General Antisemitism

Praise for Max Blumenthal’s ‘I hate Israel handbook’ from David Duke and the usual suspects

Cross posted by Petra Marquardt-Bigman 

Coinciding with last weekend’s 75th anniversary of the “Kristallnacht” pogrom by the Nazis, several institutions in Berlin, including the Jewish Museum, organized an “International Conference on Current Phenomena of Antisemitism in Europe.” Given that the focus of the conference was supposedly on “current” manifestations of antisemitism in Europe, it was not at all promising that the keynote speaker – Oxford University philosopher Brian Klug – has made a name for himself by arguing that the demonization of the Jewish state is not “necessarily anti-semitic.” And while Klug has spent much energy opposing the notion that there is a “new antisemitism” that targets Israel, he seems eager to embrace the relatively new concept of “Islamophobia.” 

When critics of Klug published a dossier detailing their objections to his views, the Oxford professor immediately hinted that he might take legal action, because his “attorney…confirmed that the dossier is defamatory.” That left me wondering if Klug (and his attorney, of course!) feels there is anything “defamatory” about the fact that he is being enthusiastically defended and cheered on by a site like Mondoweiss, which has often been accused of publishing antisemitic material.

In recent weeks, one of the biggest stories at Mondoweiss was the publication of a new book by Max Blumenthal, one of the site’s heroes. As one critical reviewer elsewhere noted, Blumenthal’s “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel” is really a “I Hate Israel Handbook” brimming with implicit equations of Israel with Nazis, which “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic.”

Unsurprisingly for those of us who are less sophisticated about antisemitism than Brian Klug, there is a big market for a new “I Hate Israel Handbook.” The Israel-haters at the Electronic Intifada jubilantly announced that the book was at one point “the number one seller on in the category of Israeli history.” So perhaps we can imagine that just as Brian Klug shared his thoughts on “Current Phenomena of Antisemitism” with his audience at the Berlin conference, some Mondoweiss (and Brian Klug) fans and other Israel-haters were savoring Blumenthal’s screed – and perhaps they even happened to read the chapters on the Israeli-run concentration camp and the Israeli-perpetrated Kristallnacht?

Blumenthal Goliath

It is arguably no coincidence that a site like Mondoweiss would champion both Oxford philosopher Brian Klug and anti-Israel propagandist Max Blumenthal. Indeed, the fairly impressive endorsements Blumenthal has been able to get for his screed could be seen as the fruit of Klug’s endlessly repeated mantra that there should be precious few red lines when it comes to criticizing Israel. In one of his first articles on this subject Klug wrote some ten years ago:

“In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz argues that when criticism of Israel ‘crosses the line from fair to foul’ it goes ‘from acceptable to anti-semitic’.

People who take this view say the line is crossed when critics single Israel out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Israel by harsher criteria than they use for other states; when they misrepresent the facts so as to put Israel in a bad light; when they vilify the Jewish state; and so on. All of which undoubtedly is foul. But is it necessarily anti-semitic?

No, it is not.”

Let’s imagine for a moment how Professor Klug would feel about this version:

“when critics single Islam out unfairly; when they apply a double standard and judge Islam by harsher criteria than they use for other religions; when they misrepresent the facts so as to put Islam in a bad light; when they vilify the Muslim religion…[this] undoubtedly is foul. But is it necessarily Islamophobic?

No, it is not.”

Of course, one could try this with Blacks, Roma, gays, or whatever other group or entity one would like to vilify while claiming the authority of Oxford philosopher Brian Klug to argue that none of this means that one is “necessarily” bigoted.

However, as we all know, the Klug-definition for bigotry is considered acceptable only when it comes to Israel. So Max Blumenthal and many others can apply double standards and judge Israel by harsher criteria than any other state; they can misrepresent the facts so as to put Israel in a bad light; and they can freely vilify the Jewish state without risking to be denounced as “necessarily anti-semitic.”

Now let’s have a look at some of those who were happy to endorse Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook.”

The top editorial endorsement featured on the book’s Amazon page is unsurprisingly from ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Antony Loewenstein: “Goliath…shows in forensic detail the reality of the Israeli mainstream’s embrace [of] blatant racism against Arabs and Africans.” It is noteworthy that the ‘CiF’ contributor is saying here that the vast majority of Israelis are blatantly racist: the rightwing is racist by definition (certainly by The Guardian’s definition), and since the mainstream is also racist, only a small minority of far-left Israelis are perhaps not racist. It’s also safe to assume that Loewenstein is only talking about Jewish Israelis here – so at least Arab Israelis may not be racist…

Ironically enough, another warm endorsement for Blumenthal’s screed comes from The American Conservative (TAC), nicely illustrating that when it comes to the evils of Israel, a supposedly “progressive” publication like ‘Comment is Free’ and a paleoconservative publication like TAC can see eye to eye.

Then there is an endorsement from Stephen Walt – with his full institutional affiliation: Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Walt praises Blumenthal’s “[b]rave reporting,” adding: “Makes me wish he wrote for the New York Times.” Given that earlier this year, Walt served as guest contributor for the Hamas mouthpiece MEMO, it is arguably not surprising that he would happily endorse a book that “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.”

Another high-profile academic endorsement for Blumenthal’s screed comes from Rashid Khalidi, though the Columbia professor apparently didn’t want his institutional affiliation displayed. Khalidi praises the book because he feels it “lifts the carefully maintained veil concealing the reality of Israel as it actually is today” and he deplores that this reality “is elided in most reportage from the region.” Obviously Khalidi has a point: with all the bad press Israel is getting, the ‘unveiling’ of its concentration camps and Kristallnachts is still something that is usually found only on the lunatic Jew-hating fringes.

Needless to say, Blumenthal also made sure to collect endorsements from some well-known Jews. Charles H. Manekin, Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center of Jewish Studies at the University of Maryland, likes to describe himself as a “cultural Zionist” – that is to say, a “Zionist” who cares about Jewish culture but not about a Jewish state (– and non-philosophers might think that makes him an anti-Zionist…). His enthusiasm about Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook” was such that he professed: “I would like to send a copy…to every Jew I know.”

In addition to these endorsements from academics, there is much praise from writers who work or worked for influential publications: Glenn Greenwald, who has just left The Guardian, apparently found it “stunningly insightful” to read about Israel’s concentration camps and Kristallnachts; David Hirst, also affiliated with The Guardian, worries that Israel will be destroyed by the “virulence of a cancer, both institutional and popular, which [is….] essentially of its own racist and colonialist making;” award-winning former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges considers Blumenthal’s screed one of the most “fearless and honest books ever written about Israel;” and long-time Ha’aretz columnist Akiva Eldar also couldn’t help feeling impressed by Blumenthal’s relentless demonization of Israel.

Naturally, Blumenthal’s “I Hate Israel Handbook” was also warmly praised by his trusted comrades from Mondoweiss and The Electronic Intifada. And unsurprisingly, Blumenthal’s work is also much appreciated by Gilad Atzmon and David Duke.

Here’s a passage of praise from Duke’s site:

“Blumenthal’s writings and videos are extremely valuable in the study of Jewish extremism, as he is not shy about using his Jewish name and looks to gain access to Jewish extremists in order to document the ugliest side of Zionism…as it pertains to Israel.”

While this is an endorsement Max Blumenthal chose not to quote on his Amazon page, I think that this is exactly the company the people who praised Blumenthal’s screed deserve. But I have no illusions that any of them would feel embarrassed by the fact that a propaganda tract they endorse is also praised by far-right antisemites. Moreover, even those who have prestigious academic positions know that, thanks in part to efforts like those of Oxford philosopher Brian Klug, there is no price to pay for cheering the vilification of the Jewish state – and therefore inevitably the Jews who sustain it – in ways that would be completely unacceptable if any other group with a long history of persecution and discrimination was the target.

24 replies »

  1. What a brilliant piece! Thanks, Petra. I didn’t realise Brian was on to his lawyers. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

    • I see you are part of the group of McCarthyites wanting to ban Professor Klug from speaking at a conference on antisemitism. Is this the shape of things to come? If people don’t subscribe to your extremist far right Zionism, they are to be silenced? What next? Goon squads?

      • “What next? Goon squads?”
        No need. The Klugs, Blumenthals, Greenwalds, Dukes and chaimpesachs are already here to silence, smear, and slander anyone who complains of anti-Semitism regarding the unfair treatment, double-standards, harsher criteria, vilification, demonization, etc., applied to the world’s only Jewish State.

        • But it’s not a Jewish state. Even its own governments through the ages haven’t been able to determine who is a Jew. And as for being the national homeland of the Jewish people, who ever heard of a religious group having a homeland?

          • “who ever heard of a religious group having a homeland?”

            Er … Saudi Arabia springs to mind. Though some Muslims seem to want to claim several places as Muslim homeland.

            • Neither Saudi Arabia nor the Vatican call themselves the national homeland of the Muslim or Catholic peoples. Israel, on the other hand, self-describes as the national homeland of the Jewish people.Religions don’t get to have “national homelands” – nations do.

          • The Roman Catholics have the Vatican City which is an independent state in Europe but not a member of the EU.

            By the way I worked out that your moniker is actually an anagram.
            “chaimpesach” = “chase a chimp.”
            Appropriate for the way you run around blogs screeching and flinging shit!

          • “who ever heard of a religious group having a homeland?”

            The history of the Jewish people is well-known here on earth.

          • who ever heard of a religious group having a homeland?

            Oh please. it’s a little more complicated than that.

  2. What Klug, Blumenthal, Lowenstein, Greenwald, ad nausea, all seem to know is that the best way to make a name for yourself– the best way to be “controversial,” to make a big splash by writing a book, to make yourself look like an intellectual worthy of high praise– is to bash Jews and Israel. There really isn’t anything else to say about these fuckwads. They are complete losers who need to lie in order to sell a freaking book that is (wait for it) NOT ABOUT THEM BUT OTHER PEOPLE.

    I call that the Big Macho which is BM in short. Oh, you want to sue us, Prof? Then get your arguments ready for a court to hear, Chump. I’ll be there, front row and center, laughing at the measely defense of I Don’t Jews, I Just Hate the Jewish State.

  3. I’m surprised Blumenthal, David Duke and Antony Loewenstein are not part of the U.N.
    Hot mic catches UN interpreter saying anti-Israel votes are ‘a bit much’
    NOVEMBER 14, 2013,

    Truth comes out when the microphones are supposed to be off.

    Thursday a United Nations interpreter, unaware that her microphone was on, uttered words of truth in reaction to the General Assembly’s adoption of nine politically-motivated resolutions condemning Israel, and zero resolutions on the rest of the world.

    Under the mistaken impression that she was speaking only to a colleague, the interpreter uttered the following words into the headphones of every UN delegate, and before a live webcast audience worldwide:

    “Isn’t it a little weird? There are nine or ten resolutions against Israel. And I know there’s a problem with the Palestinians. But there’s other bad [censored] going on and they’re spending so much time on this.”

    Laughter erupted among the delegates. “The interpreter apologizes,” said the unfortunate truth-teller, moments later. I sincerely hope she won’t get fired.

    Because the one who should really apologize today is the UN. Founded on noble ideals, the world body is turning the dream of liberal internationalists into a nightmare.

    For by the end of its annual session next month, the General Assembly will have adopted a total of 22 resolutions condemning Israel—and only four on the rest of the world combined. The hypocrisy, selectivity, and politicization are staggering.

    Today’s nine resolutions, adopted by the GA’s 4th committee, which is comprised of all 193 UN member states, condemned Israel for violating the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, of Palestinian refugees, and even of Syrians in the Golan Heights.

    That’s right: the UN adopted a resolution today that mentions the word “Syria” no less than 10 times—yet said nothing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s massacre of over 100,000 his own people.

    Entitled “Occupied Syrian Golan,” the resolution condemned Israel for allegedly mistreating Syrian citizens in the Golan Heights. Israel was also condemned for violating the rights of Syrian citizens under international humanitarian law. The UN found no time today, however, to comment on the international legality of President Assad gassing his own citizens to death.

    As it will soon do again by a second, redundant resolution on the Golan, the General Assembly today called on Israel to hand over the Golan Heights, and its citizens, to Syria.

    Now, whatever one’s view on who rightfully owns the Golan, for the UN at this particular moment to call for anyone to be handed over to Assad’s rule—even as his massacres continue unabated—is both logically absurd and morally obscene.

    The interpreter was right: there are indeed problems in the Palestinian territories, and Israel should be held to account, just like every other nation.

    Yet something is wrong when not a single word in today’s Palestinian-themed resolutions mentioned the genocidal anti-Semitism expressed regularly by Hamas organs in Gaza, or the dangerous incitement by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, whose official schools, mosques, newspapers, and TV stations continue to glorify the murderers of Israeli civilians as heroes worthy of emulation.

    Word is father to deed. Yet none of today’s UN resolutions concerning the West Bank said a word on the outburst of Palestinian terrorist attacks over recent weeks, such as the brutal murder of Shraya Ofer outside his Jordan Valley home, as his wife managed to escape. The murder of Ofer by axes and iron bars was “a gift to the Palestinian people and Hamas prisoners, in honor of Eid al-Adha,” the two suspects said under questioning.

    By turning a blind eye to Palestinian incitement and terrorism, the UN resolutions promote a one-sided narrative that gives a free pass to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority, encouraging intransigence instead of compromise.

    It is the UN, therefore, who should apologize for misusing the world body’s precious time and resources to produce politicized and polarizing texts that do nothing to advance Arab-Israeli peace, or to further the genuine protection of human rights. On the contrary, the selective and one-sided resolutions undermine the core principle that human rights standards are universal, and they push the parties further away.

    It is the UN who should apologize for using Israel as a scapegoat, for demonizing and delegitimizing the Jewish state as a meta-criminal to be blamed for all of the world’s ills.

    And, above all, it the UN who should apologize for ignoring the cries of the world’s millions of genuine human rights victims—and for mocking them.

    Last week I was at UN headquarters in New York with courageous human rights dissidents from China, Cuba, Russia and Saudi Arabia. UN Watch helped organize a press conference to plead for UN member states to oppose those repressive regimes’ cynical candidacies for seats on the UN Human Rights Council. Yet despite their abysmal records, these serial human abusers were all elected by the UNGA, to become the world’s newest judges on human rights.

    Needless to say, this same UN assembly will not be passing any resolutions this year on China’s subjugation of the Tibetan people or its imprisonment of pro-democracy activist Wang Bingzhang, on Cuba’s violent harassment of journalists and bloggers, on Russia’s persecution of gays, or on Saudi Arabia’s laws banning women from driving and non-Muslims from practicing their religion.

    Nor does the UN plan to say a word on religiously-motivated attacks on civilians in Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan, or on the persecution of political dissidents in Uganda, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

    As the interpreter noted today, the UN is so busy targeting Israel, it simply has no time for anyone else.

    Anti-Israel Book Receives Rave Reviews from White Supremacist’s Website
    Washington Free Beacon Staff
    November 14, 2013

    Anti-Israel activist Max Blumenthal’s new book Goliath, which likens Israel to Nazi Germany, received rave reviews from white supremacist David Duke’s website. Patrick Slattery, Duke’s occasional radio co-host and website contributor, penned a column for site praising the “extremely valuable” book:

    Blumenthal’s writings and videos are extremely valuable in the study of Jewish extremism, as he is not shy about using his Jewish name and looks to gain access to Jewish extremists in order to document the ugliest side of Zionism, at least as far as it pertains to Israel. He is less forthcoming about Jewish domination of the United States and other countries, and also has attacked former Israeli Gilad Atzmon for pointing out the role of Judaism and the Jewish identity in creating the monster of Zionism.

    Even so, his book underscores some of the points that he attacks Gilad Atzmon for making.

    The book also verifies points that Dr. Duke has frequently made about extremist of the Chabad movement as well as the former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israeli, Ovadia Yosef

    The review includes a photo of President George W. Bush meeting with Orthodox Jews, along with the reminder that “we are a nation occupied by a hostile elite.”

    Slattery gives a more measured take in a follow-up column on Blumenthal, praising his work but lamenting his unwillingness to discuss the Jewish cabal that controls U.S. politics:

    Blumenthal’s recent book and much of his other work have been extremely valuable. At the same time, he refuses to point out the preponderance of Jewish power in the United States and attacks those brave voices who do speak out against it, such as Gilad Atzmon and Dr. David Duke.

    Does this mean we have to reject all cooperation with Jews who might only share some of our goals? No. It really does take someone with Jewish credentials to do some of the work that Max Blumenthal does, such as walking up to fellow Jews in Jerusalem or Brooklyn with a camera and getting them to spew abject racism into a microphone. Certainly when they do important work, we should acknowledge it, even while noting their shortcomings. However, we need our own leaders and our own thinkers.

    The positive review is a break from the negative reception the book received from some left-leaning commentators.

    Eric Alterman, a liberal columnist at the Nation, wrote that Goliath “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed).”

    Blumenthal’s father, long-time Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal, reportedly defended the book in an email campaign.

    The Washington Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that the elder Blumenthal also hosted a book party for his son in October.