A correspondent for US edition of Newsweek has called reporting on Israel and Jewish-related organisations a "third rail of American journalism," the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports.
Nina Burleigh, who covers national politics in the weekly, made her comment in response to a tweet thread by author Sarah Kendzior, in which Kendzior picks a number of "articles that [she thinks] are seminal to understanding the crisis [the US] is in."
"There are many more under-covered stories, but the press seems particularly reluctant to pursue these. Which is not surprising since those who do write about them are threatened", she writes in the conclusion of the thread.
"Why officials also seem reluctant to investigate or prosecute obvious crimes — now there's a story," she concludes.
"You're hitting the third rail of American journalism, Sarah," she adds in her response.
The "third rail" metaphor refers to an electrified rail used in the New York subway system and other electric rail lines; touching it would result in death.
Interesting thread. To answer your final question, Israel, mossad, Chabad and black cube… you’re hitting the third rail of American journalism, Sarah.— Nina Burleigh (@ninaburleigh) 14 января 2019 г.
Mossad is the Israeli intelligence service. Chabad is a large Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic movement. Black Cube is a private intelligence agency, comprised of former Israeli intelligence specialists, with offices in Tel Aviv, London in Paris.
Unsurprisingly, some immediately accused Burleigh of riding on the Jewish conspiracy theory bandwagon.
Yair Rosenberg, a writer for Tablet magazine, who tweets about Antisemitism issues, re-posted her tweet, interpreting it as Burleigh saying that "Jews are behind Trump."
"A person who works for Newsweek just said the Jews are behind Trump. That is all."
A person who works for Newsweek just said the Jews are behind Trump. That is all. https://t.co/ejGZHKD6LD— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) 15 января 2019 г.
Burleigh herself has her own history of reporting on Israel-related issues. According to Haaretz, she has reported on the ground from West Bank settlements for Time, and also covered the Barack Obama-era peace process. In 2012, she suggested in a piece for Salon that "a historic pile of money" could win sympathies of some American Jews for Barack Obama.
"A certain segment of stridently pro-Israel American Jewry has long been convinced that Obama is ‘bad for Israel' — the single issue that can make or break a candidate seeking funds and votes from one powerful and politically active demographic," she wrote for Salon. "Perhaps a historic pile of money wins them back, perhaps not."