The Liberal Supporters of Max Blumenthal and the Campaign to Delegitimize Israel

MaxBlumenthalReprinted from

Last week, I wrote about the New America Foundation’s sponsorship of Max Blumenthal’s vicious screed against Israel. Now that the event is over, James Fallows has taken to the web pages of The Atlantic to praise the reprehensible bigot and ignoramus Blumenthal, whose book he describes as “ a particular kind of exposé-minded, documentary-broadside journalism whose place we generally recognize and respect.” Fallows also adds that “items like this one in Commentary had said that New America should not provide a platform for what it claimed was destroy-Israel hate speech. Some members of the board got personal email pitches to the same effect.”

The column in Commentary by Jonathan S. Tobin appeared after mine on these pages, and Tobin credits my column in alerting him to Blumenthal’s appearance. As for the personal e-mails, I addressed one of them to a Board member whom I am in touch with, as did other individuals whom I told about the scheduled event. One person I know wrote to Ann-Marie Slaughter, who did not respond to the e-mail he sent.

Now, Fallows charges us with censorship, and with trying to stand against free speech. Tobin accurately calls Blumenthal’s book one with a “complete lack of intellectual merit or integrity.” So when Fallows says everyone respects and recognizes his courageous journalism, he is speaking only for himself.

Sadly, his blog indicates that the campaign for delegitimizing of Israel is succeeding among liberal sectors of our intellectual class, who are now welcoming as good journalism the worst kind of gutter tripe, that even The Nation magazine’s Eric Alterman has shown is so poor that in a blog he wrote that it could have  been published by “The Friends of Hamas Book Club,” if such a group existed. Evidently Mr. Alterman, himself a man of the far Left, does not realize how far in the cesspool his liberal and leftist colleagues have fallen.

As for censorship, and calls that the NAF Board should have considered not sponsoring a talk about his book, this is hardly an assault on free speech. There are scores of serious critical books about Israel that are worth having a dialogue with authors about. This is not one of them. That a book exists- and there are hundreds they could have chosen from- does not mean that such a book should receive the imprimatur of the New America Foundation

By Fallows’ own admission, what Blumenthal does is find anti-democratic extremists in Israel. He then paints a picture showing his readers that their existence reveals the true Israel—a bigoted, anti-democratic state content to oppress all whom stand in the way of keeping it a Jewish state. With his one-sided attack, Blumenthal hopes to sway the American public against the United States keeping Israel as an ally.

Blumenthal has a right to his views. He found a publisher, and they are giving him quite a tour and send-off. To urge a distinguished liberal think-tank to reconsider being one of the venues for his views is hardly a clarion call to suppress speech. It is simply an attempt to suggest to the Board and leaders of NAF to question whether they really believe liberalism in America means supporting a speaker whose book has been praised by none other than David Duke.

Let us then ask, since David Duke is one of Mr. Blumenthal’s fans, and is happy that what he has been saying for years is now being said by Max Blumenthal, whether if the same book had come out by Duke, whether or not the NAF Board would ask him to speak, and whether Peter Bergen would be the willing chair of the event? Would James Fallows take to the pages of The Atlantic to praise Duke’s courage and integrity, and condemn anyone who suggested that the NAF not use its facilities and its reputation as an endorsement of David Duke’s book? I think we all know the answer. And since there is little difference in what Duke says about Israel than Max Blumenthal says, it is perfectly reasonable to try and let the Board of NAF know why so many of us are disheartened at their decision to hold this talk, and to add to the growing animus against Israel by our intellectual liberal class.

Already, sensible liberals show that they understand how dangerous it is for them to be taking this path. Alan Dershowitz told Breitbart News that “Max Blumenthal is well outside the acceptable range of rhetoric about Israel. His constant comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state establish him as an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to anti-Semites and others who apply a double standard to the Jewish state.” Dershowitz has it right. No “decent person,” he continued to say, “should ever support the views expressed by Max Blumenthal.”

Dershowitz’s comments came after it was revealed in Buzzfeed by reporter Rosie Gray that Max Blumenthal’s father, journalist Sidney Blumenthal, is going to bat for his son’s book in a big way. The problem is that Sidney Blumenthal may still be on the Clinton’s payroll, and is listed in The Atlantic as an advisor to the Clinton Foundation. Dershowitz is obviously concerned that should Hillary Clinton decide to run, her association with Sidney Blumenthal could hurt her campaign, unless she dissociates herself with his defense of Max’s book.

I have a simple response to James Fallows and Peter Bergen. Shame on both of you, for trying to make Max Blumenthal into a respectful journalist. By doing so, you harm your own integrity and reputation. As for myself, I would rather be called a censor and an opponent of free speech by James Fallows than be seen as lending credibility to a cheap extremist like Max Blumenthal.

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  • Hank Rearden

    But let’s not let any of this get in the way of the prime directive – every Jew has to vote Democratic. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Be sure to get behind every Israel-hater in the country. Makes sense to me.

    • emanuel appel

      dear sir
      Individual Jews are smart/ Jews in a mass are dumb. They are too sentimental for the obvious universal goals of the Left and disregard the Left’s real record in history. This sentimental attachment has its roots in the fact that the Left welcomed us socially and enabled us to have a prominent voice in political affairs both in Europe and the US.
      emanuel appel

      • Hank Rearden

        Well OK. But it didn’t work out too well in Europe. Leftist solidarity wasn’t there when it counted and the two countries that came through for the Jews – Denmark and Italy – did so for conservative – we are all God’s children – reasons.

        And the Left is with Islam now

        • emanuel appel

          Belief in the Left agenda is akin to religious faith – it’s all about feelings, not reason. Israel, the people, have a naive belief that just because we were prominent in the history of socialism that that would earn us support from Socialism International. Not on your life.
          We are like a young girl who believes a seducer and then is indignant upon betrayal. We should learn from those with more experience

  • Clare Spark The general left line is nix on anti-Semitism, and nix on “Zionism”. I wrote about the Irgun versus the moderate “Jewish Agency” here: “Ben Hecht v. Ben Urwand, the un-Jewish Left and assimilated Jews.” Israel-bashing is all too fashionable in academe today.

  • A Z

    “[Christopher] Hitchens wrote several pieces in which he accused [Sid] Blumenthal of manipulating the facts” – wiki

    The apple did not fall far from the tree.


      Both blumenthals are rotten to the core.

      • defcon 4

        Could these same scumbags make aliyah? That would be ironic scumbaggery of the highest order.

  • KyraNelson

    Execute both of them as traitors.

  • KyraNelson

    We Jews of the Orthodox Persuasion are becoming demographically superior to the dying Secular Leftard Jews. Hopefully we won’t have to endure this bile for too much longer.

  • RealityColin

    Nice tantrum, but it ain’t persuading anyone outside the diminishing, aging AIPAC crowd.

    The harder that same old sand gets thrown, the less power it has to obscure the collective umpire’s eyes.

    I mean, just take a deep breath and think about it sensibly for a minute. Who outside your choir will actually accept the claim that Jewish young man Blumenthal is some rabid, crazed bigot, on a personal campaign to destroy Israel, blah, blah, blah… ?

    Thou doth protest waaaaaaay too much. All the way to crazy town. It’s just a completely implausible premise except as a transparently desperate tactic to keep people from getting close to the issue to judge for themselves.

    I mean, are we to also believe Israeli citizen and former soldier Miko Peled is an “extremist bigot”?

    Guess he has to be, right? Because no matter how demonstrable his claims or compelling his analysis (much of it from firsthand experience) if he risks pulling American minds away from Alan Dershowitz’s Kool-Aid punch bowl, then he must be so branded, yeah?

    Well, the punchbowl is leaking. There’s a sticky mess on the floor.

    And speaking of messy, let’s not forget, everyone, as we mourn Nelson Mandela’s passing (except for Bibi), that Israel’s Likud hardliners tried to secretly sell nuclear weapons to the South African apartheid regime in the 1970s.

    • defcon 4

      I’d have more respect for Blumenthal if he were to visit any of the islam0nazi states of the Mid-East and N. Africa and find out what islam0nazi persecution is allah about first hand.

  • Hango

    Israel has delegitimized itself with it’s jim crow laws for Palestinians, constant justifications for violence, denial of straightforward facts, and manipulation of individuals involved in diplomatic or international legal proceedings. Every person who citicises Israel is called an ‘anti-semite’ including Jews. Israel is a failed project precisely because of the hypocrisy and failure of its people to follow laws, claiming they are above them in some way. Sorry, but the law doesn’t work that way; you don’t get away with crimes simply because you were once a victim. Israel may not be ted bundy, but it certainly is Anders Brevnik.