Eric Alterman declines request to debate Max Blumenthal at Brooklyn College

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Columnist and author Eric Alterman. (Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)

Brooklyn College professor and Nation columnist Eric Alterman has declined to debate author Max Blumenthal over the question, “What would a just settlement of the Israel/Palestine issue be, and how can it be brought about?”

This week, the Students for Justice in Palestine club at Brooklyn College asked Blumenthal and Alterman whether they would agree to a debate at the school.  ”We believe that Brooklyn College would be the perfect platform if such a debate were to happen,” the club’s leader, Sundus Seif, wrote to Alterman and Blumenthal.  ”We hope that a debate on yet another controversial topic—in this case, the contents of Mr. Blumenthal’s book—would create a space for more of these much needed, and very difficult conversations to have.”

The request came after weeks of debate raged between Blumenthal and Alterman over the contents of Blumenthal’s new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

This website had previously called on Brooklyn College or The Nation to host such a debate.  Alterman replied to the request from Students for Justice in Palestine with a simple, “no thanks.” (He’s also previously declined a request to debate Blumenthal on Bloggingheads.)

I followed up with Alterman by e-mail to clarify why he declined the request.  ”You’ve got to be kidding,” he told me.  After asking one more time, he wrote: “You’ve got my quote. Your future emails will go into spam.”

Of course, Alterman is not obliged to debate Blumenthal.  It’s his right not to.  But last year, when Brooklyn College found itself in the midst of controversy over the Political Science Department’s co-sponsorship of a panel on the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement, Alterman questioned why the talk would be one-sided.

While the professor came out in favor of the college’s right to host such a panel, he wrote:

The second, far more difficult question raised by the controversy was what should one’s position be with regard to BDS itself, and by extension, the political science department’s decision to lend legitimacy to a talk at which its arguments would be presented without opposition or clarification from its opponents.

He now has his chance to oppose Blumenthal’s ideas at Brooklyn College.  It would be a debate between individuals known to have very different views on Israel/Palestine.  Too bad it won’t happen.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Politics

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

  1. Cliff says:

    EA doesn’t want to embarrass himself more than he already has.

  2. Nevada Ned says:

    No surprise. Max Blumenthal has done his homework, and knows the facts about the I/P struggle, including inconvenient facts that are very often omitted. Eric Alterman is an expert blatherer, but really doesn’t know much, as was painfully evident during the his exchanges with Blumenthal about Goliath.

    If I were Alterman, I’d decline to debate for fear of getting creamed!

  3. hophmi says:

    I think maybe Alterman is tired of Blumenthal, and others in the pro-Palestinian movement, being untruthful about his views and his writing, and he feels no need to provide Blumenthal with an additional platform.

    I’m sure you guys will celebrate this as some sort of victory, but it’s really just another example of how Blumenthal is being marginalized because he’s over the top.

    • You are a bitter boy, only one being “tired” is you, as proven by your comments at Blumenthal’s site.

    • Shingo says:

      I think maybe Alterman is tired of Blumenthal,

      You’re every bit as pathetic as Altermsm Hop.

      You guys are losing the debate by embarrassing margins so you decide you don’t like the fame or don’t want to play anymore.

    • Walker says:

      I think maybe Alterman is tired of Blumenthal, and others in the pro-Palestinian movement, being untruthful about his views and his writing, and he feels no need to provide Blumenthal with an additional platform.

      If this were true you’d think Alterman would jump at the chance to set the record straight. He’d be providing himself with a platform.

      Blumenthal’s aim is probably not to bask in the reflected light of that great luminary, Eric Alterman.

    • chinese box says:

      “I think maybe Alterman is tired of Blumenthal, and others in the pro-Palestinian movement, being untruthful about his views and his writing, and he feels no need to provide Blumenthal with an additional platform.”

      From what I’ve heard, it was Alterman who dismissed and/or distorted the ideas “Goliath” without giving an adequate explanation.

      As for Alterman’s views on I/P, the only thing I’m familiar with is some list he created years ago of people in the media who were biased in favor of or against Israel, according to him.

      For whatever reason, he’s decided to promote a liberal zionist position at this point, but I suspect he just isn’t knowledgeable enough about I/P to hold his own in a debate. Or maybe he doesn’t even believe strongly in the position he’s taken–he could have done that hatchet job in the Nation strictly for careerist reasons.

    • Cliff says:

      @hophmi

      Wrong, hasbarat.

      Alterman is the one who initiated this ongoing ‘feud’.

      Alterman is the one prolonging it.

      And in both cases, he has put forth no ‘argument’ – just a string of strawmans.

      Don’t talk about Max when you haven’t even read his damn book. You are just a troll – and you know it.

    • Djinn says:

      He’s tired of him, that’s why he just can’t stop criticizing him.

    • ziusudra says:

      Greetings hophmi,
      Of all the great debates of the past,
      Catholicism vs Protestantism,
      Monarchy vs Democracy,
      Feudalism vs Capitalism,
      Creationalism vs Darwinism,
      Slavery vs Abolition, etc.
      Biblical, Moral based arguements lost every time.
      It was very easy for protagonists like Hitchins,
      Finkelstein & Chromsky to flatten those who used
      biblical fairy tales & slogans like, next year in Jerusalem!
      One example, As the Desh. was asked, did he consider
      himself to be one of the Chosen People, he quipped, yes,
      but we were only chosen to past God’s word onto Mankind!
      That said it all, Moral, Biblical, a selfrighteous premise!
      Considering that EL was the Main Deity of the Sumerians
      having 70 children Deities, one of which was Jahweh, a nature
      deity, whom they adopted over EL in 536BC when writung in
      Sumerian Cuneiform Alphabet of the history proving a written
      code of ethics to be able to return to Jerusalem by pleasing King
      Cyrus.
      ziusudra
      PS They haven’t won in de past & won’t win in de future.
      It has nothing to do with education or intelligence.
      It has to do with today’s laws & principles even in cut throat
      Bankerdom, Corporationalism &/or Military dominance.
      Biblical fairy tales are not history & won’t stand up in Int’l Courts of Law.
      Should Big Brother shrug, & he will, its over!

    • Giles says:

      Perfect Hophimi. Cowardice is courage in Zionworld.

  4. pabelmont says:

    Yup, gives the lie to the Zio claim of a desire to have balanced discussions. What they really want — I’d guess — is not a balanced discussion, their claim TTCNWS, but either a Zionist-only “debate” or no debate/discussion at all but merely to shut-down any pro-Palestine voice (or voice critical of Israel) from being heard whether or not there is a balancing voice.

    I’d ask Alterman whom — since not himself by his own choice — would he recommend to serve as a balancing voice on the proposed discussion topic. See whom he proposes as a spokesman for the Israelis (or non-Israeli Zionists).

    I’d also ask him whom he’d agree to discuss the proposed topic with other than Max Blumenthal. See whom he proposes as a spokesman for the Palestinians.

    • seafoid says:

      They are happiest torturing Palestinians. They can’t cope with words and arguments strung together artfully. They aren’t taught much in school.

      • Yitzgood says:

        They are happiest torturing Palestinians. They can’t cope with words and arguments strung together artfully. They aren’t taught much in school.

        “They” includes Alterman? He’s “happiest torturing Palestinians” and he “can’t cope with words and arguments strung together artfully” and he wasn’t “taught much in school”?

        • puppies says:

          Reading Alterman’s more recent output, that is indeed the impression. It seems that in the past he could write to satisfy conventional writing habits, went to school and got some English degrees and a teaching appointment at a college. Also, he doesn’t appear to live in Palestine in a Zionist uniform torturing people. Nevertheless, you’d never know it from his recent activity.

        • seafoid says:

          Can he debate someone who knows the bot handbook backwards and has the arguments to knock the memes down one by one?

          Alterman contracts out the IDF to do the torturing. He may be educated but he can’t argue his way out of a paper bag in defense of apartheid. Neither can Beinart.

          link to youtube.com

    • Henry Norr says:

      TTCNWS ??? Even Google doesn’t know what that means: the closest it finds is TTCNews, which is apparently the Twitter handle of a publication the full name of which is Travel Trade Caribbean. Somehow I don’t think that’s what you mean, PAB?

      • pabelmont says:

        Henry Norr — My invention. TTCNWS –> “to the contrary notwithstanding”. I’m not really “with” the tweet abbrev culture, so I “rolled my own”. Sorry to confuse.

        • Sibiriak says:

          Intellectual cowardice, plain and simple.

        • My invention. TTCNWS …. I “rolled my own”.

          lol! YGTBOOYFM. (that’s short for ‘you’ve got to be out of your frigging mind’) it reminds me of a game my son and i used to play on long road trips called ‘name that tune’ based on clapping the beat.

  5. Krauss says:

    At this point Alterman is just a total trainwreck. You can’t get your eyes from it unfolding.

    He keeps saying that he’s “done with this” yet keeps coming back, like a glutton for punishment.
    He attacks Rania Khalek’s call for a more balanced roster of debaters on I/P instead of almost only pro-Zionist Jews. He all but calls her an anti-Semite.
    He keeps attacking the pro-democracy crowd as one-sided, but refuses to engage them in any substantive argument whenever given the change. What are his protests if nothing but hollow?

    At this stage I’m not sure anyone really takes Alterman seriously.
    Is his entire being a giant performance art piece?
    That’s the way I start to see him now.

  6. If Alterman refuses with only a dismissive comment to have an open discussion with someone he has relentlessly attacked, how can “The Nation” continue to keep him?

  7. Les says:

    At least our media won’t have to report on the non-debate. What is even more verboten than having Palestinians on that media, is any mention of Jews who oppose Israel’s occupation and ethnic cleansing.

    • RoHa says:

      They don’t want to call them “self-hating” in public. It makes it difficult to see that it is the Israelis who are the Real Victims™.

      ([Sigh] Another misplaced comma after a subject clause. Don’t they teach this stuff in schools?)

  8. Max Blumenthal is Dennis the Menace. Why would anyone sane debate him? It may be true that Alterman and others would not debate even responsible people, but Blumenthal is a gonzo journalist. Did anyone ever agree to debate Hunter Thompson? Not.

    • if i were alterman i wouldn’t debate max. for one thing if alterman had a legitimate argument about goliath we would have read it in his column already. he’d just get creamed.

    • marc b. says:

      so Blumenthal is a drug-addled cartoon character. and yet he’s certainly your intellectual superior, and apparently alterman’s as well from what I’ve read over the past months. give that some thought. perhaps that has something to do with his disinterest in a public debate. you could debate Blumenthal though, acting as untermann’s second. like the old days.

    • Mondowise says:

      “Why would anyone sane debate him?”

      well, first, anyone that much opposed to Max, since Max stands for true human rights, can’t be and indeed isn’t all that mentally sound. secondly, no zionist would debate him…because they know damn well how much they’d end up with mud on their zionist faces, humiliated-extraordinaire…and publicly, no less. it’s a bit too much for z’s to risk with their narcissistic pathology.

    • Cliff says:

      Wondering Jew,

      This is the best proof that you are nothing more than a right-wing lunatic.

      Since most people view MW rather than comment – I encourage everyone to look up Max’s lectures on Goliath.

      He has given several. The one I thought to be the best was at the Boulder Friends Meeting House on November 13, 2013:

      link to vimeo.com

      There’s the lecture and the Q n A.

      Listen to him speak. He is a good public speaker and there is no fluff in the talks he gives. It’s all based on the facts.

      Then come back and read the garbage that the hysterical commentator, ‘yonah’ whatever is polluting MW with. Read what Eric Alterman (who Wondering Jew/yonah pathetically plagiarized).

      Does the Max Blumenthal you see in the video have anything to do with what these Zionist cartoon characters have to say?

      It’s so bizarre how you live in your own paranoid fantasy, Wondering Jew, even when you’re not dreaming.

      Grow the F up, seriously. You only comment on Jewish identity related topics because you are a COWARD.

    • RoHa says:

      “Max Blumenthal is Dennis the Menace. Why would anyone sane debate him?”

      Alterman is a coward. Dennis is pretty terrifying, but it would be saner to debate him than to debate Gnasher.

      link to dennisandgnasher.com

    • Citizen says:

      @ yonah fredman
      What do you mean by “gonzo journalist”? Thompson’s style was described as “totally gonzo”. The name stuck, though, as he confessed, nobody knew what the hell it meant. For the literary, he could explain that it followed William Faulkner’s dictum that “the best fiction is more true than any kind of journalism.”

      So, tell us, what facts in Blumenthal’s fat book Goliath are fiction? Those who hate the book have admitted the contents are factually aka “technically” accurate.

      • definition of gonzo does not include fiction. i was referencing his david letterman comedy sketch style, his style as described below in answer to Helena Cobban.

      • marc b. says:

        The ‘facts’ and fredman aren’t acquainted, citizen. And Fredman is an emotional protocol, not a real person. I guess you could say he operates like a movie script, or more accurately a comic strip character, every line predetermined. See below.

        1. Throw ‘bomb’, comparing a journalist to a deceased drug addict for example;
        2. Focus attention on oneself;
        3. Play victim and take ‘high road’ (“what me? I’m not the name caller.”);
        4. Link to article, video, etc. allegedly supporting the original slander, assuming that most will not actually read article, view video, etc.;
        5. Insinuate anti-semitism (e.g. Lindbergh, Father Coughlin. Save ‘hitler’ for emergencies)

    • amigo says:

      “Max Blumenthal is Dennis the Menace.” jonah fredman

      Duh, I guess that makes you Mr Magoo.

    • Giles says:

      Yonah. Time to come into the light. You have been in the darkness for too long.

  9. seafoid says:

    If Alterman had any decent memes he’d be out to challenge Blumenthal in a flash.
    They used to have the confidence to state their case to the world.

    link to youtube.com
    But time has been very hard on the memes.
    Ma sha allah.

  10. chinese box says:

    “Max Blumenthal is Dennis the Menace. Why would anyone sane debate him?”

    And yet Alterman didn’t have a problem with reviewing Goliath…

  11. Kathleen says:

    Demonstrates EA is a coward and knows he is not standing on firm or truthful ground. Plays to his advantage not debating…avoiding facts. In a debate he would look like a fool. Refusing to debate Alterman just looks like a fool with distance between Blumenthals facts and Alterman’s spin. In a debate this distance would disappear and his lies/spin would be stripped down to the bare facts which Blumenthal can throw out at lightening speed.

    He wants to continue to escape the evidence. Blumenthal has the evidence, hard facts, EA the spin. Facts eventually screws the spin.

  12. It’s very unclear what Yonah means to convey with the “Dennis the Menace” reference. Maybe, a little boy who creates trouble for all around him? (Oh, trying to demean him by comparing him to a child, there, are we Yonah?)

    Otoh, if we expand the analogy to think of the boy who was brave enough to call out in public that “The [Zionist] Emperor Has No Clothes!”, then I think Max and all of his friends should totally embrace it! Yes, I am that kind of a “child”, too!

    • Gonzo journalism. Do you know what that is? Does Max practice it at times? So, if you know what it is and agree that Max practices it, it is apparent that Max can don and doff the adult persona at will and adopt the smirk of Dennis the Menace.

      I confess that the war on Gaza was a turning point in my life as well, but Max’s interviews of the Jews in Manhattan included a woman who pointed out the scariness of Islamic practices and beliefs and pointed to a ceremony that seemed barbaric and Max reacted, well what about circumcision and he was lewd and crude and on the street with his comment and this is Dennis the Menace. He can don and doff the smirks of teenage David Lettermanesque comedy sketches. That’s what I mean

      • tree says:

        Once again, yonah, you prove that your morals are severely screwed. This is the interview you are talking about:

        question starts at 2:03 into video

        He isn’t just interviewing random “Jews in Manhattan”; he is interviewing people who are in attendance at a rally in support of Israel’s 2008 attack on Gaza. He’s asks that particular woman “where do you draw the line with civilian casualties, when you start questioning what they are doing?” Her response was to deflect to something she saw on TV about a little girl in Lebanon having a slash mark in blood made on her forehead by her father during a religious ceremony (whether such a thing exists I don’t know: I defer to those more knowledgeable about Islam than I am). Clearly her intent was to dehumanize Palestinians and Arabs in general and thus excuse the taking of civilian life. Max properly brought up the fact that he, as a Jewish baby, had his penis slashed ( a “scary Jewish practice” to paraphrase you). He was neither “rude” nor “lewd” to do so. He didn’t gratuitously mention his penis. He used the word because that is where he was slashed as an infant. He didn’t offer to “whip it out” to show it to her, nor did he refer to it as his “shlong” or “dick” or “throbbing manliness” or any other lewd terms for the anatomically correct “penis”. Heaven forbid he use the word “penis” in a discussion with a woman who is in the midst of rationalizing genocide. Why that would be rude of him!

        So to sum up, you think that excusing and even celebrating civilian deaths is somehow “grown up” and worthy of respect, but Max pointing out that Judaism has a similar blood ritual as the one the woman described is “childish” and “rude” on his part.

        That’s warped morality.

        • tree- I understand now. Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech was just good old Americanism and Max’s interviewing style is just spot on appropriate. You’re warped, tree.

          • tree says:

            No, you don’t understand. You’ve got no response other than to call me names, and act as if you are the aggrieved party. That seems to be the bulk of your current contribution in the comments here. See who you can denigrate next just because they personally upset your contorted sense of right and wrong.

            You are excusing a woman who was justifying killing innocent civilians and instead pillorying Max because you think he was “rude” to compare Jewish religious rites to Islamic ones. Its of a piece with you excusing Israeli and Zionist Jews lionizing a butcher and a war criminal in Sharon. No wonder you think that I am warped. You’ve lost all sense of right and wrong and couldn’t find your moral way out of a paper bag with one end open and a set of directions.

          • talknic says:

            Mmmmm. I wonder what the reaction would be to a banner being waved in a Manhattan street saying “Judaism = the cult of hate”. Some people are seriously indoctrinated, ignorant and hatefilled.

          • tree- I am not defending the woman. It is not the journalist’s role to get in the mud with the interviewee, unless you’re a gonzo. That’s my opinion. You think this is state of the art journalism. Fine. Do this: name five journalists that you would appoint to determine whether what Max did here was journalism or something less. We will not in fact get a chance to ask the five journalists, but we will at least be on the same page that this is something that a journalist should determine. If you think you can determine this because your heart is in the right place and no journalist needs to be consulted, then at least we will be clear.

            I call you names?! You make me laugh.

          • tree says:

            Yonah,

            He’s not “getting in the mud” with her. He’s asking her a question, which she then seeks to divert and then he asks her another question about that diversion. You don’t like the question because she has no legitimate response to it. But that’s what journalists are supposed to do. They aren’t supposed to lob softballs at people. She isn’t just an ordinary person minding her own business here. She’s taking a stand and putting herself out in public with that stand and ought to be willing to defend that stand.

            …We will not in fact get a chance to ask the five journalists, but we will at least be on the same page that this is something that a journalist should determine.

            How could we possibly be on the “same page that this is something that a journalist should determine” when you did no such thing? If this is truly something that you think a journalist should determine, then either list the 5 journalists you consulted before making your own determination or admit that you believe yourself incompetent to make the judgment you just made. Or did you just pull this “5 journalists ” scenario out of your *ss to justify your own non-journalistic opinion? That’s pretty pathetic.

            You call Phil Weiss names, you call Max Blumenthal names, etc., etc. You don’t do arguments well. Your first response to me was simply snark and name calling. I couldn’t care less what you think of me, but it would be refreshing if you would support your position instead of resorting to name calling. Maybe you should consult with 5 journalists before you post again.

          • Sumud says:

            I thought Max’s response to the lady’s deflection was quite frankly brilliant.

            Without being honest about it to Max or probably even herself she was rationalising the killing of civilians because (to paraphrase) ‘look how primitive/savage they are’.

            All very first-world self-centred and ignorant about ‘the other’. I hope she thought about it afterwards and realised what an ignorant bigot she is.

            Granted, Max’s comment on “it looks better after” was a bit cheeky but nothing compared to justifying killing civilians.

          • American says:

            yonah fredman says:
            January 18, 2014 at 1:20 am
            tree- I understand now. Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech was just good old Americanism and Max’s interviewing style is just spot on appropriate. You’re warped, tree
            >>>>>

            Lets ask you something yonah since Lindbergh is often one of your anti semite examples.
            You say what he doing and saying was anti semitic because in his anti war speeches he said ‘organized’ Jewry was “one of the interest” pushing the war. (And you always leave out that he named some other people and groups also.)

            And you denigrate it as “good old Americanism”. Well it actually was good old Americanism—he was against the war and he went out to the public and made his case.
            As far as accusing organized Jews as campaigning for the US to get into the war—-that was actual fact, they were. You can visit the archives of the NYT and see articles at the time on that.

            Contrast Lindberg’s efforts then with how organized Jews for Israel are operating today in their effort to gin up a war on Iran. First, they lie and mislead on the ‘threat’. They call various leaders around the world Hitler(s). They accuse all those opposed to bombing Iran of wanting to see Israel destroyed and of being anti semites.

            Lindberg was actually ‘milder’ in his campaign against the war where it concerned Jews then Israel and the zionist are in their campign for a war and their demonizing everyone who opposes them .

            As far as Lindberg having opinions on the superitory of various nations or races, it wasnt unusual in those times, he had plently of company among the Churchills and acutal world leaders at the time.
            Also compare that to the fact that the Zionist believed in the superitory of the Jews also, always had……. and STILL believe that today..despite the fact that most of the world has moved on from touting genetics, superior races and nationalities.

            You are a complete hypocrite and dont see it. You think that for some reason Jews should be an ‘exception’ in the political arena..should be an exception in all arenas. Not subject to the same criticism as everyone else, never named or called out for their positions by opposing parties.
            You accuse everyone else of what you do yourselves.

            At least when Lindberg was campaigning against the war he was basing it on what he saw as and believed were the ‘facts’ and good reasons for the US not to enter the war.
            He was speaking for US interest as he saw it and he had every right to do it and he had every right to name the parties, all of them, that were on the opposite side and pushing for the war.

            Your whole and only position is anyone who opposes anything Israel, Zionist, Jews want or demand is a Jew hater who is only opposing whatever it is because they hate Jews and want to destroy Israel.

          • Shingo says:

            They accuse all those opposed to bombing Iran of wanting to see Israel destroyed and of being anti semites.

            Outstanding comment American.

            You could also add that those opposed to bombing Iran are also routinely slandered as appeasers and being. Neville Chamberlains.

          • seafoid says:

            Yonah

            Stick to your arguments, assuming you have any.
            I didn’t read your assessment of Blumenthal in depth

            is he
            a) Self hating
            b) A camp guard at Bergen Belsen
            c) Hitler al jadeed

          • oh great, we’re back to another lindbergh diversion.

          • American- I don’t know if this response will draw your attention. My objection to Lindbergh was not his position stated in the abstract, but his specific speech given in Des Moines. (He referred to the Jews as a race, which was certainly questionable, but that is besides the point.) He stated (I paraphrase) the Jews should watch their step, because if there is war the tolerance in this country might disappear and they will suffer from the intolerance of Americans towards them. I take this to be a threat. It wasn’t: if we get into a war and things don’t go well, I will lead the way to get vengeance against you, Jews. But it was: If we get into this war and things don’t go well, there will be those who will take vengeance against you, Jews. This is a threat and was taken as a threat.

            Your comparison to other situations of advocacy have nothing to do with the threat that Lindbergh voiced or inferred and as such your analogous situations are irrelevant.

        • aiman says:

          “(whether such a thing exists I don’t know: I defer to those more knowledgeable about Islam than I am)”

          Tree, such a thing may well exist but has no source in Islam. Supporters of Israel like yonah and that woman deliberately conflate individual actions and group customs with Islam. It all goes back to the meme of the clash of civilisations, which directly profits both Zionism and its ideological cousin Taqfirism.

          • just says:

            Well said, aiman. Thank you.

            Short, simple and true.

          • American says:

            Hey yonah….hello, hello….your reply had no reply button so trying to contact you…LOL

            O.K.. so your thing is about what you see as Lindberg threatening the jews to get in line or else. Let me ask something else then…..cause I read some about Lindberg but not about him and anti semitism specifically—-but do you honestly think he or anyone else carrying on a anti war or any kind of national campaign would issues threats against a group like a common thug? I cant see that. Cant see him advocating violence or division in the US when he was against getting into conflict and war period.
            As for what he warned the Jews about—-we see quite a few Jews warning other Jews about a blowback on Jews over Iran right now….afraid that Jews will be blamed.
            “Maybe’ because he wasnt a Jew saying it, but a gentile, you think or take it as a threat —when it was same kind of warning some Jews are doing now.
            I have said the same thing several times, that there could be some kind of blowback on Jews if the US gets into some disaster with Iran because of the Jewish State —blowback meaning some kind of lose of social or political status kind of reaction—not a violent retalitation against Jews.
            That isnt issuing a threat, its a warning about the possible ramifications of everthing about a war with Iran being stamped with Jewish State, Jewish and Israel lobby, politicans making speeches about bombing Iran for Israel and etc..
            I’m just wait for you to ever admit that even when a Jew and a gentile say the same things –or do the same things—you take what the gentile says or does in a different way that what a Jew says and does.
            And that its a possible ‘mistake’ to do that…all the time anyway.

        • W.Jones says:

          Actually I think the circumcision comment was pretty much on par with the lady’s comment about Shiites, since in both cases you are dealing with mutilation. Depending on where the scar is and how deep, it may not be that bad. I am not really a fan of religious mutilation, and despite my loyalty to the Lord and sympathy for Torah, I do find the Mosaic commandment troubling.

        • Kathleen says:

          ok Max is provocative. A good thing. Quickly reveals the racist and fundamentalist elements in that crowd. And those elements dominated it appears.

          • just says:

            You make my point, Kathleen. All Max was doing was asking questions of a bunch of celebrants whooping it up for the murderous actions of Israel, and he is “provocative”. The narrative IS changing, and it is indeed ‘a good thing’.

            If the tables were turned and someone was interviewing “celebrating” Palestinians at the misfortune of Israelis (or the slaughter of same), would any questions aimed at them be considered “provocative”?

            I think not.

          • seafoid says:

            He’s a really good interviewer. He knows when to stay quiet and let the nonsense roll out of them. He draws them in and then allows them to shoot themselves in the foot.

      • aiman says:

        “who pointed out the scariness of Islamic practices and beliefs and pointed to a ceremony that seemed barbaric”

        yonah, your language suggests more of what you are advancing than what someone “pointed out”. Someone can only point out something if it is true. Bring forth scriptural proof of your claim. I have one advice for you: read about a subject before making claims that suit your agenda.

        • As far as labeling Max Blumenthal a gonzo journalist, his publisher has done that by giving his book the subtitle of life and loathing in Israel which clearly mimics Hunter Thompson’s Fear and loathing in Las Vegas. His own publisher is labeling him, but you give me grief because I use this term. Just to show you how overboard you people are.

          As far as labeling Max a Dennis the Menace, I suppose this is unfair. He is in the same vein as Jon Stewart- a form of satire advocacy journalism.

          I think Max’s piece on Sharon in Nation magazine is a piece of propaganda.

          To summarize: Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech was a blot on his record and on the America First movement.

          Nation magazine’s book division labeled Max as a gonzo journalist when it gave the book its subtitle.

          Max is certainly a journalist in the vein of Jon Stewart at times.

          Max is not and never has been Dennis the Menace.

          Max is a propagandist. His article on Sharon illustrates this.

          • tree says:

            So, you’ve retracted the “Dennis the Menace” label, and admitted that you have no basis for it. You insist upon the “gonzo” label, but your only support for that label is the fact that his publisher chose “Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” as the books subtitle, which is an incredibly thin reed to base your case on. This publisher also chose the title Goliath. Does that mean that his publisher thinks Max is a Biblical scholar as well? Because that is the shaky logic you are using to support your argument. Chances are that Nation Books named it the way they did because thought it was a catchy title that reflected the topic.

            Have you actually read the book, yonah? Have you managed to get past the title page?

            Here’s the wikipedia definition of “gonzo journalism”:

            Gonzo journalism is a style of journalism that is written without claims of objectivity, often including the reporter as part of the story via a first-person narrative. The word “gonzo” is believed to be first used in 1970 to describe an article by Hunter S. Thompson, who later popularized the style. The term has been defined in academic literature as an energetic first-person participatory writing style in which the author is a protagonist, and which draws its power from a combination of both social critique and self-satire.[1] It has since been applied to other subjective artistic endeavors.

            Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy through the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, as compared to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is equally as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.

            This is not an accurate description of the writing style of Goliath. Max is not the protagonist, nor is the book primarily about his own experiences and emotions. He uses verifiable facts (something even Eric Alterman acknowledged) and includes copious footnotes to sources. I doubt that Hunter Thompson ever issued a single footnote in any of his offerings. The book doesn’t use profanity or exaggeration nor is there much satire or humor in the book. Frankly its more depressing than anything and that is because it is accurate and factual.

            He is in the same vein as Jon Stewart- a form of satire advocacy journalism.

            Jon Stewart is not a journalist. He doesn’t investigate or uncover facts. He plays a comedic and satirical version of a news anchor. He’s a comedian commenting on the news of the day.

            I think Max’s piece on Sharon in Nation magazine is a piece of propaganda.

            What was not factual in Blumenthal’s piece? Did Sharon make the trains run on time and Max failed to mention that “important” point”? What made it “propaganda” in your mind other than the fact that he didn’t lionize a mass murderer?

            To summarize: Lindbergh’s Des Moines speech was a blot on his record and on the America First movement.

            You’ve also called Lindbergh a “top 5 Jew hater of the American 20th Century” and a pro-Nazi sympathizer, neither of which is true, so repeating yourself doesn’t add anything to the conversation, other than pointing out yet again that you find “nuance” and “balance” and pointing out the positive achievements (if any) important when discussing a notorious Jewish war criminal like Sharon, but insist on nothing but the most stark condemnation of Lindbergh because he made one speech in 1941 that you found objectionable. And you can’t seem to let it go as you keep bringing it up again and again. Your bias is clear and it doesn’t reflect well on you.

          • tree- You are intelligent and well spoken. You are biased and can hide your bias with your fancy big city talk.

            Anyone who denies the significance of his publisher setting the tone of an echo of Hunter Thompson is just ridiculous. This is not enough for a definition and you supply us with a definition, which I will read at my leisure. But his publisher said, hey, we’re echoing Hunter Thompson here.

            The similarity to Jon Stewart the similarity to the comedy style of David Letterman are both formative cultural standards that need to be mentioned when assessing Max’s creative style. He goes from the role of journalist to the role of comedy sketch artist with ease.

            I am not that interested in our debate about Lindy to check up if all your accusations about what I called him are taken out of context, but I admire your debating skills and intelligence. I know that on the topic of Lindy’s Des Moines speech you exhibited raw dishonesty about the nature of the threat that he threw in the direction of the Jews and when I pointed it out, you ignored that. Very talented debater you are. Dishonest, but talented.

            I will continue to think of Max as Dennis the Menace and if the label sticks I’ll be quite happy. It is not a fair label, but a cartoonish label. So it is.

            There is one post up here where I unloaded a critique of max’s obit of sharon. link to mondoweiss.net

          • Donald says:

            Yonah–I’ve gotten through the majority of “Goliath” (I tend to read multiple books at once, put them down, get back to them) and it’s just not very “gonzo” for the most part, at least not so far. He interviews people and unless he simply invents their answers (i.e., commits actual fraud), I can’t see that there is much to criticize in what he wrote. Whether “Goliath” gives the wrong impression of Israel as a whole I couldn’t say, but it does seem like the Israeli right is drifting further and further to the right and winning more and more power and what Max has done is document some of the details. I haven’t watched the videos of Max’s interviews that you mention where it gets into circumcision, so I can’t comment on that. It’s possible he goes a little far into the Jon Stewart direction. But I don’t see much to criticize in the book–if anything, I went into it expecting it to be snarkier than it is and while there is some snark, the really devastating thing about it is the reporting.

          • Donald- I think it is unfair to label Max based upon the title his publisher gave to his book. I think the Jon Stewart David Letterman analysis of his video art is spot on. He can play the straight reporter and then slip into his Jon Stewart mode of thought. This is talent and powerful, but certainly worthy of comment without the high hat.

            I am biased against Max. I don’t like him. He rubs me the wrong way. I like to call him Dennis the Menace, because that’s the persona that he’s constructed quite carefully, although he keeps it under wraps.

      • talknic says:

        yonah fredman “Max’s interviews of the Jews in Manhattan included a woman who pointed out the scariness of Islamic practices and beliefs and pointed to a ceremony that seemed barbaric”

        He asked a question about Gaza. She blabbered on about something that had NOTHING what so ever to do with the question or Gaza!! Typical Hasbara tactic.

        “he was lewd and crude and on the street with his comment”

        Er….circumcision is part of the faith FFS. Albeit crude, brutal, cruel, disfiguring, stupid and unnecessary IMO.

        Bombing innocent civilians in Gaza who have nowhere but a war zone to flee to is a trillion times worse than anything Max is responsible for. You’re diverting in typical pathetic Israeli propagandist M/O.

        • just says:

          Well, that was the first time I viewed that video. Max asked questions (befitting a journalist) and received some of the most terribly sicko, violent, racist, twisted, supremacist/victim answers that one could ever even dream up. Schumer’s statement was also disgusting, but that goes without saying, I suppose. I hope that Max was able to wash the slime off, and I thank him for exposing this maniacal element of our society. I think that yonah might be having trouble with this because the long tradition of lobbing softballs at people like this is OVER. Because Max is fearless and does ask the appropriate questions and allows the interviewee to expose their dark nature and their true motivation. The deafening silence wrt to these celebrations of murder is OVER. Why on earth was anyone celebrating the sadistic and lethal attack on Gaza in Manhatten??????

          Yes, Max, you are a “good Jew” and a good friend to humanity.

          • just says:

            On more thing. I found the responses to his questions “lewd and crude” in the basest manner– there were some grade A ‘smirks’ among the respondents, as well. To celebrate Cast Lead is more than ignoble, and certainly shows us the darkest side of those who live among us.

            I never once noticed Max ‘smirking’.

            (oh, and Schumer– our own country has notified people of imminent bombing many times…….it’s not so ‘special’ that Israel did! Where do the people get to go??????? Nobody in Gaza has a ‘safe’ place to go, no shelters, no gasmasks, no Iron Dome, but the Israelis have it all. More total bs from his craven mouth!)

          • Shingo says:

            Where do the people get to go??????? Nobody in Gaza has a ‘safe’ place to go, no shelters, no gasmasks, no Iron Dome, but the Israelis have it all.

            My point too. I have often compared this too warning your goldfish you’re about to pour a cup of hydrochloride acid into the acquarium, and that this affords them the chance to hide.

        • Kathleen says:

          I thought Max went a bit over the top comparing what happened to his penis because of his parents choice and the potential taking of a young woman’s life. But he was pointing out how absurd and potentially criminal people’s religious traditions can potentially be.

          • tree says:

            Kathleen,
            What the woman was describing was ritual slashing of one’s forehead to mark the Shia Muslim holy day of Ashura. (I looked it up.) It,s actually banned in Lebanon but it’s an old tradition that is still practiced by some Shiites. It,s bloody but the wounds are superficial, not life threatening. It has less potential for serious medical side effects than a bris and doesn’t involve genital mutilation like circumcision does, but it certainly could be potentially traumatizing for a child.

          • Kathleen says:

            ok tree not sure why you do no have a reply possibility under your name. That explains it. I thought the woman was talking about the potential death of this young woman. What you are saying makes more sense

          • gamal says:

            yes how about,

            link to abna.ir

            though they seem to concur here is some Wahhabi ire

            link to onislam.net

            and Muslims argue none too politely about it

            link to shiachat.com

            while the Shia Ulema are suspicious some Muslims tell them to go suck eggs, so much for the authority Taqlid e marja, also what better time to engage in Haram activities than Muharram? Its all in the name.

            link to mthollywood.blogspot.com

            like everything in Islam its an argument, and no one gives too much credence to the opinions of the Jurisprudents, which leads to some petulance from some of them.

            Maybe the whole notion of harmful practices needs refining, Sheila Jefferies weighs in, not strictly relevant but the barbarity of others is often more apparent than our own

            link to amazon.com

          • Ron Edwards says:

            Wincing a little bit here, both re: Kathleen and W. Jones above. The ritual is called tatbir, and although bloody, consists of a very shallow nick to the skin. It’s customary during the Day of Ashura in scattered, few locations in rural Shi’i areas, such as the Jabal’Amil in southern Lebanon. In Jabatiya, Ashura parades and performances are spectacular and draw considerable tourism, in part because tatbir is very exotic to everyone, most Muslims included. The practice is deemed pagan and rather disgusting by every formal Shi’i institution I know of; Amal and Hezbollah both famously run bloodmobile drives during Ashura in Jabatiya in part to discourage it by offering an alternative way to “bleed for Ali.”

            Furthermore, as I understand it and have not seen otherwise in any documentation, tatbir is typically performed by men and male teenagers. That an Ashura observant would so gash a small female child is dubious on its face, and although I can’t speak for what anyone anywhere might do, I suspect that someone who did that in Jabatiya might find himself instantly under criticism, to put it mildly – i.e., get the shit beaten out of him by angry moms and burly Hisb guys …

            I would be much less surprised to find that the woman speaking to Max had at best a distorted telephone-game understanding of the practice (“Those Moozlims cut up their little girls’ faces!!”).

          • RoHa says:

            “He referred to the Jews as a race, which was certainly questionable…”

            Referring to them as a “people” or a “nation” or an “am” isn’t?

            “It wasn’t: if we get into a war and things don’t go well, I will lead the way to get vengeance against you, Jews.”

            So it wasn’t a clear threat.

            “But it was: If we get into this war and things don’t go well, there will be those who will take vengeance against you, Jews. This is a threat and was taken as a threat.”

            Looks like a warning to me. Of course, it is not always easy to tell a warning from a threat. Usually context helps. (Think of the sort of context in which “Nice place you got here. Shame if something were* to happen to it.” is said.)

            So what context leads you to think of it as a threat?

            (Sorry for continuing the Lindbergh diversion, Annie.)

            (*The best criminals are grammatical conservatives.)

  13. check out this (on topic) hysterical tweet by Rania Khalek

    link to twitter.com

  14. W.Jones says:

    Did Alterman claim at one point that Blumenthal refused to debate him?

    Or was that a claim by a different supporter of the State?

  15. Shingo says:

    I followed up with Alterman by e-mail to clarify why he declined the request. ”You’ve got to be kidding,” he told me.

    You should have mentioned there was $10,000 in it for him.

  16. Rusty Pipes says:

    Glad to hear that Blumenthal will be speaking at Brooklyn College. Since SJP has already invited Alterman to debate him, and been declined, it will be amusing to hear local Zionists haul out the “lack of balance” attack.

    I would be interested to know whether Alterman has ever accepted an invitation from his campus SJP to talk about Palestine. Have any Arab or Palestinian students in his classes felt that they have been equally encouraged to pursue careers in journalism? Indeed, have non-Jewish students in Alterman’s classes felt that they have been equally encouraged to pursue careers in journalism?

    Phil, why should you continue to try contacting Alterman privately when he appears so determined to continue embarrassing himself in public?

    • pabelmont says:

      Who should choose the balancing speaker?

      This all creates a funny situation, but one which should be exploited relentlessly.

      When Zionists have their talks, they often have no Palestinian voice. Don’t seem to care about balance then. Maybe under the guise of holding a discussion “just among us Jews” (never, I believe, “just among us Zionists”), so why would they invite anyone else?

      But here, an attempt was made to invite Alterman to be the “balance”-person and he refused. That’s OK. Perhaps it was not the place of MB or SJP to “choose” the balance-person.

      But if it was not their job to do it, whose job was it? Suppose Hillel wants to send someone to the Brooklyn college event, as “balance”. Should that be allowed? But what if AIPAC or ADL or SWC wants to send someone, too. Should there be TWO balancers? THREE? If not, who should choose which one?

      The same goes for choosing the Palestinian to balance the Zionists. Who should choose her? Whoever does the choosing, for either side, has the capacity to “stack the deck”, although never so badly as those do who do not seek balance in the first place. Isn’t 92nd St. “Y” a recent example of that sort of thing?

      I think Max should make a list of the 10 smartest and best-as-debaters Zionists he can think of and publish the list and ask if any one of them would like to come as “balance” or for “debate”. There is honor in choosing the best opponent. If they all refuse, what does that tell us?

    • Kathleen says:

      Validation. Evidence. Go Phil keep asking. Well now your questions will go into his spam mailbox. Spam and eggs on Alterman’s face.

      • Susan A says:

        But this time it was Alex Kane writing to Alterman. And it was when Phil asked Alterman to debate that Alterman asked for $10,000 ‘under the table, I think the phrase was. It seems that whoever asks him to debate Max gets a negative reply! Why? ‘Cos Max is the best! :)

  17. just says:

    It’s crystal clear now that Alterman is a ziocoward and a mendacious bully. He’s green with envy at the tremendous success that Max Blumenthal has achieved with his many truths that he not only wrote from experience, but also speaks so eloquently and intimately about. EA’s angry that the truth is out and wants desperately that he be the one to tell the ‘other’ narrative that has gone *splat*– the one that he made his career.

    I guess he’ll just lick his wounds on paper or in one of his “friendly” spots. He’s a very small and exposed person, now. The Nation should toss him.

  18. Sumud says:

    Alterman’s refusal is a taste of things to come – the hasbara is threadbare and any honest person can see that Israel is a nightmare and a massive runaway train.

    He knows it, can’t bring himself to admit it.

    • seafoid says:

      It’s like climate change. They can serve us the meme that the debate is over but they can’t do anything about the dynamics that are burrowing underneath their assuredness. For years they kept any discussion of IP well away from the grassroots but they have to come out now and bitchslap dissent and they cannot. Ma yin fash .

    • Susan A says:

      Agreed Sumud: A rep from the Israeli Embassy in London was meant to be on a panel at the Bethlehem Unwrapped festival but they pulled out. This can be attributed to cowardice or you could call it a boycott or both. The Zionists other speaker, who did turn up, was a guy called Alan Johnson from BICOM, a Zionist organisation, who spoke about the wall being for ‘security’ and reeled off the names of several young Israelis who had been killed in suicide bombings. Jeff Halper of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) concurred that this was terrible, but pointed out that it would take him all night and all of the next day to mention all the names of young Palestinians who had died. He also gave an excellent case as to why the wall was not for ‘security’. Johnson softened somewhat, trying to appear as ‘the nice guy’, and kept saying ‘I’m not speaking for BICOM here’, that is, he wasn’t being hardline enough for their tastes. Yes, the times are definitely changing.

  19. I would have been surprised if Eric Alterman had accepted the invitation at his own workplace-academy to debate Max Blumenthal. He will not debate Max anywhere, any time, for anything short of $50K or so, perhaps not even then. Does he have a price?

    We could probably make a list of other so-called “experts” on WTF is going on in Israel or with the Zionist experiment, who are unwilling to debate Blumenthal. We already know that Terry Gross or her producers have declined to have Max back for this book, unlike their quick and full interest in his first one.

    Max is going to be around for a while. His most important work is ahead of him. The people and institutions who have neglected him on this book will be forced to deal with Blumenthal again and again in the future, as his new books roll out. The next one will probably be about the rise of Far Right extremism and neo-Fascism in Europe:

    I am not sure where I’ll go next in terms of journalism but I think the rise of the xenophobic right-wing in Europe might be one area I will explore.

    link to fdlbooksalon.com

    • Kathleen says:

      Max is taking it to the limit. He is pushing the envelope in ways that could be life threatening. Prayers for his safety and so honor his intentions and willingness to focus on the facts.

      • American says:

        @ kathleen

        Yea those crazy right wingers in Europe are a bunch of thugs—-he better be wary.

      • I pray for Max, but no more than for any other writer or journalist out there doing her or his job reporting the crimes of the very powerful. I’ve watched Max handle gun nuts in Wasilla who loved you-know-who, and knew he was investigating her. He did it better than I usually do, and I know these guys and live here.

        Max confronted Palin’s cult in Alaska more like Gandhi than like HST.

        • Kathleen says:

          Agreed any journalist doing their job. So many have been killed in the line of fire, taking unbelievable risk. Journalist doing their jobs do deserve our prayers and support

  20. Nevada Ned says:

    Speaking of debates…

    Back in the 1960′s, the anti-Vietnam war movement sponsored debates on campus about the Vietnam war. The US State Department often sent a pro-war speaker.

    But then…the State Department started losing debates, even to students. I recall one debate where the pro-war side was represented by Arthur Goldberg, US ambassador to the UN. (OK, not exactly the US State Dept, but the same type of person). Goldberg lost, badly. One student, impressed by how lame Goldberg sounded, fumed that “even I could have given a better pro-war argument”.

    So the State Department stopped participating in debates. Which is exactly the current situation faced by the Israeli ruling class, and their supporters and defenders in the US, including Eric Alterman. If they participate in a debate, they only legitimize viewpoints that are critical of Israel, and that’s a loss for them. But if they duck debates, they lose also. So they lose either way.

  21. Joe Catron says:

    To Alterman’s credit (not something you’ll hear me say often!), I’m in favor of anything preventing yet another debate, with a subject like “What would a just settlement of the Israel/Palestine issue be, and how can it be brought about?”, that includes no Palestinians. No slight to Max, whose excellent work needs no recommendation from me, but I’m sure he’d be the first to agree that he doesn’t and can’t speak for Palestinians any more than the rest of us.

  22. seafoid says:

    One thing I was thinking about Alterman. He’s Jewish. He’s a success in terms of a mainstream job. I guess he would look down on the Phil Weisses of the world. He’s got a high profile. He prolly knows a lot of people and is well connected. He prolly went to a good school and onto whatever university. He’s a sign of Jewish success and networking. He never had a problem like this one. And he doesn’t know how to deal with it.

    link to theguardian.com

    “The most affecting part of the book is the section dealing with the death from breast cancer in 2006 of his first wife, Rachel, which left him angry, bitter and confused. “My stock-in-trade is fixing problems, but I couldn’t fix this one,” he says, “and that challenges your personal philosophy.” It caused a huge personal upheaval and fallings out with others close to him. “You’re coping with the most poisonous cocktail of emotions,” he says. “That’s one of the sad realities of the experience”

    This failure experience and the emotional maelstrom that goes with it what is coming to a lot of overtly successful Jewish American Zionists.

    • seafoid says:

      Another thing on that. He probably always did the right thing, always licked superior ass, made the right connections, invested in his career, worked late, drank the Kool aid, belonged. Looked down on non conformist slouches. And this pup Blumenthal comes along and suddenly all that investment becomes meaningless . Because the system he’s part of it is slowly falling apart.

      That must be hard. You think you are the dog’s bollocks and then you realize you wasted your time. The memes are FUBR.

      There must be East Germans in their 70s who can relate to this.

      • just says:

        Yes. He’s down in the proverbial dumps. The wizard(s) can no longer linger and massage each other behind the curtain. No more standing ovations, either.

        FUBR, FUBAR– the memes are dead. ding- dong!

        • seafoid says:

          Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit lonely and the goys are never coming round to my thinking
          Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
          Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit nervous
          That the best of all the years have gone by
          Turnaround, every now and then I get a little bit terrified
          And then I see the look in Blumenthal’s eyes
          Turnaround bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart
          Turnaround bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

          Read more: Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  23. American says:

    Who’s the crazy person in this ?…Max who goes about his business or the other guy who sends 7 fuck you emails to the same person? One fuck you, o.k maybe….but 7?
    I sorta enjoy this zio meltdown.

    MJ Rosenberg ‏@MJayRosenberg ·Jan 14
    Eric Alterman is nuts. He has sent me 7 emails saying “Fuck Off, Asshole” because I called him a McCarthyite. link to electronicintifada.net …Expand Collapse Reply  Details

    • Talkback says:

      Alterman seems to be an obsessive anal maniac.

    • just says:

      He’s certainly way out on the ziolimb:

      “I followed up with Alterman by e-mail to clarify why he declined the request. ”You’ve got to be kidding,” he told me. After asking one more time, he wrote: “You’ve got my quote. Your future emails will go into spam.””

      Doesn’t he know that emails are forever?