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Israel Shamir

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Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir (Russian: Исраэль Шамир; born 1947 or 1948),[1] also known by the names Robert David,[citation needed] Vassili Krasevsky,[citation needed] Jöran Jermas[2][3] and Adam Ermash, is a Russian-born Swedish writer and journalist, known for promoting antisemitism and Holocaust denial.[4][5][6][7]

Shamir has published or self-published a number of his books; his book Flowers of Galilee (2004) was banned for a time in France over allegations it was inciting racial hatred and antisemitism.

Background and personal life

Shamir says that he was born in a Jewish family in Russia, and converted to Orthodox Christianity.[3][8][9][10] By his own account, his birthname was Izrail Schmerler.[8][11] Shamir says that he was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia, in 1947, although the Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia says Schmerler was born in 1948.[11] Shamir says that he "studied mathematics and law at Novosibirsk University". He also says he moved to Israel in 1969,[8][11] and that he served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, and fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.[12][13] His website says that he later worked for the BBC in London and later still moved to Israel and wrote for Haaretz. The website says that he served as the Knesset spokesman for Israeli political party Mapam and that he was baptized as a Greek Orthodox Christian in 2004.[13] Norman Finkelstein told Tablet that Shamir "has invented his entire personal history. Nothing he says about himself is true".[14]

Searchlight describes him as a "Swedish anti-semite",[15] and says that was registered in Sweden in 1984 and gained Swedish citizenship in 1992.[8] Shamir says he left Sweden for Russia and then Israel in 1993, before returning in 1998, saying that he had remarried in Israel in July 1994.[15] However, others argue that Swedish files show that he was married in Sweden.[16] He was known as Jöran Jermas from 2001 to 2005, before changing his name to Adam Ermash, although continuing to use Israel Shamir as a pen name.[8]


Shamir says that he went to Russia and wrote about the political changes until 1993, for newspapers including Pravda and the extreme nationalist Zavtra.[17] On June 3, 2005, David Duke co-chaired a conference named "Zionism As the Biggest Threat to Modern Civilization" in Ukraine, sponsored by the Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, and including Israel Shamir.[18]

An article in the Russian-language Israeli newspaper Vesti was cited by Christopher Hitchens in 2001 as "a brilliant reply to [Elie] Wiesel".[19]

The French edition of Shamir's Flowers of Galilee was initially co-published in October 2003 by Éditions Blanche and Éditions Balland, and was prominently displayed in large bookshops. It was withdrawn from sale at the end of October after Balland's director had his attention drawn to the content of the book, which he considered anti-semitic.[20][21] The book was republished in 2004 by Éditions Al-Qalam, which led to a court case (a civil case brought by the Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme [LICRA]), with the publisher sentenced to three months in prison (suspended) and a 10,000-euro fine, and the banning of the book.[22] The ban was overturned on appeal, and the fine reduced.[citation needed]


Shamir supports a one-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[23]

In 2004, Searchlight wrote about his of connections to antisemitic publications and groups,[15] and its campaign Hope not Hate at one time listing Shamir as a "notable Holocaust denier," citing the "rabid Holocaust denial material" on his website.[24]

In 2001, Ali Abunimah and Hussein Ibish warned pro-Palestinian activists in a mass email that Shamir was espousing views that are antisemitic and merely disguised as leftist pro-Palestinian activism.[12]

In 2006, discussing the upcoming Iranian International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, Deutsche Welle wrote that the Iranian government "said it intended to invite academics such as German neo-Nazi [lawyer] Horst Mahler and the Israeli journalist and Christian convert Israel Shamir, both of whom are Holocaust deniers."[25]

In December 2010, Shamir's connection with WikiLeaks brought him more public attention. Katha Pollitt, writing in The Nation in December 2010, described a visit to Shamir's web site:

I spent a few hours on and learned that: "the Jews" foisted capitalism, advertising and consumerism on harmonious and modest Christian Europe; were behind Stalin's famine in Ukraine; control the banks, the media and many governments; and that "Palestine is not the ultimate goal of the Jews; the world is." There are numerous guest articles by Holocaust deniers, aka "historical revisionists."[26]

In early 2011, The Guardian described Shamir as being "notorious for Holocaust denial and publishing a string of antisemitic articles."[27] Shamir denied the accusation, writing that his family "lost too many of its sons and daughters for me to deny the facts of Jewish tragedy" but that he denies the "the morbid cult of Holocaust".[28]

In a May 2011, Will Yakowicz in Tablet magazine described Shamir as a "Holocaust doubter".[29]

Association with WikiLeaks

Shamir is a vocal backer of the WikiLeaks organization.[30] In a Sveriges Radio interview with WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, Hrafnsson stated that Israel Shamir "is associated with" WikiLeaks, as are "a lot of journalists that are working with us all around the world" who "have different roles in working on [the] project".[31] Russian Reporter claims that it has "privileged access" to the 2010 United States diplomatic cables leak via Shamir.[31] Shamir described his relation with WikiLeaks as being "a freelancer who was 'accredited' to WikiLeaks".[32] Shamir's son Johannes Wahlström is a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Sweden.[8][31]

Former WikiLeaks staff member James Ball has said he knew the organization's denial of its connection to Shamir were untrue because Julian Assange instructed him to give Shamir 90,000 US cables.[33]

Former Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg said Wikileaks' ties to Shamir were among the reasons he quit the organization.[34] He described Shamir as a "famous Holocaust denier and anti-Semite."[35]

Yulia Latynina, writing in The Moscow Times, alleged that Shamir concocted a cable which allegedly quoted European Union diplomats' plans to walk out of the Durban II speech by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for publication in the pro-Putin Russian Reporter in December 2010. Shamir has denied this accusation.[32]

In an article published on the CounterPunch website in December 2010, Shamir praised the Belarus president, Alexander Lukashenko and said WikiLeaks had exposed America's "agents" in the country.[36] Shamir has been accused of passing "sensitive cables" to the Lukashenko government.[37] He is believed to have visited Belarus in December 2010 and to have given Vladimir Makei, then Lukashenko's chief of staff, unpublished and unredacted US diplomatic cables.[36] Soviet Belarus, a state-run newspaper began publishing what it claimed were WikiLeaks cables given to Lukashenko by Shamir in January 2011.[38] Index on Censorship later expressed concern that such an event could physically endanger Lukashenko's political opponents; Wikileaks has refused to reply to Index on the issue, although one Wikileaks representative called Shamir's alleged leaks "obviously unapproved."[39]


  1. ^ Palestine my love:A Plea for Palestine and Israel - together in the holy land. Israel Shamir. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Assange's Extremist EmployeesReason Magazine, Michael C. Moynihan | December 14, 2010
  3. ^ a b Jennifer Lipman (2010-11-15). "Antisemitic 'Holocaust denier' in charge of WikiLeaks Russian distribution". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  4. ^ Leigh, David (31 January 2011). "Holocaust denier in charge of handling Moscow cables | Media | The Guardian". The Guardian. London: GMG. ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 8 June 2011. Holocau
  5. ^ British lord joins UK Islamists in praising Erdogan Jonny Paul, Jerusalem Post, 02/11/2009
  6. ^ Olbermann, Assange, and the Holocaust DenierReason Magazine, Michael C. Moynihan | December 7, 2010
  7. ^ "Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy' – the media deal, Assange's real father & Cablegate". International Business Times. 1 February 2011. Archived from the original on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011. Shamir "has earned the reputation of being an anti-Semite for denying the holocaust."
  8. ^ a b c d e f Magnus Ljunggren. "Pappas pojke?". Expressen. Archived from the original on 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
  9. ^ "9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound". Anti-Defamation League. September 7, 2006. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  10. ^ "Ukraine University of Hate". Anti-Defamation League. November 3, 2006. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c "The Soviet Union. Jews in the Soviet Union in 1967-85's". Shorter Jewish Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2014-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-11.
  12. ^ a b Yakowicz, Will (2011-05-17). "His Jewish Problem". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  13. ^ a b Satter, Raphael (2018-09-17). "Aided by Holocaust denier, Julian Assange sought Russian visa in 2010". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  14. ^ Yakowicz, Will (2011-05-16). "His Jewish Problem". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  15. ^ a b c Tor Bach, et al, Searchlight, "Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite" May 2004
  16. ^ "Israel Shamir exposed! A fake or a plant? - UK Indymedia".
  17. ^ (in German) Ludwig Watzal, 10 February 2006, Der Freitag, Der Journalist und das "Imperium"
  18. ^ "David Duke participates in anti-Semitic conference in the Ukraine". June 30, 2005. Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  19. ^ Christopher Hitchens, The Nation, 1 February 2001, Wiesel Words
  20. ^ (in French), Gilles Karmasyn, Pratique de l’histoire et dévoiements négationnistes (PHDN), 10 November 2003, Israël Shamir, un antisémite dans le texte...
  21. ^ Israel Shamir,, 451 °F
  22. ^, 3 November 2005, A book to be burned: The other face of Israel, Israel Adam Shamir, reproducing an Agence France-Presse newswire of 2 November 2005.
  23. ^ "Vocal critic of Israel". New Straits Times. April 1, 2002. Retrieved August 20, 2010.
  24. ^ Hope not Hate (November 2010). "'At the Centre of the Web'". Archived from the original on November 9, 2010. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  25. ^ Deutsche Welle, "Iran's Holocaust Conference Plan Prompts Anger". December 6, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  26. ^ Katha Pollitt (22 December 2010). "The Case of Julius Assange". The Nation. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
  27. ^ The Guardian, Leigh, David; Harding, Luke (January 31, 2011). "Holocaust denier in charge of handling Moscow cables". The Guardian. London. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  28. ^ Israel Shamir "BBC Joins Smear Campaign Against Assange and Wikileaks" Archived 2011-06-23 at the Wayback Machine, CounterPunch, 1 February 2011
  29. ^ Yakowicz, Will (2011-05-18). "What Is a 'Holocaust Doubter'?". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  30. ^ Shamir, Israel. "News of the Site". Retrieved 25 December 2010. Israel Shamir supports Wikileaks, agrees with its ideas and admires its head, Julian Assange.
  31. ^ a b c Michael C. Moynihan (December 14, 2010). "Assange's Extremist Employees". Reason.
  32. ^ a b von Twickel, Nikolaus (2010-12-10). "Putin Bristles Over Leaked U.S. Cables". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
  33. ^ Ball, James (May 30, 2013). "Exclusive: Former WikiLeaks Employee James Ball Describes Working With Julian Assange". The Daily Beast. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  34. ^ "Former Assange cohort says WikiLeaks is broken". The Local. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2011. Domscheit-Berg also said Assange had worrying ties to people of dubious character, such as the Sweden-based Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, whom Assange allegedly wanted to let work with WikiLeaks under a false name so as to not attract unwanted attention.
  35. ^ "Anti-Assange book sparks WikiLeaks war of words". Agence France Presse. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  36. ^ a b Komireddi, Kapil. "Wikitargetted". Tablet. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  37. ^ Harding, Luke (24 December 2010). "Julian Assange: my fate will rest in Cameron's hands if US charges me". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
  38. ^ Komireddi, Kapil (1 March 2012). "Julian Assange and Europe's Last Dictator, Alexander Lukashenko". New Statesman. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Wikileaks, Belarus, and Israel Shamir". Index on Censorship. 5 February 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2019.