Israel supporters target New America Foundation for upcoming event with Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is scheduled to discuss his book Goliath at the New America Foundation in Washington DC on Wednesday, December 4th. Afraid that Blumenthal’s reporting has breached the walls of the beltway, Israel’s defenders have started the predictable McCarthyite campaign to shut it down.

It seems it started with this Ron Radosh post on the right-wing Pajamas Media. After recounting Eric Alterman’s greatest hits against the book, Radosh says:

One could — and should — ignore Blumenthal’s book. It is disconcerting to find, however, that on December 4th, the New America Foundation is having a book talk by Blumenthal, introduced by the noted counter-terrorism expert and best-selling author Peter Bergen. The announcement for the talk calls Blumenthal’s book “an unflinching, unprecedented work of journalism which depicts a startling portrait of Israeli society under siege from increasingly authoritarian politics.”

I doubt whether the NAF staff consulted many of them about the decision to sponsor a talk, or if they even are aware it is taking place. But one cannot take lightly the decision of the organization to have this event. There are many worthwhile books out there with liberal authors who would have been happy to make a presentation at their venue.  To bring Blumenthal, whose work has so far had an appeal only to the far Left and to the radical fringe, is to legitimize this book and make its publication accessible to a wider audience that is outside Nation magazine circles and that otherwise would not have known about it.

Yet, the stakes are even higher! The issue here isn’t just giving Blumenthal undue publicity, but that the event itself may be an integral part of the Democratic Party’s foreign machinations:

All of this raises an interesting question. At a time when the Obama administration is putting into effect a very, very bad deal with Iran, and incurring the just opposition of our ally Israel, and John Kerry is busy trying to again force Israel into making concessions to promote another round of meaningless Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, how related is NAF’s decision to sponsor a book talk by Blumenthal to the administration’s new agenda? Does someone who plans events at NAF believe that this is the time to portray Israel in the harshest light possible, in the hopes that it will turn public opinion against Israel, and thereby gain approval for foreign policy measures opposed to Israel’s need for security?

Dear reader, while you may laugh, others are being kept up at night by this very possibility. One such nightwalker is Commentary‘s Jonathan Tobin who picks up the Radosh piece: “NAF’s positions are predictably liberal . . . but next month, the NAF will put something different on the agenda: anti-Zionism.” (Editor’s note: Press here)

Tobin continues, and yeah, he goes there too:

by doing so they are also sending a dangerous signal in the world of D.C. ideas that talk about doing away with Israel is no longer confined, as it should be, to the fever swamps of the far left or the far right. Instead, thanks to the Nation and its friends at the New America Foundation, open hatred against Israel and the campaign to delegitimize Zionism have now been given an undeserved veneer of respectability in Barack Obama’s Washington.

In one sense, it is hardly surprising that Slaughter’s group would embrace Blumenthal’s book at the same time that the current head of the State Department is counseling Congress to “ignore” Israeli concerns about Iran and betraying its democratic ally with deals that legitimize Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

And then he goes even further:

Just as it would be a scandal if some conservative think tank of comparable stature hosted an author of an openly racist book or one advocating the virtues of slavery, there is something shocking and fundamentally indecent about NAF’s decision to host a writer who is the moral equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan’s David Duke.

Whew, boy. Blumenthal has gone from being a charter member of the Hamas Book of the Month Club to now “advocating the virtues of slavery.” What are they saving for when Goliath comes out in paperback?!

As ridiculous as they may be, these attacks are making the rounds and taking aim at New America Foundation President Anne-Marie Slaughter.  Ali Abunimah captured the right question on Twitter:

Sadly, this is a question. We shall see.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics

{ 0 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. palijustice says:

    It will be a great day indeed when those who are bashing Blumenthal’s new book, realize that Israel’s policies and apartheid structure that it has established are very bad for the Jewish people and religion, as well as for the Palestinians.

  2. Krauss says:

    This is a concerted effort, it was pre-planned. That much is obvious.

    The crucial question is this: how much, if at all, will the liberal media follow the smear campaign?
    In other words, will they bend to the pressure like CAP or stand firm? Will we see Eric Alterman-esque attacks?
    The grassroots are with Max on this issue, but the donor class is deeply regressive/racist.

    CAP wants that cash so they bent their knee. NAF is also subject to these same forces.

    This is a key test of just how liberal these instiutions claim they are.
    Just how sensitive are they to donor concerns? And how progressive is really the liberal media on I/P post-Cast Lead, as we are facing a situation in which the 2SS/peace process sham is buried once and for all? Will they defend Apartheid?

    We see these pressures in the Jewish community too. Theaters can’t even make plays on the conflict without certain donors going nuts, putting pressure on the directors of these theaters to cancel the entire shows.

    This is an inflection point. Let’s hope those who call themselves liberals and believers in freedom of speech actually uphold their values.

  3. pabelmont says:

    Adam: ” What are they saving for when Goliath comes out in paperback?!”
    Love it! Brilliant piece.

    Isn’t it a kick when the protectors of Israel decide that describing Israel’s warts (as GOLIATH does) may properly be described as a call to destroy Israel (and therefore, need I say, is VERY BAD) whereas describing Israel as the best thing since sliced bread — the normal fudge in the USA — amounts to giving Israel continuing permission to destroy Palestine (and therefore, need I say, not bad in the eyes of the Zionist stalwarts).

    Hope this event does take place and is well attended.

  4. Bumblebye says:

    Is Max really the new “Grand Dragon” or whatever they call themselves??
    Love the drama button!
    ” (Editor’s note: Press here)”

  5. HarryLaw says:

    Bumblebye .. “Imperial Wizard” Max is a writing wizard.

    • He is way beyond a “writing wizard.”

      Five years ago, I helped Max duct tape a hidden camera to his torso, and worked with him as he learned to quickly recite the names of Michael Jackson’s siblings in a weird voice, so he could pass some sort of speaking in tongues test, in part of his efforts to infiltrate Sarah Palin’s church in Wasilla, on a night when some totally crazy fuck was going to be ranting in front of the crazed and eerily hypnotized congregation.

      I thought he might be going over the line of journalistic professionalism. Yet, when he recounted to me later how it had gone down, the way he described the inevitable encounter with the minders at the “event” struck me as deeply honest.

      I’ve had a couple of conversations since with people who were at this thing that night, and were members of the congregation, and witnessed Max’s interaction. They both were impressed with his sincerity and directness in answering challenges. He was allowed to stay.

      The “Gonzo” label some have attached to Blumenthal seems more shallow as the years pass. If anything along those lines has veracity, he has finally brought that term to a more meaningful level than Thompson ever did.

      Thompson was easy to put down, mostly because he was pretty dysfunctional. Max is not. Part of why these creeps keep on casually mischaracterizing him is because they haven’t been able to come up with anything genuine to attack the substance of his work.

      To bring Blumenthal, whose work has so far had an appeal only to the far Left and to the radical fringe, is to legitimize this book and make its publication accessible to a wider audience

      is creepy, but

      At a time when the Obama administration is putting into effect a very, very bad deal with Iran, and incurring the just opposition of our ally Israel, and John Kerry is busy trying to again force Israel into making concessions to promote another round of meaningless Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, how related is NAF’s decision to sponsor a book talk by Blumenthal to the administration’s new agenda?

      shows how fearful the people who want “meaningless peace talks” to seem meaningful are of the nexus of truthful portrayals Max’s work represents the forefront of.

      I wish those of us who think climate and nuclear waste issues are more important than I/P had such a spokesperson as Max Blumenthal.

      Glad to see they won’t be able to keep Blumenthal outside the beltway.

  6. just says:

    Max has spun the dreidel into proverbial orbit.

    Nothing remains the same.

    Bravo Max!

    (I have absorbed Goliath in Goliath- sized gulps, and have given the book to friends, writing upon the first crisp page– “pass it on”…… I hope the copies become dog-eared and marked with highlighters. It’s such a gift of truth and reality!)

  7. ToivoS says:

    What surprised me the most was that Ann Slaughter is director of NAR that invited Max. She had always struck me as very hawkish, humanitarian war type of foreign policy analyst. Just not someone who would be willing to stir things up like sponsoring Max. I noticed her most recent academic title is emerita — is this another example of someone who is willing to take a stand after they retire. Can’t complain, of course, and maybe I was wrong about her all along.

  8. RudyM says:

    I’ve been reading Goliath and wondering if it would have been better to give this to my brother to read, rather than Pappe’s Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, which he actually started reading, but which I’m afraid is going to be drier and more academic than what he’s comfortable reading. So far I like the way Blumenthal weaves the roots of Israel (1948 and earlier) into the present.

  9. link to theglobeandmail.com

    Guys,

    I know this is off topic but please see link above. A glossy,paid-for travel piece through occupied territories in Canada’s national newspaper. Yet nary a mention of the occupied part! It was an above the fold number in today’s “Life” section.

    Annie, someone!, may want to pick this up. Nof49.

    • what a puff piece!

      The chairlift riders overhead hoot and holler at our skills, and for an instant I feel like a professional skier carving dangerous lines that no one thought possible. I’m not. I’m just one of the best skiers on the hill. Which isn’t saying much.

      The bottom of the ski run feels like the most dangerous place in Israel. I constantly look over my shoulder for runaway snowboards, erratically carried ski poles or careening skiers. When the lifts shut down at four o’clock, everyone loads back into their buses for the slow ride home. We join them and head to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

      The potential for outdoor adventure in Israel is endless.

    • Walid says:

      “Canada’s national newspaper”

      What made you say it was Canada’s national newspaper? Last I heard was it was the Conservative mouthpiece. “Conservative” as in C-Z PM Harper. Not much wonder that it would promote Israel and its stolen treasures. In the by-elections of a couple of nights back, the Conservatives almost lost 2 of their seats, one of which they held for 60 years. Justin Trudeau winning a seat for the Liberals, if he’s anything like his late father, according to the polls should be Canada’s next Prime Minister in 2 years .

  10. RE: “It seems it started with this Ron Radosh post on the right-wing Pajamas Media.” ~ Adam Horowitz

    MY COMMENT: I remember when Pajamas Media sent “Joe the Plumber” to Israel to report back during ’08-’09 assault on Gaza. What an awesome commitment to real journalism!

  11. seafoid says:

    ” far Left and ..radical fringe”

    the memes never change
    Munich, Nazi, Hitler, far left and radical fringe

  12. American says:

    Is there a “loose confederation of individuals’ in DC who want to side line Israel in US politics and to put it in it’s place?
    It’s possible.
    6 or so years ago Steve Clemons, who was with the New America Foundation at the time, did an article on his Washington Note blog that while it didn’t ‘say that’ outright, it ‘implied’ it. That there were some very important people ‘around the country’ not necessarily in DC, that were becoming ‘uncomfortable’ with what was going on. The conversations going on evidently were that ‘we down home Americans’ had shirked our duty by sending our children into MBA businese careers and not encouraging them to go into or do more government and public service and gov was being filled by people who had no real sense of ‘duty’ to the country.
    So who knows, maybe there is another ‘loose confederation of individuals’….as the I Lobby was referred to…..who have decided to become not so loose and cooperate to clean a few things up and the Isr’merica aberration is on their list.

    • Ecru says:

      I’m wondering if it may not be too late for the Beltway to be reclaimed by Americans who actually put America first. Not only is there a HUGE problem with electoral funding, but the people in State who shape so much policy have a habit of hiring only people who broadly agree with them, on either side of the (virtually non-existent) political divide.

  13. radosh is loath to admit he didn’t actually read the book, so instead of writing a shitty review he writes a glowing review of alterman’s shitty review.

    lol! i love it!

    • W.Jones says:

      Yet Alterman, having read Blumenthal’s book, dubbed it “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,”
      …One could — and should — ignore Blumenthal’s book.

  14. bilal a says:

    Commentary doesn’t like Max Blumenthal’s facts, and also spends print space on defusing crazy conspiracy theories about Israel’s nukes and the JFK assassination, interesting:

    link to commentarymagazine.com

  15. MRW says:

    I hope someone films Blumenthal’s appearance on Dec 4th. At the very least, audio…even if by iPhone. If anyone going has a Mac laptop or an iPad, AudioNote is great, although a paid app. Plug in the computer, turn down the screen, and let it roll.