Counterpunch has been the focus of considerable controversy, receiving criticism, for example, for publishing texts by writers alleged to be Holocaust deniers such as Atzmon and Shamir, for publishing an article alleging organ thefts by Israelis that has been widely described as perpetuating the antisemitic blood libel, and for articles alleging that a plaintiff in a rape charge against Julian Assange is a CIA agent.
Sources cited: Michael C. Moynihan "Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust Denier: When you want to believe, you'll believe anything" Reason December 7, 2010; Kate Harding "Accusations against Assange's accuser" Australian Broadcasting Company 9 December 2010; Adam Levick "Anti-Israelism and Anti-Semitism in Progressive U.S. Blogs/News Websites: Influential and Poorly Monitored" PHAS No. 92, 1 January 2010 / 15 Teveth 5770 Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs; David Leigh and Luke Harding "Holocaust denier in charge of handling Moscow cables" The Guardian 31 January 2011; Anti-Defamation League "Alison Weir: Expressions of Antisemitism" ADL.org 2008
I've extracted many of these sources in the past, so I will just extract the ones I haven't.
ADL on Alison Weir
Alison Weir’s criticism of Israel has, at times, crossed the line into distortions customarily found in the literature of anti-Semites.
In response to a controversial article advancing theories about alleged Israeli organ harvesting, published in August 2009 in a Swedish daily newspaper, Weir penned multiple articles in which she highlighted a series of organ harvesting accusations that have been made against Israel, dating back to Israel’s first heart transplant in 1968.[...]
Weir’s articles, titled “The New ‘Blood Libel’? Israeli Organ Harvesting” and “Israeli Organ Trafficking and Theft: From Moldova to Palestine,” appeared respectively in CounterPunch, a radical anti-Zionist newsletter, in August, and in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, an anti-Israel publication that frequently serves as an apologist for Muslim American groups advocating anti-Semitism and support for terrorism, in October.[...]
Weir has previously described Israeli power in language traditionally used by anti-Semites. In her 2003 letter to Israel and Israel’s “frenzied defenders,” published in CounterPunch, Weir claimed that Israel imposed its “uni-cultural nation, ridding yourself of hundreds of thousands of human beings who did not fit your national vision of purity.” Weir added, “In this country…you’ve killed careers. You’ve killed businesses. You’ve killed hope. You’ve weeded out sprigs of integrity from our Congress, journalists of principle from our press.”
In characterizing Israel as such a powerful oppressor, Weir has also drawn upon Holocaust imagery and compares Israel to Nazi Germany.The Guardian on Israel Shamir
Shamir claims to be a renegade Russian Jew, born in Novosibirsk, but currently adhering to the Greek Orthodox church. He is notorious for Holocaust denial and publishing a string of antisemitic articles. He caused controversy in the UK in 2005, at a parliamentary book launch hosted by Lord Ahmed, by claiming: "Jews … own, control and edit a big share of mass media." Internal WikiLeaks documents, seen by the Guardian, show Shamir was not only given cables, but he also invoiced WikiLeaks for €2,000 (£1,700), to be deposited in a Tallinn bank account, in thanks for "services rendered - journalism". What services? He says: "What I did for WikiLeaks was to read and analyse the cables from Moscow."
Shamir's byline is on two previous articles pillorying the Swedish women who complained about Assange. On 27 August, in Counterpunch, a small radical US publication, Shamir said Assange was framed by "spies" and "crazy feminists". He alleged there had been a "honeytrap". On 14 September, Shamir then attacked "castrating feminists and secret services", writing that one of the women involved, whom he deliberately named, had once discussed the Cuban opposition to Castro in a Swedish academic publication "connected with" someone with "CIA ties".
Subsequently, Shamir appeared in Moscow. According to a reporter on Russian paper Kommersant, he was offering to sell articles based on the cables for $10,000 (£6,300). He had already passed some to the state-backed publication Russian Reporter. He travelled on to Belarus, ruled by the Soviet-style dictator Alexander Lukashenko, where he met regime officials. The Russian Interfax news agency reported that Shamir was WikiLeaks' "Russian representative", and had "confirmed the existence of the Belarus dossier".
According to him, WikiLeaks had several thousand "interesting" secret documents. Shamir then wrote a piece of grovelling pro-Lukashenko propaganda in Counterpunch, claiming "the people were happy, fully employed, and satisfied with their government".
Assange subsequently maintained he had only a "brief interaction" with Shamir: "WikiLeaks works with hundreds of journalists from different regions of the world. All are required to sign non-disclosure agreements and are generally only given limited review access to material relating to their region."
One can only speculate about whose interests Shamir was serving by his various wild publications. Perhaps his own personal interests were always to the fore. But while the newspapers hammered out a deal to handle the cables in a responsible fashion, Shamir's backstairs antics certainly made WikiLeaks look rather less so.Adam Levick on Counterpunch's contributors
Jumal Juma: Coordinator of the Palestinian grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign, which supports boycotting Israeli goods, Juma occasionally writes for the radical anti-Zionist newsletter/blog Counterpunch. Going even further than the article in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet that charged Israelis with harvesting the organs of Palestinians, Counterpunch recently made news by claiming that the blood libel - the notion that Jews ritually murdered gentiles - is true and is related to such organ thefts.In addition, here are some extracts from Bill Weinberg's World War 4 Report from the last five years or so, in more or less chronological order. Apologies for lack of re-formatting. All titles link to sources.
 www.huffingtonpost.com/jamal-juma  www.counterpunch.org/juma11092006.html
Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Thu, 02/03/2005 - 16:40.
[On the "chickens coming home to roost" issue:] And isn't it interesting that all the people running to Churchill's defense seem to be white lefties like the folks at Counterpunch. Are any Native Americans rallying around Churchill?
Keep digging on Google and you will find plenty more such gems. Sorcha Faal, writing on the poorly-named Educate Yourself, actually goes one better, stating that Negroponte is an "Israeli national."
And of course this stuff is eagerly lapped up by Israel's apologists who wish to potray all opposition to the "war on terrorism" as Jew-hatred. Edward Olshaker, writing on the conservative Crisis: Israel, makes note of Ghali Hassan's Counterpunch screed in a piece entitled "Radical Left's Anti-Semites No Longer Pretend It's 'Zionism' They Hate." You know, it would be a hell of a lot easier to counter this propaganda if it weren't true!
Counterpunch prints "fraudulent" Nasrallah interview
Arrest in Elie Wiesel attack
Internet conspiranoids betray Iran (left and right)
It's all too telling that many of these right-wing conspiranoids are being promoted by the ostensible "left"—such as Reagan admin veteran Paul Craig Roberts onAlex Cockburn's Counterpunch. Echoing a familiar theme, Roberts asks "Are the Iranian Protests Another US Orchestrated 'Color Revolution?'" A typical sample of his incriminating evidence:
On May 23, 2007, Brian Ross and Richard Esposito reported on ABC News: "The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell ABC News."In addition to not knowing how to use quotation marks correctly, Roberts commits the classic conspiranoid error of only believing those media accounts that fit the conspiracy theory. An ABC clip from two years ago under another administration—and attributed only to unverifiable, anonymous sources—is taken as evidence the current protest movement is "US-orchestrated." The overwhelming reality of hundreds of thousands taking to streets in defiance of the security forces in scenes reminiscent of the 1979 revolution is dismissed as a charade. As if a movement of this size and courage could be the product of a CIA op!
Ron Schiller, the Tea Party and the Jews: nobody gets it
Let's be clear. Anti-Zionism—opposition to an ideology and system of Jewish colonization in historic Palestine—is, contrary to the claims of those who would conflate it with anti-Semitism, not necessarily anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel for its real crimes—military aggressions, human rights abuses, ongoing theft and colonization of Palestinian lands—is absolutely legitimate. But the notion of "Zionist" (read: Jewish) control of Washington and the world media is an anti-Semitic trope, by any definition. Why doesn't anybody get it these days? We'd like to know.
That CounterPunch is providing a platform for this fascist propaganda is predictable. That supposed "leftists" are so blithely unconcerned—either with the fact that WikiLeaks is working with a true crypto-Nazi like Shamir, or with WikiLeaks' increasingly evident collaboration with the Lukashenko dictatorship—is what is truly demoralizing. So much for all the empty prattle about "human rights" from Assange's defenders.