Are Mainstream Liberals Embracing Max Blumenthal's 'I Hate Israel Handbook'?
There is no American hater of Israel and all it stands for more extreme than the young, would-be journalist Max Blumenthal. The son of former Clinton administration staffer Sidney Blumenthal, he is author of a book so steaming of hatred for Israel that it makes the work of Noam Chomsky seem moderate in comparison. It has received blurbs and endorsements from Stephen Walt (of Walt and Mearsheimer), Rashid Khalidi, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian and Chris Hedges, among others. In other words, all the usual suspects are pushing it.
The Nation, the leading magazine of the far Left, featured a lengthy excerpt for its cover story in the November 4th issue. Trying to appease their few remaining supporters of Israel, it also ran a short one and a quarter page rebuttal by their regular columnist, Eric Alterman. He sees himself as a critical supporter of the Jewish state, regularly writing in opposition to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as most Israeli policies, with which he strenuously disagrees.
Yet Alterman, having read Blumenthal’s book, dubbed it “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook,” noting that some chapters “are titled to imply an equivalence between Israel and Nazi Germany,” such as chapters titled “The Concentration Camp,” “The Night of the Broken Glass,” and one would-be humorous and juvenile chapter titled “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People.” Alterman’s bottom line is this:
Alas, his case against the Jewish state is so carelessly constructed, it will likely alienate anyone but the most fanatical anti-Zionist extremists, and hence do nothing to advance the interests of the occupation’s victims.
Alterman clearly agrees with Blumenthal that Israel is to blame for “the occupation,” but even he cannot help but note that “Blumenthal evinces no interest in the larger context of Israel’s actions;” and that he completely shows no interest in all the serious threats Israel faces from its many foes, which Alterman is compelled to acknowledge are very real and menacing to the Jewish State. He notes that Blumenthal complains about Israeli textbooks which he says “indoctrinate Jewish children into the culture of militarism,” while never saying one word about the Palestinian and Arab textbooks which do not even show Israel as a nation on their maps, and which regularly attack Jews as sub-human. As Alterman puts it, “Did it not occur to Blumenthal…that Palestinians have textbooks at all?”