A dog trainer defends Max Blumenthal’s vilification of Elie Wiesel at Mondoweiss (Petra Marquardt-Bigman)

Guest post by Petra Marquardt-Bigman

Max Blumenthal is a proud antisemitic anti-Zionist endorsed by the likes of David Duke, but after reacting to the news of Elie Wiesel’s recent death with abuse and vilification, he has now become the victim of a “witch hunt” – or so his loyal friends and fellow-Israel-haters would like everyone to believe. At the “hate site” Mondoweiss, the new and eminently qualified contributor Yakov Hirsch (“Professional Poker Player and Dog Trainer”) has a post (archived here) whose length presumably reflects how strongly he feels that Hillary Clinton was wrong to denounce Blumenthal’s vilification of Wiesel as “offensive, hateful, and patently absurd.” Naturally, Mondoweiss founder Philip Weiss eagerly promoted the output of his new writer on Twitter, where he asserted that Clinton’s denunciation of Blumenthal was a “witchhunt” and that Clinton “empowers ethnocentric violent extremists.”
Weiss is of course one of the professional anti-Israel activists who insist that their ardent anti-Zionism has nothing whatsoever to do with antisemitism. The output of Mondoweiss and other sites catering to anti-Israel activists undermines such claims on a daily basis by offering content that could be summarized with the slogan “The Jewish state is our misfortune” – which is just an updated version of the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune.” The defense of Max Blumenthal offered by Mondoweiss is a good example of the antisemitic anti-Zionism that is so typical of anti-Israel activism.
After highlighting some tweets denouncing the vilification of Wiesel by the popular Avi Mayer, the “professional poker player and dog trainer” who now writes for Mondoweiss muses:
“What is going on here? Why is it so difficult to understand that Elie Wiesel cannot be sacred to people whose sympathies lie with the Palestinians? … Even though it undoubtedly hurts Avi Mayer’s feelings that these people don’t show deference to his religious icons, this particular icon– Weisel [sic!] – was an enemy to the Palestinian people. … There are a lot of reasons for this blind Jewish ethnocentrism … But I’d like to use the Hillary Clinton statement on Wiesel yesterday to show the egregious role American politicians play in this phenomenon. It doesn’t take politicians long to figure out where the money is: Just try to talk as crazy as the craziest Jew and watch the money pour in. You can see this dynamic play out at every AIPAC conference.”
Well, where to begin? Does it really have to be pointed out to the “anti-Zionists” at Mondoweiss how incredibly offensive it is to describe “Weisel” as one of the “religious icons” of an observant Jew like Avi Mayer? And is it really necessary to explain what’s wrong with a statement like “Just try to talk as crazy as the craziest Jew and watch the money pour in”? How often does it have to be explained that American support for Israel reflects broad popular support and has deep historical roots? And why describe Wiesel as “an enemy to the Palestinian people”? Is it because he denounced Hamas as a “death cult” and felt that “Palestinian parents want a hopeful future for their children, just like Israeli parents do. And both should be joining together in peace”?
But it’s by no means only the “professional poker player and dog trainer” now moonlighting at Mondoweiss who can’t do without invoking age-old antisemitic tropes. The site’s founder Philip Weiss isn’t doing much better in his own recent post, where he writes under the title “In latest pander to Israel lobby, Clinton smears Max Blumenthal’s criticism of Wiesel as ‘hateful’”:  
“Bernie Sanders was able to build a campaign with us because he had escaped the financial clutches of the elitist Israel lobby … Clinton can’t escape those financial clutches. And she thinks she can only gain politically from smearing Max Blumenthal. … And: isn’t becoming president by marrying neoconservatism the definition of a deal with the devil? What does that do to U.S. foreign policy? Is that why she sought power? Is Hillary Clinton even in touch with her soul?”

Let me suggest an update for Weiss’s post: as reported in the Times of Israel, a cartoon program “recently aired on a Fatah-owned Palestinian TV station showed Jews siding with the devil to fight Muslims and the Muslim prophet Muhammad.” I think there are some scenes in this program that could illustrate the point Weiss is trying to make just beautifully.

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