Max Blumenthal, the journalist and harsh critic of Israel, harshly condemned Elie Wiesel after his death last weeekend, Tweeting that the iconic Holocaust survivor did “more harm than good” with his unswerving support of the Jewish state.
“Elie Wiesel went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them,” said Blumenthal, whose father Sidney is a close confidant of Hillary Clinton. “He did more harm than good and should not be honored.”
The outburst drew a rebuke from Clinton.
“Secretary Clinton emphatically rejects these offensive, hateful, and patently absurd statements about Elie Wiesel,” Jake Sullivan, senior policy aide to the Clinton campaign, said in a July 6 statement to The Jerusalem Post. “She believes they are wrong in all senses of the term. She believes that Max Blumenthal and others should cease and desist in making them.”
Max Blumenthal is the author of Goliath, a book that harshly criticized Israel and its occupation of Palestinian land. He is also a force on on social media, where he has a large following.
Elie Wiesel went from a victim of war crimes to a supporter of those who commit them. He did more harm than good and should not be honored.— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) July 2, 2016
Clinton and the Blumenthal family have a long relationship. Sidney Blumenthal has been a family friend to Hillary Clinton for two decades and was a senior adviser to Clinton during her 2008 campaign for the presidency.
Sidney Blumenthal also sent many of his son Max’s articles to Clinton, as revealed in the trove of Clinton’s emails that came under FBI scrutiny.
Among the criticisms Max Blumenthal leveled at Wiesel was his support for the Israeli group Elad, which encourages Jewish settlement of East Jerusalem.
Wiesel, for his part, made no secret of his support for Israel, and said he would refrain from criticizing it.
“My loyalty is to my people, to our people, and to Israel comes first and prevents me from saying anything critical of Israel outside Israel,” he once told a New York audience. Weisel went on to say that there were “certain things” that he did not like about Israel, but it was not his place to condemn.
“That is the least Jews in the Diaspora can do for Israel: either speak up in praise, or keep silent.”
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Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.