Hillary's hawkish side became apparent to all readers of the two "insider" books about the Obama administration, Confront and Conceal
and Bush at War
(which most people only pretend to have read). I suspect that she sounds pretty hawkish in her new book Hard Choices
(which I'm not going to pretend to have read, although I'll get around to it one day). Even so, nothing published previously prepared us for her recent impersonation of Dick Cheney, a fiasco which may explain her falling poll numbers
"Good lord, what has happened to this woman?"
I asked. Now that a few days have passed, we're in a better position to unravel the mystery.
If you need a clue, let me drop a name on you: Max Blumenthal.
He's a fearless critic of Israel who, not long ago, published an excellent book called Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
. I strongly urge readers to watch this guy's lectures and interviews
via YouTube: He is seriously great
. In fact, I'd go so far as to call him the bravest and most intelligent investigative writer in today's world.
came out, Blumenthal was subjected to full-bore villification. As has become standard operating procedure, he was called a "self-hating Jew" repeatedly. The mainstream media -- and even the progressive media -- declared him persona non grata
. Even though Blumenthal's superb earlier book, Republican Gomorrah
, had made him a beloved figure (at least on the left), the publication of Goliath
instantly transformed him into a cockroach to be squashed. A horde of hysterical critics embarked on a multi-media tirade designed to convince the public that Goliath
is the new Mein Kampf
Almost needless to say, the book is not
anti-Semitic. Arguably, it is the most courageous and incisive investigation of the corrupting nature of racism that anyone has published in decades. Calling Blumenthal a "self-hating Jew" is akin to calling James Loewen
a "self-hating white."
Alas, most Americans are quite willing to form an opinion of an author without reading his actual words. Blumenthal's opponents understand that fact very well.
The "Attack Max!" campaign has used every scurrilous trick in the book. (One of these days, someone should actually write that book. Suggested title: How to Smear
.) For example, when a deranged, old-school anti-Semite cited Goliath
on his web site, the attackers implied that Max Blumenthal was somehow "in bed" with the KKK
. The villifiers also arranged to have his important short video "Feel the Hate"
banned from YouTube on the grounds that it contains "inappropriate content." (How often does anything
get pulled from YouTube these days?)
These tricks are very familiar. They're vile, but familiar.
Here's where it gets really
Max Blumenthal happens to be the son of Sydney Blumenthal, another figure I've long respected. (It would probably be impolitic of me to mention Sydney's youthful dalliance with those awful, awful JFK assassination researchers.) As many of you will recall, the elder Blumenthal was a key adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Naturally, the Max-attackers went after the Clinton connection
. One of the most prominent attackers was Eric Alterman, who refers to Goliath
as the I Hate Israel Handbook
(and who has refused to debate Blumenthal).
What may have turned out to be the most disturbing element introduced by Alterman, was his bringing Max Blumenthal’s father, Sidney Blumenthal, into the argument. What seemed to some as an innocuous comment in Alterman’s first article, has turned into a sordid campaign by even more sordid people, to attack both the elder Blumenthal, and Hillary and Bill Clinton, and their foundation. The hits have devolved from Buzzfeed.com to Breitbart.com to white supremacist Robert Stacy McCain’s blog, as the threats have escalated.
On November 6th, Buzzfeed.com carried an article by Rosie Gray, centering on Max’s father...
The Buzzfeed hit piece need not be summarized here. The following excerpt from Gray's work should give you some idea of the depths of scumminess being plumbed:
Several phone calls and emails to the Clinton Foundation seeking clarification on Blumenthal’s role in the organization went unanswered. A BuzzFeed reporter who went to the Clinton Foundation’s offices in New York on Tuesday seeking the organization’s most recent IRS 990 form was turned away.
“We don’t know what you’re referring to,” said Clinton Foundation spokesperson Nick Merill when asked about the emails and whether Hillary Clinton is aware of Blumenthal’s defense of Goliath. He copied Clinton spokespeople Philippe Reines and Matt McKenna on his response to BuzzFeed, as well as Sidney Blumenthal.
That's right. They went after the Clinton Foundation's freakin' IRS information
, simply because the Clintons had once been friends with the father of someone who had become our official new Emmanuel Goldstein
Then the Breitbarters got into the act. They printed a scurrilous tirade from -- who else? -- Alan Dershowitz. (Believe it or not, I used to be a Dershowitz admirer, before he became the living embodiment of Israel Derangement Syndrome. I also used to like Alterman.)
Get out your vomit bags, folks:
Max Blumenthal is well outside the acceptable range of rhetoric about Israel. His constant comparisons between Nazi Germany and the Jewish state establish him as an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to antisemites and others who apply a double standard to the Jewish state. Any political candidate who would associate himself or herself with such views would be unacceptable to Americans. In addition to being extremist in his anti-Israel views, Blumenthal is also vehemently anti-American.
I have long known his father and have worked with him. But even understanding how a father would want to identify with a son, no decent person should ever support the views expressed by Max Blumenthal. I would sincerely hope that Sid, while continuing to love his son, would completely dissociate himself from his son’s bigotry. And I ask decent people to ask themselves what they would do if they had a son who espoused views akin to those expressed by the KKK, Hamas and other antisemites. I would hope they would do the right thing and dissociate themselves from such views.
In light of the long association between the Clintons and Sid Blumenthal, I hope that the Clintons ask Sid to expressly disassociate himself from his son’s views–and if he refuses to, that they no longer work with him on any matters.
(Emphasis added) Unbelievable. And thoroughly disgusting.
First: I invite all readers to compare Dershowitz' outrageous and sick mischaracterization of Blumenthal with the story told by Blumenthal himself. The video embedded above provides a good introduction.
Second: The Dershowitz attack, although expressed demurely as a series of "hopes," may be construed as an ugly threat. (Imagine Charles Augustus Milverton saying "I hope
you will see reason on this matter.") And Dershowitz made this statement in public
. Talk about chutzpah...!
(For another example, see here
: "Will Hillary Clinton Banish Anti-Israel Sidney Blumenthal?")
To my knowledge, the Clintons have not said anything against the elder Blumenthal, even though the son says that he remains on fine terms with his father. And that, I think, is as principled as the Clintons are gonna get
in this controversy.
Although she has refused these commands-from-On-High to engage in ritualized Blumenthal-bashing, Hillary Clinton now feels compelled to out-necon Michael Ledeen.
(Hey. Isn't this where we came into the movie?)
Of course, Blumenthal can't be the only pressure point. I'm sure that the facts of life have been made crystal clear to Hillary Clinton: If she doesn't play the neocon game -- on Syria, on Israel, on Iran, on Ukraine, right down the line -- she's toast. The same powerful (though not all
-powerful) media forces that tried to paint a Hitler mustache on Max Blumenthal will support the Republican candidate wholeheartedly, even if that candidate's name is Rick Perry or Sarah Palin.
But there's an even deeper side to all this. If Dershowitz was willing to say such things in public
, you can imagine what is being said behind the scenes -- by the potential funders of a Clinton campaign.
More on that soon, I hope.