Max produced a number of videos while in Israel and the Occupied West Bank, in May and early June. They document several aspects of the occupation, current Israeli internal politics, and give glimpses of the ongoing Jewish identity crisis there, particularly among young people. Max has interviewed people on farms, in the military, in politics, and on the street. He ended one video report from within the posh Milken-Dobson exercise club, in a Jewish settlement on stolen Palestinian land.
I've been following Max's career closely, since he spent a week or so with us in Wasilla last September, as he investigated Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's ties to extremist groups. He's maturing rapidly as a journalist, and articles from his trip to Israel and the West Bank, covered by Max's own blog, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post and Mondoweiss, are quite riveting.
His June 5th video, Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem, was posted at Mondoweiss and Huffington Post. Then at YouTube, quickly followed by hundreds - if not thousands - of blogs around the world. Even NPR's Tampa affiliate interviewed Dana.
Huffington Post removed it on the next day. Max defended his video in a post called, Censored by Huffington Post and Imprisoned By the Past: Why I Made Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem.
Blumenthal's defense of his work is compelling:
The criticism of my video raised an interesting journalistic issue: Is reporting any less credible when interview subjects are drinking alcohol? Of course not. Journalists interview people at bars all the time, especially in broadcast packages. Beer does not, to my knowledge, contain a special drug that immediately infects drinkers with white supremacist sentiments, violent rhetoric, and anti-democratic tendencies. I get drunk as much as any social drinker and I have never called for “white power” or declared, “fuck the niggers!” as one of my interviewees did. No amount of alcohol could make me express opinions that were not authentically mine. If anything, alcohol is a crude form of truth serum that lubricates the release of closely held opinions and encourages confessional talk.
The notion that the racist diatribes in my video emerged spontaneously from a beery void is a delusion, but for some, it is a necessary one. It allows them to erect a psychological barrier against acknowledging the painful consequences of prolonged Zionist indoctrination. And it enables them to dismiss the disturbing spectacle of young Jews behaving like fascist soccer hooligans in the heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people.
Jewish Voice for Peace is starting a petition effort on Max's behalf. Here's from their post that asks you to take action:
Blumenthal and Dana took a video camera to downtown Jerusalem and asked kids on the street – mainly Americans in Jerusalem over the summer - how they felt about Obama. The answers they heard: mainly hardcore racism enhanced by expletives, homophobia, Islamophobia, Arab hatred, and a lot of ignorance. Youtube also just took down another video of a Palestinian forced to slap himself by the Israeli Border Police. A pattern is emerging. We know this kind of hatred and extremism is a real phenomenon in our Jewish communities. It needs to be unearthed and looked at with the same seriousness we want to see in any community confronting its own extremists. As we seek real peace in the Middle East, the stakes couldn't be higher.
Write to YouTube and ask them to put this video back up.
If you go to this link, you can watch the censored video, and quickly show your support for Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana - and for the First Amendment.
Update - Saturday 10:25 a.m: The video was removed from YouTube, but somebody else has posted it under a different name:
We'll see hoe long it lasts at this location.
image- Rachel Maddow interviewing Max Blumenthal