Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Newsweek Reporter Calls ‘Israel, Mossad, Chabad’ Journalism’s ‘Third Rail’

(JTA) — A national politics correspondent for Newsweek, Nina Burleigh, tweeted that Israeli- and Jewish-linked organizations — along with Israel itself — are on “the third rail of American journalism.”

The tweet was in response to a thread by author Sarah Kendzior listing several stories she said were “undercovered.” A few of the stories involved President Donald Trump and Chabad, the Hasidic outreach movement; Black Cube, a private intelligence firm that employs former agents of Israel’s Mossad spy agency; and Jeffrey Epstein, a Jewish financier and registered sex offender.

Kendzior asked why “officials also seem reluctant to investigate or prosecute obvious crimes.”

“Interesting thread,” Burleigh replied. “To answer your final question, Israel, mossad, Chabad and black cube … you’re hitting the third rail of American journalism, Sarah.”

The phrase “third rail” refers to the untouchable rail on mass transit systems that electrocutes upon touch. Burleigh did not respond to an inquiry from JTA asking her to elaborate on the tweet.

Yair Rosenberg, a Tablet magazine writer who tweets about anti-Semitism, wrote that Burleigh was suggesting that “the Jews are behind Trump.”

Burleigh is no stranger to Jews and Israel. She has reported on the ground from West Bank settlements for Time magazine and also covered the Barack Obama-era peace process. In 2008, she wrote a nonfiction book, “Unholy Business,” about archaeology and forgery in Jerusalem.

In 2012, she suggested in a column for Salon that “a historic pile of money” could endear some American Jews to 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. “Perhaps a historic pile of money wins them back, perhaps not.”

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.