BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith is a thief, a “jerk” and a “shill for right-wing smear merchants.” That’s according to the photographer whose picture Smith has used as his Twitter avatar for more than a year.

Yesterday Daniel Sieradski, a self-employed photographer in New York, went after Smith on Twitter. “I would really like Smith to clarify his relationship to the Washington Free Beacon, Emergency Committee for Israel and Josh Block,” Sieradski said. “He obviously works for them.” The common link is a pro-Israel cause. The Emergency Committee for Israel is a pro-Israel political group, led by The Weekly Standard‘s William Kristol. Block is president of The Israel Project, also a pro-Israel political group. And The Free Beacon was founded in part by Michael Goldfarb, a well-known pro-Israel political activist.

Smith has reported on or published reports on these groups in the past and has paid loose compliment to Goldbarb in the NYT. For those six-degrees-of-separation connections, Sieradski believes Smith is “a shill for right-wing smear merchants.”

And for that, Sieradski, a self-described “left-wing supporter of a progressive Israel,” wants Smith to stop using the photograph he took. He tweeted at Smith: “I would still also really like [him] to cease and desist from using my copyrighted photograph as his avatar without my consent.” Sieradski also linked to his personal Flickr account that contained the original photo, taken at the American Jewish Press Association 2008 Annual Conference.

“About time to change the avatar anyway,” Smith replied. Read more