Welcome Max Blumenthal (MaxBlumenthal.com) (Twitter), and Host Phil Munger “EdwardTeller” (Twitter)

Goliath:  Life and Loathing in Greater Israel

When it comes to telling the inconvenient set of truths that increasingly set Israel apart from what we consider to be a Western democracy or a society akin to the USA or western Europe, no good deed remains unpunished.  Max Blumenthal, in two books published four years apart, has exposed two authoritarian Old Testament-based cultures for their anti-democratic underpinnings.  The first book, unveiling strange Christian and Christianist currents in our political world was widely praised.   The second, examining somewhat similar forces in Israeli political, religious, cultural and educational life, is being widely damned.

In his first look at this, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party, the author closely examined how deeply dysfunctional the relationship is in the GOP, between evangelical currents and what had once been the party’s mainstream.  He showed how, just as the Tea Party was beginning to become a force in Republican primaries, uncompromising fundamentalists were capturing the machinery.  As uncomfortable as revealing this reality was to media figures who reviewed Republican Gomorrah, or interviewed Max on its content, he was given many opportunities to present his case.  The book became a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller.

Max’s new book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, takes a similar look at an increasingly dysfunctional society, Israel.  The book is not without advocates.

No less an authority than Rashid Khalidi wrote “Goliath lifts the carefully maintained veil concealing the reality of Israel as it actually is today, a reality that is elided in most reportage from the region… Blumenthal’s book is packed with remarkable vignettes illustrating the dangerous path Israel is currently following.”

Glenn Greenewald noted “[t]he only worthwhile, honest discussion of Israel can come from someone who possesses two attributes: fearlessness and expertise. Max Blumenthal wields both in abundance, and the result is an eye-opening and stunningly insightful book about the dramatic plight of a country central to America’s political fortunes.”

But Goliath is being attacked by gatekeepers unwilling to allow such a powerful narrative as what Blumenthal has fetched up to change public perception of what Israeli society is.  Part of what is frightening militant Zionists about Max’s in-depth documentation is his accuracy.  Eric Alterman, even as he savaged the book, had to admit  ”Blumenthal’s accounts are mostly technically accurate.”  Anshel Pfeffer, in an unsympathetic November 1st review in Haaretz, notes “as far as it goes, “Goliath” is pretty factual when it comes to providing the outline and main details of “Loathing in Greater Israel.”

Alterman, Pfeffer and others have pointed toward the book’s title as evidence the author is immature, hoping, I guess, to draw false comparisons to Hunter Thompson’s paradigm-shifting short 1971 work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.  Instead, one might compare Goliath to Thompson’s later (1973) masterpiece of Gonzo political documentation, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.   That book documented what came to be called “pack journalism,” a feature of our political coverage in American media that has only gotten far worse since Thompson and others first noted it.

Alterman, Pfeffer and others have falsely invoked Godwin’s Law in their outrage over Blumenthal’s use of terms such as “concentration camp” or “ghetto.”  This is quite unfair, perhaps meretricious, in that both terms predate any association with the Third Reich.  Blumenthal, in a measured, calm response to Alterman’s first two attacks, eloquently explained the context of such terms in his book.

I found Goliath to be a compelling read, so rich in detail I felt obliged to read several chapters more than once, so I could etch in the many interlinked aspects of the chapters’ subjects.  I wrote here on Wednesday that Goliath “is surely one of the most important critical books about Israel yet written, and will ultimately, no matter what its immediate impact, be regarded as such fairly widely.”

Disclaimer:  In 2008 and 2009, I was one of many Alaska bloggers who materially assisted Max Blumenthal in Alaska.  In 2008, my wife and I joined others hosting him and helping him with details, as he investigated Sarah Palin’s religious background here.  In 2009, I led efforts to get Max to Anchorage to speak at the Unitarian church and the University of Alaska Anchorage about Republican Gomorrah.  We have no collaborations currently planned.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

202 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”

BevW November 2nd, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Max, Welcome back to the Lake.

Phil, Welcome back to the Lake, thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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dakine01 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Max and welcome back to FDL. Good afternoon Phil.

Max, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this but did you anticipate the criticism? Anyone supporting you that is a surprise?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi everybody, looking forward to your comments and questions about my new book, “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Israel.”

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Welcome back to firedoglake’s book salon, Max. You have certainly been busy since you came here to write about Republican Gomorrah four years ago.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 3

Both of your books deal with Old Testament-based mindsets and how they play out politically. Is there anything that you learned from doing these books one after another that stands out?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Hi Dakine. I was definitely anticipating backlash. In fact, two months ago, in an interview with The Real News I predicted that if the Nation allowed me to offer my critique of Israeli society in its pages, Eric Alterman would enter the fray as enforcer. That prophecy was fulfilled in a big way.

Elliott November 2nd, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Welcome to the Lake Max,
your book scares me, is there hope?

Is the youth of Israel supporting these racism?

Hi ET
-

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:04 pm

What did surprise me was the effusive praise for my book from veteran Israeli journalist Akiva Eldar, a two stater and not exactly someone who could be described as anti-Zionist: http://angryarabscommentsection.blogspot.com/2013/10/akiva-eldar-on-max-blumenthals-book.html

dakine01 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 6

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for folks to follow the conversation.

Note: some browsers do not like to let the Reply function correctly if it is pressed after a hard page refresh but before the page completes loading

Elliott November 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 6

but did he even read your book?

full disclosure- I think he’s pompoustic

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Thank you Max and ET, for being here this evening.

Max, in your interviews on The Real News, you briefly mentioned the almost total, if not total complicity of the US government and the US Congress, might you consider, seeing that your book has generated such antipathy, suggesting that you have hit the truth very precisely, expanding a wee bit on the theme of US indifference to the genuine plight of the Palestinian people … especially as Kerry’s 4 Billion$ sounds very like a buy-off of this county’s conscience and humanity? And, do you consider that it might affect US relations with Iran, for example, in future?

DW

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I am amazed, reading this book. I guess I always believed the propaganda, that Israel was “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But you’ve exposed it as a fascistic, militaristic, apartheid state. I cannot understand why we, as Americans, don’t know what our tax dollars are supporting. It’s horrifying. I’m ashamed so much of it is new to me, as well.

Have any of your interview subjects found their lives complicated by the publication of your book? Or has Greater Israel simply decided to ignore it? Has your life been complicated? Do you expect to ever be able to return to Israel again?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 8

The Israeli press will probably continue to view Goliath from a more honest perspective than those of Eric Alterman and JJ Goldberg types.

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Thank you Phil and FDL for hosting this important book salon with an absolutely fearless and truthful reporter/writer/historian. Max has done something breathtaking– he has told truth and been vilified and celebrated for it simultaneously.

Max, I want to thank you very much for this wonderful book and for your honesty. I do have a question. Why has it taken so long for someone as bright and engaged and informed as you to write so honestly about this subject? The late, great Edward Said did, and was summarily dismissed by many. Is this the opportune time to break the “news” of the abject failure of the Israeli state wrt to peace and justice, and to the pitiful charade by both Israel and the US efforts toward a fair and just settlement of I/P? What, if anything, has changed?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:08 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 5

Goliath is a portrait of a country under the grips of a movement not dissimilar to the kind I described in Republican Gomorrah, enabled by a system that guarantees that one ethnic group has superior legal privileges to another, and which is supported by an extremist cadre of state sponsored clerics. It shows what can go wrong in an anachronistic ethnocracy. In the US, meanwhile, the Christian right and Tea Party are waging a fighting retreat as the country becomes more multi-ethnic and multi-religious.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I’ve got a decent layman’s knowledge of Israeli politics. The coalitions and minority party viewpoints are complicated. But now that I’ve finished Max’s book, it seems a little less complicated, but a lot more depressing. Glad you’re reading it, Teddy.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm
In response to Elliott @ 7

We are witnessing a trend among Israeli youth towards greater racism and support for “strong leaders” over democratic process. These trends have intensified since the collapse of the peace process and the imposition of a regime of unilateral separation (the wall in and around the West Bank) with the Palestinians. I detail polling on young Israeli Jewish attitudes in Goliath, how the situation on the ground has inspired them, and how they have been influenced by intensified Holocaust education, school sponsored settlement field trips, and of course, army service.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm

The information you provide, Max, that the claim now is that the Palestinians were complicit in the Holocaust must be expected to not resonate too well outside Israel, one hopes, yet, inside Israel, is that commonly or widely accepted as the truth?

DW

hpschd November 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Welcome,

I’ve just gotten the book from the Toronto library (4 copies – 29 holds).
Haven’t had time to read much yet. I did catch all 5 Real News segments.

I am concerned that the Harper government here in Canada is trying to outdo the US in bending over backwards to support the behavior of the Israeli government.

Did you get any comments regarding Canada in your research?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Hi Max, very interesting book. Well written and accessible. Unlike many people on the internets (apparently), I have no expertise whatsoever on this issue so a lot my questions may be rather basic.

One of the things that struck me when reading about Avigdor Lieberman and the Yisrael Beiteinu’s platform is how odd it is to have such territorial/xenophobic politics when Liberman and many of his supporters are recent immigrants and that a fair amount of those Soviet immigrants – 300,000 out of about a million – were not considered Jewish.

Was the great Russian immigrant influx a mistake altogether, poorly handled, or not really a source of the anti-democratic rhetoric you see amongst Liberman and co.?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:11 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 15

In the US, meanwhile, the Christian right and Tea Party are waging a fighting retreat

— with a scorched earth policy, as they lick their wounds.

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 2:12 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 6

Welcome Max what will be the effects on Palestinians if Hillary Clinton wins the Presidency. And the ME war strategy?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:13 pm
In response to hpschd @ 19

Good to see you here, hpschd! Great question.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:14 pm
In response to angie @ 14

Thank you, Angie. Edward Said completely predicted how the Oslo Accords would turn out, and was castigated as a result. I think the situation has become so dire, and the facts so undeniable, that only ideological blindness among our pundit class and pack journalists can conceal them. I think there are many great books on the subject, especially from Palestinian writers like Susan Abulhawa and Ali Abunimah, as well as from Israeli dissidents like Ilan Pappe, but what I attempted to do with this book was immerse myself in Israeli society and relay back the disturbing scenes I witnessed to the American public. I do think this was a necessary task given the dereliction of duty we’ve witnessed among our own establishment press.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:15 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 22

She pretty much lays it out in this speech she gave 11 months ago.

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:15 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 17

But it’s no wonder young people are drawn to fascist leaders and strong-army solutions, taught as they are from a very young age in militarized schools that worship the tools of war. Can you imagine, first graders being taught “matching” games with machine guns and tanks? And principals of schools dismissed for exposing high schoolers to something other than a war-based solution to Israel’s clear apartheid.

It’s very depressing. Because all the institutions are being corrupted for war-making, apartheid, and fascism.

Knut November 2nd, 2013 at 2:15 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 17

I wonder if we are not seeing here what economists call a ‘separating equilibrium,’ in which the young people who are mobile and disgusted simply leave Israel, making it even more the province of Zio-fascists. I really don’t see any solution to this tragedy that doesn’t end in catadtrophe, in which case the best policy is to insulate as best as possible the rest of the world from it.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:16 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 18

As the Israeli political psychologist Daniel Bar Tal told me in Goliath, Netanyahu’s rhetoric about Palestinian responsibility for the Holocaust falls on fertile soil. I urge you to read the chapter in my book, “These Things That Were Done To Us,” to better understand how Holocaust education is exploited to promote militaristic attitudes and compliance with army conscription. The most effective vehicle has been the “March of the LIving” trips that 25% of Israeli high schoolers have completed a year before embarking on army service. According to the Israeli Ministry of Education, the trips have been successful in driving nationalistic attitudes and more support for the army as an institution.

emptywheel November 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I had a reaction between yours and Elliot’s. I abstractly knew about this. But it still scares me.

So I can imagine the cognitive dissonance of those who’ve invested a lot in disbelieving this who take the time to read it.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Aloha, Max and Philip…! Mahalo for all your efforts…!

Unfortunately, I haven’t read the book yet…! Did you cover Operation Cast Lead in the book, Max…?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Max, you seem to have been able to travel freely in Israel and the West Bank, while working on the book, and while creating and posting some pretty explosive videos and articles. Do you think you will face more travel restrictions there after Goliath’s publication?

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I suppose I thought there was greater criticism of Israel, its government and policies, within Israel than in America. But from your book, Max, it seems as if that criticism, and actions taken based on it, are much less tolerated now that the right-wing runs the government. Is there still room for dissent in Israel, or is any dissent treated as treason now?

Elliott November 2nd, 2013 at 2:19 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 17

how they have been influenced by intensified Holocaust education

do they not see the irony?
that shocks me the most

see also: golden rule

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 2:20 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 24

Speaking of the Oslo Accords, do you think Abu Mazen will actually revoke them, considering that Israel has never complied with their side of the agreements…?

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Subject matter was pretty grim, e.g. Bedouins kicked off their land. If there was a bright spot, I thought it was some of the resistance. I liked the way you included women –both Palestinian and Israeli — and anti-militarism movements. It’s been a week or so since I read the book, but I can remember the cafe owner who didn’t serve anyone in uniforms, but paid dearly for that little bit of free speech.

hpschd November 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Available here In Toronto are Palestinian products via Beit Zatoun (soap, zata’ar, olive oil). These are from Tabeh in the West Bank.

How do trade goods from Palestine get out? Do the Palestinians benefit from the trade?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I was under that impression as well – that Israel was more liberal on the subject of Israel than the United States – but this book makes me question that.

emptywheel November 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 15

I was really fascinated by your portrayal of more recent immigrants from Russia in these dynamics (though I haven’t gotten that far yet). Can you talk about that a bit?

And how much of that brings mob ties that make things more confrontational?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm
In response to Knut @ 27

That is a fairly accurate assessment and I like the term. Another phenomenon we are witnessing is secular, liberal Israelis turning inwards and focusing on “domestic” issues like rent and food prices, becoming more civic minded in their neighborhoods in Tel Aviv while behaving as though Palestine is further away than Kathmandu. This has been made possible by the separation regime and Netanyahu’s so-far successful strategy of “peace without peace.” The only way to disrupt the status quo is through external pressure like BDS. And one of the most successful ways of reaching the increasingly apathetic “Enlightened Public” of Israel is the cultural boycott, which focuses on pressuring performers not to play Tel Aviv – the new Sun City.

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

I had to put the book down when I read about the camps in the Negev being developed to “concentrate” Bedouins so that they could provide labor to Israeli Jews. How can people not see how awful that is, actually and optically?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:22 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 29

I can imagine the cognitive dissonance of those who’ve invested a lot in disbelieving this who take the time to read it.

Probably why one WSJ book reviewer threw Goliath in the trash can. Afraid to even open the covers.

Thanks for joining in, emptywheel.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:22 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 31

I hope not. I wonder if the Shin Bet will be stupid enough to put me on a blacklist. They have a lot more to lose by restricting my entry than by allowing it. Of course, I would not put anything past them at this point.

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Max, you talk about easing your way through Israeli security by referring to the possibility of getting married to an Israeli woman and hence breeding and helping the demography of Jews in Israel. You also mentioned your status as an Ashkenazi Jew giving you an even easier time.

Has the Israeli obsession with demography and purity degenerated to racial privileges for elite sects or does it stop at Jew v. Non-Jew?

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’m expecting Eric Alterman to soon describe them as “gated communities,” rather than as “concentration centers.”

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 2:25 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 42

They have refused you entry into Gaza right, Max…?

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:26 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 28

Thank you for that in depth response. How do you imagine, Max, that the generations so inculcated with loathing and enforced ignorance may EVER be able to behave as civilized beings if “kill, kill, kill, all day, every day” is their anthem?

The US is wrapped in that damnable myth of exceptionalism, but the young in Israel have had their humanity betrayed utterly, they are victims of their elder’s hatred to such an appalling degree that it may well be far too late for them to regain any semblance of civilized perspective. Do you imagine that Jews living in other places may join this madness or will there be some appalled reluctance to continue to support what you report as happening?

DW

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:26 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 38

Hi Marcy. The influx of Russians has definitely shifted the dynamics of Israeli politics to the hard right. Most Russian youth according to polls I cite prefer strong leaders to democracy. Though many liberal Israelis complain about the Russians, their emigration was made necessary by Israel’s ethnocratic imperatives: the state requires a clear demographic majority of Jews over Palestinians to maintain its “Jewish” character. Thus the million plus Russians were necessary to buy the Jewish state some more time. It also bears mentioning that the Russians did not participate in anywhere near the level of violence and ethnic cleansing the Labor Zionist movement did, and that they face discrimination and have been often judged by state rabbis to be non-Jewish, meaning many are unable to get the benefits they were promised.

Phoenix Woman November 2nd, 2013 at 2:27 pm
In response to Elliott @ 33

I see parallels between what the oppressed and exiled Puritan settler/invaders of North America did to non-Puritans wherever they were able to do so, and what the long-oppressed Hutus did to the Tutsis in 1994.

Being oppressed doesn’t guarantee enlightened behavior on the part of the oppressed.

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Yes. But there is so much awful, doesn’t the mind crack or find a way to take it?
right now in Gaza, there are drones (probably ours given to Israel, via Obama ) overhead, no electricity and they’re blocking off tunnels (for food? healthcare?)
perhaps, plus gunfire, flares heard.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:29 pm
In response to DSWright @ 43

It is basically delineated along lines of Jew vs non-Jew, but Jewish society is heavily stratified so that Jews of Arab descent (Mizrahim) and Ethiopian Jews face discrimination and share class interests with Palestinians. As with whites in the deep south, they are compelled to demonstrate their loyalty to the elite class by lashing out at the only group beneath them: Palestinians. This is one reason why people are so easily divided in Israel against their class interests, and why a movement from within Israeli society capable of breaking the walls of apartheid may never emerge.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to Phoenix Woman @ 48

Definitely. The victims of oppression and abuse often become the most aggressive abusers. As long as Israel embarks on a project to control and dominate Palestinians, it must perpetuate the spirit of Jewish oppression within Israeli society to make the project psychologically possible.

Phoenix Woman November 2nd, 2013 at 2:31 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 47

They probably figure that their secret allies in apartheid-era South Africa made a big mistake in thinking that a tiny white minority could rule indefinitely over a vast nonwhite majority, even while using every divide-and-rule trick in the book.

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:31 pm

To take a more hopeful note, what path out of this morass do you see, Max?

I mean, how can people inculcated practically since pre-school, abetted by immigrants in a culture trying very hard to prove their loyalty to the state’s war-making, ever turn away from “Death to Arabs!” ? I don’t see how this can resolve peacefully, but you’ve been there and met people who are trying — can they win?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:32 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 45

Actually it was the Egyptian government under Morsi that delayed my entry permission to Gaza so long I was not in the country to accept it. In Israel, I would need a Government Press Office card to enter Gaza. But I have yet to apply.

Knut November 2nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 46

This may be an exceptional case, but I live in a neighborhood that is heavily and increasingly Hassidic (Satmar). They have successfully closed the outside world to their children, who are forbidden to communicate, much less play wirh non-Hassidic children. The blinds are always drawn to keep the outside world out, from both directions. They are peaceable enough, but absolutely and completely separate. There has been some tension lately because they are snapping up property right and left and of course refuse to patronize most goyim tradesmen and shops.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm

The only path out of this bloody impasse is from the outside, through external pressure to convince Israeli society that the price of occupation and apartheid is too high. That is why I support BDS.

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:35 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 56

Does external pressure play into the victimhood status of the government’s narrative, though? I mean, the Tel Aviv elites celebrated Obama’s election, thinking he could get Bibi to make peace — but who is really controlling that relationship now?

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 2:36 pm
In response to mui1 @ 49

One of the best sources for following the daily onslaught of Israeli oppression is Ma’an News, here’s today’s headline 5 Broken Cameras star among those shot in Bilin by Israeli forces

emptywheel November 2nd, 2013 at 2:37 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 47

Thanks. Do you get into the treatment of African Jews later on?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Max, would it be fair to say you focuses on the worst or most reactionary parts of Israel in your book? So that while accurate for sure, it may not be representative of the whole population? For instance you note press reports where one Israeli says they want all of Gaza to be leveled/destroyed and admits they are “a little fascist.” It’s disturbing, but how representative is it?

I would hate for all of America to be judged on the craziest quote a random bystander gives to a reporter. Is it really that bad generally or are we just seeing the most obnoxious belligerent people because they shout the loudest?

I admit this may be wishful thinking on my part and do concede you include polling to show shifting attitudes among Israelis towards “strong leaders” not democratic processes such as the rule of law.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Max,

In the last segment on The Real News with Paul Jay, you describe in detail what you claim to be the ultimate goal of the “peace process” – A few small, mostly urban Bantustans in the West Bank with some sort of Jordanian identity for the Palestinians there, second-class citizenship in Israel for the rest of the WB Palestinians, and a reverting of Gaza to Egyptian control. Do you think anyone in the U.S. media (other than Matt Lee of the AP) has the cajones to directly ask the State Department about this?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:38 pm
In response to Knut @ 55

In the American context I understand Hasidic communities have behaved antagonistically towards their neighbors in Brooklyn and other densely populated areas. They want to separate and practice their strictly religious lifestyle with minimal interference, which is problematic in a society like ours. In Israel, they have been heavily demonized in an ugly way for their refusal to perform military or national service while collecting government benefits. They have refused to participate in the occupation, not for moral reasons, but out of religious duty. And now they are protesting against plans to force them to join the army. In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the ultra-Orthodox should not be seen as the problem, in my opinion.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In response to Knut @ 55

Certainly, Knut, there must be a range of “support” from those who are Jews by heritage and not necessarily deeply, if at all, devoted to the Israeli Zionist “cause” and those who more strongly identify with the “Homeland” which term (now applied “here”) always seems to bespeak insular and fortified self-consciousness.

DW

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:39 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 59

My book contains some discussion of Ethiopian Jews but mostly focuses on the plight of the 60,000 non-Jewish African asylum seekers currently living in Israel.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to DSWright @ 60

During the first week of the assault on Gaza, 95% of the Jewish Israeli public supported it. I encourage you to read into my book, especially the interactions with Daniel Bar Tal, the political psychologist who has probed Jewish Israeli attitudes more extensively than any other academic.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:40 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 62

That insight is very much appreciated, Max.

DW

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 39

I have been following your TV appearances. Have to made any comments regarding the USA wars in the Middle East that support Israeli policies of confrontation. Bomb Iran Bomb Syria war in Iran The Bush Administrations Shock and Awe destroying Iraq infrastructure all heavily supported by AIPAC. Drawing USG into war on terror and multiple operations in Africa. The Bush WH had multiple officials with Israeli citizenship. It all cost us our safety net for the poor, $5 billion cut in food stamps, low income housing and many programs to help the unemployed. Trillions spent apparently protecting Israeli interest.

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 2:41 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 24

Thanks so much for your answer. One more question, if I may. I see much blame heaped upon the PA for the failure of all of the “peace talks”. I wonder if you think peace will be crafted at the UN and ICC. I also wonder if you think that AIPAC and their influence over and with our elected officials will wane after more exposure, in spite of Mr. Hagel’s recent and pitiful mea culpa.

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/11/hagels-supposed-israeli.html

One other thing: Do you find that the new and invigorated talks with Iran will succeed, or will Netanyahu and his compatriots demolish them? I personally believe that normalization of relations with Iran is in our best interests.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:42 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 61

The question is why the US media never investigates the actual US-Israeli plan for “two states,” why its Jerusalem correspondents never go to press briefings to ask why the Israelis won’t produce a map, and yes, why Obama has never been asked if he even knows the details. Based on the leaks I’ve seen from the latest round of talks, it would not be a pretty picture.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to angie @ 68

Great questions, angie.

DW

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 2:43 pm

The narrative about The Daughters of Israel so closely parallels our own Jim Crow South’s imperative to “protect white womenhood” it’s very scary.

And yet some daughters of Israel — who return for family events long after leaving the country for Canada — get locked up in prison and mistreated there, simply for not serving in the Army. Even though serving in the Army, for women, is a totally gender-biased and sometimes terrifying “mattress” experience. How do Israelis square these notions, or are the stories you’ve captured simply not told in Israel at all?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 67

There are also benefits to US loans to Israel, like massive welfare for the weapons industry which gets Israeli contracts on the back end, and private security collaboration. Of course, these “benefits” are corrosive to our social fabric and whatever is left of our democracy.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 2:44 pm

What about what ever passes for the Left in Israel? How big are they what issues do they care about, how do they view the current political situation.

bluewombat November 2nd, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to Elliott @ 10

full disclosure- I think he’s pompoustic

Is that like being pompous with good acoustics?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:45 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 65

Indeed. I did read some of that in the book and they are horribly depressing.

Such as “68% of Israeli Jews would refuse to live in the same building as an Arab” (page 18)

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:47 pm
In response to DSWright @ 60

Now that Max has responded, I’ll add a bit:

While Goliath is relentless in the impact it made on me regarding extremism, I’m not sure that watering that down with more examples than he did provide of sanity among the Israeli Jewish population was necessary. It is already a very big book in its detail, in the amazing number of chapters and in its sense of Israeli and Palestinian history. As Max noted above, “a movement from within Israeli society capable of breaking the walls of apartheid may never emerge.”

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 72

Yes, like the drones ✈ ✈✈ ✈ ✈✈ ✈ ✈✈ seen in Gaza overhead are probably ours gifted to Israel. Or the “less-lethal” weapons are probably another instance.

bluewombat November 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Am too lazy to read through all 68 (so far) posts, so will just jump right in:

Do you find Israeli political culture to be more right-wing than American political culture? I realize that Israel is no longer the socialist-kibbutz paradise I heard of in my youth, but just how bad is it, and how much pushback is there from Israeli progressives?

Again, please excuse me if you’ve already dealt with these questions.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 2:48 pm

But Goliath is being attacked by gatekeepers unwilling to allow such a powerful narrative as what Blumenthal has fetched up to change public perception of what Israeli society is

Who are these gate keepers I don’t watch Right wing news allot are we talking Fox news or the New York Times?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:49 pm
In response to angie @ 68

My question is why the PA has not gone to the ICC to enforce the UN statehood resolution. One of the reasons the BDS movement congealed was that the PA was unable to enforce the ICJ decision on the Israeli separation wall. Little can be done on the ground without rulings from international legal bodies and mechanisms for enforcing the rulings.

As for Iran, it seems the Obama administration has basically sacrificed the Palestinians to Netanyahu to mollify him on the Iranian issue. Of course, Israel and the Saudis will complain and howl, but there is very little they can do right now to disrupt Obama politically.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:50 pm
In response to mui1 @ 77

Actually, Israel invented the drone and is the world’s leading exporter of drones and UAV technology. We learned from them in that regard, both militarily and legally, adopting their concept of “asymmetrical warfare,” which strips civilians of the rights conferred on them in the Geneva Conventions.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:52 pm
In response to bluewombat @ 78

Israel has never fostered a genuinely liberal culture, especially under the kibbutz movement, which was dedicated to ethnic segregation and exclusion, and whose members organized economic boycotts against businesses that relied on Arab labor or sold Arab products. Paradoxically, the Likud Party and its early antecedents may have been more liberal in a classical sense than the Labor Zionist movement, which preached socialism for Jews only.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 2:53 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 72

As long as they have Uncle Sugar’s favor do Israeli “leaders” and, apparently from what you relate, much of the Israeli Jewish population give a fig, Max, about what the rest of the world might think of them?

Certainly most “good” USians don’t.

Do you imagine that the rest of the world’s people may, in time, become less than enchanted with Israel and the US?

What do you see, longer term, as the likely outcome of both nation’s warlike belligerency? Might you hazard any guesses?

DW

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:54 pm

There are some very brave leftists in Israeli Jewish society and you will meet some of them in Goliath. But they number about 700-1000, at least in terms of those who are committed and active, and face harsh consequences for their activism, both socially and in terms of their ability to find employment. The main reason why their numbers are so low can be found in my section on Israel’s education system. Indeed, repression is not the problem as much as indoctrination is.

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:54 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 76

In America, at least in my neck of the woods in the Northeast, a much different version of Israel is given. Israel is presented as a rather progressive people and society. That it is a very modern, cosmopolitan country. Cutting edge tech, toleration of gays, function democracy etc.

So while I take this journalistic work seriously, it is unnerving given my previous impressions.

This may play into the “dream castle” aspect of Americans projecting a nicer image or sanding down the edges of a more brutal reality vis a vis Israel.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Alterman, Pfeffer and others have falsely invoked Godwin’s Law in their outrage over Blumenthal’s use of terms such as “concentration camp” or “ghetto.” This is quite unfair, perhaps meretricious, in that both terms predate any association with the Third Reich.

Would Israel wait until they all died before we use the term? Missiles get shot, tanks knock over houses, food and medical care is restricted at times the population is dependent on its captor and its captor has made comments about wanting them all gone.
Tell we in Warsaw did the Jews wait until after Hitler had them killed before they called their home a ghetto?

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 2:55 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 72

I think it was Amira Hass, awhile ago that stated that Gaza and the OPTs are the ‘laboratory’ of the Defense Industry, in that all the latest gadgetry has been used on the Palestinians, from skunk water to Sound Cannons, even the lethal thermobaric munitions…!

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 2:55 pm

So far, the main American media gatekeepers have been Eric Alterman and J.J. Goldberg. Others have chimed in here and there. Mostly, though, at least from what I’ve been able to find out from articles on the book’s reception, the punditocracy feels it prudent to ignore Goliath, which is another way of “gatekeeping.”

One thing that is quite strange, even a bit shocking, is how unhinged Alterman has been in his three essays about Goliath, and his “response” to Max’s critique. Max’s restraint in the face of this is admirable.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:56 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 83

We can already see a Republicanization of pro-Israel support in the US, the Israel lobby growing more bellicose and antagonistic towards any Democrat-controlled administration, a general distaste among young secular American Jews for Israel’s government, and an intensification of Israeli efforts to groom Christian Zionists as Israel’s political and cultural base of support in the US. This does not bode well for the Jewish state in the long run.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 87

Definitely. Israel’s weapons — unlike those of many other major weapons producers — are all “field tested.” This is a great selling point when marketing them abroad.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 2:57 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 84

I do look forward to reading your book. Education is the key you say I don’t suppose you can compare the Texas education system with Israel’s slavery was not that bad, global warming is a hoax, the founding fathers were all fundy christians.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 88

It is notable that the most vitriolic critics have been American liberal Zionists, while the neocon zealots have deliberately ignored the book and Israelis have at least treated it with a measure of sanity.

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 81

Regardless, many seem to think the drones are ours (the ones overhead right now in Gaza) and its quite possible they are, since we have quite the industry http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2013/09/defense-contractors.html. Heck, Obama and congress can’t be bothered to show up to a congressional hearing with Pakistani drone victims (incl. little girl) testifyiing that they don’t know why granny was killed, since he had an appointment that day according to some
with the makers of those instruments.

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Max, previous to reading the book I had never even heard of Nakba Day, let alone the Israeli governments rather surreal attempts at suppressing* it – including erasing the word “Nakba” from textbooks to preserve the “Zionist narrative.”

How successful has this effort been and isn’t the historical revisionism rather absurd in an age of information?

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 88

One thing that is quite strange, even a bit shocking, is how unhinged Alterman has been in his three essays about Goliath, and his “response” to Max’s critique.

ET when they get angry we know we are doing something right:)

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 2:59 pm
In response to DSWright @ 85

It is possible for a state to be affluent, cosmopolitan, extremely high tech, and to practice apartheid. Perhaps it is because these factors are interlinked.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I often think of Arizona and Texas efforts at whitewashing education when I think of curricula for Jewish Israeli youth. There is a distinct similarity and intent.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:02 pm
In response to DSWright @ 85

Also see my section in the book on Michael Lucas, the gay porn producer who is also a major pro-Israel propagandist. One of his most lucrative films, “The Men of Israel,” featured a scene shot in the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Lifta.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:03 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 87

even the lethal thermobaric munitions…!

Fuel air bombs were used on Palestinians….shock, sad nothing else to say

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:04 pm
In response to DSWright @ 85

I’ve been an advocate for Palestinian rights since I went to an art exhibit in Seattle back in late 1982. The art had been made by Palestinian kids who had been orphaned in the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres. It was there that I met my first Palestinian friends.

Up to that time, I had been a Zionist, or at least a pro Zionist. By meeting and befriending Palestinians, I could no longer think of them as the “other.”

Over the years since, I’ve seen many Jewish friends or relatives lose their faith in the Zionist experiment.

As Rachel Corrie wrote, a couple of days before she was murdered, regarding Palestinian friends, “I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, some day, hopefully, you will.”

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 90

Our so-called hideous less than lethal which are not less than lethal are tested too (“for law enforcement”). Tons of stuff on that. At Wikileaks. They used it on Iraqi prisoners, and probably Afghan prisoners and Gitmo prisoners (recently acc. to lawyers). They probaby “tested” stuff in Vietnam, and took notes on what buddies were doing in Israel too, to boot. It’s a very disgusting incestuous business probably

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to DSWright @ 94

Historical whitewashing may seem absurd in our open source age but it is successful when carried out by societal role models like teachers, principals, and politicians, especially among youth in a psychologically formative stage. But there are also Israelis who know the full story of the Nakba but consider it necessary for them to maintain a Jewish state. Among them is Ari Shavit, Israel’s version of Thomas Friedman, who recently justified the ethnic cleansing of Lydda in the New Yorker on the grounds that it made it possible for him to be born.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 97

I would love to read more of that when I get your book I’ll look up articles about Texas, AZ education and look for things in common.
Maybe to mess with GOPer’s heads I’ll look at Fundy Christian education and Saudi education.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 98

Tears streaming down my cheek. That chapter is so sad and funny at the same time.

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 87

White Phosphorus burns long after it hit you.

Kevin Gosztola November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Hi, Max.

One of the numerous aspects of your thorough book that is striking to me is the speech by left-wing Israeli politician David Hacohen in the book. You highlight how he expressed discomfort that he had to defend the “prestate Zionist ‘conquest of labor’ against criticism from a group of socialist comrades from around the world.”

“I had to fight my friends on the issue of Jewish socialism, to defend the fact that I would not accept Arabs in my trade union.”

I presume most socialists are like Hacohen, but did you meet many socialists like Hacohen while you were in Israel? And do they all struggle with how their “comrades” from around the world are not as racist as they are?

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 96

So then, Max, in Israel there is not the widening income disparity that we see in the US? Except, of course, one imagines, among the less-favored segments of the population? Costs of “living”, health care etc, are not causing many to be “one paycheck” from disaster? Would the economy be flourishing were the US not so deeply invested? What other nations are “invested” in Israel?

DW

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm
In response to mui1 @ 101

I wrote about that here: http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/2178

bmaz November 2nd, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Hi Max. Am unexpectedly stuck away, and on mobile. Wanted to say hi, and am planning on seeing you in Phoenix in one week. A little dicey, but plan to be there. Imraan is a great guy, and will be a superb host.

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 3:08 pm

My goodness, that Mr Alterman certainly doesn’t like you, your parents, or your book!

And yet he returns to the topic over and over again — he really should be writing for the WSJournal, not the Nation.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:08 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 100

Which raises the question Gideon Levy asked a few years ago, where is/are the Palestinian ‘Gandhi(s)’…? Basically, the answer was locked up in Israeli prisons…!

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 105

I didn’t include WP, because it is an older munition, but, yes they’ve used it repeatedly during Cast Lead…! 8-(

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 3:10 pm
In response to Max Blumenthal @ 89

American Christians en large seem to support Israeli policy towards Palestinians and Muslims and Arabs in general, USG has been alienating several billion Muslims with the drone war on terror. Any thoughts on the Christian attitude in America despite the new Pope’s position.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Yes Hacohen’s remarks highlight the illiberalism of Labor Zionism, how it exploited socialism as a means to exclude and even de-develop Palestinian Arab communities while building up Jewish-only kibbutzim in their place. He was referring to “Kibush Ha’avodah,” or the “conquest of Labor,” which advocated establishing Jewish-only work collectives while boycotting and even sabotaging those who integrated their businesses with Jews and Arabs.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:11 pm

What happened to the rent protests in Israel it seemed for a minute there Israel was having popular protests. The rich Bibi’s banker friends were getting richer and the people were mad about not being able to afford their own place.

pastfedup November 2nd, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Thank you Max and Phil for being here today. Max, your book is definitely on my list of must-haves.

Regarding your mention of a trend of Israeli youths towards greater racism, I roughly recall a mini-documentary my wife and I saw several years ago about a group of Israeli youths on a bus tour somewhere (can’t recall) in the mideast with a woman and a man accompanying them. It seemed at every stop the woman or man would say something about being very careful and wary of strangers, it seemed that they were being subtly indoctrinated to believe that they were feared or hated or envied by anyone who was a non-Jew or non-Israeli. The videographer, who was also the narrator, mentioned at the end that he had been disturbed by the whole experience and had since left Israel.

After viewing that, my wife and I wondered how Israel could ever avoid believing that every nation was the enemy, if the youth were being indoctrinated in that fashion. It seems to have only gotten worse.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:12 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 111

Where is the Israeli DeKlerk? — perhaps a better question. Here is the Israeli “Gandhi”: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.554370

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:13 pm
In response to bmaz @ 109

Hope you get to see him there, Bmaz.

BTW, Max – how is the public appearance part of the book tour going? My daughter is going try to get free to see you in Town Hall in Seattle tomorrow.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:14 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 111

Numerous Palestinian Gandhis have also been shot. Not all of them by the Israelis, either.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to pastfedup @ 116

I would be interested to know the name of this film. It is consistent with Goliath, especially my chapter on women in the Israeli army. Relying on testimony from former female soldiers, I describe how they are given “anti-kidnapping kits” designed to instill in them the fear of being kidnapped and sexually assaulted by Arab males. They are also urged to seek protection from a strong male soldier. I note that it is far more likely that that male soldier will be their attacker. In fact, according to a report submitted to the Knesset subcommittee on women’s affairs, 1/3 of female Israeli soldiers have reported being sexually attacked by a male colleague.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:15 pm

How are book sales in the EU I suspect this book could help push the EU to boycott Israel more. I wonder how the Arab countries will view the book.
Will the Arab Left start comparing their leaders to Israeli leaders? We compare our fundies to Muslim Fundies all the time.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Great point, Max…! Btw, do you mention Balad’s Haneen Zoabi at all in your book…?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:17 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 118

It will be great to see your daughter Phil. For the record I will be reading tonight at Seattle’s Town Hall at 7 PM, not tomorrow.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:19 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 122

I interviewed Zoabi and have dedicated two chapters to her and to her ideological formation under the wing of Azmi Bishara. I use her story to show the political transformation of Palestinian society inside Israel, especially in the post-Oslo era.

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Looks like troops started limited incursion now in BeitLahia, right now as we speak. Um, also there seems to be an Egypt-Israel collab on destroying tunnels.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Uh oh – she’s working. Darn! Diving in the Cedar River. Thanks for correcting the misinfo.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I am not sure about sales but am planning an EU tour early next year. I think I will be treated with more openness and receptivity there.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Israel has had females in their army much longer than we have to have a 1/3 number of women being sexually attacked after all this time suggests the army does not care, the army has discipline problems ( I am sure discipline problems manifest in other ways but what are they) and that the family and school culture somehow permits or even encourages this.
Every Israeli as I understand joins the army unlike in America where its poor people mostly or people without many options in life.
Assuming all females also go to the army then 1/3 of the population has been sexually attacked.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:21 pm
In response to mui1 @ 125

Under the new coup regime, over 80 percent of tunnels into Gaza have been destroyed. This is obviously encouraged by Israel but also by the US. As a result, conditions in Gaza are as bad as during the early days of the siege when everything from cardamom to size A2 paper was not allowed in.

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Favorite story in the book – George Will flew to Israel and was astonished and beguiled that Prime Minister Netanyahu had a 2800 year old stone in his office with the word Netanyahu on it. Will seemed to take this as some divine mandate for the Prime Minister’s leadership of Israel…

But we then learn that Netanyahu’s grandfather was named Nathan Milikovsky and changed his name to Netanyahu.

Doh!

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm

good point.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Awesome, all the more reason for me to buy your book…! ;-)

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I present critiques in my book of Israel gender relations under a culture of full militarization from feminist academic experts like Hagith Gur and Gal Harmat. I encourage you to read what they have to say in Goliath.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:23 pm
In response to DSWright @ 130

It’s like falling for L Ron Hubbard’s tall tales about Xenu, isn’t it?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Couldn’t stop laughing. Perfect marriage of pomposity and naivete. Netanyahu can play our so-called “media elites” like a fiddle.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Nearly 1 in 5 Women in U.S. Survey Say They Have Been Sexually Assaulted
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Published: December 14, 2011

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/15/health/nearly-1-in-5-women-in-us-survey-report-sexual-assault.html?_r=0

Israel’s army gots us beat but the army is suppose to be a place where all aspects of your life are controlled what you eat, when you wake up, what you listen too Rush Limabugh, Fox News ( is FDL still banned ?). But women are safer in America from sexual assault than women in the Israeli army? from their fellow solders they are being attacked.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 131

Scary, Sad, WTF passes for discipline in the Israeli army point.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Max, this has been a thoroughly excellent and most enlightening Book Salon. Your book is most definitely on my “need to get next!!!” list. I understand that you had envisioned this book, even as or before, you wrote Republican Gomorrah. Clearly, the impact of this book will go on for many years, that it, and you, are already being so vehemently challenged suggests that you have touched a very central nerve, and I hope that you know that all of us, here, support your efforts at truth telling wholeheartedly.

Have you, as yet, any thoughts as to what you might choose to educate us about next?

DW

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:27 pm
In response to DSWright @ 135

Here’s how I see him. It’s a wanted poster I made for his nuclear espionage activities.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:28 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 113

There is strong opposition to Israeli occupation among mainline Christians who maintain ecumenical relations with indigenous Palestinian Christians, but they seem to be a minority when compared to evangelicals, who generally support Israel without reservation. The most frightening trend I’ve witnessed is the popularity of “Messianic Judaism,” in which evangelicals basically play dress up and pretend to be Jewish. Fetishizing Jews as a special people is hardly less anti-Semitic than concocting conspiracies about their unique powers.

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm

That is important. I can’t forget the “matress” part.
Cosmopolitan not. Militarism is very much “macho” always and bad for women. There are no two ways around that, no matter how much PR likes to say otherwise.

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 118

I very much look forward to any conversation that Alterman will have with Max.

I also look forward to Max speaking on MSM– when will they ever have the courage to have him on? NPR has been entirely silent, and it is shameful.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:29 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 138

I gratified to know you’ll be picking my book up. I am not sure where I’ll go next in terms of journalism but I think the rise of the xenophobic right-wing in Europe might be one area I will explore.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:30 pm
In response to angie @ 142

That’s kind of like waiting for Godot, I think. Unfortunately, isn’t it?

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Max, what are your thoughts on the ADL’s inclusion of Code Pink on their top ten Hate List…?

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Max, following up on the George Will story you talk about Netanyahu as a great PR operative and salesman but also as a “transferist” someone looking to expel Palestinians by any means available.

What is your assessment of Prime Minister Netanyahu – opportunist, true believer, or some combination of the two?

pastfedup November 2nd, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I will try to research the name of it; it’s been probably 3 years or so. We have a couple of public tv channels here that show programs and short films from around the world; or it may have been on link-tv.

Kevin Gosztola November 2nd, 2013 at 3:32 pm

You mention cultural boycotts, pressuring performers not to play Tel Aviv, the new Sun City.

What has made this successful? Did you witness any Israeli reactions to news that performers were not going to play Tel Aviv?

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:33 pm

A 1992 estimate from the Federal Bureau of Prisons conjectured that between 9 and 20 percent of inmates had been sexually assaulted. Studies in 1982 and 1996 both concluded that the rate was somewhere between 12 and 14 percent; the 1996 study, by Cindy Struckman-Johnson, concluded that 18 percent of assaults were carried out by prison staff. A 1986 study by Daniel Lockwood put the number at around 23 percent for maximum security prisons in New York. Christine Saum’s 1994 survey of 101 inmates showed 5 had been sexually assaulted.[9] Among women the number is one in forty and the offenders are more likely to be prison staff members.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_rape_in_the_United_States

Do you all realize that while prison rape stats I suspect are low because guards and many prisoners both have different reasons not to report prison rape being an American women never mind an Israeli woman in the army protected by her fellow solders is more likely to get raped than a prisoner surrounded by rapists?

mui1 November 2nd, 2013 at 3:34 pm
In response to angie @ 142

Angie, Alterman needs to read the book. He hasn’t done that yet. That’s obvious from his reviews. The only other explanation is that he can’t read. Or he’s a liar. Otherwise he wouldn’t have completely distorted some pretty memorable passages in Goliath, ex. Cafe owner.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:34 pm
In response to angie @ 142

NPR keeps getting more pro-Zionist. Listen to this report, from 2009, by Sheera Frankel. She actually approves of the vigilantes’ activity.

Throughout Israel, young Jewish men are forming vigilante groups to end interracial relationships between Arab men and Jewish women, which are occurring with increased frequency as Jewish settlements dig deeper into Arab territory. The vigilantes say Arabs lure Jewish women with money and “bad boy” personalities.

Terry Gross interviewed Max when Republican Gomorrah came out, but this book …………. still crickets from them, Max?

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm

It has definitely impacted Israelis to know that major cultural icons and celebrities have recoiled when presented facts about occupation and apartheid. But when a performer refuses to play in Tel Aviv or pulls out of a concert, Israeli media tends to blame intimidation and threats, even when no evidence can be supplied. The idea is to portray BDS as a form of terror and to deny agency to performers.

Kevin Gosztola November 2nd, 2013 at 3:35 pm
In response to pastfedup @ 147

It wasn’t a Frontline documentary, was it? There’s a film called “Israel’s Next War” that seems similar to what you described.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Great good on you, Max.

One cannot help but note a world-wide rise of violence and authoritarian rule, tyranny abounds.

Have you any thoughts as how a more sane, sustainable, just, and humane world society might be encouraged, or have we to go to the brink before there is any possibility that reason, tolerance, and understanding might be embraced?

I sense a lack of imaginative capacity might well be humankind’s current collective failure, and that it might well become fatal to the species, if it long continues.

DW

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:37 pm
In response to DSWright @ 146

Check out my section on Netanyahu called “The Salesman.” I portray him as a combination of paranoid ideologue and PR obsessed marketing maven. The two characteristics often combine for some very colorful scenes, as anyone who has witnessed Netanyahu speak at the UN knows.

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Yes!!!

As for waiting for Godot– I’ll wait. This is important to the entire idea of justice, and for the lives of Jewish and Palestinians alike. Your contribution will not go unnoticed, nor unanswered by caring and informed humans.

Many, many thanks for your amazing Goliath.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:38 pm
In response to mui1 @ 150

Angie, Alterman needs to read the book. He hasn’t done that yet. That’s obvious from his reviews.

After his first diatribe, I wasn’t sure, but after the third one, I agree with you.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:39 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 145

Obviously ADL’s list is a form of neo-McCarthyism but it is also self-discrediting. I know quite a few writers and journalists who have worked with the ADL over the years on issues like the far right and hate groups and they are absolutely dismayed at what the group has become.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:40 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 154

I sense a lack of imaginative capacity might well be humankind’s current collective failure, and that it might well become fatal to the species, if it long continues.

That shortcoming is even more obvious when it comes to climate change and potential nuclear waste disasters. On a collective level, we’re unable to deal with some pretty obvious truths that have been understood individually.

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Like USA military services rapped by their own according to recent Congressional testimony. Militarism sucks in so many ways.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:43 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 159

I am looking forward to Naomi Klein’s forthcoming book on climate change, which might present some prescriptive measures for challenging potentially fatal collective impulses.

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:43 pm
In response to DSWright @ 146

someone looking to expel Palestinians by any means available.

Follow up on DSWright’s question what does Bibi publicly admit to being any means available? What does the Israeli Right seem to think that means? The Right in America is famous for using racial code words so when Reagan said Welfare Queen the Right knew he meant Black Woman. When Reagan said Fighters for Democracy in South America we all knew he meant Nun killer, American Nun Killer.
Does Israel have similar code words and if so what are they, what are the things they say in private when tv cameras are not on.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:43 pm
In response to bigbrother @ 160

The epidemic of rape in the military from the US to Israel puts the lie to the concept of the military as an equalizing institution.

defogger November 2nd, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi Max: You noted that, notwithstanding fascism and transferism, Zionist labor has been far more brutal in policy actuation than Lieberman, This seems to be the neoliberal ruling trick in the global political order. Initially your comment made me think of how the dems implement the cruel and dastardly pub proposals, and then I reflected on the faux socialists imposing the most brutal austerity in the eurozone.

Considering you are very well-travelled, do you have any metaview on your initial comment that I inferred to mean an uprising would occur among intellectuals and whatnot if the politically crude confrontationalists attempted to implement what the passive/aggressive ploys of refined barbarians can achieve with minimal resistance.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I agree. Looking forward to her book eagerly. Have you been approached yet by Pierre Omidyar? You and Naomi (and at least three of the commenters above – Marcy, bmaz and Kevin G) would all be valuable additions to this new venture.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:46 pm

You should take a gander at Foxman’s remarks at their annual Confab, thurs. nite in NYC… The Jewish Condition: Then, Now, and in the Future

What a joke…!

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:46 pm

An Israeli code word or dogwhistle term that has become increasingly popular is “infiltrator.” It was originally a reference to Palestinians who attempted to return to their families and land that they were separated from in 1948, and has been adapted to apply to the non-Jewish Africans living in Israel. The logic behind it is embodied in the recent amendment to the 1954 Anti-Infiltration Act, which now authorizes the state to jail African non-Jews for as long as three years without trial.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 159

Absolutely, Max.

We do not value life, nor the Earth which sustains it.

One hopes that we might come to our senses, individually and collectively.

However, very few seem willing to imagine a society which does value life and the Earth, as many seem to regard such notions as utopian nonsense that are simply not “pragmatically” possible.

And yet, the idea seems, despite the raging insanity, to be quietly growing that human beings CAN embrace a wisdom beyond bullying and rapacious greed.

I think your work underscores, most powerfully, the desperate need of deeper, more compassionate visions and encourages the courage to dare to speak to better practices and outcomes, for which I thank and greatly respect you.

Namaste

DW

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 pm

. But when a performer refuses to play in Tel Aviv or pulls out of a concert, Israeli media tends to blame intimidation and threats, even when no evidence can be supplied. The idea is to portray BDS as a form of terror and to deny agency to performers.

Fine that works for European performers most europeans have a history of precutting Jews but has there ever been a case when a performer from someplace like Japan for example pulls out of a concert? Japan I don’t think has a history of anti semitism.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:47 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 165

Phil, I am open to all new opportunities and definitely agree that Kevin and Marcy would make great hires.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:48 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 165

Superb comment and suggestion, ET. Of course, I wouldn’t mind seeing your name in those lights, as well.

DW

bigbrother November 2nd, 2013 at 3:49 pm
In response to angie @ 142

NPR was captured” long ago while many listened imagine they are progressives. Part of the MSM buyout.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Speaking of pushback against BDS, do you see the Australian lawsuit as having any traction? I think it is doomed to fail, but not on firm footing re Aussie law.

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 3:50 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 159

Absolutely correct, ET. We need, it seems, as a species to dispense with many tragic myths, and to finally believe in reality.

Why do we refuse to acknowledge so many truths? Are we just more comfortable wallowing in the warm stuff that we are accustomed to, and so very afraid of the “other”?

So Iran has no nuclear weapons or program to develop them, yet Netanyahu continues to threaten them. Israel has a stockpile of all WMDs– nukes, never declared, never signed the NPT, has bio and chem weapons as well– WHY are they given a pass and a blessing?

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:50 pm

and has been adapted to apply to the non-Jewish Africans living in Israel.

I’m guessing Israel’s unemployment numbers are high so they are scapegoating Africans just like America does Mexicans. Just like the Nazi’s did to the Jews. They say sometimes abused kids grow up to become abusers I think Israel might show even a whole culture might react the same way.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:51 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 166

Foxman’s speech is really remarkable! http://www.adl.org/press-center/c/the-jewish-condition-then-now-future-remarks-at-annual-meeting.html#.UnWBRpTwIgJ

He goes after Obama and actually says American foreign policy is increasingly “bad for the Jews.”

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:51 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 171

I have my own orchestra and exciting classes to teach, so I’m like a pig in shit. Thanks for the thought, though.

BevW November 2nd, 2013 at 3:51 pm

As we come to the last minutes of this great Book Salon discussion,

Max, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the disturbing political and social conditions in Israel now.

Phil, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Max’s website, book, tour and Twitter

Phil’s Twitter

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Evan J. Mandery / A Wild Justice: The Death and Resurrection of Capital Punishment in America; Hosted by James R. Acker

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Scapegoating of African non-Jews takes a different form in Israel. They have been singled out by Netanyahu as a “threat to the Jewish character of the state,” which is like an American president declaring that Mexicans “threaten the white Christian character of the US.”

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:54 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 173

ET I know even less than you on Aussie law:) Ask me about American, or Mexican law, the weird way Chicago law is practiced that I can really help with its corrupt yes but you have to know the players and who leans on the players to predict anything who exactly is bought by or blackmailed by whom influences Chicago law.
Aussie law I don’t know the law or the players.

Max Blumenthal November 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm
In response to BevW @ 178

Bev, thank you very much for hosting this excellent salon, and thanks to Phil, a brave soul and one of my favorite Alaskans, for making it possible. It was a real pleasure to field such insightful questions and engage with such a knowledgeable group.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

But, Abe was pressing for ‘all options’ for both Syria and Iran, and bemoaning our apparent ‘weakness’ in our FP…!

DSWright November 2nd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Max, great discussion. Recommend anyone who hasn’t picked up the book do so ASAP.

Kevin Gosztola November 2nd, 2013 at 3:56 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 165

I welcome any opportunity. Thanks for hosting this great chat.

Max, good luck with the book. I’m taking my time, enjoying each detailed chapter.

I respect the craft that went into developing and writing this book and I want to share the content in the book with anyone I can. What you bring to the fore is critically important.

When I finish, I will probably contact you for an interview.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 177

Well, as long as you keep on keepin’ on here, at FDL, ET, that’ll do …

;~DW

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Always great reading, watching or hearing about your work, Max. We’ve got your back here. Looking forward to sharing some Lagavulin with you sometime soon.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Mahalo Nui Loa, Max, Phil and Bev for the outstanding Book Salon…! I certainly look forward to reading the book…!

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 3:59 pm

So they are getting screwed worse than us. You would think a people who went through this kind of discrimination themselves not long ago would know better but maybe Maslow is right until security and survival needs are met a person or indeed a culture can’t care for others.
Or in this case since Israel is well off just the belief that security and survival needs are not met has the same effect.
Israel has nukes lots of nukes they don’t need to worry about survival.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thanks, Kevin. The word will get out on this important, starkly truthful book. As I wrote earlier (paraphrasing now), Goliath will come to be seen as an important moment in how public perception of what Israeli society is changed. I suspect it will have a more immediate impact in Europe. Hopefully, it will be translated into French, German and Spanish soon.

Elliott November 2nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Thanks ET for hosting!
And thanks Max for coming

BDS to open eyes, like your book.
Best of luck with sales too

bless you Bev

ThingsComeUndone November 2nd, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Please add http://www.centuriesandsleuths.com a Forest Park Illinois book store to your tour we had a great book chat their about the German American Bund lots of good questions and a great turnout.

pastfedup November 2nd, 2013 at 4:08 pm

That title doesn’t sound familiar, but I’ll check it out. Thanks for the hint.

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 4:12 pm
In response to Elliott @ 191

This was fun. I was concerned beforehand that things might get out of hand.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 4:36 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 194

I think the rest of us were concerned as well, ET. I considered that you, Max, Bev, and the rest of us would deal, properly, and reasonably with whatever might develop. I truly appreciate the courage required of FDL, Bev, and you, ET, in promoting and providing this forum for truth, when so very many places seemingly are quacking in cowardly fear or or succumbing to some absurd and self-serving notion of “pragmatic” reticence.

DW

angie November 2nd, 2013 at 4:39 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 194

I’m grateful to you ET, Max and FDL.

I hope that others will actually be willing to become informed and involved.

The unmasking is arduous work, indeed. Many thanks.

defogger November 2nd, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Great session, thanks to all involved.

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 4:48 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 195

“Quaking” not “quacking” … although, too many are ducking their responsibilities … so it may be I am not too far “off”.

DW

EdwardTeller November 2nd, 2013 at 4:58 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 198

I fought Eric Alterman did a fair amount of “quacking in fear” this past week or so.

CTuttle November 2nd, 2013 at 5:24 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 199

*heh* Good one, Phil…! Btw, I wish ya an early Hippo Birdies…! ;-)

DWBartoo November 2nd, 2013 at 5:26 pm
In response to EdwardTeller @ 199

Duck! Here comes s’more, ET. Sheep will be bleating, geese will be gandering, and Randalls will be randalling … much squawking and chattering, chest- and brow- beating … going of in huffs and general tirades of outraged complacency … won’t be pretty, or even really impressive … yet …

All in all, quite a circus … and the clowns, the having a sad, how couldya clowns … well, it’ll be a heck of a really, really big shew …

A good thing, actually, as much will be revealed.

DW

Teddy Partridge November 2nd, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Thanks to one and all for an excellent Book Salon. Good luck to you, dear truth-teller Max.

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