Max Goes Mad Over Israel

The Nation teams up with the Hamas Book-of-the-Month club.

blumenthal-560x280In 1948, The Nation featured a column about the growing conflict between Israel and the Arab powers which warned that “The strength of the [Arab] league is based on the suppression of all progressive movements and civil rights at home”

That was then.

Now The Nation Institute has decided to publish Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, a book which the magazine’s own reviewer, Eric Alterman, no friend of Israel, wrote could have been published by the “Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.”

But not all the reviews were bad.

Glenn Greenwald, who defended Hamas, called it, “eye-opening and stunningly insightful.” Stephen Walt, who claimed that the Jews controls America (in a thesis he originally published in the house organ of the Saudi Lobby), wished Blumenthal could write for the New York Times.

Charles Glass, who once wrote that “Gaddafi could learn much about crowd control from Israel’s security forces”, praised it; as did Charles H. Manekin, who has written that boycotting the Jewish State “may be the best hope for liberal Zionists who haven’t given in entirely to ethnic loyalties.”

Goliath should be recommended to liberals who haven’t “given in” to their shameful ethnic loyalties and know that Israel is worse than Gaddafi, Hamas and Assad put together and must be boycotted to within an inch of its life (a policy popularized by the Arab League and Saudi Lobby). It not only makes a great Nakba present, but can also be wrapped in a brick and tossed through the window of a Jewish store.

The perfect target audience for Goliath would be The Finkler Question’s Merton Kugle who "had ruined his spine and all but worn out his eyes" searching for racist Israeli goods at the supermarket to boycott and had taken to shoplifting Israeli produce and carrying it around in his coat pockets until it rotted.

Kugle may be fictional, but his real-life counterparts make up most of the small numbers of protesters denouncing Israel, alongside younger recruits from various campus Communist societies. Their academic careers create the illusion that they represent some larger consensus outside their airless rooms where they debate how to best destroy a country that they know, despite their hate, will outlive them.

These are the old men with clenched teeth and dead eyes who are always on the lookout for Israeli produce to pocket and the next enfant terrible of Jewish Anti-Semitism to promote.

A few years ago it was Peter Beinart. Now it’s Max Blumenthal.

Blumenthal’s Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel has little life in it and a great deal of loathing. It’s a cheap screed full of Jew-baiting chapter titles like “How To Kill Goyim And Influence People” that uses some of the narrative techniques of journalism, but would probably even be rejected by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club for hating too much.

Goliath isn’t really about Israel. Like everything that Max Blumenthal writes; it’s about him. In Goliath’s lopsided version of reality, David isn’t really the oppressed Muslim terrorist firing anti-tank rockets at Israel school buses or killing Jewish babies with sniper rifles.

Max Blumenthal, privileged son of Sidney Blumenthal, a Clinton aide, is the David who battles the Israeli Goliath.

Blumenthal braves the perils of an Israeli airport “With bated breath I wait for the loud thump of the metal visa stamp when it meets the pages of my passport,” lectures Israeli leftists on everything they’re doing wrong by not listening to him and singlehandedly “loosens the blockade of suppression of thought and discussion on the subject of Israel-Palestine.”

That’s quite a feat.

Blumenthal begins Goliath by talking about himself and never stops. Even as he babbles on about his privilege and entitlement, it never seems to occur to him that his entire narrative is an exercise in both. Max Blumenthal attributes his “privilege” to being an Ashkenazi Jew in the racist Zionist devil state. Most sensible readers will put it down to being the spoiled brat offspring of an important father.

Goliath exists in an alternate universe in which Israel isn’t fighting terrorism, but going on a killing spree motivated by racism, religious fanaticism and a desire to eat puppies. If Max Blumenthal were reporting on WW2, the story would begin with an armada of American bombers flown by demented murderers hopped up on war propaganda bombing the unarmed and innocent National Socialists of Berlin.

And that’s exactly how Goliath begins, as an Israeli F-16 “roared across the sky” and launched a missile at a bunch of Hamas terrorists who lie “writhing in pain, their uniforms stained with the flesh and blood of their comrades.”

From the first page, it’s obvious where Max Blumenthal’s sympathies lie. It’s also obvious that he missed his calling writing for soap operas.

Goliath isn’t just overwrought; it’s downright hysterical. Like a werewolf, Abbas “howls” in the throes of “militant histrionics.” The even eviler Netanyahu “stumps through fever swamps” as an “apocalyptic” “prophet of doom” and Israelis cheer as their army “exacts blood vengeance on the enemy.”

Like a street corner demagogue, Max Blumenthal blares everything at his shrillest pitch, certain that he will lose his audience the moment they begin to think about what he is saying.  And so the wars of a region that go back centuries and millennia are reduced to Blumenthal’s bad suspense novel in which nothing exists except the moment and Jewish villains borrowed from Goebbels prance on stage.

It’s the same hysterical tone of Blumenthal’s Republican Gomorrah transplanted to Israel. Shrillness is the only journalistic trick in Blumenthal’s book. He turns up the volume to eleven to compensate for his inadequacies as a journalist and a writer. And all the while he accuses the Israelis, in the shrillest tones, of being shrill murderous hysterics who live on a diet of Arab blood and murderous biblical passages.

Goliath is tiresome, which may be one reason why even many anti-Zionists are panning it. It’s too nakedly cynical, too obviously a screed pandering to the worst impulses of the Merton Kugles and too immersed in its own hatefulness to be taken seriously by anyone else.

Max Blumenthal revels in the political pornography of violence, lovingly describing every mutilated corpse and announcing each political development with all the subtlety of a car alarm. But subtract the hysterics and morgue photos and all that’s left is a rant with the context deliberately stripped away.

Every negative item that fits Blumenthal’s agenda is assembled into a distorted narrative that has a funhouse mirror relationship to reality until David becomes Goliath and Goliath becomes David.

Goliath is the literary equivalent of those bloody photos of children that both sides in a war brandish for propaganda purposes. They’re awful, but they don’t actually tell you anything except that someone is playing on your emotions instead of giving you the whole story.

Despite Blumenthal’s pretense of telling a new story while “loosening thought blockades,” Goliath is full of the same Israel-bashing stories that appear on a regular basis in the mainstream media.

When the BBC and Time can publish stories based on a completely false report that an Israeli Rabbinical court had sentenced a dog to be stoned, it’s obvious that no malignant story about Israel can fail to find a place in the media.

What Max Blumenthal brings to the table in Goliath is not journalism, but uncompromising hatred for Israel. In a media environment where every fake "Jew Stones Dog" story goes to the top of the heap, the fake journalists like Max can only distinguish themselves by setting aside the pretenses of journalism.

And that’s what Max Blumenthal does.

Blumenthal knows his audience well. It’s those bitter old men with coat pockets full of stolen rotting fruit who want the raw product. And it’s the Eric Altermans, the liberals who are hostile to Israel, who are eager to shine a light on him so that they seem more reasonable by comparison.

Max Blumenthal isn’t reasonable. He’s a coiled-up ball of hate in the way that only a malignant narcissist can be. Max hates Israel for the same reason that he hates any number of things that aren’t him. Israel’s real crime is that it exists and stands in the way of his career objectives.

Goliath is the cynical work of a cynical man. Blumenthal is selling hate while accusing Israelis of the same thing. He has blatantly promoted genocide in a public appearance while accusing Israelis of lusting for blood. His book plays on the worst emotions of the worst people.

And that makes Goliath into a book that has almost as much contempt for its readers as it does for Israel.


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