Feeling the Hate in New York

On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Barack Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize the West Bank. With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise.

Schumer and another major New York-area Jewish Democrat, Rep. Anthony Weiner, have scrambled to appease the extreme pro-settler elements railing against Obama. On the radio show of Nachum Segal, a right-wing Orthodox Jew popular among the demonstrators, Schumer called Obama’s demands to stop the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem “counter-productive” and boasted about warning White House aides that he would “publicly blast” them if the President did not relent.

But Schumer’s pandering appeared to be futile. At the rally, demonstrators waved placards reading, “Where’s Schumer?” and complained to me that the senator’s criticism of Obama was too little, too late.

Meanwhile, according to the New York Jewish Week, Weiner had begged organizers for a chance to speak at the rally but was rebuffed out of fear that he might put “some sort of Democratic ‘spin’ on the president’s policies.” Beth Galinsky, a rally organizer, claimed Weiner was waiting in a nearby car during the rally, hoping that his desperate pleas would provide him an opportunity to address the crowd.

While the Democratic congressman was shut out, the Republican Jewish Coalition was afforded a prominent role at the demonstration beside far-right groups like the Zionist Organization of America, Z Street, Americans for a Safe Israel, members of Christians United for Israel, and Manhigut Yehudit, an anti-democratic group that calls for theocratic rule over Israel.

Supporters of Manhigut leader and Likud politician Moshe Feiglin distributed fliers promoting Feiglin’s upcoming campaign for prime minister of Israel. An open advocate of ethnic cleansing who has proposed depriving the Palestinians of drinking water, Feiglin recently called Vice President Biden “a diseased leper.”

While the pro-settler elements rallied in Manhattan, their counterparts from the radical Kahanist movement in the Hebron-based settlement of Tel Rumeidarampaged through Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem, inciting violent confrontations while announcing their intention to rid the area of its historical Arab presence.

Dov Hikind, a Democratic New York Assemblymember who represents Orthodox Jewish areas in Brooklyn, is a longtime supporter of Baruch Marzel, the settler leader who orchestrated the provocations in East Jerusalem. “These are people who love us and help us, they are real lovers of Israel,” Marzel once said of Hikind and his allies. Hikind’s role as a keynote speaker at the New York rally was one of many hints that the events in Manhattan and Jerusalem were closely coordinated.

The Manhattan rally took on a distinctively Tea Party-flavor. Besides issuing maximalist calls for the expulsion of the Palestinians, demonstrators assailed Obama as a secret Muslim with no legitimate right to serve as President of the United States. When I was identified by a particularly ornery rally participant as “the self-hating asshole Max Blumenthal,” I decided it was time to make my exit.

However, as I walked down 44th Street towards the subway, an elderly man grabbed me and attempted to snatch my camera (I had seen the gun-toting Marzel use similar tactics on anti-settlement activists documenting his exploits in the West Bank). “You’re not a Jew! Give me the film!” the man exclaimed. A mob of demonstrators suddenly formed and began advancing towards me. Luckily, two NYPD officers were nearby. They pried the man off me and gave me enough time to escape. I paced for two blocks until I reached Grand Central Station then disappeared into the crowd.

20 thoughts on “Feeling the Hate in New York

  1. juljul

    Max…how exactly can you call Ed Koch and Chuck Schumer extremist Jews? That’s just plain funny to me. Also misrepresenting people to serve your own ends of showing the “HATE” as you did in Tel Aviv and now in NYC is absurd and most certainly does not help the situation. Let me tell you something….with a name like yours you will always be a Jew….and when the tide turns against Jews…..like it always tends to ( with your help it certainly will) no one will think of the fact that you are not an “extremist”.

    Oh and by the way…I’m a registered Democrat. This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue as you seem to see it.

  2. stevelaudig

    There are mobs. There are flash mobs. There are lynch mobs. Now it seems there are flash lynch mobs. Always wear tennies.

  3. hophmi

    All of the major Jewish organizations declined to participate in the rally, showing that it does not represent the mainstream. I wish you’d be honest and mention that.

  4. delia ruhe

    That is an amazing piece of film. It continues to confound me that most Israelis and many American Jews believe that the Palestinians and the rest of the gentiles are the only people capable of antisemitism. This racist and antisemitic hate rally is an affront to virtually every Jewish principle of justice and equality. Most surprising is that many of the Jews involved appear otherwise intelligent and articulate. Most of the teabaggers at least have an excuse: a combination of low IQ and ignorance.

    Good work, Max. If you continue with this kind of work much longer, you may end up with PTSD, so take care.

  5. hophmi

    Except, Delia, that, as I said, and as Max well knows, this crowd is not representative of the mainstream. That’s why Max goes to rallies like these; getting juicy clips from these people is like shooting fish in a barrel. Think about it as if you went to a rally of the ISO or WWP looking for people to say hateful things about America, or better, think of it as going to an antiwar rally organized by UPJ or Moveon.org and interviewing only ISO members, and then saying that the entire antiwar movement is a bunch of far-left kooks and America-haters. Or think of this as going to pro-Palestinian rally and interviewing only supporters of suicide bombing, and then saying the entire pro-Palestinian movement is terrorist. That’s what Max does. He shoots fish in a barrel. I don’t find that terribly impressive or honest work. It’s most reminiscent of how Fox News treats people left-of-center.

    I know the people who attend rallies like this pretty well; I live amongst them and grew up around them. This is not a mainstream rally. It’s a far-right one, and it’s against the Israeli government more than for it. Groups like AFSI and Manhigut Yehudit are not part of the American or Israeli Jewish mainstreams.

    By the way, not that I support them, but the “teabaggers” are actually well-educated on average according to recent surveys.

  6. ahd

    whether it represents the mainstream or not, the fact of the matter is that it exists. and just because people are well educated, it doesnt excuse the fact that their education is non-existent when interperting situations in a illogical, un-educated manner.

  7. Pingback: Obama Is A Muslim, God Gave Us The Land, There Is A New Holocaust, Palestinians Should Convert To Judaism, The Bible Is A Land Contract « The Spinning Head

  8. Pingback: Feeling the Hate in New York. Max Blumenthal « Kanan48

  9. The Tragically Flip

    JulJul: Where does Max call Schumer and Weiner “extremist”? He accuses them of pandering, but I don’t see the extremism charge.

    hophmi: The piece opens “On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan” The very fact of specifying that they are “extremists” informs us that Max does not consider them to be representative of mainstream American Jewish opinion. There’s also this:

    “the Republican Jewish Coalition was afforded a prominent role at the demonstration beside far-right groups like the Zionist Organization of America, Z Street, Americans for a Safe Israel, Christians United for Israel, and Manhigut Yehudit, an anti-democratic group that calls for theocratic rule over Israel.”

    By explicitly calling out the groups involved as “far-right” and “anti-democratic” I think Max has been pretty clear that mainstream Jewish groups are not on board with this.

    Well done Max, though a quibble that you were a bit too glib with the guy bringing up the analogy of New Jersey attacking New York. It’s not the worst analogy I’ve ever heard, since it at least puts things at a comparable geographic scale, it doesn’t in the least convince me of the rightness of what Israel does to respond to the rocket attacks, but it wasn’t preposterous on its face.

  10. pegelatrin

    This is sort of like a jewish Tea-party.. I can’t belive that these over the top tea party slogans and roars have reached some parts of the jewish community also. Hating Obama has really become a religion..

  11. freespeech420

    Thankyou Max, I’m a fan of your writings and I appreciate your courage and honesty. As a Muslim I understand how hard it is to confront extremist elements in your own religion and say “you don’t represent me” and call them out for they are really calling for. Which is nothing less than the ethnic cleansing of Israel proper, the west bank and Gaza, with all consequences that entails.
    To juljul whose comments threaten you by claiming you will be a victim of the next holocaust as a result of your actions. I say, one of the reasons the holocaust happened was because people decided to stick to their own religion or nation no mater how horrible their actions were, and a failure of people to stand up for the truth and justice against their own kind.
    Your right juljul this isn’t a Democrat vs Republican issue but in fact an extremist vs moderate issue. You can eradicate all the Palestinians/Israelis and have it all, but is that the right thing to do.
    I am tired of the extremists on both sides of the issue using each other as proof for the other sides inhumanity and blood lust. Israel should be divided along those lines. The extremists on both sides should share one part and moderates the other. The sad reality is that the extremists on both sides have so much in common. Segregated buses, intolerance, inability to compromise etc. the list could go on and on.

  12. hophmi

    The Republican Jewish Coalition basically holds the same views as the far-right groups on Israel.

    I think Max is trying to cast these Jews as typical of most Zionists or pro-Israel Jews. He uses “extremist” in the same way Fox News commentators use the term “far-left.” I’m sure Max will come to the Israeli Day Parade in a couple of weeks looking for the same types of people, and we will have “Feeling the Hate on Fifth Avenue.” Again, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel and is not really impressive. I know my community; we have plenty of true believers who are not afraid to go on camera.

    I wonder if Max asked people there whether they had lost any friends or relatives in suicide bombings.

  13. Pingback: BLUMENTHAL AGAIN « Shoah

  14. Pingback: East Jerusalem ist unser « rhizom

  15. jeff

    Well at least this time it wasn’t an interview with a bunch of drunks in a bar. This really isn’t journalism it’s propaganda by someone who calls themselves a journalist. As a poster said earlier it’s like shooting fish in a barrel except it’s worse because I bet the interviews that didn’t make the point Max is trying to make were edited out. Fox news and Max Blumenthal two sides of the same coin.

  16. wlonw

    Jeff, because the fish are “in a barrel”, does that mean they’re not real? Yes, it may be easy to walk up and film these people, they’re very willing to spout their garbage to anyone who walks by. But you miss the entire point, which is to really see how hateful, sick, and lost these people are. So when you read the news and what people have to say about Israel and settlements, and what Obama is trying to get from Israel, etc., you will know exactly where these pro – settlement, pro-Israel people come from. And you’ll know when it comes time to vote, you need to find out if the candidates actually agree with these zombies of hate, or support their sickness. It’s important to see this, and all the efforts to hide it or make light of it, or minimize the truth are counter to creating a better future, for everyone, including Israel. And please don’t pretend that they don’t represent a huge portion of America’s Jewish population, they do. Most Jews would probably be a little more careful aboput saying so in public, that’s all.

  17. hophmi

    “And please don’t pretend that they don’t represent a huge portion of America’s Jewish population, they do.”

    No, they don’t. 78% of America’s Jewish population voted Obama, and most are satisfied with his policy on Israel. These people represent a fringe, a fringe that is active and vocal, but a fringe. Those who say nasty things are a fringe of a fringe. They are not represented within the establishment, which is why they have to hold a separate rally. And no one makes an effort to “hide it.” On the contrary, they do their best not to hide their views, which is why it is easy to find them and film them. Precious few candidates share their views, which is why Dov Hikind is the only elected official who ever actually speaks at these things.

    Your mistaken belief that these people represent a “huge” portion of America’s Jewish population is exactly why Max’s video is dangerous; it seeks to tar the greater Jewish population with the nasty comments of a few.

  18. jeff

    wlonw “And please don’t pretend that they don’t represent a huge portion of America’s Jewish population, they do.”

    I think you should read this J-Street poll.

    http://www.jstreet.org/files/images/PRJStreetpoll_final.doc

    That you would think that the people in this video represent a “huge portion of America’s Jewish population” only proves my point that Max’s video is propaganda and not news. The point isn’t to show “hateful, sick, and lost these people are.”. The point is to make people like you believe it is the predominate view point among American Jews. The facts show that Max is clearly trading in propaganda that is aimed at exacerbating the situation not trying to find a solution. Unfortunately Max seems to trade in this type tactic. I wish I knew why. That you were under a mistaken impression shows that Max’s tactics do indeed work to give people that false impression. I trust wlonw that now that you have seen the facts you will change your mind and realize what a disservice Max does to people like yourself.

    Here is a link to another more recent poll that show much the same thing.
    http://jstreet.org/campaigns/j-street-releases-new-poll-american-jewish-community

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