Among critics of Israel today, there emerges a handful whose opposition to the existence of the Jewish State is so pernicious that their criticism can accurately be described as Jew-hatred. Max Blumenthal, a marginal character who is desperately trying to make inroads into the mainstream, stands at the lead of this fringe group of miscreants. Even those on the far left, who are often critical of Israel, find Blumenthal to be a repugnant malcontent. So outrageous is his conduct that his mischief earned him a lifetime ban from the German parliament.
Blumenthal, the author of “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,” a book widely viewed as an anti-Semitic screed that one prominent leftist critic noted could easily make it to the top of the “Hamas book of the month club,” has largely been ignored by the mainstream and rightfully so. It represents the modern day equivalent of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion and is filled with invective, conspiracy, distortion, conflation, and outright fabrication designed to malign and disparage the Mideast’s only democracy.
Though most within the mainstream recognize Goliath for what it is, an unscholarly, error-ridden, heap of rubbish, there are still some who flirt with its premise that an “undemocratic,” “racist,” “war-like” Israel is the cause of the Mideast’s ills and the angelic Muslim world remains blameless. Elements within the Catholic Church have unfortunately subscribed to this narrative.
In December, America magazine, a national weekly magazine with Roman Catholic affiliation and published by the Jesuits of the United States, featured an extremely positive review of Blumenthal’s version of Mein Kampf that lacked any form of critical analysis. The reviewer swallows Blumenthal’s racist calumny lock, stock and barrel and accepts its vitriolic premise without reservation or equivocation.
Goliath engages is some of the most pernicious forms of anti-Semitism. Comparisons of Israel with Nazi Germany – a common tactic of Jew haters – are peppered throughout the book with chapters entitled, “The Concentration Camp” and “The Night of Broken Glass,” the latter, a reference to Kristallnacht when Nazi hooligans went on a rampage executing a pogrom against the Jews of Germany. There’s also a near infantile but equally malevolent chapter entitled “How to Kill Goyim and Influence People,” evoking medieval imagery of scheming Jewish plotting to murder non-Jews.
By subscribing to the odious views espoused by Blumenthal, America magazine now finds itself in the unenviable position of being in the same company of various hate groups. Extreme right-wing neo-Nazi forums have also taken up Blumenthal’s cause, whose opinions have been cited with approval on Nazi Internet forums like Stormfront as well as by serial murderer, Frazier Glenn Miller, the KKK man who slaughtered three people at two separate Jewish community centers in Overland Park, Kansas.
I considered the possibility that the publication of this review by a prominent Catholic magazine was perhaps a mere oversight and simply reflected a lack of proper editorial review, but a recent editorial by the magazine trashes that possibility. The one-sided editorial blasts Prime Minister Netanyahu and other “Zionist radicals” for obstructing a “two-state solution” and imposing “collective punishment.”
As is customary with Israel bashers, facts harmful to the pro-Palestinian narrative are routinely overlooked making a mockery of any claim to impartiality and insightful analysis. The editors of America fail to note the endless flow of anti-Semitic vitriol and violently hateful rhetoric spewed forth daily from the Palestinian Authority’s propaganda apparatus. It’s an inconvenient truth they prefer to ignore.
They also tend to ignore the heinous acts of murder and butchery leading up to Israel’s imposition of so-called “collective punishment” and shamefully only note these murders within the context of Israeli retaliation. In other words, it takes an act of house demolition to highlight the more egregious act of murder that preceded it. Jewish blood is cheap, but heaven forbid, take down a few cinder blocks, and the self-proclaimed humanitarians of the world scream from the rooftops.
Another salient point brings America magazine’s hypocrisy into sharper focus. While they are indignant over the destruction of less than a half-dozen homes belonging to terrorist-murderers responsible for killing women and children, not a single word is uttered over Egypt’s recent decision to destroy some eight-hundred homes bordering Gaza to pave the way for the construction of an anti-tunnel barrier. And while those slated for house demolition in Israel have the right to appeal (and often win), no such appellate process is offered for Egyptians whose recourse is either to comply or face the business end of an AK-47.
Jewish-Catholic rapprochement has come a long way since the Holocaust. Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Pope John Paul II did much to advance relations between Israel and the Vatican. Sadly, however, old habits die hard and there remain vestiges of those within the Catholic Church who harbor anti-Semitic views and hostile attitudes toward Israel and wish to see the Church regress to positions of darker times past. Judging by its recent editorials blasting Israel exclusively and book reviews extolling the works of a rabid anti-Semite, the publishers of America magazine can include themselves among this ignominious group.