“Israel Paid Off Bulgaria”: FT Journo Tweets Conspiracy Theory

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UPDATE

Only hours after the release of this communique, Borzou Daragahi tweeted the following apology:

The apology has been covered by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Journalist and commentator Frida Ghitis, who writes for media outlets including CNN, the Miami Herald and McClatchy Newspapers has tweeted the following in response to Daragahi’s apology:

Incredible, indeed.

For the original communique, see below.

“Israel Paid Off Bulgaria”: FT Journo Tweets Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theories involving Israel are the usual fare of anti-Semitic Arab media or neo-Nazi websites. Iranian claims that Israel itself was responsible for the  deaths of five Israelis in a bus bombing last summer at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport are unsurprising.

What is shocking, however, is the following tweet from the Financial Times’s Middle East and North Africa correspondent Borzou Daragahi:

The Bulgarian authorities investigated the bombing and their conclusions backed Israel’s charge that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack. Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov clearly stated: “We have well-grounded reasons to suggest that the two were members of the militant wing of Hezbollah.”

In an interview with AP, Europol Director Rob Wainwright also stated: “The Bulgarian authorities are making quite a strong assumption that this is the work of Hezbollah. From what I’ve seen of the case — from the very strong, obvious links to Lebanon, from the modus operandi of the terrorist attack and from other intelligence that we see — I think that is a reasonable assumption.”

Only a very twisted mind would suggest that Israel paid off Bulgaria to reach these conclusions and this is only one step down from charges that Israel mounted a false flag operation. Indeed, there are shades of Dishonest Reporter Award honoree Geneive Abdo, who suggested on Australian radio that Israel was responsible for attacking its own envoys following terror attacks against Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, New Delhi, and Tbilisi over two days in February 2012.

Daragahi has some 13,000 followers on Twitter who have now been exposed to this conspiracy theorizing. His Twitter profile clearly states his position at the Financial Times – there is no excuse that his personal tweets can be separated from his profession.

HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams said:

It is disgraceful for someone who calls himself a journalist to deal in second-rate conspiracy mongering. The fact is, the intended targets and majority of victims of Hezbollah’s terrorism were Israelis, no matter how much some people wish to twist the situation.

Are news organizations comfortable with the thinly veiled bigotry of its employees? Do they believe they can serve their mission to inform readers through a lens so muddied with personal bias? We don’t think so. Daragahi owes Israel an apology, and his employer some hard answers.

You can bring this to the attention of Daragahi’s employer by contacting the Financial Times Newsdesk - ean@ft.com

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