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Author Archives: Max Blumenthal
Just hours after 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir left for Ben Gurion International Airport to return home to Tampa, Florida, Israeli police raided and ransacked the home of his family in the Shufat neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The police arrested Abu Khdeir’s uncle and cousins without charges. The Israeli motive appears to have been revenge for the family’s role in publicizing CCTV footage of Abu Khdeir’s brutal beating at the hands of Israeli police, and their public campaign to secure his return to the US. Above, the Abu Khdeir home following vandalism by the Israeli police.
Obama humiliates Muslim guests at White House Ramadan event, endorses Israel’s Gaza assault and NSA surveillance
At the annual White House Iftar dinner commemorating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, President Barack Obama endorsed Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip and defended government spying on Muslim-Americans. Alongside dozens of Muslim-American community activists and Muslim diplomats, the White House welcomed Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, an outspoken advocate of Israel’s settlement enterprise who has claimed Muslim and Arab culture is endemically violent.
On July 10, Democratic Representative Kathy Castor of Florida’s Tampa Bay area issued an impassioned plea for the protection of endangered manatee whales. At the same time, she remained conspicuously silent about the brutal beating and ongoing detention of one of her constituents by a foreign government. Tarek Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old Palestinian-American high school student from Tampa, was brutally beaten in a videotaped July 3 incident in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli border police. Abu Khdeir’s family has beseeched their congressional representative, Castor, to publicly call for his release and immediate return to the United States. Though her staff has met repeatedly with the family, she has said and done nothing of substance to assist them.
Alleged K.C. killer: ‘If Jews can have a state of their own, why can’t we have a White Christian state?’
The suspected killer of three people at two suburban Kansas City Jewish Community Centers is Frazier Glenn Miller, a convicted criminal, white nationalist and Holocaust denier with longstanding links to violent right-wing extremist groups. One aspect of his thinking that will doubtlessly be passed over in most media accounts: He advocated the formation of an ethnically exclusive white state in the Deep South and presented the modern state of Israel as his model.
Max Blumenthal attended the University of Michigan divestment debate last week and was able to witness firsthand the tactics pro-Israel students and organizations are using to defeat BDS by any means necessary. Blumenthal writes, “Under the influence of a zealous cast of communal elders and with a powerful, astroturfed political apparatus at their disposal, pro-Israel forces on campus initiated a campaign of subterfuge and manufactured persecution designed to intimidate and silence students inclined toward Palestine solidarity activism. It was a disturbing spectacle to behold, especially at such an intimate distance.”
Northeastern U administrator: SJP’s suspension is ‘not [issue] of free speech or the exchange of disparate ideas’
Since being suspended by university administration, interrogated by campus police and threatened with suspension for passing out mock eviction notices across campus, Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter has received hundreds of messages of support from around the country. Northeastern’s administration has yet to issue a formal public explanation for the suspension and has not responded to my request for comment. However, it appears that the growing outcry is having an impact on the administrators.
Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter has been suspended by the school administration for at least a year because the group distributed mock eviction notices. The remarkable move by the school leadership was followed up with phone calls and visits from campus police officers, while two SJP members were threatened with expulsion. The suspension is the culmination of a long-running campaign against the group led by powerful pro-Israel outfits based in Boston.
Max Blumenthal recounts a recent event at Boston University where Blumenthal and Sa’ed Atshan debated Richard Landes and Simon Deng.
Since the dawn of the peace process, serious men and women have warned that time was running out on a two state solution, and yet there has been so little progress. Max Blumenthal has compiled news clippings from the last three decades illustrating the fierce urgency of never when it comes to negotiations in Israel/Palestine.
Max Blumenthal’s reply to Eric Alterman’s latest piece attacking him and his book Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. The Nation declined to publish Blumenthal’s response.
American Task Force on Palestine finds funding from anti-Palestinian billionaire and a repressive monarchy
Despite its claims to be “committed to strengthening Palestinian-American relations” as “an independent voice for Palestine,” the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) has begun accepting funding from one of the most aggressive funders of anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic initiatives in the United States. A recently released 2011 Internal Revenue Service Form 990 information return revealed that ATFP has accepted at least $10,000 from the Klarman Family Foundation. The donation highlights the trajectory of an organization originally founded to advance the position of Palestinian statehood advocates in Washington, DC, but which has increasingly diverged from the Palestinian consensus. It also exposes an emerging strategy of pro-Israel donors like Klarman who are propping up an array of Muslim and Arab-American groups to drive a wedge into grassroots Palestine solidarity organizing. In addition, ATFP claims to have never accepted donations from foreign governments, but the group accepted $148,800 from the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in 2011. Above, a controversial photo of ATFP President Ziad Asali with then Israeli Ambassador the U.S. Michael Oren.
When Atlantic editor Robert Wright invited JJ Goldberg to engage with Max Blumenthal on the online political debating forum Bloggingheads, Goldberg declined, as Eric Alterman did before him.
The Desert of Israeli Democracy: A trip through the Negev Desert leads to the heart of Israel’s national nightmare
While Benjamin Netanyahu ranted against Iran in New York City and in a meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, his government was preparing to implement the Prawer Plan, a blueprint for the expulsion of 40,000 indigenous Bedouin citizens of Israel from their ancestral Negev Desert communities that promised to “concentrate” them in state-run, reservation-style townships. The Prawer Plan is only one element of the government’s emerging program to dominate all space and the lives of all people between the river (the Jordan) and the sea (the Mediterranean).
We’re excited to share an exclusive excerpt from Max Blumenthal’s new book ‘Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.’ In this chapter titled “There Are No Facts,” Blumenthal tells the story of how forests constructed by the Jewish National Fund have been used throughout Israel’s history to dispossess the indigenous Palestinians of their land, and how Israelis rationalize this dispossession. Blumenthal visits the Israeli artist colony of Eid Hod, built on the ruins of the Palestinian Ayn Hawd, and is told by a tour guide, “I’ve concluded after years of research that there are really no facts when you discuss this issue. There are only narratives.”
Max Blumenthal reports from the September 29th event featuring Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Elie Wiesel, Shmuely Boteach and Sheldon Adelson discussing the “strong protecting the weak” from genocide. After Boteach delivered a lengthy treatise on shared Israeli-Rwandan values, and a human rights protester was removed by Kagame’s personal security detail for raising Kagame’s role in genocide in the Congo, Blumenthal and Mondoweiss’s Alex Kane attempt to ask the panelists what can be done to protect Palestinians from the Israeli occupation. Watch the video to see what happens next.
Netanyahu previously used family story of anti-Semitic attack to justify expelling African asylum seekers from Israel
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended his speech to the UN General Assembly by turning back to the nightmare of 19th century Europe. He told of how an anti-Semitic mob brutalized his grandfather, Natan Milikovsky and his younger brother, Judah, using the story to present Israel as the only sanctuary for Jews in an eternally hostile world. But Bibi has deployed the harrowing tale at least once before, and in a far less dramatic setting than the UN General Assembly.
Shady PR operatives, pro-Israel ties, anti-Castro money: Inside the Syrian opposition’s DC spin machine
During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Syria on September 3, Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator John McCain both cited a Wall Street Journal editorial by Elizabeth O’Bagy to support their assessment of the Syrian rebels as predominately “moderate,” and potentially Western-friendly. What Kerry and McCain neglected to mention was that O’Bagy had been recently hired as the political director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a little known outfit that functions as a lobbying arm of the Syrian opposition in Washington.
In a Labor Day conference call with 127 House Democrats, Secretary of State John Kerry invoked an apocalyptic scenario, summoning visions of American power and credibility incinerated in a terrible Middle East-wide conflagration laced with nerve gas and enriched uranium. An aide to one of the members of Congress who participated in the call tells Max Blumenthal that Kerry said the US faced a “Munich moment” on Syria and warned that the failure to punish Bashar Al-Assad for using chemical weapons on Syrian civilians could lead to future chemical attacks on Israel and embolden Iran.
President Barack Obama’s August 31 announcement that he would seek congressional authorization to strike Syria has complicated an aggressive Israeli campaign to render a US attack inevitable. While the Israelis are far from the only force in bringing the US to the brink of war – obviously Assad’s own actions are the driving factor – their dubious intelligence assessments have proven pivotal.
Several hundred Egyptians and Egyptian-Americans hit the streets of Washington DC yesterday to show their support for General Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi and the regime that overthrew the elected President Mohamed Morsi in a military coup on July 3. The rally took on a festive atmosphere, with demonstrators hailing Sisi as their hero, and chanting against the “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood and the man simultaneously funding them and receiving their millions: Barack Obama. The protesters also claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal.
Al Jazeera sources tell Mondoweiss that once Al Jazeera America (AJAM) launches on August 20, American viewers will be unable to access the online livestream of Al Jazeera English (AJE). Because of restrictions imposed by cable providers, AJAM and AJE will both be unavailable to online viewers in the United States.
John Kerry’s new envoy on Middle East negotiations once derided Yasser Arafat as having “that big shit-eating grin of his.” In a speech 4 years ago Martin Indyk made it clear that he comes out of a very pro-Israel background. He said that he decided to move to America and get involved in peace negotiations after the 1973 war, when he worked as a volunteer for Israel and “Israel’s survival seemed to hang in the balance.”
At McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest Irish tavern in New York City, hangs an autographed portrait of the late New York Mayor Ed Koch. Koch inscribed a pro-IRA slogan: “England out of Ireland.”
If Kerry fails, Israel will be an apartheid state ‘and that didn’t work too well the last time,’ CENTCOM general warns
Freshly retired CENTCOM Commander General James Mattis spoke bluntly about the costs of the special relationship yesterday at the Aspen Institute: “I paid a military security price every day as a commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel”
Now that the Egyptian army and security services have seized power from the elected Muslim Brotherhood government, the punishment of Palestinians has begun in earnest. While Palestinians are detained or deported en masse at Cairo International Airport, hundreds have been stranded at the Rafah Crossing, which was recently closed by the Egyptian army, compounding a deepening fuel and food crisis. Above, a picture taken today of Palestinian kids waiting at the Rafah Crossing.