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Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Blumenthals, Israel and Hillary

I had hoped to write about this topic on a day when I had more time to devote to it. But this piece by Robert Parry has forced the issue.
A long time ago, I predicted that the real "scandal" of Hillary's emails would concern Max Blumenthal, the son of Sidney Blumenthal. The Israeli press has published a number of little-noticed (but very telling) stories which argue -- not unreasonably -- that Hillary may be two-faced on the topic of Israel. After all, she counts among her closest friends the father (Sidney Blumenthal) of Israel's most effective critic (Max Blumenthal).

In other words, Hillary is but one degree of separation away from a key promoter of the BDS movement. Nothing similar can be said of any other candidate.

That relationship might well be enough to drive away the much-needed backing of Chaim Saban and other deep-pocketed supporters.

Max, I should note, has become a staunch Hillary critic and a de facto Sanders supporter. (I'd link to examples, but you can find them yourself easily enough.) But the younger Blumenthal's behavior has been -- well, odd. And by "odd," I mean uncharacteristically non-talkative. I've never seen him discuss his father's role as a Clinton confidante, and I've never seen him place himself in a situation where he might have to take questions about his father's relationship with Hillary Clinton.

Is Max's critique of Hillary genuine, or is it -- at least partly -- a pose? I'm not sure.

I do know that if Max had said nice things about Hillary, the Saban wallet would probably be closed to her, and her Republican opponents would have pounced. If Max really wanted to keep her out of the White House, he'd endorse her.

It's also quite obvious that Hillary's obnoxious speech to AIPAC -- along with her other vows of fealty to His Bibiness -- are meant to offset the damage done by all this talk concerning her relationship with the Blumenthal family.

It is fascinating to note that Hillary has said nice things about Max -- in private. The emails (available via Wikileaks) contain laudatory comments about Max Blumenthal's writings on the American right. (I haven't yet seen an email about Goliath.)

Many of the emails contain open press articles from various liberal and lefty sites. Believe it or not, people in Hillary Clinton's State Department read a fair amount of work by progressive writers. I even ran across a piece that disses Saban!

For months now, pro-Israeli journals have published pieces arguing that Hillary may be a secret anti-Semite who hopes to do harm to Israeli interests. You probably haven't read these arguments; they clash with the narrative that most of you prefer to believe. But I have read this material, at least some of it.

Now, the sotto theme has gone fortissimo:
An ugly feature of life in modern Washington is that anyone who dares criticize Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians can expect to be subjected to nasty accusations of “anti-Semitism” and other attacks that are meant to make the target politically untouchable.

For example, The New York Times published a full-page ad on Saturday paid for by a pro-Zionist group called The World Values Network featuring a grainy graphic of Sidney Blumenthal and his son Max Blumenthal along with a demand that “Hillary Clinton must disavow her anti-Israel advisors.”
The text accuses Sidney Blumenthal, Clinton’s longtime personal friend and adviser, of sending the Secretary of State emails in which “he was obsessed with painting the Jewish state in the most unflattering light.”

The ad cites Blumenthal writing on March 20, 2010, that “The policy of the present Israeli government is endangering the lives of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Blumenthal is also attacked for noting Israeli “settlers’ theft of water from Palestinian towns” and, according to the ad, sending Clinton an article “claiming Israel was pursuing goals contrary to U.S. interests, while ‘starting a rebellion’ against the United States.”

Though such comments might seem like no-brainers to anyone who has followed Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians and how that behavior has inspired Islamic extremism, The World Values Network views the comments as evidence of anti-Semitism.

The ad then denounces Blumenthal’s son, Max, saying “Even more shocking still were Sid Blumenthal’s attempts to feed Hillary Clinton toxic analysis from his son Max, a self-declared ‘anti-Zionist’ and fanatical Israel-hater. This rotten apple did not fall far from the tree.”

The World Values Network is headed by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who likes to go by the nickname “America’s Rabbi.” The group is one of many that has sought to scar any political figure who won’t toe the line of Israel’s right-wing government as it rejects any reasonable peace agreement with the Palestinians and periodically “mows the grass” by launching bloody attacks on Gaza and the West Bank.
I've already quoted Parry rather too liberally; please read the rest of his piece. Leftwingers will, of course, ignore Parry's article, because the left is emotionally wedded to the idea that Hillary is Israel's robot. In fact, many Israel-firsters view her with deep suspicion.

What are Hillary's actual views on Israel's crimes against the Palestinians? I don't know. Neither do you, even though you may pretend to know.

I do believe that her speech before AIPAC was insincere, at least in part. To be honest, I have the same opinion of Trump's recent display of obeisance before the same body. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, as the Donald once said on teevee.

I also know this: Quite a few people in DC have grown resentful of AIPAC's power. A growing number of people in and out of our government no longer care to give automatic sanction to Israeli racism.

Can America's attitude toward Israel change? Yes, but -- as with gay marriage -- the change has to come from the ground up. Don't look to the politicians for any displays of courage: No politician can take the lead, because the risks are too high. In today's social landscape, many factors enforce a blinkered pro-Israel conformism: Christian Zionism, the bias of the press, still-lingering guilt over the Holocaust, and the financial clout of donors like Adelson, Geffen, Singer, Braman and Saban.

There's one thing a President can do to change the way Americans view Israel: Free the files.

The NSA and CIA has information that could damage the public's perception of Israel. If this documentation were to drip drip drip out, the public might understand that our "allies" in the Middle East are just another gang of corrupt fascists, no different from all the other corrupt fascists who make this world lousy.

(Obviously, I'd love to see a similar drip drip drip of secret info on the Saudis and the Qataris.)

Of course, to be in a position to free the files, a candidate must first get himself -- or herself -- elected.

A note to the Predictable Ones: I'll print a representative sampling of outraged commentary from delusional BerniBros and other Clintonphobes, but only if you express yourself in a thoughtful and interesting way. If you're just phoning it in, forget it. Boilerplate Hillary-hate won't get through.
I'm not terribly surprised by this and it is a potential point in her favor (I kwow she's not Bill, but didn't he try his darnedest to facilitate a two state solution?). I'd like to believe the tide is turning on this issue. Of course, I think it's fairly clear that Sanders isn't about to change the "special relationship" with Israel, which is a point against him, IMO. You are right though, we don't really know where any of them actually stand because they all must know that at this point, being critical of Israel is a campaign ending move no matter who their base may be. It will be interesting to see how this develops in the final campaign.
Joseph- as I've said, I completely understand your reasons for supporting Clinton and do not begrudge you for them. But this line of thinking is deluded. I've seen no evidence that Max Blumenthal exerts any influence on his father's political positions, much less Hillary's; as your own post mentions, the only praise she gives him in private is for Republican Gohmorrea, a book dedicated to critiquing the political party that's spent much of the past three decades villifying Hillary and her husband, no mention of Goliath. When Hillary talks of taking the U.S.-Israel relationship to the next level and making Bibi her first White House guest, well, I take her at her word. I think a Hillary presidency will see the minor gap Obama put between the U.S. and Israel closed.

Again, I understand why you support Clinton over Sanders, but if you're looking for a presidential candidate who's actually willing to challenge the Likudniks and at least acknowledge the suffering of the Palestinian people, well, I think you know where I think you should look.
I am not going to waste my time on arguing with you- you seem pretty brainwashed on this. But I never understood the Clinton fascination. Bill pretty much destroyed radio with the Telecom Act of 1996-and that will affect my industry forever. We learn to evolve away from radio, but it has made for competing with majors, where I before had my own niche.
Radio is on it's way out.... Clear Channel is at an all time low. Probably the only thing that will save radio now is something "socialist" or maybe there really is no point to it now. Don't bother to put this up, just a message to you that many of the laws put into place under Clinton are still in the process of destroying industry now.
As for Israel, well BDS is an issue Clinton wrote to Saban on --you can read the letter if you feel like it. I don't think it really will change anything. Personally, I admire any candidate that did not cowtow to AIPAC.
Max was useful to Hillary because of his stand on Syria. The pursuit of the dismemberment of Syria was the pressing issue, and Max was riding that train.
This article gets to the heart of the matter. Deep down Hillary Clinton is a bleeding heart fairness freak and for that reason she is attacked from all sides. 2008 had many clever campaigning moves by Barack Obama, but it basically seems he had help from outsiders with influence when it came to freezing out Florida and Michigan, moving up the Illinois primary from the end of March 2008 to the beginning of February 2008, and North Carolina getting bonus delegates for not moving up their primary.
Heck, Obama won one of his first elections way before running for president by having court records unsealed of his incumbent opponent. Who is that sophisticated when first starting out to do that?
"I've seen no evidence that Max Blumenthal exerts any influence on his father's political positions, much less Hillary's..."

So far, no evidence re: Hillary. However, there is an older Max Blumenthal lecture on YouTube in which he talks about his father, and insists that his family supports his work completely.

I haven't seen that- that's interesting and somewhat heartening. Hopefully that means there will be at least one anti-Likudnick in a potential President Hillary's circle of advisors. Still, I'm pessimistic that she'll see taking on Netanyahu as a prudent use of political capital.
It's easy to say that Bill Clinton did this and did that and now 16 years later this was destroyed and that was destroyed. We've had two presidents serve 8 years since Bill Clinton was president, one from each party, either could have fixed or modified anything that needed fixing or modifying.
And the other thing that never gets mentioned, radio, if it is dying, is dying because of the internet, which was barely a peep back in 1996.
I think it's great that you can support Hillary yet be troubled by her AIPAC speech. It seems like nowadays people are reluctant to voice any opposition to their candidate.
Radio will not die until we have true automobiles, i.e. driverless cars. Oh and what Alessandro said. We have been fighting Israel's wars for decades, sometimes with just cause, sometimes with unjust pressure. I do know this--- I doubt that we'd let any other ally get away with killing our servicemen in an alleged "accident."
Alessandro --It's easy to say this-yes. And sure- Bush could have done something about it-but I would never expect that from him, especially since the consolidation was working. As for Obama, he could have done something- in the first two years, but I don't think he could have done much after that-even if he wanted to. There have been attempts to limit ownership since then, but it has gone nowhere.

Short sighted greed often clouds people's vision. It hasn't been until recently that the backlash has come to bring everyone to their knees in the industry. The digital download sites are losing money; all the artists are pretty much getting ripped off with those sites. I have really no need for radio- but it has affected artists and music sales overall,because everyone turns to the internet because radio was homogenized. And with that, the new regulations controlling the internet music sharing effects us to serve the majors. It is the cause and effect of artistic struggle.

The legislation did more than kill radio-it killed artistic creativity in a big way. Or as Chuck D said- it was the nail in the coffin -killing creativity. Radio is a medium of the people, and the regulations should be in place for this reason. It got so far away from us with the Telecom Act, it has no use to serve us now. It serves a few and now that they have used it up, it will fade away-or some return to FDR's legislation will come into play.
Here's an article explaining how deregulation destroyed the music industry.

ps- I never listen to radio in my car, because hey- I have digital music. I can control what I want to hear now......and it is so much better than radio. I haven't listened to radio in about 15 years.
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