Hillary Clinton’s Troubling Relationship With an Israel-Hater Adviser
Who is Max Blumenthal, why is he a Hillary Clinton Israel Svengali and does he pose as big a headache for Hillary as Jeremiah Wright did for Barack Obama?
The well-known proverb declares that you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.
Last summer, in the wake of the impending Iran deal, which she helped create and vocally supported, Hillary reached out to calm the jitters of her wealthiest Democratic Jewish supporters in an attempt to convince them that she would always support Israel. She also emphasized that she utterly condemns the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement that Israel is currently facing.
But she has been a harsh critic of the Jewish state, often relishing her role. During a speech in 2012 she spoke of Israel’s “lack of generosity” and “lack of empathy” toward the Palestinians. She admitted that during her time as US Secretary of State she was often the “designated yeller” at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. She once yelled at him for 45 minutes when Israel granted permits to build houses in the Eastern neighborhoods of its capital, Jerusalem, during Joe Biden’s visit to Israel.
With the recent dumps of emails from Hillary’s private Internet server, the public has received an in-depth look at the very important role that Sidney Blumenthal played for Hillary during her time in the Obama administration.
Blumenthal is one of Hillary’s closest advisers and a longtime family friend. He was a senior adviser during Bill Clinton’s presidency and served again as senior adviser for Hillary’s failed 2008 run for the White House.
Blumenthal was clearly a man whose advice Hillary trusted and she was willing to pay him $10,000 a month for his services. However, the information uncovered from their email exchanges paints a troubling picture. What they show is a slew of anti-Israel writings and opinions, many of which originated from articles written by Blumenthal’s own son, Max Blumenthal.
Max is a writer and self-declared “anti-Zionist,” known for his active support of the BDS movement and his calls for the dismantling of the state of Israel. He trolls pro-Israel writers, as I can personally attest. Max’s widely panned 2013 book Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel is full of anti-Israel rants, omissions and outright lies. In the book he repeatedly compares the Jewish state to the Nazis and advocates that the majority of Jews currently living in Israel must be removed from the land to make way for a Palestinian state. Mimicking the Islamic States’ acronym ISIL, Max created the hashtag #JSIL – Jewish state in the Levant. To Max, the democratic state of Israel and ISIL are morally equivalent entities.
His opinions are seen as radical, leftist claptrap even by left-leaning detractors of the Jewish state. The Nation columnist Eric Alterman – himself a critic of Israel’s presence in the West bank – described how the book “could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club.” J.J. Goldberg of The Forward described Goliath as an “unpleasant book.” By contrast, David Duke, the racist former Ku Klux Klan leader, praised Max’s book.
What is truly concerning is that Sidney has not only failed to ever condemn his son’s anti-Israel writings, but has actively advocated for and defended the warped, outrageous ideas conveyed therein. In fact, after learning of Alterman’s critique of Max’s book, Sidney began sending out emails attacking Alterman and supporting his son’s shoddy and repugnant anti-Israel scholarship. One such email included an article from the radical anti-Zionist website Mondoweiss (who loved the book and whom Max has written for in the past) attacking Alterman’s review.
But even more concerning than all of this is that Hillary Clinton, the nation’s chief diplomat, valued Max’s disturbed anti-Israel rants so much that she forked out $120,000 a year to his dad to keep the flow of information coming.
In one of the emails Sidney sent to Hillary is a link to a November 2010 blog post written by his son. In the blog, Max attempted to equate the views and policies of far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders with those of Israel. Max went so far as to claim that Wilders learned from and formulated his views as a result of his living in Israel. Max wrote, “Israel’s mainstream leadership echoes Wilders’ crudest talking points on a regular basis.” Max described how, “the extreme right [in Europe] is also attracted to Israel because the country represents its highest ideals. While some critics see Israel as a racist apartheid state, people like Wilders see Israel as a racist apartheid state — and they like it.”
He continued saying, “They richly enjoy when Israel mows down Arab Muslims by the dozens and tells the world to go to hell; they admire Israel’s settler culture.” Max also wrote, “most of all, they yearn to live in a land like Israel that privileges its ethnic majority above all others to the point that it systematically humiliates and dispossesses the swarthy racial outclass.” He added, “The endgame of the far-right is to make Europe less tolerant and more Israeli.”
What was Hillary’s response to this racist, anti-Israel tirade? She wrote back to Sidney, “A very smart piece – as usual.”
Before her speech to AIPAC in March of 2010, Sidney sent Hillary a column written by Uri Avnery claiming Israel was pursuing goals contrary to the United States’ interests while “starting a rebellion” against the U.S. Hillary’s response to Sidney was “I have to speak to AIPAC tomorrow. How — and should I — use this?”
Sidney replied that with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Hillary should, “Hold Bibi’s feet to the fire.” He also recommended Hillary try to mention in a positive light the George Soros-funded Israel organization J Street, which is fiercely critical of the Jewish state.
Sidney told Hillary to “remind [AIPAC] in as subtle but also direct a way as you can that it does not have a monopoly over American Jewish opinion. Bibi is stage managing US Jewish organizations (and neocons, and the religious right, and whomever else he can muster) against the administration. AIPAC itself has become an organ of the Israeli right, specifically Likud.”
Holding Netanyahu’s feet to the fire, advocating for J Street, and courting favor with AIPAC while simultaneously viewing them as a conspiracy organization being wielded against the interests of the United States: these are the musings of Hillary Clinton as she considers American policy toward Israel.
Sidney also offered some truly bizarre analysis in an email to Hillary in the aftermath of the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid. During that operation, Israeli soldiers boarded a Turkish vessel approaching the Gaza Strip and were brutally attacked, stabbed, and thrown off ledges by the ship’s passengers, resulting in a shootout and casualties, as video evidence of the event makes clear. Back in May of that year, before any of the facts had been properly clarified, Sidney provided Hillary with an armchair psychoanalysis of the events. He stated, “Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother.” Blumenthal explained that this must be what led Netanyahu to order the operation, adding, “The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe [in which Netanyahu’s brother was killed] except that there are no hostages, no guns (on the Turkish ship), it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe.”
Throughout all of this, there is no email showing Hillary objecting to any of these anti-Israel articles and opinions that Sidney continually sent her. And even to this day, in light of all these damning exchanges, Hillary has yet to apologize or publicly distance herself from Sidney or Max Blumenthal.
Will Hillary disassociate herself from the crackpot anti-Israel theories of Max Blumenthal? We’re all waiting to see.
Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is founder of The World Values Network and is the international best-selling author of 30 books, including “Wrestling with the Divine” and “The Fed-Up Man of Faith,” both of which deal with the problem of human suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.