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Assange blames "Jewish" journalists for negative coverage

The WikiLeaks founder also hits out at the Guardian in a phone conversation with the editor of Priva

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed that he was a victim of a conspiracy at the hands of "Jewish" journalists, according to an article in this week's Private Eye.

Assange was said to have phoned the magazine's editor Ian Hislop to contest a report published in the magazine on 16 February saying that a Wikileaks associate in Russia had a history of anti-Semitism.

In an article entitled "A Curious Conversation with Mr. Assange", Private Eye reports that Assange claimed the magazine was involved in a conspiracy with a group of Guardian journalists, all of whom "were Jewish".

Hislop challenged him on this claim, pointing out that Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger was not Jewish, to which Assange allegedly replied that Rusbridger was "sort of Jewish."

According to the article, Assange also suggested that the Guardian reporter David Leigh and the journalist John Kampfner were often seen together outside of work, and that Kampfner had an agenda against him because Assange had turned down his application to ghost-write a forthcoming book on him.

The WikiLeaks head added that the Guardian turned against him because he had stopped them "ripping him off" for millions of dollars. The former hacker also expressed his anger that Nick Davies had reported leaked police material from his Swedish rape and sexual assault case.

Assange reportedly told Hislop that the Guardian had "failed my masculinity test" and "behaved like gossiping schoolgirls".

The increasingly tempestuous relationship between Assange and the Guardian has since been highlighted when the official Wikileaks twitter account tweeted: "Guardian shunned at UK press awards: back-stabbing doesn't pay."

Assange released a statement denying the allegations last night. He said: "Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, 'Jewish conspiracy' is false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting. Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has tried to justify one smear with another. That he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist as a result, does not mean that it is right. WikiLeaks promotes the ideal of "scientific journalism" - where the underlaying evidence of all articles is available to the reader precisely inorder to avoid these type of distortions. We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world."