Clinton Confidante’s Son in Recording: Palestinians Recover Their ‘Dignity’ in Violence Against Israelis

Patrick Goodenough | April 4, 2016 | 3:16am EDT
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Max Blumenthal (Photo: Author's blog)

( – One of America’s best-known rabbis, Shmuley Boteach, has called on Hillary Clinton to “repudiate” comments reportedly by anti-Israel writer Max Blumenthal – the son of her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal – referring to the armed wing of the Hamas terrorist group in complementary terms.

Boteach, executive director of the World Values Network, was reacting on Twitter to reports quoting Blumenthal as making the comments during an pro-Palestine event at the London School of Economics early last month.

In a covertly recorded audio clip obtained by London’s Sunday Telegraph, a man said to be Blumenthal describes a July 2014 attack by Hamas’ Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades on Israeli soldiers guarding a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, and comments on the propaganda value of a video clip, of the attack released by the terrorist group.

The speaker suggests that young Palestinians involved in violent attacks against Israelis over recent months – or what he calls “the ongoing rebellion” – were inspired by the video, to “demonstrate their own bravery and recover their own dignity.”

The campaign of gun, knife and car-ramming attacks that began last fall has cost the lives of 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals – including West Point graduate and U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, killed in a stabbing in Jaffa three days after the purported Blumenthal’s London talk.

In the recording, the man identified as Blumenthal says that Palestinians, after seeing family members killed, “want to recover their dignity. And one of the ways they can find it is in the al-Qassam Brigades or another armed faction.”

He then describes the attack on the Nahal Oz kibbutz, in which Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel dug from the Gaza Strip and killed five Israeli soldiers.

“A team of nine young men from the al-Qassam Brigades sets out in the tunnel with GoPro cameras attached to their helmets, burst into the Israeli base and kills every Israeli soldier they encounter in hand-to-hand combat, and steals a Tavor [assault] rifle as evidence, and makes it back safely to the Gaza Strip,” he says.

(According to the Israeli Defense Forces, the five were killed by an anti-tank missile fired into a pillbox guard tower, not in “hand-to-hand combat.” One of the attackers was killed, and soldiers prevented the terrorists from abducting one of the Israelis, it said.)

The speaker goes on say that a video which Hamas subsequently released of the attack sent a message both to Israel – that its “security bubble could be popped” – and to Palestinians.

“The message it sent to young Palestinians in the West Bank, in Jerusalem and abroad, was also incredible,” he says.

“Because just imagine growing up in Jerusalem – I mean, this is how I think about it – imagine growing up in the West Bank and all you see are videos of your people being humiliated by heavily-armed soldiers. And finally you see your people in commando uniforms, bursting into a military base and showing up the occupier.”

Hamas’ Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades fighters. (AP Photo, File)

‘Demonstrate their own bravery’

The speaker then links the propaganda value of the video with the ongoing campaign of deadly violence in Israeli cities.

“I contend that that video and other videos like it influenced the ongoing rebellion in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as young Palestinians wanted to demonstrate their own bravery and recover their own dignity after being humiliated under a double occupation of Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” he says.

The recording and quotes formed part of a broader Telegraph news report saying the British government has decided to withdraw funding to a charitable group, War on Want, which it said helped to finance “Israeli Apartheid Week” events this year.

War on Want in a statement called the story “a complete fabrication,” claiming it had not sought government support “for a number of years now.”

On his Twitter feed, Blumenthal pointed to the War on Want denial and dismissed the news story as “trash” and “false and defamatory.” He also said he was “exploring legal action” before giving further comment. He did not confirm or deny the authenticity of the recording.

Blumenthal, a senior writer for AlterNet since 2014, focuses strongly on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and his work reflects clear pro-Palestinian sympathies along with support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement.

He is also the son of Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to President Bill Clinton whose counsel to Hillary Clinton during her tenure as secretary of state was evident in many of the emails sent and received on Clinton’s private server, released by the State Department in line with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Sid Blumenthal’s emails to Clinton covered everything from how the administration should deal with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (“Hold Bibi’s feet to the fire”), to his scathing opinions about some congressional Republicans.

But in numerous emails to Clinton, Sid Blumenthal also forwarded, and commended, his son’s writings – on topics ranging from the Middle East to the American right wing.

In response to one Max Blumenthal article forwarded to Clinton – an epilogue for a paperback edition of the book “Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Shattered the Party” – the secretary of state replied to his father, “Pls congratulate Max for another impressive piece. He’s so good.”

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