Haaretz joins Rush Limbaugh and company in trying to link Max Blumenthal to KC shooter suspect

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
Author Max Blumenthal.

Author Max Blumenthal.

Before journalist and author Max Blumenthal turned his eye towards Israel/Palestine, he was a dogged investigator of the seedy world of neo-Nazism and white supremacism in the U.S. But now, liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz has joined right-leaning Israel advocates in trying to turn the tables on him by linking the journalist to Frazier Glenn Miller (also known as Frazier Glenn Cross), the suspect in Sunday’s deadly shooting at two Jewish centers in Kansas City.

Various personalities are waging a concerted smear campaign against Blumenthal, whose book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel kicked up a storm of controversy over its indictment of Israel’s human rights abuses. The canary in the coal mine for them was that Miller, who posted on the far-right forum Vanguard News Network as “Rounder,” once posted about an interview Blumenthal did on Russia Today.

“Jew journalist Max Blumenthal exposes and explains this attempt by a foreign government Israel, to buy the presidential election for the neo-con, war-mongering republican establishment,” Miller, who has been a violent white supremacist activist long before Blumenthal began reporting, wrote.

Earlier this week, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh claimed the suspect “admits he was inspired by [people like Blumenthal], and that’s why he took action against the three Jewish people in Kansas City.” Limbaugh cited an article by neoconservative writer Ron Radosh, who wrote that the posting showed “who inspire[d] him to have taken his dreadful murder today.”  Radosh also claimed that Miller’s rant was “similar to the arguments of Walt and Mearsheimer, John B. Judis and other realists and leftists.”

FrontPageMagazine claimed that Blumenthal was “very proud” at “finally having achieved his great dream” through Cross’s actions. Daniel Pipes in the National Review wrote that Frazier Glenn Miller “gives every appearance of being a true believer inspired in part by Blumenthal’s ravings.”

White supremacists’ linking to discussions about the Israel lobby is not new. The website of David Duke has approvingly cited this site and such authors as Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer; analyses about the Israel lobby have been used by Duke to attempt to show malign Jewish control of U.S. foreign policy, though Walt, Mearsheimer and others are simply not anti-Semites and make clear that Zionism and Judaism are not the same. It brings to mind what Tony Judt, paraphrasing Arthur Koestler, said during a debate on Walt and Mearsheimer’s work: “You cannot help it if idiots and bigots share your views for their reasons.”

Haaretz joins the fray

Earlier this morning, the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz joined the right-wing campaign.

In a news article entitled “Kansas Murderer Admires Prominent Israeli Critic,” Haaretz revealed that accused shooter “Frazier Glenn Cross repeatedly praised controversial journalist Max Blumenthal.”

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The single source for Haaretz’s claim was an article in the right wing news outlet Washington Free Beacon—a source so unreliable that it recently consulted an “expert” to determine that a pineapple in a Facebook photograph was the symbolic representation of the Jewish people.

The Free Beacon’s current report was inspired by similar accusations being made by other pro-Israel outlets to smear Blumenthal for his outspoken criticism of Israel.

Let’s look at how accurate this claim is. Haaretz writes:

According to the [Free Beacon] report, a search of the VNN Forum – a prominent white supremacist website run by [accused Kansas shooter] Cross – finds over 300 references praising Blumenthal’s criticism of the State of Israel and American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.

Every single element of this sentence is false. Let’s break it down:

…the VNN Forum – a prominent white supremacist website run by Cross…

Wrong. The forum of the Vanguard News Network (VNN) is not “run by Cross” but instead is run by its founder, Alex Linder, who is also listed on the VNN Forum as the administrator.

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Alex Linder, the founder and administrator of the VNN Forum

…finds over 300 references…

Wrong. The number 300 is based on a Google search for all instances of the phrase “Max Blumenthal” appearing under the domain name “vnnforum.com.” At the time of this writing, the Google search link provided by Free Beacon displays what the search engine initially claims to be “about 375 results.”

Yet a closer look reveals that Google suspects the majority of the results to be duplicates, and that—after weeding out those duplicates—Google finds only “about 71” references to “Max Blumenthal.”

Even within those 71 references, I found several more duplicates, narrowing the count to 46.

…over 300 references praising Blumenthal’s criticism of the State of Israel and American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.

Wrong. Among the VNN Forum’s approximately 46 references to “Max Blumenthal,” many of them would not be considered “praise”—nor do they reference “criticism of the State of Israel” or “American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.”

For instance, the VNN Forum has a weird way of showing “praise” when its participants refer to Blumenthal as:

Jew Max Blumenthal

Kike Max Blumenthal

Jewish propagandists including … Max Blumenthal

an avowed queer like Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal … a flamboyant, exhibitionistic anti-racist

that douche bag sodomite Max Blumenthal

One page on the forum even links to an article that sarcastically refers to Blumenthal as “Country Music Expert Max Blumenthal.”

A different VNN page refers to “obvious biases and outright misinterpretations contained in Max Blumenthal’s article,” while another one accuses Blumenthal of “vicious character assassinations.”

One forum participant excerpted an article on white supremacism by Blumenthal in order to mock it, summarizing Blumenthal’s reporting thusly:

Jew Max Blumenthal speaks for us, we’re all happy because Obama is going to win.

As with that reference, many of the references to Blumenthal on the VNN Forum have nothing to do with “criticism of the State of Israel” or “American-Jewish support of Israeli policy.”

One reference appears under the subject heading “The Jew Media Drools over faggot prostitute.” Quite a few references appear in the context of a feud with right-wing radio host Hal Turner. Another reference is about Mike Huckabee, and yet another is about Sarah Palin.

It should also be noted that some of these VNN Forum references to Blumenthal are simply reprints of articles from mainstream sources like Huffington Post and Daily Beast.

As irrelevant as all these references are, they serve to puff up the feeble contention of a Blumenthal–Kansas shooting nexus.

The idea is to tie Blumenthal to the Kansas shootings, by way of the alleged perpetrator Frazier Glenn Cross. Yet for all their attempts to create a connection, the single tie is this:

Cross is believed to have been a frequent contributor to the VNN Forum. Out of 12,683 forum posts attributed to Cross, one single post was found to have mentioned “Jew journalist Max Blumenthal.” That single post contains a broken link to a page that once linked to a YouTube clip of a brief interview with Blumenthal. In that interview, Blumenthal explained how neoconservative supporters of Netanyahu in DC were hoping to sway the 2012 presidential election in their favor.

That is it. On the basis of that single strand of serendipity, Haaretz declared, “Kansas murderer admires prominent Israeli critic” and “Frazier Glenn Cross repeatedly praised controversial journalist Max Blumenthal.” Instant news. (For point of comparison there are 255 references on the forum to actor Kevin Bacon.)

Immediately after the Haaretz article went online, several commentators criticized Haaretz on Twitter. Blumenthal himself challenged Haaretz Managing Editor Simon Spungin to justify the piece. Initially Spungin made a slight alteration to the article but otherwise kept it intact and placed the onus on Blumenthal to prove the article wrong.

 

Eventually—and while we were preparing this report—Spungin removed the article from the Haaretz website, with no notice of correction or public apology. (A cached version can be found here.)

Questions remain, however: Who authored the article? And why did Haaretz find the article credible and newsworthy?

Haaretz did not explicitly blame Blumenthal for the Kansas shootings, but the timing, the accusations, and the pretense of relevance implied such. After all, would Haaretz have published an article headlined “Kansas Murderer Really Liked Chocolate”? The very act of publishing such an article at such a time would only be to connect the killer’s alleged influences to his motives for killing.

Applying Haaretz and Free Beacon’s arbitrary methodology, Rania Khalek noted that there were 11,500 mentions of Haaretz in the VNN Forum, and that Miller himself had cited Haaretz in roughly seventy forum postings, thus making Haaretz even more culpable in the Kansas shootings. In addition, Miller has linked to numerous writers and news outlets–including Thomas Friedman and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.  In addition, he once wrote that David Horowitz, the conservative activist and publisher, is “one of those jewish neocon ‘new friends’ of the White man who actually throws Whitey journalistic bones from time to time, such as his book ‘Hatin Whitey.'”  Horowitz is an ally of Blumenthal critic Ron Radosh, and Radosh refused to speak with Alex Kane for this article about Miller’s affinity for his friend saying over e-mail he knows his “enemies” and that, since he’s in Germany, he wouldn’t waste money calling him.

What’s clear is that the current right-wing campaign is a continuation of attacks against Blumenthal over his book Goliath.  Protective of Israel’s image and worried that Blumenthal’s book could contribute to the changing debate over the country in the U.S., they’re throwing the kitchen sink at unflinching critics of Zionism.

About Alex Kane and Phan Nguyen

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane. Phan Nguyen is a Palestine solidarity activist based in New York. Follow him on Twitter: @Phan_N

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