You’ve surely noticed, the press is all over the Sidney Blumenthal correspondence from the latest release of Hillary Clinton emails. Blumenthal is a longtime adviser to the Clintons and of course the father of Max Blumenthal, who has made a name for himself exposing Israeli political culture in the United States in recent years. The New York Times even goes so far as to mention Max’s work in its report on what a valued voice his father has been for Clinton:
Mr. Blumenthal regularly forwarded articles by his son, the journalist Max Blumenthal, and intervened on behalf of some people with Mrs. Clinton. He encouraged her to give an interview to the author James Mann, who was writing a book about Democratic foreign policy, and he urged intervention when Israel barred the prominent scholar Noam Chomsky from entering the West Bank. “He is a U.S. citizen barred for his political views, after all,” Mr. Blumenthal wrote.
That’s Max Blumenthal’s only mention. What articles? How the White Sox bullpen is holding up this year? Changes in health care regulations? The piece somehow fails to mention that Max Blumenthal is the most prominent young journalist in the U.S. covering Israel/Palestine. That’s because he is an un-person in the New York Times. The Times hasn’t reviewed either of Max’s books, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel and The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. So you are seeing a form of censorship: drawing red lines around certain opinions.
Sidney Blumenthal wasn’t just intervening for his son. As you can see in his comment about Chomsky in the Times report, Blumenthal was trying to convey an important point of view on Middle East policy to Clinton. Politico says Sidney was outspoken on the Israelis and the lobby:
A couple of months later, Blumenthal offered advice on a Clinton speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, urging her to “remind it in as subtle but also direct a way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion.”
Good point. And Politico says Sidney was a compelling voice for the secretary of state re Middle East policy, telling her to adopt a policy of “tough love” toward the Israelis:
In one email with the subject line “an idea, perhaps useless, but nonetheless,” Blumenthal argues that the U.S. may want to reveal its own position on the latest attempt at peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, one that “should incorporate at its heart what the Israeli government has already agreed to in the final status negotiations at Camp David, along, of course, with certain adjustments and amendments” to account for the past 10 years in terms of boundaries, etc.
The upshot? “This puts the burden on Bibi [Netanyahu] to repudiate [former Israeli Premier Ehud] Barak in principles and details if he pushes back, splitting his coalition, and appearing to be the rejectionist. Also it makes the U.S. seem utterly reasonable …” Blumenthal writes.
Clinton replied: “Not useless–thx.”
Let’s get past the personality part of the Sid Blumenthal story. Phil tangled with Blumenthal in the Clinton years, and has the greatest respect for his mind; and much of what Blumenthal was saying is vital information that should be heard by American politicians. Check out this other email that the Washington Post published, in which Blumenthal explains the New Republic’s usefulness as a propaganda organ for the Likud Party and the neocons. Blumenthal worked at the New Republic, so he knows whereof he speaks.
So Israeli intelligence tried to undermine Jimmy Carter by putting out stories on his brother! Billy Carter (1931-1988) was a charming ne’er-do-well who had an intense sibling rivalry with his older and more successful brother. Billy got mixed up in Middle East politics. PBS:
In September 1978 Billy made a highly publicized trip to Libya with a group of Georgia legislators and businessmen eager to make deals. Several months later, he hosted a delegation of Libyans in Atlanta, as they looked for a place to locate a permanent trade mission. When asked why he was involved, Billy said, “The only thing I can say is there is a hell of a lot more Arabians than there is Jews.” He also argued that the “Jewish media [tore] up the Arab countries full-time,” and defended Libya against charges of state-sponsored terrorism by saying that a “heap of governments support terrorists and [Libya] at least admitted it.”
President Carter tried to disassociate himself from the controversy that ensued, telling NBC News that he hoped people would “realize that I don’t have any control over what my brother says [and] he has no control over me.” Billy also apologized and explained he wasn’t anti-Semitic, but the damage was done. The Atlanta Constitution remarked, “If [Billy’s] not working for the Republican Party, he should be.” Some time after this, Billy spent seven weeks at an alcohol addiction treatment facility in California