Top Clinton Associate Ducks Questions at Anti-Israel Book Event

Author of anti-Israel book criticizes major Clinton donor Haim Saban for pro-Israel stance

Sidney Blumenthal / Wikimedia Commons
December 5, 2013

A top confidante to Hillary and Bill Clinton repeatedly refused to answer questions about his current ties to the Clintons while helping promote an anti-Zionist book that compares Israel to Nazi Germany on Wednesday.

Sidney Blumenthal walked away from a Washington Free Beacon reporter when asked about his professional relationship with the Clintons and whether he is currently on the payroll at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Blumenthal was at the New America Foundation (NAF) event promoting Goliath, a book written by his son Max Blumenthal that has been criticized as intensely anti-Israel by commentators across the political spectrum. The book has chapter titles equating the Jewish State with Nazi Germany, including "The Concentration Camp" and "The Night of Broken Glass."

"Thanks. I’m not interested," Blumenthal said repeatedly as he weaved around the room after the book discussion hosted by the New America Foundation, an influential liberal think tank in Washington, D.C.

The Clinton Global Initiative and a spokesperson for Bill Clinton did not respond to emailed requests for comment about Blumenthal’s role at the foundation.

Max Blumenthal dismissed the criticism of his book as "very predictable" during the question and answer session at Wednesday’s NAF event.

He also took a shot at top Clinton donor Haim Saban, who funds many pro-Israel causes.

"[Pressuring Israel] is almost off-limits now thanks to people like Haim Saban, who funded the construction of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Arlington ... and who has been a major funder of the Obamas, the Clintons, and Terry McAuliffe," said Blumenthal.

NAF has come under fire from Israel advocates for hosting the book discussion. The event’s moderator, NAF national security director Peter Bergen, declined to comment on the criticism.

"We held the event. You were here. That’s the comment," he told the Free Beacon.

Alan Dershowitz, a pro-Israel Democrat close to the Clintons, recently called on Sidney Blumenthal to distance himself from the views of his son, who Dershowitz described as "an extremist bigot whose greatest appeal is to anti-Semites."

"No decent person should ever support the views expressed by Max Blumenthal," Dershowitz said in a statement to Breitbart’s Joel Pollak.

Eric Alterman, a columnist for left-leaning magazine the Nation, panned the book as anti-Israel propaganda in a review in October, writing that it "could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed)."

However, white supremacist leader David Duke’s website recently published an endorsement of Goliath, writing that it "verifies points that Dr. Duke has frequently made."

Max Blumenthal refused to answer the Free Beacon’s questions after the Wednesday event.

"I told you that I’m not going to speak to you, so at this point you’re harassing me," Blumenthal said when asked about Duke’s website’s endorsement.

Sidney Blumenthal stuck around after the discussion to thank Bergen for moderating.

"Peter, thank you, and I thought it was a phenomenal event. I hope you feel that way," said the elder Blumenthal.

Sidney Blumenthal has been intimately involved in promoting his son’s book. He launched an email campaign defending it against Alterman’s critique in the Nation. He also held a book party for Goliath at his home on Oct. 25.

Reporter Mike Elk also held a party for Blumenthal's book at his home on Oct. 20. An email invitation for the anti-Israel book event promised "boozing," "sweet tunes," and sunsets.

"We are going to kick on some sweet tunes and enjoy the sun as its [sic] set over Rock Creek park,"  said the invitation, which was sent by labor reporter Mike Elk. "Then we are going to get drunk, bullshit, and laugh a lot so Max is feeling good and hang out for most of the night. There will also be a few copies of Max [sic] book around in case you wanna buy it and don't think you will be to [sic] drunk to forget."

Elk asked attendees not to discuss the event on social media.

"Please don't forward this to any trolls or people who might hashtag the boozing," he wrote.

NAF receives funding from the U.S. Department of State, Microsoft Corporation, Facebook, and T-Mobile USA. It also receives funding from Jewish groups, including the Jewish Communal Fund and the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix.

Update, 11:18 AM: The book party hosted by Sidney Blumenthal took place on Oct. 25. The typo-laden invitation sent by Mike Elk to a Free Beacon reporter was for a separate party at Elk's home on Oct. 20th. We deeply regret the error.

Published under: Anti-Semitism , Israel