CNN International correspondent Jim Clancy has left the cable news channel, where he worked for 34 years, according to an internal memo obtained by TVNewser. CNN confirmed Clancy’s departure in a separate statement: “We thank him for more than three decades of distinguished service, and wish him nothing but the best.” But the network declined to comment on a series of bizarre tweets—in which Clancy seemed to suggest that Israeli propaganda had a hand in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris—which preceded his abrupt resignation.
On January 7, Clancy began tweeting about why, exactly, Charlie Hebdo published cartoon caricatures of Mohammad; his personal theory was that the newspaper wanted to mock not the Muslim prophet but people who “distort his word”:
This is incorrect. Charlie Hebdo is militantly anti-religious, and there’s no evidence that the paper intended to target Muslims who deliberately distorted Mohammad’s teachings. When one of Clancy’s followers pointed this out, however, he responded with “Hasbara?”:
Some background: Hasbara is a Hebrew word which means “explaining.” In discussions about Israel and Palestine, however, the term is often used to describe efforts to portray the State of Israel in a positive light. Critics of that country’s government frequently deploy the term to criticize what they perceive to be deceptive pro-Israeli propaganda.
Clancy is one of those critics: He has publicly condemned Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It is also true that Clancy’s interlocutor, Oren Kessler, works for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an influential Washington think tank known for its enthusiastic support of Israel. But responding with “Hasbara?” makes little sense in this particular context; Kessler was not discussing Israel or attempting to insert it into the conversation:
It is still not entirely clear what Clancy was talking about. His subsequent tweets were a mix of non sequiturs, claims of “satire,” and his own commentary on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank:
Clancy never explained what pro-Israeli propaganda had to do with the Charlie Hebdo killings. Nor does he seem to have any plans to do so. While the correspondent continued tweeting as if nothing had happened for the next few days, he quietly deleted his Twitter account on Thursday. He has not commented beyond a cheery goodbye email he sent to his CNN colleagues on Friday.