||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (April 2015)|
Blumenthal on RT America on December 8, 2011
December 18, 1977 |
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania|
|Occupation||Journalist, blogger, filmmaker|
|Relatives||Sidney and Jacqueline Blumenthal|
Max Blumenthal (born December 18, 1977) is an American author, journalist, and blogger. A senior writer for Alternet and 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), which appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list. and Lannan Literary Award-winning Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013).
- 1 Background
- 2 Career
- 3 Controversies
- 4 Videos
- 5 Publications
- 6 Books
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Max Blumenthal was born on December 18, 1977 in Boston, Massachusetts to Jacqueline (née Jordan) and Sidney Blumenthal, a writer and former aide to President Bill Clinton. He has one brother. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 with a B.A. degree in history.
Blumenthal's articles and video documentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Independent Film Channel, Salon.com, Al Jazeera English, and other publications.
Blumenthal joined Lebanon's Al Akhbar in late 2011 primarily to write about Israel-Palestine issues and foreign-policy debates in Washington, noting, upon 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". 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.
Blumenthal contributes weekly articles to Alternet where he has been a senior writer since September 2014. He focuses on the deepening crisis in the Middle East and its role in shaping political dynamics and public opinion in the US, particularly the special relationship with Israel. He also occasionally covers domestic issues such as corporate media consolidation, the influence of the Christian right and police brutality. His reporting from the Gaza strip in 2014 was developed into a book, The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.
Blumenthal won the Online News Association's Independent Feature Award for his 2002 article on Salon.com, Day of the Dead. The piece revealed that the killing of hundreds of women in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico was connected to the policies of corporate interests in the border city. Blumenthal contributed to The Huffington Post from 2009-11.
In 2014, Blumenthal covered hunger strikes in the privatized Northwest Detention Center by undocumented migrants for The Nation. He had written about the rise of the so-called Minuteman movement for Salon.com in 2003, describing its members as “border vigilantes” who “have harassed and detained hundreds, perhaps thousands, of migrants suspected of entering the country illegally.”
In 2010, he covered the federal immigration enforcement program known as Operation Streamline for Truthdig. “The program represents the entrenchment of a parallel nonproductive economy promoting abuse behind the guise of law enforcement and crime deterrence,” he wrote. He also testified as a prosecution witness in the civil trial of Vicente v. Barnett, in which Arizona businessowner Roger Barnett was forced to pay $73,000 for assaulting a migrant on the US-Mexico border.
With journalist David Neiwert, Blumenthal exposed Sarah Palin's links to the secessionist Alaska Independence Party and how the party “played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward.” CBS reported that Palin responded to the story in an email to John McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt: "Pls get in front of that ridiculous issue that's cropped up all day today - two reporters, a protestor's sign, and many shout-outs all claiming Todd's involvement in an anti-American political party ... It's bull, and I don't want to have to keep reacting to it ... Pls have statement given on this so it's put to bed."
Known for his reporting in Israel and in Palestine, leading to Goliath and The 51 Day War, Max Blumenthal was one of the reporters reporting in the Gaza strip during the Israeli offensive in the Summer of 2014. He later provided testimonies by local Palestinian residents who claimed that they had been used as human shields by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead and furnished details garnered from interviews with Rafah residents on the impact of Israel's use of the controversial Hannibal Directive (which was formulated in 1986 to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers by enemy forecs) on the population.[clarification needed] Israeli forces had invoked the Directive, opening up an indiscriminate assault on the entire circumference of the area where one of its soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin, was allegedly taken captive by an ambush team from the Hamas military wing known as the Qassam Brigades." He claimed the ostensible goal may have been to "den[y] Hamas the leverage it might have gained at the negotiating table with a live soldier in its possession." He reported from the Gazan city of Shuja'iyya on Israel's destruction of their neighborhoods and the killing of civilians.
Blumenthal subsequently appeared before the Russell Tribunal on September 25, in Brussels, Belgium, to testify before a jury examining allegations of war crimes and genocidal intent by the Israeli military against residents of the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge. According to his testimony, he was:
"...able to gain unfettered access to residents [of Gaza] who had borne the brunt of the Israeli ground invasion in the hardest hit border areas, places like Khuza'a, Shujaiya, Beit Hanoun, Rafah, and the villages surrounding Beit Lahiya. I recorded testimonies from scores of residents of these areas, documenting war crimes committed by the Israeli armed forces. The atrocities formed an undeniable pattern, suggesting that the crimes committed by Israeli forces in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge were the product of stated military policies, or at least rules of engagement that enabled massacres, summary executions, wholesale residential destruction, the use of civilians as human shields, and abductions."
Blumenthal claims that there exists a rise of Islamophobia in the world today. In TomDispatch, Blumenthal purports to have documented the rise of an alleged trans-Atlantic Islamophobic political network that “spans continents, extending from Tea Party activists here to the European far right. It brings together in common cause right-wing ultra-Zionists, Christian evangelicals, and racist British soccer hooligans.”  In The Nation, he alleged that Nina Rosenwald funded Islamophobic organizations and labeled Somali-born author Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “anti-Muslim author” who has “a history of fraud.”
Israeli Forces Training American Police Departments
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. 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 that "I did not intend to assert these allegations as fact…the entire sense of the quote is inaccurate." Blumenthal responded that he quoted Greenberg accurately and claimed she had been "intimidated by Goldberg and the pro-Israel forces he represents".
Simon Wiesenthal Center
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.'" Blumenthal responded humorously to being awarded ninth place on 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list published by The Simon Wiesenthal Center, noting he was tied with Alice Walker. Blumenthal noted that he, Richard Falk, and Roger Waters (who also appear on the list) "had stiff competition: Ayatollah Khomeini was number one."
James Fallows argues that Goliath "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."
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".[better source needed] JSIL became a popular Twitter hashtag after Blumenthal introduced it alongside journalist Rania Khalek. It was covered in many publications including Israel's Ha'aretz, New York Magazine and Al Jazeera.
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 learned 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 Blumenthal and Gysi held radical views on Israeli settlements, and he wished to dissociate the Left from anti-Israel campaigning. As Blumenthal describes in a later article, Volker Beck of the Green Party wrote that Blumenthal's work was "consistently anti-semitic", while neoconservative writer Benjamin Weinthal accused him of "public abuse of Jews".
An incident ensued, later dubbed "toiletgate", in which Blumenthal and Sheen waited for Gysi to "confront him about Israel's crimes in Gaza and the smears that Gysi and his acolytes had disseminated against them". Gysi fled, followed by the two and other parliamentary members down a parliament corridor and into a bathroom. After this event, Blumenthal and Sheen were banned from ever setting foot in the Bundestag again. 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”.
Ali Abunimah wrote that an investigation by Blumenthal led him to uncover a “smear campaign against him and Sheen – and more importantly the effort to prevent discussion about Israel’s crimes in Gaza - was the product of the anti-Palestinian network funded by American billionaire Sheldon Adelson (…) Blumenthal notes that it was Benjamin Weinthal, a Berlin-based "anti-Palestinian" activist, who initiated the campaign with an article in the right-wing Berliner Morgenpost, and later in The Jerusalem Post, falsely claiming that the Bundestag meeting would not take place. Weinthal is a fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).
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 claimed 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."
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. In 2007, Blumenthal made a short video called Rapture Ready, about American Christian fundamentalists' support for the State of Israel. 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.
"Feeling the Hate" (2009)
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". According to The Jerusalem Post, the video "garnered massive exposure and caused a firestorm in the media and the Jewish world". A Bradley Burston Op-Ed in Haaretz described the video as "an overnight Internet sensation".
After YouTube removed the video from its website, 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".
Blumenthal stated he received death threats for his publication of the video. He identifies the radicalism of the interviewees with the "indoctrination" of Birthright Israel tours, a program in which several of the interviewees were participating.
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".
He released the book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel in 2013, a look at Israel's alleged aggressive shift to the far-right, and crackdown on local activism. Goliath got awarded the 2014 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Notable Book Award.
In the preface to the book, Blumenthal claims "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 "as they really are today, in unadorned and unsanitized form, without sentimentality or nostalgia."
Recommended by Glenn Greenwald and Charles Glass, the book received great critical acclaim. Among many reviews, Goliath was praised by Akiva Eldar, a veteran Israeli political correspondent, in Al Monitor: according to Eldar, “a significant part of the book’s strength lies in the effect that is naturally created when a foreign correspondent describes the reality of your life and surroundings. Thus, as if from a bas relief, details are raised to which the local eye has become so accustomed that it no longer notices their existence.”  The book also received criticism.
- 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
- Max Blumenthal (2015): The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1568585116
- Begala, Paul. "Commentary: Obama Lucky With His Enemies", CNN.com, September 10, 2009.
- Blumenthal, Max. Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. New York: Nation Books, 2009; ISBN 1-56858-398-2
- The Nation, Max Blumenthal profile, thenation.com; accessed 2009-09-12.
- Max Blumenthal profile, HuffingtonPost.com; accessed 2009-09-12.
- Alternet, Max Blumenthal profile, alternet.org; accessed August 18, 2015.
- New York Times Bestseller, Republican Gomorrah, nytimes.com; accessed August 18, 2015.
- Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for An Especially Notable Book, , lannan.org; accessed August 18, 2015.
- "Getting rid of census survey is wasteful", CNN.com, May 23, 2012; accessed 2012-05-23.
- "Dershowitz warns Democrats to drop Media Matters", Foxnews.com, February 13, 2012; accessed 2012-05-23
- "Max Blumenthal". The Investigative Fund. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Max Blumenthal profile, thenation.com; accessed May 21, 2015.
- The Real News, 22 June 2012, "Max Blumenthal Resigns Al Akhbar Over Syria Coverage"
- Blumenthal, Max (June 20, 2012). "The right to resist is universal: A farewell to Al Akhbar and Assad's apologists". MaxBlumenthal.com. Retrieved July 9, 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.
- "Max Blumenthal Joins AlterNet as a Senior Writer", alternet.org; accessed May 21, 2015.
- The 51 Day War, publicaffairsbooks.com; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Day of the Dead, salon.com, December 4, 2002; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "Neighborhood Briefing", Arizona Daily Star, September 17, 2004.
- Mandell, Jonathan. "Why Awards Matter", 2003 ONA Conference Participant's Blog. November 15, 2003; accessed 2009-09-12.
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- "Why Immigrant Detainees Are Turning to Civil Disobedience", salon.com, March 23, 2014.
- "Vigilante Injustice", truthdig.com, May 22, 2003; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Profiting From Immigration Injustice, Salon.com, Feb 14, 2010 "Profiting From Immigration Injustice", truthdig.com; February 14, 2010; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "My Day Testifying in the Courtroom of John Roll", huffingtonpost.com, January 9, 2011.
- "The other regime change", salon.com, July 17, 2004; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Meet Sarah Palin's radical right-wing pals, salon.com, July 17, 2004; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Palin E-mails Show Infighting With Staff, cbsnews.com; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "Gaza Residents Share Allegations of Abuse, Claim Israeli Soldiers Used Them as Human Shields", alternet.org, August 26, 2014; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "The Hannibal Directive: How Israel Killed Its Own Troops and Massacred Palestinians to Prevent Soldier's Capture", Alternet.org, September 2, 2014.
- "Gruesome Tales Surface of Israeli Massacres Against Families in Gaza Neighborhood", alternet.org; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "Israel Is Put on Trial for War Crimes", Alternet.org, September 26, 2014.
- "We Just Wish for the Hit to Put an End to the Massacres", The Nation, September 13, 2013 "We Just Wish for the Hit to Put an End to the Massacres"
- "The Great Islamophobic Crusade", tomdispatch.com, December 19, 2010
- "The Sugar Mama of Anti-Muslim Hate", thenation.com; June 13, 2012; accessed May 21, 2015.
- "Exposing Anti-Islam Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Latest Deception", alternet.org, March 26, 2015.
- "How Israeli Occupation Forces, Bahraini Monarchy Guards Trained U.S. Police For Coordinated Crackdown On “Occupy” Protests", Exiledonline.com, December 2, 2011.
- Jeffrey Goldberg, "Did Israel Train American Interrogators in Torture?" (UPDATED), TheAtlantic.com, December 7, 2011.
- Adam Serwer, "Is Israel Responsible For The Occupy Crackdowns?", Mother Jones, December 7, 2011.
- "A Response to Cpl, Jeffrey Goldberg on Greenberg, Israel and Torture", Al-Akhbar, December 7, 2011.
- 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…, exiledonline.com, December 7, 2011.
- Wiesenthal releases 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list, Jerusalem Post, December 30, 2013.
- "Max Blumenthal - Russell Tribunal 2014 - 24/09". YouTube.
- "Wiesenthal releases 'Top Ten 2013 anti-Semitic, anti-Israel slurs' list". Jerusalem Post.
- James Fallows,"Afraid of Free Speech, on Many Fronts: PEN, Google, China, Goliath", theatlantic.com, December 19, 2013.
- "Activists seek to rebrand Israel as 'JSIL'", stream.aljazeera.com, September 30, 2014.
- JSIL,Activists seek to rebrand Israel as 'JSIL', AlJazeera.com, September 30, 2014.
- "Routine Emergencies", Haaretz.com, October 1, 2014.
- Awful #JSIL Campaign Likens Israel to ISIS, nymag.com; September 2014; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Delfs, Arne (November 12, 2014), "Israel Critics Chase Left Leader in German Parliament", Bloomberg News
- 'Gysis ungebetene Gäste', Die Zeit, November 11, 2014.(German)
- "Why I Was Censored From Talking About Israel In Germany - 12/1/2014".
- "Video: German politician hides in toilet from truth about Israel - 12/11/2014". Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Mikcis, David (March 10, 2015). "Wild Thing: Max Blumenthal's Creepy Anti-Zionist Odyssey". tabletmag.com. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Weinthal, Benjamin (November 15, 2014), "German politicians, media outraged over leftists' anti-Israel ‘toiletgate’", The Jerusalem Post, retrieved May 21, 2015
- "Israel critics chase Gysi into bathroom stall", The Local, November 12, 2014, retrieved May 21, 2015
- "American Sniper: Honoring a Fallen Hero or Whitewashing a Murderous Occupation?", TheRealNews.com; accessed May 21, 2015.
- Treiman, Daniel. "Max Blumenthal, Scourge of Conservative Conferences." The Forward. August 10, 2007.
- Greenwald, Glenn. "The Weekly Standard's '9/11 Generation'." Salon.com. July 23, 2007. Accessed 2009-09-12.
- LaSalle, Mick. "Maximum Strength Mick." San Francisco Chronicle. July 19, 2007.
- 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.
- Burston, Bradley (2009-06-12). "Loving Israel by hating Obama". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- 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 
- Staff (2009-06-19). "YouTube removes Blumenthal video". JTA. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- Hartman, Benjamin L. (2009-06-14). "Filmmaker behind 'drunk Jews' video denies fueling anti-Semitism". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- BuzzFlash.com's Review of Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party
- Nina Burleigh (October 29, 2013) "Goliath vs. Goliath: Blumenthal Book Is Right About Israeli Myopia, but Naive on Islamists", observer.com, October 2013; accessed August 15, 2015.
- Blumenthal, Max (2013). Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1568586342.
- No Longer David: The State of Israel As Goliath Al Monitor No Longer David: The State of Israel As Goliath
- Jonathan Jeremy Goldberg (October 31, 2013) Israel Book That Makes Even Anti-Zionists Blush The Forward
- Petra Marquardt-Bigman (February 17, 2014) Free speech and antisemitism: Max Blumenthal's Goliath Jerusalem Post
- Jim Miles (November 26, 2013) Life and Loathing in Greater Israel: A Review of Max Blumenthal's "Goliath", ForeignPolicyJournal.com, November 26, 2013.
- Blumenthal's website
- Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel - Max Blumenthal pt1 (Oct. 2013), Ethnic Cleansing and the Israeli "Center" - Max Blumenthal pt2 (Oct. 2013), Greater Israel is Based on Expulsion and Annexation - Max Blumenthal pt3 (Oct. 2013), Architect of Apartheid in Israel: "If we don't kill, we will cease to exist" - Max Blumenthal pt4 (Nov. 2013), Racism, Occupier and the Occupied - Max Blumenthal pt5 (Nov. 2013), The Real News
- GOLIATH: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (Dec. 2013), New America Foundation
- Max Blumenthal Interview November 2009 on Robert W. McChesney's Media Matters
- Story Archive at AlterNet
- Blog Archive at The Huffington Post
- NPR Audio Interview with Max Blumenthal + Book Excerpt
- Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party by Max Blumenthal - report at Democracy Now!
- Republican Gomorrah discussion at Berkeley Arts and Letters, September 2009
- Max Blumenthal Interview January 2014, Joshua
- Life and Loathing in Greater Israel - Max Blumenthal on Reality Asserts Itself The Real News Network
Frank/Counterpunch, about Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and the reactions to it