Sharmine Narwani (Uni. of Oxford)
UPDATE: Since this profile was published, Sharmine Narwani has announced she is now a “former senior associate”.
Sharmine Narwani is an Academic Visitor at St Anthony’s College, Oxford, who sometimes appears in the media – including the BBC – as an “expert” on the Middle East. In reality, Ms Narwani is a terror apologist with a penchant for conspiracy theories who writes for the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.
Al-Akhbar is, according to veteran journalist and New York Times columnist Mark Ashurst, “a newspaper with close links to the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.” Professor Noah Feldman, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has described it simply as “Hezbollah’s newspaper”. In the pages of this publication, Ms Narwani has written that the Holocaust “leaves me utterly unmoved” (what “moves” her instead, she goes on to explain, “is the sheer audacity of Israel even existing”); that Jewish Israelis are “a bunch of rank outsiders from another continent” who should abandon their “myths about historic Jewish rights to the land” and “take their second passports and go back home”; and that “Israel has no right to exist”. In stark contrast to her condemnation of the Middle East’s only democracy, she has nothing but praise for the Islamic Republic of Iran, waxing poetical about how it “has shrugged off the yoke of imperialism, built infrastructure, social services and industry from scratch, harnessed its own resources toward establishing domestic self-sufficiencies, created a dynamic – if imperfect – indigenous political system of representative government, and managed to maintain the security of its oft-threatened borders through military innovation and soft power”.
Ms Narwani has also written for the Huffington Post, although the website’s editors stopped publishing her submissions when they became concerned that she was straying “too far into the realm of conspiracy theory”. On her HuffPost blog, Ms Narwani had written that “Hamas and Hezbollah are resistance groups” who “have every right” to launch what she calls “dignity rockets” at Israeli civilians. She also argued that “a major contributor to growing Islamophobia and fear of Muslims in the West” is the campaign of “Jewish disinformation against Muslim populations”.
Other publications to which Ms Narwani has contributed include Veterans Today and its sister magazine, Veteran News Now. The former, according to the Anti-Defamation League, is replete with “claims that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11 (Israel orchestrated it, in cahoots with the American government), that the American government is a puppet (of Israel), that the Holocaust never happened or was greatly exaggerated (Jews made it up to manipulate non-Jews), and, most recently, that Julian Assange, the man behind WikiLeaks, is a pawn (of Israel)”; the latter, according to CAMERA, is “a magazine that traffics in nakedly anti-Semitic imagery and argumentation” which even published an article by David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Members of the Veterans Today editorial board include neo-Nazi Mike Harris and Press TV writer Gordon Duff.
Reacting to the murder of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three consular staff in Libya, Ms Narwani took to Twitter to ask, “Tell me again why I should care about whatshisname-plus-three?” When challenged over her callous remark, she responded, “Oh do stop [your] whining just [because] I’m not crying over a white guy who died in the line of duty. Tell it to all the dead brown mamas”. She also responded to journalist Hussein Ibish’s criticisms by calling him a “House Arab”. The exchange ultimately led her to the conclusion that America is “overflowing with bigoted, misogynistic, ideological freaks”. Her objections to bigotry and misogyny, however, have not dissuaded her from ‘retweeting’ social media messages by Hamas and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.