TEL AVIV – Israel critic Max Blumenthal raised the stakes in his spat with Rabbi Shmuley Boteach by successfully pressuring crowdfunding platform GoFundMe into removing a campaign for an advertisement linking presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with the anti-Israel author.
For years, Blumenthal, who is the son of Clinton’s longtime adviser Sidney Blumenthal, has been blasted by critics for alleged anti-Israel activism. The recently released emails from Clinton’s private servers show that Sidney Blumenthal sent Clinton his son’s writings to which the then-secretary of state responded favorably, leading Boteach to accuse Clinton of taking advice from Blumenthal.
As a result, Boteach established a campaign on GoFundMe with the aim of raising funds for an advertisement in the New York Times emphasizing the link between Clinton and Blumenthal. Around the same time, Boteach penned a column for the Huffington Post in which he slammed Blumenthal’s “crackpot anti-Israel theories.”
Boteach accused Blumenthal of contacting both GoFundMe and the Huffington Post to pressure them into removing Boteach’s contributions from their websites. In a letter to Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington bureau chief, Blumenthal denounced Boteach’s column for containing “malice and reckless disregard for facts that amounts to de facto libel.”
But a follow-up by Boteach that was able to provide evidence for all of his claims meant that the column stayed up.
“Max Blumenthal has made every effort to silence our exposing his troubled anti-Israel mind. From his comparisons of the IDF to the SS to his call for the complete dismantling of the Jewish state, he is attempting to censor me and our ads about him now that he has become a Jeremiah Wright-caliber liability to Hilary Clinton,” Boteach wrote in an email to Breibart Jerusalem.
“I give tremendous credit to the Huffington Post for not capitulating to his threats and I call upon Go Fund Me to reverse their removal of our ad page and respect the First Amendment,” he added.
In an interview with the Observer, Boteach called Blumenthal’s writings and appearances, which include calling for Jews to become “indigenized … and become a part of the Arab world,” as “disgusting, vile, stomach-turning, fraudulent, libelous accusations … that are utterly reprehensible and sickening.”
A GoFundMe agent known as “Laura” informed the rabbi that his campaign would be removed for “inflammatory or accusatory language” and “fraudulent, misleading, inaccurate, or dishonest statements.” Boteach noted that the fundraising drive contained no language that could be considered inflammatory and that deleting the page demonstrated the crowdfunding platform’s “deep prejudice and bias.”
“You’re talking about the deranged rants of an extreme Israel hater who believes that Israel has no right to exist and that it should be dismantled,” Boteach told the Observer. “The secretary of state of the United States is getting advice from someone who believes that the Jews are Nazis? That is the craziest thing I have read in a long, long time.”