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Max Blumenthal is an un-person in the ‘New York Times’

US Politics

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.

imrs.phpSo 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


James North and Philip Weiss
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14 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    September 3, 2015, 1:04 pm

    You can bet Sidney Blumenthal has been well aware of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians for decades. Hillary Clinton too. Now Sidney is speaking out. Well again another member of the better late than never crowd.

    • Rooster
      September 3, 2015, 1:25 pm

      Well, not so much speaking OUT as speaking UP a little. Note these are from email leaks not intended for public consumption, though the message’s role was to educate the Secretary of State.
      Hopefully leaks will encourage more candid discussions, since, given the skewering of his son by the Israeli right (now center) and Israeli American right (now center), means recanting is not a very viable option.

      • Kathleen
        September 3, 2015, 1:34 pm

        Clinton knows.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      September 3, 2015, 3:11 pm

      I concur, Hillary Clinton knows, which makes all her drivel about Palestinian textbooks and terror over the years even more offensive.

  2. Scott
    September 3, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Per Kathleen–
    Yeah, it seems she does. Sid’s frank points to her illustrate that. What does her good friend the Power Ranger man think? Makes me want to support her, more than anything else I’ve seen in past twenty-five years.

    • Krauss
      September 3, 2015, 3:23 pm

      Don’t bet on it. Sid’s thoughts were mostly anti-AIPAC, rather than anti-Zionist. He seems far less radical than his son, even if he of course defended Max as a good father should. These emails are a few years dated, however, perhaps he has evolved on the issue. Perhaps he hasn’t.

      Also, Clinton has positioned herself as “more pro-Israel” than Obama. Sid is favoured because the Clintons value loyalty and most of his advice concerns stuff that isn’t Middle East.

      If the Zionist donors put pressure on her she will totally throw him under the bus if need be. Without even blinking. Bernie is, sadly, not better than Clinton on this issue but he will certainly not be worse.

      He hasn’t positioned himself as somehow more pro-Apartheid “pro-Israel” than Obama, unlike Clinton, and that gives him more space.
      Secondly, he isn’t nearly as reliant on big donors as she is, and we all know that Zionist cash plays a huge role in the political system.

      So, don’t bet on it.

  3. Kathleen
    September 3, 2015, 1:59 pm

    “Israel barred the prominent scholar Noam Chomsky” Have always wondered what the criteria is for making Israel’s individual threat list. Chomsky, Finkelstein, an activist friend of mine have all made it. I believe Seymour Hersh may be on it. Talked with him in Union Station years ago when he had just tried to get into Israel.

    But Weiss, Blumenthal not threats to Israel’s National Security.

    Wonder what the criteria is?

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick
      September 3, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Max knows Hillary! (Or at least his father does) and he went on Taglit once, that’s got to be worth a few Zionist points.

      • Kathleen
        September 3, 2015, 6:41 pm

        The Clinton’s are well aware of the crimes being committed against Palestinians. Sold out long ago

  4. JLewisDickerson
    September 3, 2015, 2:19 pm

    RE: “So Israeli intelligence tried to undermine Jimmy Carter by putting out stories on his brother!” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: This comes as no great surprise!*

    * SEE: “The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter”, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, 06/24/11

    [EXCERPTS] . . . As the Official Story of the 1980 October Surprise case crumbles – with new revelations that key evidence was hidden from investigators of a congressional task force and that internal doubts were suppressed – history must finally confront the troubling impression that remains: that disgruntled elements of the CIA and Israel’s Likud hardliners teamed up to remove a U.S. president from office. . .
    . . . Too many powerful interests do not want the American people to accept even the possibility that U.S. intelligence operatives and a longtime ally could intervene to oust a president who had impinged on what those two groups considered their vital interests. . .
    . . . It is far easier to assure the American people that no such thing could occur, that Israel’s Likud – whatever its differences with Washington over Middle East peace policies – would never seek to subvert a U.S. president. . .
    . . . But the evidence points in that direction, and there are some points that are not in dispute. For instance, there is no doubt that CIA Old Boys and Likudniks had strong motives for seeking President Jimmy Carter’s defeat in 1980.
    Inside the CIA . . .
    . . . As for Israel, Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin was furious over Carter’s high-handed actions at Camp David in 1978 forcing Israel to trade the occupied Sinai to Egypt for a peace deal. Begin feared that Carter would use his second term to bully Israel into accepting a Palestinian state on West Bank lands that Likud considered part of Israel’s divinely granted territory. . .
    . . . However, Begin recognized that the scheme required Carter winning a second term in 1980
    when, [Former Mossad and Foreign Ministry official David] Kimche wrote, “he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby. . .
    . . . Yet, while motive is an important element in solving a mystery, it does not constitute proof by itself. What must be examined is whether there is evidence that the motive was acted upon, whether Menachem Begin’s government and disgruntled CIA officers covertly assisted the Reagan-Bush campaign in contacting Iranian officials to thwart Carter’s hostage negotiations.
    On that point the evidence is strong though perhaps not ironclad.
    Still, a well-supported narrative does exist describing how the October Surprise scheme may have gone down with the help of CIA personnel, Begin’s government, some right-wing intelligence figures in Europe, and a handful of other powerbrokers in the United States. . .


    • JLewisDickerson
      September 3, 2015, 2:26 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE – “The AIPAC Politics of Smear: The Secret Section in Israel’s U.S. Lobby That Stifles American Debate”, By Gregory D. Slabodkin, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 1992, pages 7-8, 89-91

      [EXCERPTS] During the reign of terror that Senator Joseph McCarthy unleashed in the 1950s, when the reputations and lives of many loyal Americans were ruined by false charges of “communism” and “treason,” American Jewry was overwhelmingly opposed to the Wisconsin senator and his blackmail by blacklists. According to the Gallup polls of the time, the percentage of U.S. Jews who opposed McCarthy’s smear tactics was twice that of the rest of the population. Many Jewish organizations passed resolutions condemning McCarthy’s ruthless character assassination.
      Today, however, such national Jewish organizations as the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are using the same tactics to stifle open debate of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

      • Secretly Circulated Lists
      To conduct this “neo-McCarthyism,” AIPAC operates a covert section within its research department that monitors and keeps files on politicians, journalists, academics, Arab-American activists, Jewish liberals, and others it labels “anti-Israel.” AIPAC selects information from these files and secretly circulates lists of the “guilty,” together with their alleged political misdeeds, buttressed by their statements, often totally out of context.
      Just as McCarthy’s permanent investigations subcommittee labeled criticism of specific policies of the U.S. government as “anti-American,” or “pro-Soviet,” AIPAC labels criticism of Israeli government policies “anti-Israel,” “pro-Arab” or “pro-PLO.” Still worse is the pro-Israel lobby’s redefinition of “anti-Semitism” to include any such criticism of Israel or its actions. . .
      . . . AIPAC’s “opposition research” department traces its roots to I.L. (Sy) Kenen, who founded AIPAC in 1954. As editor of AIPAC’s weekly Near East Report, he often attacked critics of Israel in his aptly titled column, “The Monitor.” Besides monitoring, analyzing, and responding to “anti-Israel” comment and activities in the United States, Kenen also kept files on AIPAC’s “enemies.” In his final year AIPAC began to expand its intelligence-gathering operations.
      Kenen’s memoirs, “Israel’s Defense Line: Her Friends and Foes in Washington”, record how AIPAC pooled resources in 1974 with the American Jewish Committee and other national Jewish organizations to create a “truth squad.” Its purpose was to combat “pro-Arab propaganda” and the emerging “Arab lobby,” which Kenen believed to be a growing threat to the U.S.-Israel relationship.
      “While vigorously defending Israel’s perceived interests, the organizations that created the truth squad turned into a kind of Jewish thought police,” journalist Robert I. Friedman explains. “Investigators—sometimes overzealous Jewish college students, sometimes sources with access to U.S. intelligence agencies—were used to ferret out critics of Israel, Jew or gentile, wherever they might be. At ADL and AIPAC, files were opened on journalists, politicians, scholars and community activists. Their speeches and writings were monitored, as were, in some cases, their other professional activities. And they were often smeared with charges of anti-Semitism or with the pernicious label of self-hating Jew. The intention was to stifle debate on the Middle East within the Jewish community, the media and academia, for fear that criticism of any kind would weaken the Jewish state.”
      When Kenen stepped down as executive director of AIPAC in December 1974, the task of monitoring Israel’s “enemies” was left to the department of research and information at AIPAC, where it has remained ever since. . .


  5. piotr
    September 4, 2015, 3:16 am

    The review of books of Toledo Blade discusses Max’s book on Gaza war:

  6. Skandall
    September 4, 2015, 10:56 pm

    Max Blumenthal is the most prominent young journalist in the U.S. covering Israel/Palestine????????


    • DavidDaoud
      September 6, 2015, 6:56 am

      Well, Skandall, we all know who and what you are.
      Enjoy your laugh, but in the end it will be on you.

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