Max Blumenthal, anti-Israel activist, tours Syrian regime’s Damascus

Blumenthal has mocked Syrians in the past for preparing plastic bags to protect against Syrian regime chemical weapons attacks.

Max Blumenthal (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Max Blumenthal
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Anti-Israel author and activist Max Blumenthal appeared in Damascus on September 8, according to his tweets, where he praised the Syrian regime and condemned the former US ambassador as “fake.”
The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons and brutal tactics to suppress a rebellion since 2011, leading to the deaths of 500,000 people and the displacement of millions. Blumenthal tweeted that he was in Damascus “in hopes of providing a few days perspective from inside the territory where most Syrians live, one that has been ignored by a Western media that has provided the mood music for a ruthless proxy war.”
Blumenthal has mocked Syrians in the past for preparing plastic bags to protect against Syrian regime chemical weapons attacks. A harsh critic of Israel and son of a former Clinton administration adviser Sidney Blumenthal, Max’s trip to Syria was criticized on social media for mistranslating and mischaracterizing signs he saw.
On Sunday, Blumenthal posted photos of a poster that showed members of the Ja’afari Force, an IRGC-backed Shi’ite militia.
“Posters honoring Syrian army soldiers killed in the war against foreign backed extremists,” Blumenthal tweeted.
However, others were quick to point out that the posters were of a militia that included fighters from Iraq and Lebanon, and that the militia was also foreign-backed. One writer condemned Blumenthal as a “white American son-of-a-millionaire politician.” Other critics slammed Blumenthal for not speaking Arabic and misunderstanding the poster he referenced in the tweet.
He was also criticized for posting a photo of Jobar in Damascus, which Blumenthal claimed had been “occupied by the Saudi-backed Jaish al-Islam until early last year.”
One Twitter user said that the Syrian regime had used snipers to kill dozens in this area during the war.
Blumenthal’s Syria tour of regime-held areas has included photos of La Marionette pub and Elissar Restaurant. Elissar is a “beautiful restaurant in old Damascus,” Max tweeted. “The waiter said it was a favorite of Robert Ford, the fake US ambassador who oversaw the arming of ‘rebels.’”
Blumenthal noted he would “never understand US officials who enjoyed Damascus and worked to destroy it.”
He also highlighted the tomb of Imam Husayn’s daughter and claimed that he was in Damascus at the General Federation of Trade Union conference on trade unions.
The Syrian government of Bashar Assad is trying to revive support for the country after eight years of civil war. Although isolated during the conflict, it has been working closely with its allies in Russia and Iran, as well as seeking to expand its diplomatic reach.
Blumenthal isn’t the only writer or activist to be slammed for a trip to regime-held areas. Rania Khalek’s trip in 2016 ended in controversy. US Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard also visited Syria in 2017 and met Assad.
Blumenthal has courted controversy before, when he was at the center of an argument in Germany’s parliament in 2014. Revelations in 2016 showed that Sidney Blumenthal had sent his son’s writings in 2010 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Blumenthal was also slammed in 2016 for comments about Elie Wiesel.