Observations On The Reactions To Max Blumenthal

The reaction to Max Blumenthal’s two-part report into a few of the players behind the campaign for a U.S./NATO war on Syria has been remarkable to watch. A few observations are in order. First, there was absolutely nothing new in the report. The information Blumenthal detailed in English has been well-known to the Syrian intelligence community and widely reported in Syrian media. Second, had any or all of the factual assertions in Blumenthal’s report been made by a Syrian reporter, journalist or activist (and they have) they would have been, at best, disregarded. A Syrian reporting the same information is attacked or dismissed as an “Assad shill” or “shabih” (Blumenthal has spent the last five years doing exactly that), but when reported by a white guy in America it becomes investigative journalism. This widely disparate reaction to the reporting of essentially the same set of well-documented facts depending on the personal background of the writer is nothing short of racist. The backlash against Blumenthal by the Islamists and cheerleaders for the Syrian “revolution” has been vicious precisely because they cannot dismiss him as an “Assad shill” or “shabih.” Third, there is nothing in Blumenthal’s reporting that challenges the basic propaganda narrative on Syria. Even as he sets out to argue against US “intervention”, Blumenthal a priori concedes the entire narrative of the same forces whose agenda and connections he diligently exposes and outlines for the reader. Fourth, lest anyone confuse Blumenthal with a genuine Leftist and anti-imperialist, let us remember his vicious attack on Al-Akhbar and the offensive language he regularly employs to describe the men and women of the Syrian Army. Blumenthal is willing to oppose US wars abroad, but he would never insult American soldiers or American “Gold Star Families” the way he has Syrian soldiers and their families, including the soldiers killed fighting against imperialist-backed theocratic fascists waging a war against the Syrian nation-state. Blumenthal, in what was intended to establish his moral consistency, declared his support of the “right to resist everywhere” and drew an outrageous analogy between terrorist groups killing Syrian soldiers (and civilians) in Syria and Palestinian resistance factions in occupied Palestine. Fifth, it is important to emphasize that one cannot be “good on Palestine” if he’s bad on Syria, nor can he be “good on Syria” if he’s bad on Palestine. Some among the pro-“revolution” folks have called on Palestinians to disassociate from the ostensible champion of the Palestine cause for what they consider his betrayal of the Syrian “revolution.” This is simply the latest attempt in an over five-year effort to stir division among Palestinians and between Palestinians and Syrians. Syrians must make it clear that any supporter of the usurping Zionist entity is not a friend of the Syrian people. Likewise, Palestinians must also make clear that anyone that does not condemn the imperialist proxy war on Syria and fails to support the Syrian people’s right to defend their nation-state is no friend or champion of the Palestine cause. Finally, it is also important to not inflate Blumenthal’s importance. The Max Blumenthals of this world are not going to liberate Palestine or defend the Syrian people, but at this moment Syrians and Palestinians are fighting side-by-side across Syria in defense of both Syria and Palestine. Palestinians and Syrians should not be concerned with Max Blumenthal’s opinions or his “solidarity”, regardless on which terms various groups or movements believe it should be extended. All they need is each other.