Why would a young Jewish American equate the democratic state of Israel with Nazi Germany?
Why would a young Jewish American call for Israeli Jews to choose between “Exodus” from the Middle East, or “indigenization” to fit in with their Arab neighborhood?
Why would a young Jewish American join forces with Islamists to try to discredit the bravest living proponent of reform of Islam?
Is it a case of stupidity of the sort that afflicted the “useful idiots,” who unwittingly helped the cause of Soviet Communism in the 1940s? Or is it pathology?
I first came across Max Blumenthal last year when he was touting his book Goliath on college campuses across the United States. Blumenthal, a virulently anti-Israel polemicist, spoke at Brandeis University last March and was received warmly by members of the campus community, even though his talk was choc-full of malicious blood libels about the Jewish state.
“Israel has attacked everyone of its neighbors, invaded, I think, everyone of its Arab neighbors, occupied most of those neighbors at, some point, and they do so as the Jewish state, speaking on the behalf of the Jewish people,” Blumenthal told the crowd. “That’s very dangerous, it encourages anti-Semitism.” He also hypothesized that there is “this campaign of incitement, of attacking people with what are basically ethnic slurs is being encouraged, it’s a top-down campaign encouraged by [pro-Israel] communal elders.”
Blumenthal has made a name for himself as a Jew whose bête noire is the Jewish state. Offering pure fantasy rather than facts and evidence, Blumenthal paints a fictitious picture of a Nazi-esque, evil incarnate Israel, much to the delight of his fans, who include neo-Nazi and former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke, members of the neo-Nazi Internet forum Stormfront, and the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar newspaper.
As David Mikics explained in Tablet Magazine, “As a reporter, the best one can say about him [Blumenthal] is that he doesn’t speak Hebrew or Arabic, and he doesn’t have any sources—so it’s hard to fault him for getting things wrong.”
Blumenthal’s book, subtitled Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, explicitly likens Israel to Nazi Germany. Chapter titles such as “The Concentration Camp” and “The Night of Broken Glass” flippantly invoke the memory of the Holocaust. The book is so egregious that even the left-wing writer Eric Alterman wrote in the Nation that it could have been a selection for the “Hamas book-of-the-month-club.” Blumenthal, he wrote, was “a profoundly unreliable narrator.” Alterman concluded that “[l]iterally nothing this fellow writes can be taken at face value. He shames all of us with his presence in our magazine.”
Typically, Blumenthal’s recent op-ed in the New York Times contained glaring factual errors. The Times was forced to publish two corrections after Blumenthal “indicated that the Prawer Plan [for the resettlement of the Negev Bedouin] had been fully implemented and that Lehava [the organization that opposes relationships between Jews and Arabs] had been directly funded by the government.”
“They must have known, if they’ve ever read anything by or about Blumenthal,” Liel Leibowitz noted, “that they’d be in for nothing more than a hysterical, slanted, nonsensical account that obliterates all nuance in an effort to convince that Israel is a singularly awful nation—racist, violent, murderous—and therefore has little or no right to exist.”
Blumenthal has openly mocked Jewish prayer, pretending to worship before a bloodied image of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a public discussion at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Blumenthal called on Israeli Jews either to “become indigenized,” that is, to “be part of the Arab world,” or to choose “exodus”.