Person

Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal on RT America on 8 December 2011 (link) by RT America is licensed CC BY 3.0 (link)
Occupation:

Journalist, Author

Editor-in-Chief, The Grayzone

Nationality:

American

Family:

Sidney Blumenthal (Father)

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Max Blumenthal is a journalist, author, and documentarian highly critical of Israel who currently works as the editor-in-chief of the Grayzone. He is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, who worked as a journalist until becoming a communications strategist for the Clinton administration. 1

He has published articles in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, The Guardian, HuffPost, Salon, Al Jazeera, and many other outlets.

His books include Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party, and The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. 2

Background

Max Blumenthal is the son of Sidney Blumenthal, who worked as a journalist until becoming a communications strategist for the Clinton administration. 3 Sidney became a close confidant of both Bill and Hillary Clinton, “with whom he is said to share the theory that [then-Justice Department independent counsel Kenneth Starr] is part of a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ determined to bring down the president,” according to the Washington Post. 4

Sidney Blumenthal began sending Max’s anti-Israel articles to Hillary Clinton during her time in the Obama administration. Clinton replied with positivity, writing in emails: “Pls congratulate Max for another impressive piece. He’s so good” and “A very smart piece as usual.” 5

Career

In 2003, Blumenthal was given the Best Independent Feature award by the USC Annenberg/Online Journalism Association for his coverage of serial killings of female sweatshop employees in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. 6

In 2014, Blumenthal was a Senior Writer at left-wing online news outlet AlterNet. 7

Blumenthal was previously a Writing Fellow of The Nation Institute (now known as Type Media Center), a nonprofit organization for journalists related to The Nation magazine. 8 9 At that time, the Nation fellowship was backed by the Puffin Foundation, a left-of-center and arts-focused private foundation. 10

He was also once a Research Fellow for Media Matters for America (MMfA), a powerful left-wing media watchdog group administered by Clinton operative David Brock. 11

Blumenthal is as of 2024 editor-in-chief of the Grayzone, a media company he founded in 2015 to provide coverage on American foreign policy and its effects on domestic life. 12 AlterNet initially provided financial backing to the Grayzone from January 2016 until January 2018, when it went independent. Grayzone runs off subscription fees and donations and claims it does not receive any donations from the U.S. government nor individuals or groups that are funded by the government. 13

Writings and Media Appearances

Max Blumenthal has published articles in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, The Guardian, HuffPost, Salon, Al Jazeera, the Los Angeles Times, the American Prospect, the Washington Monthly, and many others. 14 15

Blumenthal once published an article for Left Word, an avowedly Marxist-Leninist book publisher and blog site. 16 His piece was a reproduction of a chapter from his book The 51 Day War. 17

In December 2010, Blumenthal published an article in Mother Jones tracing the connections between allegedly Islamophobic bloggers and wealthy pro-Israel conservative donors such as Aubrey Chernick, who managed the National Center for Crisis and Continuity Coordination and was a trustee for the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Blumenthal also aimed to expose pro-Israel Democratic donors like Haim Saban, who donated to the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces. He closed the piece by blaming pro-Israel nonprofits for the rise of anti-Islamic sentiment, writing, “By now, the Islamophobic crusade has gone beyond the right-wing pro-Israel activists, cyber-bigots, and ambitious hucksters who conceived it. It now belongs to leading Republican presidential candidates, top-rated cable news hosts, and crowds of Tea Party activists.” 18

In an October 2013 Mother Jones piece, Blumenthal argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scapegoating Palestinians to distract attention from his unpopular policies. He sharply criticized Israel for the sprawling Saharonim detention facility in the Negev Desert, noting that it allegedly was housing thousands of African refugees in addition to Palestinians. He also criticized Israel for expelling the Bedouins and for its alleged plans to expand south. 19

He has appeared on several left-of-center broadcasts such as CNN’s “Weekend Edition,” MSNBC’s “Countdown,” PBS’s “Bill Moyers Journal,”  Democracy Now!, and Al Jazeera English. 20

His books include Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013) and Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party. 21 In Goliath, Blumenthal argues that Israel is increasingly coming under the spell of far-right authoritarianism, leading to racist and genocidal intentions. He used his own interviews with Israeli “demagogues and divas” in the government and in their own organizations to build a case for his narrative that Israel is becoming a fascist totalitarian state. 22

For Goliath, he was awarded the 2014 Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for An Especially Notable Book. 23 The Lannan Foundation is a cultural institution dedicated to cultural freedom and diversity and supports “exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities.” Its board is presided over by Lawrence P. Lannan, Jr. 24

Two of his books were published with Verso, a radical-left publishing house. Verso published The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019) and The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza (2015). 25 26

In the former, Blumenthal blames America for the global rise of Islamist terrorism and argues that America’s intervention in the politics of the Middle East directly led to national security threats, which in turn led to the rise of former President Donald Trump. 27

In the latter, Blumenthal reports on his experiences covering Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza in 2014. He considered the conflict entirely avoidable, calling it a terrible catastrophe that left 2,000 dead and 300,000 displaced (citing figures from the United Nations). Blumenthal’s book compiles never-before-seen evidence of atrocities he believes were committed by the Israeli government from his own observations. At the time of release, Blumenthal received positive reviews from journalist Glenn Greenwald, author Juan Cole, and former Defense Intelligence head for the Middle East W. Patrick Lang. 28

Controversies

In January 2024, the Free Beacon reported that the Committee for the Republic organized a speaking event on January 16th at the Capitol Hill Club (CHC), a private club for Republican lawmakers, lobbyists, and staffers near the Capitol Building. The event featured Blumental as a guest, along with Miko Peled, an Israeli-American journalist and self-professed human rights activist who advocates for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel and seeks to create a single democratic state with equal rights in “all of historic Palestine.” 29 30

According to the Beacon’s report, Blumenthal and Peled called for the “dismantling of the Jewish state” and denied that Hamas terrorists raped women and killed babies during the October 7th attacks. The Beacon also reported that many Jewish Republicans expressed their disappointment at the CHC’s decision to allow the Committee to hold the event. Committee for the Republic co-founder John Henry sponsored the event. 31

In March 2024, the Women’s National Democratic Club hosted Blumenthal for a speech on “the current crises in Gaza and Ukraine” in Washington, D.C. 32

References

  1. Toosi, Nahal. “Sid Blumenthal’s raw advice for Hillary.” Politico, September 1, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/hillary-clinton-sidney-blumenthal-emails-213206.
  2.  “Max Blumenthal.” Verso. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/authors/blumenthal-max.
  3.  Toosi, Nahal. “Sid Blumenthal’s raw advice for Hillary.” Politico, September 1, 2015. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/09/hillary-clinton-sidney-blumenthal-emails-213206.
  4. “Key Player: Sidney Blumenthal.” Washington Post, October 2, 1998. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/players/blumenthal.htm.
  5.  Boteach, Shmuley. “Hillary’s Email Trail of Troubling Anti-Israel Conversations.” Observer, February 1, 2016. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://observer.com/2016/02/hillarys-email-trail-of-troubling-anti-israel-conversations/.
  6. “Max Blumenthal.” Type Investigations. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.typeinvestigations.org/reporter/maxblumenthal/.
  7. “Max Blumenthal.” Lannan. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://lannan.org/bios/max-blumenthal.
  8. “Max Blumenthal.” Mother Jones. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.motherjones.com/author/max-blumenthal/.
  9. “About Us.” Type Media Center. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://typemediacenter.org/about/.
  10. “Max Blumenthal.” Type Investigations. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.typeinvestigations.org/reporter/maxblumenthal/.
  11. “Max Blumenthal.” Type Investigations. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.typeinvestigations.org/reporter/maxblumenthal/.
  12.  “Max Blumenthal.” The Grayzone. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://thegrayzone.com/author/max-blumenthal/.
  13. “About.” The Grayzone. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://thegrayzone.com/about/.
  14. “Max Blumenthal.” Verso. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/authors/blumenthal-max.
  15. “Max Blumenthal.” Lannan. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://lannan.org/bios/max-blumenthal.
  16. “Max Blumenthal.” Left Word. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://mayday.leftword.com/author/post/max-blumenthal/.
  17. Blumenthal, Max. “Defiance in the Rubble.” Left Word. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://mayday.leftword.com/blog/post/defiance-in-the-rubble.
  18. Blumenthal, Max. Mother Jones, December 10, 2010. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/12/islamophobia-pam-geller-david-project/.
  19. Blumenthal, Max. “A Trip Through the Desert of Israeli Democracy.” Mother Jones, October 14, 2013. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/10/israel-netanyahu-negev-desert/.
  20. “Max Blumenthal.” Lannan. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://lannan.org/bios/max-blumenthal
  21. “Max Blumenthal.” Verso. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/authors/blumenthal-max.
  22. Blumenthal, Max. “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel. Hachette Book Group, 2013. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/max-blumenthal/goliath/9781568589725/?lens=bold-type-books.
  23. “Max Blumenthal.” Lannan.org. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://lannan.org/bios/max-blumenthal.
  24. “About Lannan.” Lannan.org. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://lannan.org/about.
  25. Blumenthal. Max. “The Management of Savagery.” Verso, April 2019. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/products/834-the-management-of-savagery.
  26. Blumenthal, Max. “The 51st Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.” Verso, July 2015. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/products/181-the-51-day-war.
  27. Blumenthal. Max. “The Management of Savagery.” Verso, April 2019. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/products/834-the-management-of-savagery.
  28. Blumenthal, Max. “The 51st Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.” Verso, July 2015. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://www.versobooks.com/products/181-the-51-day-war.
  29. “Max Blumenthal.” The Gray Zone. Accessed February 11, 2024. https://thegrayzone.com/author/max-blumenthal/.
  30. “Miko Peled.” MikoPeled.com. Accessed February 11, 2024. https://mikopeled.com/.
  31. Goodman, Alana. “National Republican Club Speakers Call for ‘Dismantling’ Jewish State and Deny Hamas Atrocities.” The Free Beacon, January 30, 2024. Accessed February 11, 2024. https://freebeacon.com/israel/national-republican-club-speakers-call-for-dismantling-jewish-state-and-deny-hamas-atrocities/.
  32. Goodman, Alana. “Democratic Club To Host Anti-Israel Conspiracy Theorist Max Blumenthal.” Free Beacon, March 5, 2024. Accessed March 10, 2024. https://freebeacon.com/israel/democratic-club-to-host-anti-israel-conspiracy-theorist-max-blumenthal/.
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