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Rania Khalek

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Rania Khalek
Rania Khalek, The Big Picture, May 2012.png
Khalek on RT's The Big Picture, 2012
Born (1986-05-27) May 27, 1986 (age 36)[1]
OccupationWriter, journalist
EmployerBreakThrough News

Rania Khalek (born May 27, 1986) is a Lebanese American writer and political activist.[2] Her views have been described as far-left, pro-Assadist, and pro-Putin.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] She has written for politically progressive/left wing publications, including The Nation, The Intercept, Al Jazeera, Salon, Vice, AlterNet, Mondoweiss, and Truthout.[12] In 2017 she co-hosted the podcast show Unauthorized Disclosure with Kevin Gosztola at Shadowproof.[13] Khalek previously served as an associate editor for the pro-Palestinian website The Electronic Intifada.[14]


Khalek has reported on the Israel-Palestine conflict and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Islamophobia, the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, the Syrian Civil War, United States foreign policy in the Middle East, US presidential elections and the United States criminal justice system.[14][15][16]

She was a contributor to AlterNet from 2011 to 2017.[17] Khalek contributed to Truthout between 2012 and 2014.[18] She was a columnist for Extra!, the magazine of Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), from 2013 to 2015.[19] She launched the weekly podcast, Unauthorized Disclosure, with Gosztola in 2014.[20]

Khalek was a contributor to The Electronic Intifada from 2013 to 2016.[19] She served on the editorial board for a few years but stepped down from her position in October 2016. Her planned appearance at a conference of the British Syrian Society, an organisation founded by the father-in-law of Bashar al-Assad, led to disagreements with her colleagues at the organisation.[21]

Khalek became a contributor for Maffick Media's "In the Now" and "Soapbox" video channels.[22][23][24] Maffick receives funding from its parent company, Ruptly, a subsidiary of the Russian television network RT.[25]

She has appeared on Al Jazeera English, The Majority Report with Sam Seder,[26] The Jimmy Dore Show, and RT America. She was a correspondent for media project Redfish, whose staff were primarily involved in Russian state media and whose main broadcast outlet was RT.[27][28][29]

Viewpoints and reception


In an address at Berkeley in 2015, Khalek said Israel was responsible for exporting military technology intended for repressing minorities having tested it in Gaza. She compared Israel to ISIS asserting they "have shared values".[30]

In 2016, Khalek and other activists protested a speech at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum given by Avital Leibovich, a retired colonel in the Israel Defense Forces and director of the Jerusalem office of the American Jewish Committee, declaring, "free Palestine".[31]

According to Jonathan Marks, a professor of political science at Ursinus College, Khalek is "not a marginal figure" within the movement to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) from Israel.[11]

Khalek has criticized The Nation magazine on the basis that while the magazine has published numerous articles in support of the BDS movement, it nonetheless "reinforces" the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories "by privileging Jewish voices over Palestinian ones."[32] Eric Alterman took issue with Khalek's statement on his blog for The Nation, accusing her of antisemitic implication, "have you noticed what the magazine's real problem is? Too many Jews!" In response to Alterman's comment, The Nation's editors pointed out that Khalek had not said too many Jews write for The Nation but rather that "The Nation has published more Jewish than Palestinian voices".[33]


In 2013, during the Syrian civil war, Khalek wrote: "Much of the debate over U.S. intervention in Syria boils down the conflict there to a clash between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and an armed rebellion in which al-Qaeda affiliates play a significant role. Typically ignored in that conversation are the voices of the non-violent opposition movement that took to the streets to challenge Assad in March 2011, and which has persisted against great odds."[16]

Khalek was scheduled to visit Syria in 2016 to participate in a conference sympathetic to the Assad government, but dropped out due to ensuing controversy.[34][35] In September 2019, she formed part of a US delegation, along with Ajamu Baraka and Max Blumenthal and others, in a visit to Syria to attend a trade union forum sponsored by the Assad government, to stand "against the economic blockade, imperialist interventions and terrorism", at a time when entering to the country was virtually impermissible for other Americans.[36][23][37] She was reported by Bellingcat in 2019 to have received financial assistance, the Serena Shim Award, from the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, a pro-Assad lobby group.[36][38]

United States

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, after Khalek wrote that "Clinton is also dangerous to world stability. And unlike Trump, she has the blood on her hands to prove it." She said that "Trump is riling up fascist sentiments", but "he's doing so by tapping into legitimate anger at the negative consequences of trickle-down neoliberal economics driven by establishment politicians like Clinton."[39]

James Kirchick described Khalek as one of a group of progressives who, in Kirchick's opinion, were "behaving like Weimar-era German communists, who, on Joseph Stalin's orders, attacked Social Democrats as 'social fascists' rather than battle Nazi brown-shirts."[40]

She trended on Twitter in 2019 when Ilhan Omar, a member of Congress, retweeted Khalek, who in turn defended Omar for her opposition to perceived U.S. efforts to change the government of Venezuela, a position which was commented as "controversial" by The Jerusalem Post.[2] "This is the best and most detailed statement I've seen so far from a Democrat on Venezuela", Khalek wrote. "Omar, as well as her other colleagues who spoke out, should be commended for opposing Trump's coup attempt, this will surely provoke malicious attacks from the pro-war crowd. Very brave."[2]

Other issues

On March 9, 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center published an article called "The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment", in which Khalek and several other left-wing journalists were mentioned. After complaints that the article falsely portrayed them as "white supremacists, fascists, anti-Semites, and engaging in a conspiracy with the Putin regime to promote such views", the SPLC retracted the article and issued an apology.[41][42][43]

In 2021, an image she posted on Instagram of a billboard celebrating Iranian general Qassim Suleimani and Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was deleted by the company under its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy.[44]


  1. ^ Rania Khalek [@raniakhalek] (May 27, 2014). "Thanks everyone for all the lovely birthday wishes :)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ a b c Frantzman, Seth (January 26, 2019). "Rep. Omar slammed for supporting Venezuela's brutal regime". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Ross, Alexander Reid (April 17, 2018). "How Assad's War Crimes Bring Far Left and Right Together - Under Putin's Benevolent Gaze". Haaretz.
  4. ^ Ahmed, Akbar Shahid (April 10, 2017). "Here's Who Still Supports Bashar Assad". Huffpo.
  5. ^ Ciezadlo, Annia (April 11, 2017). "Why would Assad use sarin in a war he's winning? To terrify Syrians". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Frantzman, Seth J. (January 26, 2019). "Rep. Omar Slammed for Supporting Venezuela's Brutal Regime". The Jerusalem Post.
  7. ^ Bigman, Petra Marquardt (April 2, 2015). "Rania Khalek's updates on Jewish evil". The Jerusalem Post. The Jerusalem Post.
  8. ^ Bigman, Petra Marquardt (March 23, 2014). "Racism 101 for Rania Khalek". The Jerusalem Post. [Khalek] recently found herself held up as an example of the bigotry and antisemitism that is so pervasive in the BDS movement
  9. ^ Chabkoun, malak (December 24, 2016). "Whitewashing Assad and his allies must be challenged". al jazeera. Khalek, for example, repeat[s] the regime's propaganda almost verbatim
  10. ^ Smith, Lee. "Assad Regime's Grotesque PR Conference in Damascus Uses 'New York Times,' 'Washington Post,' NPR, and 'New Yorker' Reporters to Whitewash War Crimes". Hudson institute. Retrieved October 31, 2016. Khalek...[an] openly pro-Assad apologist
  11. ^ a b Marks, Jonathan (November 1, 2016). "An Anti-Israel Activist in Syria". Commentary. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Articles by Rania Khalek". muckrack.com. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  13. ^ "Unauthorized Disclosure". Shadowproof. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Rania Khalek". The Intercept. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "An unworthy war? US/UK reporting on Yemen". al-Jazeera. June 23, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Khalek, Rania (September 9, 2013). "Syria's nonviolent resistance is dying to be heard". Al-Jazeera. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Grayzone Project". AlterNet.org. AlterNet. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  18. ^ "Truthout Author Page". Truthout. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Extra!". FAIR. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Unauthorized Disclosure". Libsyn. Unauthorized Disclosure. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "Pro-Palestine journalist leaves job over Syria conference". Albawaba (The Loop). October 31, 2016. Archived from the original on June 20, 2018.
  22. ^ "Russia is backing a viral video company aimed at American millennials". CNN. February 18, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (September 15, 2019). "Junket journalism in the shadow of genocide". Al Jazeera. Retrieved December 24, 2019. Accompanying Blumenthal on the junket is Rania Khalek, a Twitter personality who produces viral videos for the Russia Today subsidiary 'In the Now' ... With an image geotagged Saydnaya, Khalek invited her social media followers to admire the 'Breathtaking View in Syria'. This was about as seemly as inviting viewers to admire a stunning sunset over Auschwitz. As journalist Nick Waters of Bellingcat demonstrated, just off the frame, but within Khalek's field of view, is the Saydnaya prison, the notorious detention facility where according to a 2017 Amnesty International report, up to 13,000 civilians were executed between 2011 and 2015. Elsewhere Khalek posted a selfie from a joyride with Blumenthal and former-Russia Today producer Anya Parampil with the caption: 'For the haters' (the regime minder who accompanies all foreign guests was not included in the frame).
  24. ^ Ma, Alexandra (February 18, 2019). "Russia's RT attacks Facebook for suspending 4 viral news channels that broadcast Kremlin talking points to millennials". Business Insider. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  25. ^ "Shadowproof". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "The Majority Report with Sam Seder : 1315 - Rania Khalek: A Left Critique of Identity Politcs". majorityfm.libsyn.com.
  27. ^ Davis, Charles (February 1, 2018). "'Grassroots' Media Startup Redfish Is Supported by the Kremlin". The Daily Beast. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  28. ^ "When Will Putin Pay Rania What She's Owed?". Libsyn.com. Unauthorized Disclosure. February 11, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
  29. ^ "Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right". bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  30. ^ "Anti-Israel Activity on Campus, 2014-2015: Trends and Projections". Anti-Defamation League. November 18, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  31. ^ Amouyal, Noa (June 9, 2016). "Watch: Pro-Palestinian Activists Storm Former IDF Officer's Speech at DC Museum". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on June 8, 2016.
  32. ^ Marquardt-Bigman, Petra (March 23, 2014). "Racism 101 for Rania Khalek". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  33. ^ Davis, Charles (January 15, 2014). "On Israel, diversity and media: Eric Alterman addresses his recent disputes "If they had said the Nation has too many black people writing about civil rights, wouldn't people object?"". Salon. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  34. ^ "Pro-Palestine journalist leaves job over Syria conference". Al Bawaba. October 31, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  35. ^ "Max Blumenthal, anti-Israel activist, tours Syrian regime's Damascus". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. September 19, 2019. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  36. ^ a b Davis, Charles (September 30, 2019). "Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right". bellingcat. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
  37. ^ James Snell Foreign journalists, politicians join Syria's propaganda tours, Arab Weekly September 14, 2019
  38. ^ Mujanović, Jasmin (October 11, 2019). "The West Owns Syria's Disaster". Foreign Policy. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  39. ^ Levitz, Eric (August 16, 2016). "Disagreeing With the Elite Policy Consensus Does Not Make One a Trump 'Enabler'". Intelligencer. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  40. ^ Kirchick, James (August 15, 2016). "Beware the Hillary Clinton-Loathing, Donald Trump-Loving Useful Idiots of the Left". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
  41. ^ Ross, Alexander Reid (March 14, 2018). "The multipolar spin: how fascists operationalize left-wing resentment". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on March 9, 2018.
  42. ^ Ansari, Talal (March 12, 2018). "The Southern Poverty Law Center Took Down An Article Trying To Connect 'Left-Wing' People And 'Fascists' After Getting Complaints". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  43. ^ "An Inside Look at How Pro-Russia Trolls Got the SPLC to Censor a Commie". New Politics. April 3, 2018. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  44. ^ "Revealed: Facebook's Secret Blacklist of "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations"". The Intercept. October 12, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.

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