This story has been updated with a statement from CNN.
On Sunday, about a week into a budding war between Israel and Palestine, a CNN contributor in Pakistan by the name of Adeel Raja declared, “The world today needs a Hitler.” Raja has a long history of supporting the late Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, sometimes explicitly mentioning what Hitler did to the Jews — a reference to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust.
“The world today needs a Hitler,” Raja posted on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
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Raja’s LinkedIn profile identifies him as a “Freelance Contributor at CNN” and an “Executuve [sic] Producer” at ARY News.
Raja appears to have 54 articles under his byline at CNN, between September 1, 2014, and September 15, 2020. Raja appears to live in Pakistan and his CNN articles focus on Pakistani news.
While Raja’s Sunday tweet seems particularly noteworthy, considering the conflict between Israel and Palestine, it only represents the latest of an ugly history for Raja.
Other users highlighted many examples of Raja’s horrific pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic tweets, most of which date from July 2014. The CNN contributor proudly declared that he would support Germany in the World Cup final against Argentina because of the darkest chapter in German history.
Raja declared, “The only reason I am supporting Germany in the finals is – Hitler was a German and he did good with those jews! [sic]”
Raja appears to have tried to support Hitler with the classic Nazi salute “Heil Hitler,” but he only managed, “Hail Hitler!”
Raja noted that Germany and Argentina would face off in the World Cup final, adding, “just cause Hitler wanted to f**k those jews! [sic] I am supporting Germany.”
“My support for Germany is due to what Hitler did with Jews!” he responded to another user on Twitter.
When former Vice President Mike Pence expressed solidarity with Israel during the Hamas rocket attacks this past week, Raja equated the government of Israel with terrorists.
A history of creating terrorists and standing with them! https://t.co/U36Kl1DDKh
— Adeel Raja (@adeelraja) May 13, 2021
Matt Dornic, a CNN spokesman, told the Washington Examiner that he “never heard of” Raja and said that he is “looking into” the matter.
Under Adolf Hitler, the German government carried out horrific crimes against humanity, including genocide, torture, experimentation, and forced labor. The Nazis massacred 6 million Jews and 6 million others (ethnic Poles, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, Roma, the disabled, dissidents, and homosexuals) in bloodcurdling labor and extermination camps such as Auschwitz.
These horrors would so scar the world and Germany that the name of Adolf Hitler would come to personify evil incarnate and Germany has strict laws banning Nazi symbols and Volksverhetzung, the “incitement of the people.”
Raja’s tweets are beyond the pale and CNN should full-throatedly condemn them and separate itself from the contributor immediately.
Tragically, anti-Semitism is rife throughout much of the Muslim world. A 2014 survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that 63 percent of people in the Middle East and North Africa said the Holocaust was “a myth or an exaggeration. A full 65 percent said “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.” A whopping 74 percent of those in the Middle East and North Africa harbored anti-Semitic views.
In this context, Raja’s anti-Semitic bile makes a perverse kind of sense. Hatred of the Jews is common in the Middle East, and Pakistan is particularly noteworthy for the persecution of Christians and those who reject Islam.
While CNN may need contributors in countries like Pakistan, the outlet should hold itself to a basic standard of decency. Tweets supporting the Final Solution against the Jews should be more than ground enough to fire contributors like Adeel Raja.
Update Monday, May 17, 2021, 12:10 a.m.:
CNN released a statement to Yashar Ali, a contributor to New York magazine and HuffPost.
“As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some newsgathering efforts from Islamabad. However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity,” the network said.
This is the right call. The whole episode highlights the horrific anti-Semitism that is tragically common in the Middle East, however.