The Times of Israel apologized on Thursday night for publishing a “hoax” article submitted by a “malicious imposter” that called for the genocide of Palestinians.
The article, posted earlier that day on the site’s blogging platform, called for the “extermination” of Palestinian “cockroaches” and suggested performing grotesque medical experiments on survivors.
The site pulled the post after widespread confusion and outrage.
A further twist: The author bylined on the piece, lawyer Josh Bornstein, took to Twitter and denied having anything to do with the post or Times of Israel. (“I didn’t write that shit.”)
The Times of Israel later apologized to Bornstein and its readers, calling the account that posted the article a “hoax” that had slipped through its self-publishing blogging platform.
“We are dismayed that The Times of Israel fell victim to such a malicious and hateful hoax,” the apology said. “Needless to say, we are appalled that the Times of Israel’s blog platform was taken advantage of in this manner.”
The site said that Bornstein’s “malicious imposter” convinced Times of Israel it was Bornstein by first submitting copies of his other articles, “establishing his credibility” before surprising everyone with the racist screed on Thursday.
Jewish blogger Daniel Sieradski did some digging after the post appeared and found that a few weeks before the fake account showed up on Times of Israel, a post appeared on the website 4chan outlining a plan to dupe the Israeli site’s readers.
“Using a fake Jewish name, profile, and photo, I got myself a blog on The Times of Israel,” the post read. “These people believe I’m really a Jew.”
Sieradski also noted that Bornstein has been the target of online white supremacists “for his support of open immigration policy and hate crimes legislation.”
In August, the Times of Israel published an authentic pro-genocide post against Palestinians by Yochanan Gordon, titled “When Genocide is Permissible.”