Censored: Groundbreaking Work of Jewish Journalist


Raw footage of young American Jews making cretinous and racist comments about President Obama, has been made public by Max Blumenthal, a correspondent for The Daily Beast in Israel. The kids, mostly in Israel for a gap or study abroad year, feed the camera lines like “white power, fuck the niggers,” and “I don’t know politics, but he’s a sh*thead. Anyone who wants to take away my gun rights is an assh*le and deserves to get shot”. A guy wearing a chai necklace calls Obama a “p*ssy”, and “fagg*t”, and threatens to come to the White House and “tea-bag” him, if he “doesn’t change the world anytime soon.” Perhaps most poignantly, a young man with a pixie cut says directly into the camera; “I want p*ssy.”

The notorious proponents of censorship at the Huffington Post removed the video from the site after Blumenthal posted it because it had “no news value” and “did not move the conversation forward.” I suppose — theoretically — it’s possible that the editors didn’t think it a worthy piece of journalism. But really, they are a prudish bunch at HuffPo, so we just don’t know.

Though downtown Jerusalem is known for its reputable hookah bars, maybe HuffPo felt a different venue would have been more appropriate to probe the young people about politics. It’s been over a year since I was a Hebrew U. student in Israel, but I think it still stands that if Blumenthal and his partner Joseph Dana wanted a more representative (and articulate) cross-section of foreign students, they could have gone to the Hebrew U. cafeteria during the school day.

In response to those who entirely missed the value of the piece, Dana issued this statement:

It’s about entitlement, stupid.

Max and I went on to the streets of Jerusalem at ten o’clock on a Wednesday to ascertain the feelings of the young population about Obama’s upcoming speech in Cairo. As is often the case, the streets of central Jerusalem were not filled with native Israelis but American Jews. Doubtlessly anyone who has visited Jerusalem has encountered the droves of American Jewish kids that are sent to Israel to study for a period of time from Teaneck or Westchester. We asked people a simple question, “What do you think of Obama and Israel?” Most of the people that we talked to were dual American Israeli citizens. The answers in this video reflect the education and worrisome perspectives that many American Jews harbor towards Israeli politics. The sense of entitlement that the American Jewish community has when it comes to Israeli policy is on full raw display in the words of these young adults.

Based on our interviews these people were from high socio economic backgrounds and had developed thoughts about current Israeli politics. The question is why more journalists are not covering this story. All you have to do is walk the streets of Jerusalem and you will find dozens of people that harbor the same beliefs. As a resident of Jerusalem, I can say that the people represented in this video are not members of a fringe group or simply drunk college kids. These people reflect the sentiments shared by many people in this country and this city. These people and their families are the core of the opposition to meaningful peace between Israel and her neighbors. This is what Obama is up against.

That is indeed shocking. Dozens of people in a city of 750,000. Dana is right, why aren’t more reporters covering this story?

I for one am glad that Blumenthal and Dana forced us to confront the sense of entitlement that pervades political dialogue on Israel. Foreigners from high socioeconomic backgrounds have no business having opinions on the Middle East. If we allow that, we’d only be lending legitimacy to people like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Defenders of a free press must rally around Blumenthal and Dana. We can’t allow them to be yet more sacrificial lambs on the altar of decency — like Joe Francis.


49 Comments

  1. themiddle

    6/6/2009 at 11:19 pm

    Well, in all fairness, journalists do the same thing to Palestinians and we all draw conclusions.

    The only thing one can learn about American Jews visiting Israel for a year or some study early in their lives is that they’re generally quite immature. Then they go back home, study some more, get older, experience some good and bad things in their lives and generally become more thoughtful, mature individuals.

    In other words, if Dana thinks that one can learn anything about anything from speaking to these kids – putting aside the very astute questions raised by this post about extrapolating information from this type of limited research – Dana isn’t a very good reporter.

  2. Jordan

    6/6/2009 at 11:27 pm

    Having staffed birthright, I appreciate where the seeds for SOME of these thoughts originated. I was embarrassed then, I’m embarrassed now.

  3. Morbid Kittens

    6/6/2009 at 11:45 pm

    I’m torn. On one hand, I’d like to see more news on the fact that not everyone has their nose browned from Obama’s hind end. On the other, I like opinions that are well-based. I don’t like how they’re going about expressing their opinion, but I’ll fight to the death to allow them their right to do so.

  4. themiddle

    6/6/2009 at 11:46 pm

    Actually, as I reread Dana’s comments, I came across this:

    “These people and their families are the core of the opposition to meaningful peace between Israel and her neighbors.”

    Uh, no they’re not.

    Maybe Dana should read the Washington Post interview with Mahmoud Abbas if he wants to know what Obama is up against and who represents the core of the opposition to meaningful peace between Israel and her neighbors?

  5. James G. Leventhal

    6/6/2009 at 11:50 pm

    this is a problem. this is a very interesting moment. I follow Jewlicious. In fact, I am a “professional Jew” in the States.

    I make my living by working in a Jewish museum, so I cannot say I am “without prejudice.”

    I am familiar with the view points expressed in the video. and it is very odd that it seems to be taken down all over the place. I saw it posted as someone’s “favorite,” then it was gone.

    still, there is something pornographic about the video — racist, drunk and without knowledge or reason are its participants. Ignorance on display is easy. America’s racist. Many Europeans (indeed many Americans) are extremely anti-semitic. videos of those people drunk, stoned and verbally abusive are not strewn about. in fact they are suppressed.

    there is a carelessness in the video and even if it is on the part of the witless participants, it should not be touted. even if they’d same the same sober. they’re very drunk.

    it has introduced me to the reporters work at

    ibnezra.wordpr...

    which seems more thoughtful in other pieces.

    right now I am listening to Obama in Cairo here:

    motherjones.co...

    it is a better thing to do.

    THANK YOU for this post! it is important.

  6. LB

    6/6/2009 at 11:57 pm

    “Defenders of a free press must rally around Blumenthal and Dana.”

    No. No. No. Blumenthal is an outsider, but Dana lives in Israel, and I would expect more of him. Yet he has been anything but straightforward about this video. It is not about free press – this very misleading. video is intended to wrongly slander Israel and Israelis.

    1. The video is titled “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem.”
    Most of the “interviewees” are not Israeli, despite Dana’s initial protestations to the contrary. Clearly, the intention is present the video as a portrayal of Jerusalem, which it is not. It was all filmed in a 2 block radius, that any Israeli knows is filled with mostly American teens on various programs visiting Israel.

    2. I had a brief comment back-and-forth on Dana’s blog. After he did not like my comments rebutting the claim that those on the video were Israelis at all, dual citizens or otherwise (to which he responded, at first), he decided it was ok to simple delete all the comments. Not simply close them, as he claimed. He has posted a number of posts regarding this video, which received comments, and nearly all of these posts (the ones with comments) have somehow disappeared completely. This is not the practice of honest journalism, and supporters of a free press should be castigating Dana, not supporting the makers of this video.

    3. Further, he has now changed his view. First it was that most of the “interviewees” were Israeli and representative of society (” They were two people in this video that did not have Israeli citizenship…I am sorry but it not a tiny part of society. It is shocking but it is not small.” – comment of his that was deleted but I still have in my email). At the same time he was obscuring the point (“reflective of a huge part of the American Jewish community.”) about a video that claims to be about Jerusalem. Now he says Doubtlessly anyone who has visited Jerusalem has encountered the droves of American Jewish kids that are sent to Israel to study,” in stark contrast to his initial stance.

    Later on, Dana decided to go on the offensive, claiming I attacked him and spread lies (when I had said nothing about him that wasn’t to him, or on his blog), and started ascribing other past POVs to me, in order to claim I lied.

    This is not about free press at all – the video itself has about as much “news value” as a Borat sketch. I did not, initially, ascribe any malice to the makers of the video, and thought they were acting in good faith (לדון כל אדם לכף זכות). However, the unwillingness to see one’s gross mistakes, along with the evasion and cover-ups seem to me like pretty clear evidence I was wrong, and that an attempt was made to simply baselessly slander Israel and Israelis. That is what is newsworthy here.

  7. Jack

    6/7/2009 at 12:36 am

    It is embarrassing for any number of reasons. It is a hatchet job and clearly was intended to be one.

    That doesn’t excuse the piss poor and obnoxious behavior of those interviewed, but you don’t go to a bar looking for political commentary.

    They wanted to get something “edgy” and they got it.If there were more to it than Huffpo wouldn’t have removed it.

  8. James G. Leventhal

    6/7/2009 at 12:48 am

    they’re drunk and high and witless. it’s kinda pornographic. it’s hateful and not good to promote.

    this post here is important, though. and the rest of the producing team’s work is smarter. this scandal introduced me to it.

    I saw someone had posted the video and before I got back to it, the video was gone. YouTube has it posted now as age restricted.

    they seem uselessly mad in this one themselves, by letting it go. neither do I want to watch a bunch of neonazis. the footage could exist and most northern european countries suppress it, in its raw form.

    better this stays in the editing room. and leave Obama’s speech be:

    motherjones.co...

  9. themiddle

    6/7/2009 at 2:34 am

    I think it’s hilarious that this is getting any attention. Really, this guy, Dana, is a joke.

  10. Princess Jewface

    6/7/2009 at 7:12 am

    It’s all sadly pathetic.
    I’m much rather get drunk and frolic with CK.

  11. ck

    6/7/2009 at 8:29 am

    TM: Dana is a thoughtful, intelligent and well meaning individual. I’ve spoken to him interminably about this video. I don’t mean to defend his actions and there has been a bit of backpedaling on this but basically his point was that the video depicted attitudes that are not that foreign to either Israelis or American Jews, that you don’t have to look far to find hateful, racist rhetoric in Israel. Sadly he’s kind of right in that respect. Of course it’s rare to find Israelis saying “White power, fuck the niggers” but it’s not so hard to find crowds chanting “Mavet La Aravim” (Death to the Arabs) and you can try to explain it away or poo poo it all you like, but it’s here and it’s ugly and I don’t like it.

    That having been said, the video is sloppy, sensationalistic and kind of inaccurate. the idiots portrayed are American and drunk and the important nuances are lost to the many commenters on YouTube and Gawker who are all saying some of the most vile anti-Semitic crap I have ever, ever heard.

    Sigh…

  12. Steve

    6/7/2009 at 8:42 am

    I think it is quite disturbing and perhaps an eye opener for many people. Regardless of the state of inebriation it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of these American youth in Jerusalem.

  13. lori

    6/7/2009 at 11:48 am

    Denial. One Word, Denial.

    This from the Magnes Zionist about the JTA article:

    Ron,
    Now that Max’s “immature video” has been witnessed over 100,000 times in the last two days, maybe you can take a deep breath and think a bit.
    Let’s assume that 90% of the viewers just stop at Max’s video. That leaves 10% who look into some of his other posts from Israel-Palestine, including his interviews with David Grossman, with members of Liberman’s party, with Israeli activists on the West Bank. That means that more people will get significant information about Israel because of the “immature video” in two days than read your blog in months.
    Ron, you’re in denial Even Jeffrey Goldberg was disturbed by the behavior of the students, who were drunk more with the power of being a Jew in Jerusalem than the booze (and some of them didn’t sound drunk at all.
    These are not just drunk kids. These are Jewish kids, orthodox kids, who are full of hate when drunk. If you were an orthodox educator, could you just dismiss that? Hey a lot of people beat their wives, why pick on the frummies who do?
    Denial, denial, denial

  14. James G. Leventhal

    6/7/2009 at 12:34 pm

    re: Magnes Zionist – “there is a carelessness in the video and even if it is on the part of the witless participants…it has introduced me to the reporters work…” I wrote, so…

    oh, and the Jewish museum where I work was named after Judah L. Magnes. We are in the SF Bay Area where he was born and most all we do is on-line @ magnes.org. *plug*

  15. lori-author

    6/7/2009 at 1:06 pm

    The above commenter “lori” is not the author of this post. Commenter lori, please distinguish yourself if you comment again.

  16. Grand Muffti

    6/7/2009 at 1:53 pm

    Muffti doesn’t get what is going on here – is this a complaint against Huffington Post? A complaint about Dana and Max’s video? all of the above?

    This video stands right up there with the early work of guerrilla theatre — it doesn’t make any case but shows you what people can be like at uncareful, unrehearsed moments — but it’s not done very carefully.

    In any case, this whole case presents one of the wonders of trying to deny showing what you see as not worthy. Originally, it’s a piece of crap video with no significance so you ‘ban’ it (from a site that has the right to put up or reject whatever they want). Then the maker of crap, or interested friends or whoever complain loudly that their crap is ‘censored’ and with a bit of luck, they can get people interested in it and why it was banned. In the process, the object gets transformed from the useless crap that it was into an object worthy of discussion simply because someone realized it in the first place and ‘banned’ it. THEN of course not putting it up is censorship proper – because now it has become an object that generates discussion and has interest.

    So by all means, show people the stuff they are interesed. But as LB points out, dress it up and argue about it, it’s still a stupid piece of crap. Or, as a nod to Obama, you can put lipstick on a pig…

    Which is why, as Muffti understands it, we don’t ban or censor stuff at Jewlicious unless it is self-censorship.

  17. Grand Muffti

    6/7/2009 at 1:54 pm

    Muffti can confirm one thing, however, about the accuracy of a part of the video. LOTS of drunk teenagers roaming around want pussy.

  18. James G. Leventhal

    6/7/2009 at 2:06 pm

    great connections, Muffti. And fascinating moment brought on by ‘guerilla theater,’ as you alight.

    Nu? Who’s complaining?!…

    (except about the Poli-Sci “chick” who doesn’t know Mr. What’s His Name “Yahoo” – there in’s the real criminal moment in the whole vid.)

  19. ck

    6/7/2009 at 2:28 pm

    Err Muffti? Did you notice that Benjamin Yahoo grrrl was sitting in front of a guy with a Syracuse shirt? Just sayin is all…

  20. Grand Muffti

    6/7/2009 at 2:37 pm

    Muffti is a graduate of Rutgers, not syracuse :) We gonna hang in Hungary or what?

    Thanks James.

  21. themiddle

    6/7/2009 at 3:20 pm

    ck says:

    Dana is a thoughtful, intelligent and well meaning individual…

    …the video is sloppy, sensationalistic and kind of inaccurate. the idiots portrayed are American and drunk and the important nuances are lost to the many commenters

    You understand that I don’t know Dana personally and can only go by what he has done and said. What he has done and said is reflective of your comment about his video, not him as an individual. I think he should go and visit some American university next and shoot a party where people are boozing it up and then comment that this is reflective of American society.

    Then you can tell me how he’s a thoughtful and well-meaning individual.

  22. James G. Leventhal

    6/7/2009 at 4:52 pm

    Next on Assignment Dana: American Universities as Hotbed of Drunkenness and Racism & How That’s Maybe Why (but No Excuse for Why) American Philanthropic Dollars go to Fund Travel Programs that often Perpetrate Bad Ideas of Atavism, Nationalism and Self-love for Kids not Progressiveness, Torah and Exploration

  23. Liz

    6/7/2009 at 5:41 pm

    “Developed thoughts about current Israeli politics”? So that’s what he’s calling not knowing who Benjamin Netanyahu is?

  24. Bar Mitzvah Photographer

    6/7/2009 at 9:12 pm

    It’s not news worth in the newspaper sense, but it is an enlightening, if skewed, sociological document.

  25. themiddle

    6/7/2009 at 9:38 pm

    Please, there’s nothing enlightening here unless your kid is on the One Year Program at Hebrew University and now you’re afraid he’s hanging out with these morons. Thanks to a couple of self-righteous idiots filming even bigger idiots, a whole bunch of Israel and Jew haters get to have more ammo with which to abuse us.

    Maybe I need to go and read some LGF to cleanse myself from the non-stop attacks on me as a Jew and supporter of Israel that I have to endure from all these well-meaning, thoughtful Leftists who just want to document the way Things Are. I mean, between Failed Messiah, Eli Valley, Ken Silverstein, Jesse Zimmerman, Muzzlewatch, Rabbi Lerner, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana, not to mention some of those lovely well-meaning academics like Joel Beinin and Tony Judt or less well-meaning ones like Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim , I’m beginning to wonder whether I really am an ugly, hateful, bigoted, murderous piece of shit along with the rest of the Jewish community. Well, that is, the members of the Jewish community who are not Good Folks like these great reporters, bloggers and academics.

    Gosh, I wish I could be one of the good Jews. The ones who can read and see the worst of everything in what they see around them in Israel and the Jewish world, even when it’s, for example, just a bunch of drunken 18 and 19 year olds who really only want to get laid.

  26. ck

    6/7/2009 at 11:42 pm

    Oh my God, who in their right minds would want to have sex with any of these idiots???

  27. themiddle

    6/8/2009 at 12:27 am

    What’s that expression – a lid for every pot?

  28. Jack

    6/8/2009 at 1:44 am

    Oh my God, who in their right minds would want to have sex with any of these idiots???

    Back in my school days they used to say that a drunk penis has no conscience.

  29. blip

    6/8/2009 at 4:48 am

    Is this the video that opens with drunk kids doing a drunken soccer chant? Yeah, if you want to capture the hearts and minds of the people, find drunk kids and ask them. Not exploitive in the least. The point? Seeing Israelis portrayed as dumb crazy redneck extremists. It’s meant to reaffirm reasons it’s supposed to be okay to hate Israelis and religious Jews.

  30. Yoni C.

    6/8/2009 at 6:35 am

    Add Mondoweiss to your list of the well meaning Leftists Middle. There are some real Jew haters on that gem.

    They are in tight w/ Max Blumenthal. If you guys want to see some good Leftist Jews making a great name for us and fomenting hatred that is your blog.

  31. themiddle

    6/8/2009 at 10:11 am

    Mondoweiss is probably the worst out there. Kaboomfest was innocent fun compared to the Mondoweiss blog. I don’t bother with it because they have such clear bias in their posts and comments that it’s a waste of time.

    It would be nice if all they were was well-meaning Leftists. Some of them are very critical well-meaning Leftists who are at the vanguard of the criticism that targets other Jews and supporters of Israel. Like all extremists, they’re generally wrong by several measures, like their brethren on the extreme Right. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.

  32. Grand Muffti

    6/8/2009 at 12:49 pm


    Oh my God, who in their right minds would want to have sex with any of these idiots???

    Muffti believes Homer Simpson answered this one best:
    Alcohol. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems

  33. J. D. Edelman

    6/8/2009 at 1:57 pm

    Maybe I’m not getting this? It seems the posts on here are mostly debating the motives of the journalist who posted this video. Right, left or center, I’m absolutely horrified by the obnoxious, racist, anti-gay young adults shown on the video, and I don’t see that same horror reflected by the posts…. “white Power?” “Faggot?” “Terrorist?” “Watermelon?”

    That these young adults are Jewish is sickening to me. Disagree with the President, but these people are vulgar, uneducated and the worst excuse for Jews I’ve seen in I can’t remember when….

  34. you know who

    6/8/2009 at 2:45 pm

    hahahahahahahahahaha

    alcohol frees the mind, now we know what the average jewish american teenager is like, a fucking creep

    enjoy jerks

  35. themiddle

    6/8/2009 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks to Blumenthal and Dana for arming haters like You Know Who with ammo.

  36. xisnotx

    6/8/2009 at 5:44 pm

    TM:
    “The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.”

    is that a self-plug?

  37. themiddle

    6/8/2009 at 5:54 pm

    Of course.

  38. xisnotx

    6/8/2009 at 6:06 pm

    it’s tough seeing you so upset, tm. i think you need a beaver break:

  39. R.

    6/8/2009 at 8:45 pm

    Gosh, I wish I could be one of the good Jews.

    I feel your pain, Themiddle! I think the good Jews are simply opportunistic people. They get the attention because they capture the current feelings against Israel and Jews in vogue currently. But this too shall pass. I will never be one of those good Jews, even though I have have good reasons to be pissed at the Israeli elites. I do it in the privacy of my house.
    Would it be too extreme to call these good jews the new Judenrat? Why are they giving ammo to the haters, do you think?

  40. themiddle

    6/8/2009 at 11:43 pm

    I’m not going to call them Judenrat or anything like that. They are not doing what they’re doing out of malice, for the most part. Maybe people like Finkelstein do it out of malice, but most of these people do it because this is their understanding of the conflict or their understanding of other Jews. They believe they are doing good.

    The issue also isn’t privacy or keeping things to ourselves. It’s a misreading of the situation that seems to stem from feelings of guilt or anxiety; a desire to distance oneself from perceived wrong-doing.

    But you know what they say about good intentions…

    And xisnotx, thanks for the pussy but I’m not upset.

  41. xisnotx

    6/8/2009 at 11:49 pm

    tm:

    “thanks for the pussy”

    are you being ironic or didnt you check the link — when i said beaver, i meant beaver

  42. themiddle

    6/9/2009 at 4:22 am

    Whoa! Those are real beavers!

    Yes, I was being cute.

  43. Lahav

    6/9/2009 at 9:04 am

    If you want to know what Israelis REALLY think about Obama, check this out:
    cgis.jpost.com...

  44. dividend

    6/9/2009 at 10:32 am

    @ck ‘Of course it’s rare to find Israelis saying “White power, fuck the niggers” but it’s not so hard to find crowds chanting “Mavet La Aravim” (Death to the Arabs) and you can try to explain it away or poo poo it all you like, but it’s here and it’s ugly and I don’t like it.’

    Much thanks to ck for having the guts to admit this is an actual problem. There’s no moving forward with a problem until one can admit it exists. Next question: how to deal with it?

  45. Yoni C.

    6/9/2009 at 10:47 am

    2 state solution is the answer to all the ME problems!

  46. Galit Sonah Menuvalim

    6/9/2009 at 10:02 pm

    Typical ultra liberal extremist leftist media trash. Asking a bunch of drunk college kids for their opinions took a lot of talent.

  47. lori

    6/10/2009 at 7:23 am

    Muffti,

    Come on, the Huffington Post is prudish and advocates censorship? I was making jest. If I were Huffpo, I wouldn’t want my Web site to become associated with this form of yellow ‘journalism’ either.

  48. Grand Muffti

    6/10/2009 at 2:12 pm

    Phew, Lori, though you had lost your mind!

  49. xisnotx

    6/10/2009 at 11:20 pm

    What a terrible thing to have lost one’s mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is. -

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