Max Blumenthal

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Max Blumenthal
Max Blumenthal on RT America.png
Blumenthal on RT America on 8 December 2011
Born (1977-12-18) December 18, 1977 (age 37)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Journalist, blogger, filmmaker
Relatives Sidney Blumenthal (father), Jacqueline Jordan (mother)
Website
maxblumenthal.com

Max Blumenthal (born December 18, 1977) is an American author, journalist, and blogger. Formerly a writer for The Daily Beast and Al Akhbar, he is the author of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party (2009).[1][2][3][4] and Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013). He used to work for the progressive[5] organization Media Matters for America.[6]

Background[edit]

Max Blumenthal was born on December 18, 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Jacqueline (Jordan) and Sidney Blumenthal, former administration presidential aide to Bill Clinton.

Blumenthal graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 with a B.A. degree in history.[7]

Career[edit]

Blumenthal won the Online News Association's Independent Feature Award for his 2002 article on Salon.com, Day of the Dead.[8][9] The piece stated that the killing of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico was connected to the policies of corporate interests in the border city.[10] Blumenthal contributed to The Huffington Post from 2009 to 2011.[11]

In 2011, Blumenthal wrote a story claiming that Israeli forces trained American police departments in anti-protester techniques, including torture, quoting Fordham University Law Professor Karen J. Greenberg.[12] Contacted by Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic and Adam Serwer of Mother Jones, Greenberg told Goldberg that "I never made such a statement", while she told Serwer "I did not intend to assert these allegations as fact…the entire sense of the quote is inaccurate."[13][14] Blumenthal responded that he quoted Greenberg accurately and speculated that she had been "intimidated by Goldberg and the pro-Israel forces he represents".[15][16]

Blumenthal joined Lebanon's Al Akhbar in late 2011 primarily to write about Israel-Palestine issues and foreign-policy debates in Washington, noting on leaving in mid-2012 in protest of its coverage of the Syrian Civil War that it "gave me more latitude than any paper in the United States to write about ... Israel and Palestine".[17] He ended his association with Al Akhbar in June 2012, over what he viewed as the newspaper's pro-Assad editorial line during the Syrian Civil War that he said was spearheaded by Amal Saad-Ghorayeb.[17][18]

In 2013, Blumenthal appeared in ninth place on that year's Simon Wiesenthal Center list of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs, reasons given being that chapter titles in the book Goliath were used to "equate Israel with the Nazi regime" and that Blumenthal had quoted "approvingly characterizations of Israeli soldiers as 'Judeo-Nazis.'"[19]

During the Russel Tribunal on Palestine, Blumenthal made a comparison between Israel and ISIL. In a follow-up, journalist Rania Khalek created the Twitter hashtag JSIL; "The Jewish State of Israel in the Levant".[20][better source needed] Max also took pride in being awarded ninth place on 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list published by The Simon Wiesenthal Center.[21][22]

In November 2014, after being invited by Inge Höger and Annette Groth, members of the Parliamentary left to talk with them in the German parliament, the Bundestag, Blumenthal and Canadian-Israeli journalist David Sheen found that senior German left-wing politician Gregor Gysi, himself critical of what he termed Israel's violation of international law, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank after 1967, tried to cancel the meetings on the grounds that the two held radical views on Israeli settlements,[23][24] and he wished to dissociate the Left from anti-Israel campaigning.[24] There ensued an incident, later dubbed "toiletgate", where Blumenthal and Sheen confronted Gysi, imputing to him the suggestion that he had called one of them an anti-Semite. It was further argued that he had employed methods typical of the Stasi. Gysi fled, chased by the two down a parliament corridor and into a bathroom, where he locked himself in a toilet stall. Experts said the presence of the two might have harmed Germany's image in Israel.[24] German media denounced Blumenthal and Sheen as "anti-Semites" and the talks they had been scheduled to deliver were cancelled.[25] They were banned from setting foot in the Bundestag in the future. In an e-mail explaining the ban, Bundestag president, Norbert Lammert stated: "Every attempt to exert pressure on members of parliament, to physically threaten them and thus endanger the parliamentary process is intolerable and must be prevented”.[25][26][27]

Blumenthal caused controversy in late 2014 and early 2015 when he compared decorated Navy SEAL Chris Kyle to mass murderer Lee Malvo via Twitter, and in an interview on The Real News, criticized the film American Sniper which depicts Kyle's tours of duty in Iraq. Blumenthal said the movie heavily distorts the historical, political and social truth of the war on Iraq, that the film falsely portrays all Iraqis including even children and women as "endemic terrorists," and that the movie is a "bogus whitewash of the atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Falluja."[28][29]

Videos[edit]

2007-2008[edit]

Blumenthal made a short video which he titled Generation Chickenhawk. It featured interviews with convention attendees at the July 2007 College Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C. Blumenthal asked why they, as Iraq War supporters, had not enlisted in the United States Armed Forces.[30][31][32] In 2007, Blumenthal made a short video called Rapture Ready, about American Christian fundamentalists' support for the State of Israel.[30] He also attended the June 2007 Take Back America Conference (sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future), where he interviewed Barack Obama supporters and 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Blumenthal says that conference organizers were angered by Blumenthal's video, and refused to air it.[30]

In 2008, he posted video footage of Christian preacher Thomas Muthee praying over Sarah Palin (then a candidate for Governor of Alaska) and asking God to keep her safe from witchcraft.[33]

"Feeling the Hate" (2009)[edit]

In 2009, Max Blumenthal posted a 3-minute video on YouTube titled "Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem on the Eve of Obama's Cairo Address". The video was a montage of footage of drunken Jewish-American youth in Jerusalem in June 2009, shortly before Obama's Cairo address. The youths used expletives and racist rhetoric about Barack Obama and Arabs, which included referring to Obama as a "nigger" and suggesting that he is "like a terrorist".[34] According to The Jerusalem Post, the video "garnered massive exposure and caused a firestorm in the media and the Jewish world".[35] A Bradley Burston Op-Ed in Haaretz described the video as "an overnight Internet sensation".[34]

The Huffington Post publicly stated that after reviewing the video, they found it lacked any newsworthy content and had no merits to be included on the site. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted Blumenthal as stating: "I won’t ascribe motives to Youtube I am unable to confirm, but it is clear there is an active campaign by right-wing Jewish elements to suppress the video by filing a flood of complaints with Youtube".[36]

Blumenthal stated he received death threats for his publication of the video.[37] He identifies the radicalism of the interviewees with the "indoctrination" of Birthright Israel tours, a program in which several of the interviewees were participating.[37]

Publications[edit]

Blumenthal says that the 2009 book Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party is inspired by the work of psychologist Erich Fromm, who asserted that "the fear of freedom propels anxiety-ridden people into authoritarian settings." Blumenthal says that in his view a "culture of personal crisis" has defined the American "radical right".[38]

He released the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel in 2013.[39] In the preface to the book, Blumenthal wrote that it is "Americans’ tax dollars and political support that are crucial in sustaining the present state of affairs" in Israel and that, in the book, he wanted to show what that money is paying for and to present the facts, using the same journalistic methods used in his previous book, Republican Gomorrah, "as they really are today, in unadorned and unsanitized form, without sentimentality or nostalgia."[40] Blumenthal sees it as “an unvarnished view of Israel at its most extreme.” It has been slammed as bigotedly anti-Israel to the point of being anti-Semitic, while James Fallows argues that his exposé "is no more “anti-Israel,” let alone anti-Semitic, than The Shame of the Cities and The Jungle and The Grapes of Wrath were anti-American for pointing out extremes and abuses in American society."[41]

Books[edit]

  • Max Blumenthal (2009): Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party New York. Nation Books. ISBN 978-1568583983
  • Max Blumenthal (2013): Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1568586342

References[edit]

  1. ^ Begala, Paul. "Commentary: Obama Lucky With His Enemies." CNN.com September 10, 2009.
  2. ^ Blumenthal, Max. Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. New York: Nation Books, 2009. ISBN 1-56858-398-2
  3. ^ The Nation, Max Blumenthal." No date. Accessed 2009-09-12
  4. ^ "Max Blumenthal." The Huffington Post. No date. Accessed 2009-09-12
  5. ^ "Getting rid of census survey is wasteful" CNN May 23, 2012. Accessed 2012-05-23
  6. ^ "Dershowitz warns Democrats to drop Media Matters" Fox news February 13, 2012. Accessed 2012-05-23
  7. ^ "Max Blumenthal". The Investigative Fund. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  8. ^ Blumenthal, Max. Salon.com. December 4, 2002. "Day of the Dead."
  9. ^ "Neighborhood Briefing." Arizona Daily Star. September 17, 2004.
  10. ^ Mandell, Jonathan. "Why Awards Matter." 2003 ONA Conference Participant's Blog. November 15, 2003. Accessed 2009-09-12
  11. ^ The Huffington Post, Max Blumenthal
  12. ^ How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests, The Exiled, Dec. 2, 2011 [1]
  13. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg, Did Israel Train American Interrogators in Torture? (UPDATED), The Atlantic, Dec. 7, 2011 [2]
  14. ^ Adam Serwer: Is Israel Responsible For The Occupy Crackdowns? In: Mother Jones. December 7, 2011
  15. ^ Max Blumenthal, Al-Akhbar, Dec. 7, 2011 A Response to Cpl, Jeffrey Goldberg on Greenberg, Israel and Torture
  16. ^ Max Blumenthal and Mark Ames, Max Blumenthal Responds To Sleaze Campaign Waged By Atlantic Monthly’s Ex-Detention Camp Guard Jeffrey Goldberg…And Why The Atlantic Monthly’s Sleaze Reminds Us Of Putin’s Russia…, 7 December 2011 with undated Updates.
  17. ^ a b The Real News, 22 June 2012, "Max Blumenthal Resigns Al Akhbar Over Syria Coverage"
  18. ^ Blumenthal, Max (20 June 2012). "The right to resist is universal: A farewell to Al Akhbar and Assad's apologists". MaxBlumenthal.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012. I was forced to conclude that unless I was prepared to spend endless stores of energy jousting with Assad apologists, I was merely providing them cover by keeping my name and reputation associated with Al Akhbar. 
  19. ^ Wiesenthal releases 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list, December 30, 2013, Jerusalem Post
  20. ^ Activists seek to rebrand Israel as 'JSIL', September 30, 2014, Al Jazeera
  21. ^ "Max Blumenthal - Russell Tribunal 2014 - 24/09". YouTube. 
  22. ^ "Wiesenthal releases 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list". Jerusalem Post. 
  23. ^ Delfs, Arne (12 November 2014), "Israel Critics Chase Left Leader in German Parliament", Bloomberg News 
  24. ^ a b c 'Gysis ungebetene Gäste,' Die Zeit 11 November 2014
  25. ^ a b Mikcis, David (10 March 2015). "Wild Thing: Max Blumenthal’s Creepy Anti-Zionist Odyssey". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  26. ^ Weinthal, Benjamin (15 November 2014), "German politicians, media outraged over leftists anti-Israel ‘toiletgate’", The Jerusalem Post 
  27. ^ "Israel critics chase Gysi into bathroom stall", The Local, 12 November 2014 
  28. ^ Max Blumenthal, American Sniper: Honoring a Fallen Hero or Whitewashing a Murderous Occupation? (January 2015), The Real News
  29. ^ Discussion on Rare.us
  30. ^ a b c Treiman, Daniel. "Max Blumenthal, Scourge of Conservative Conferences." The Forward. August 10, 2007.
  31. ^ Greenwald, Glenn. "The Weekly Standard's '9/11 Generation'." Salon.com. July 23, 2007. Accessed 2009-09-12.
  32. ^ LaSalle, Mick. "Maximum Strength Mick." San Francisco Chronicle. July 19, 2007.
  33. ^ Rossmeier, Vincent. "Palin's Pastor (and Witches) Problem." Salon.com. September 26, 2008; Burke, Garance. "Palin Once Blessed Against 'Witchcraft'." Associated Press. September 25, 2008.
  34. ^ a b Burston, Bradley (2009-06-12). "Loving Israel by hating Obama - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  35. ^ Jerusalem Post 06-09-2009 Headline: Young Americans in Jerusalem 'feel the hate' for Obama. Video featuring obscene condemnations of US president draws over 200,000 viewers on YouTubeB yline: TORI CHEIFETZ Edition; Daily Section: News Page: 08 [3]
  36. ^ June 19, 2009 (2009-06-19). "YouTube removes Blumenthal video | JTA - Jewish & Israel News". JTA. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  37. ^ a b Hartman, Benjamin L. (2009-06-14). "Filmmaker behind 'drunk Jews' video denies fueling anti-Semitism - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23. 
  38. ^ BuzzFlash.com's Review of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party
  39. ^ Nina Burleigh (29 October 2013) Goliath vs. Goliath: Blumenthal Book Is Right About Israeli Myopia, but Naive on Islamists New York Observer
  40. ^ Blumenthal, Max (2013). Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1568586342. 
  41. ^ James Fallows,'Afraid of Free Speech, on Many Fronts: PEN, Google, China, Goliath,' The Atlantic 19 December 2013.

External links[edit]