Italian journalist Guilio Meotti has been accused of plagarizing from several articles, including stories from the Huffington Post, Tablet magazine, and Commentary. Meotti was first accused of plagiarism by Tablet over his recent YNet News op-ed, the May 15 article “Israel’s Gay Pride.”
Tablet claimed there are “four instances in which Meotti, who elsewhere in the piece cites writers like Yossi Klein Halevi, appears to lift quotes.” According to Tablet, Meotti’s column lifts from several difference sources. Meotti defended his op-ed via e-mail, Tablet wrote, and said he “took inspiration from this very important column of my friend Bret Stephens. And that of [James] Kirchick. I had no idea of the others. I write extensively in Italian about gays in Israel.”
YNet News has since added a clarification to the op-ed in question that reads:
“Clarification: It has been brought to our attention that a passage originally written by James Kirchick was used in the article without his consent. Ynetnews regrets this occurance.”
Media Bistro’s Fishbowl LA noted that Tablet’s Mark Tracy spotted more plagiarism from Meotti. Tracy reported that Meotti plagiarized in “two others posts…in the National Review’s well-trafficked blog, The Corner” and in a Commentary blog.
Commentary‘s editor John Podhoretz told Tablet that the site “ended its relationship” with Meotti over the plagiarism and apologized.
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Tablet reported that it asked Meotti about “these new instances” and Meotti said:
“This has nothing to do with ‘ethical journalism,’ it’s ridiculous. As I told before it was my carelessness if I quoted without credit. But this is a personal attack against my person and work of ten years, a demonization, a witch hunt against one of the last and few pro-Israel journalists in Europe. An attack in which arrogant and failed journalists didn’t hesitate to call me ‘hasbarist’ and ‘zionist’ in Arab newspapers. It seems that they don’t understand the consequences and the severe risks that an author like me in Europe can suffer because of their incitement.”
We wrote to Meotti asking about the plagiarism charges, YNet and Commentary’s decision to stop working with him and the YNet clarification. He sent us a lengthy statement, in which he noted that he “already apologised” to anyone he plagiarized from, that it’s “never right” to do so, and that he says it was unintentional.
His statement in part reads:
“I did not set out to steal others’ work, but did carelessly fail to attribute a few isolated sentences in my own articles. I will not do so in future. Many others journalists and writers, like Maureen Dowd and Michel Houellebecq, have been accused of ‘plagiarism’. It is a frequent charge in this field of work. My actions were not motivated by malice, greed or a desire to deceive. It is an easy enough mistake to make to repeat a sentence from another article used as part of one’s research for a column, without correctly attributing it.
“Some of the stories I wrote for Ynet were originally published in my native language, Italian. Sometimes I translated the articles and lost references. I didn’t have any professional connection with Commentary, and my work published in Ynet over the course of one year was done for no financial gain: I was not paid a single euro for it. I mention this only to reiterate that any carelessness with quotes was done without any malicious intent and for no economic gain. I was working for free because I believe in what I am doing.”
Meotti added that he stands by the issues he wrote about. Further, he wrote that he has been “the subject of a personal and aggressive campaign of envy, demonisation and ad hominem attacks” for his writing on Israel.