقدين ومدفوعي الأجر من ذباب ودواعش وصليبيين وصهاينة لا يطيقونني😁وهذا شرف أدّعيه✌️— Ghada Oueiss غادة عويس (@ghadaoueiss) April 2, 2020
انت يا "أخ" بأي حق تضع النية السيئة في تغريدتي وتتهمني بما لا أتمنّاه لأحد؟هذه الصور من صديق نقل لي حزنه على العالم ومنه نيويورك بسبب تداعيات كورونا الصحية والاقتصادية.لكنك انسان بنى حياته الجديدة على حقده على حياته القديمة فيُخيّل اليك ان الجميع حاقد مثلك.انت عار على دين المحبة.— Ghada Oueiss غادة عويس (@ghadaoueiss) April 2, 2020
In 2018, the Washington Post also published a piece written by the head of Yemen’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, accused by Yemen journalists and human rights activists of being a war criminal and personally issuing directives for the arrest and torture of dozens of Yemeni journalists.
At the time, then-Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yamani considered Washington Post’s move to publish an article written by Mohammed al-Houthi as a shame, describing the writer as a “war criminal.”
“Who would have imagined that a war criminal such as Mohammad Ali al-Houthi would fabricate a language of peace in the Washington Post?” Iran’s agents have begun to find their way to the American press,” al-Yamani tweeted at the time. “What a shame!” he added.
The Washington Post was also criticized for publishing an op-ed column by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of the gruesome killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, claiming in the piece that his “administration adopted a policy of transparency” in the wake of the incident.
There are currently 153 journalists in prison in Turkey, according to the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF). The Turkish government, which is ranked one of the top jailers of journalists in the world, argues that these detained individuals are not journalists - but terrorists.
“The ones who have been sentenced, who have been imprisoned, are not journalists. Most of them are terrorists,” said Erdogan in an interview with Bloomberg in 2017.