“Pistachio Wars”: How the Resnicks’ Snack Food Fortune is Fueling the Assault on Iran

A highly original documentary project reveals how a couple of Beverly Hills billionaires “are willing to risk war in Iran and the Middle East — all in order to boost and protect their lucrative pistachio business.”

By Max Blumenthal

Three years ago, journalist Yasha Levine and filmmaker Rowan Wernham first arrived at the vast pistachio plantation of Stewart and Lynda Resnick in California’s parched Central Valley. There, they saw firsthand how a billionaire power couple had successfully manipulated the state’s political system to privatize its water supply for their own financial benefit.

Today, the Wonderful Company farm owned by the Resnicks soaks up more water than the entire city of Los Angeles. Their business was based on “a heist of epic proportions,” according to Levine, that “will put family farms out of business, and push life in the biggest river estuary on the west coast of America towards mass extinction.”

The story eventually took Levine and Wernham far beyond the parched Central Valley, and into the heart of America’s Israel lobby. It turned out that the Resnicks had been pumping their money into some of the most militantly pro-Israel think tanks in Washington, including the American Jewish Committee and the Washington Institute on Near East Policy (WINEP). Both of these outfits have lobbied heavily for sanctions on Iran and against the Iran nuclear deal. One WINEP executive, Pat Clawson, has even called on the US to stage a false flag attack that could trigger a war with Iran.

Levine and Wernham recognized that the Resnicks’ support for the Israel lobby was all about protecting their monopoly from a nation traditionally recognized as the producer of the world’s best pistachios. The billionaire nut barons were not only threatening the environment and livelihoods of their local competitors, they were bankrolling forces determined to take America to war against a rising Middle Eastern power. This is why the title of Levine and Wernham’s work in progress, “Pistachio Wars,” is so apt.

Continue reading ““Pistachio Wars”: How the Resnicks’ Snack Food Fortune is Fueling the Assault on Iran”

Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Blame Victims of Pittsburgh Pogrom and Echo the Killer’s Rhetoric

As Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett sets out to Pittsburgh, prominent members of the governing Likud Party have blamed the Jewish victims of the neo-Nazi massacre “for causing anti-Semitism.”

By Max Blumenthal

Israeli Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has embarked on a visit to Pittsburgh “to be with our sisters and brothers in their darkest hour,” he said, after an avowed anti-Semite massacred eleven Jewish worshippers at the city’s Tree of Life Synagogue.

Robert Bowers, the right-wing terrorist, targeted the progressive congregation on the basis of its partnership with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, or HIAS, a Jewish non-profit that helps refugees from conflict-torn regions obtain asylum in the US.

“HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people,” Bowers stated in a social media manifesto explaining his motives.

As Bennett departs for Pittsburgh, some members of Israel’s governing Likud Party have issued talking points and statements blaming the victims of the anti-Jewish mass murderer for inspiring the attack. One especially prominent Likud member has even echoed Bowers’ hate manifesto.

Continue reading “Members of Netanyahu’s Likud Blame Victims of Pittsburgh Pogrom and Echo the Killer’s Rhetoric”

Censored Documentary Exposes the Israeli Government’s Attack on Black Lives Matter

Exclusive footage from the censored Al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli government officials taking credit for attacks on Black Lives Matter and reveals an Israel lobbyist explaining how his organization shut down a BLM fundraiser

By Max Blumenthal

When the Movement for Black Lives released a platform in August 2016 that supported the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement and identified Israel as an apartheid state engaged in a project of genocide against Palestinians, the Israeli government snapped into action.

Previously unreleased footage from Al Jazeera’s censored investigative documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” shows Israeli diplomats complaining about the Black Lives Matter “problem” and boasting about their cultivation of established black civil rights activists as pro-Israel proxies.

The footage also reveals how the Israel lobby orchestrated the sudden cancellation of a Black Lives Matter fundraiser at a New York City nightclub.

Continue reading “Censored Documentary Exposes the Israeli Government’s Attack on Black Lives Matter”

Leaked Scenes from Censored Documentary Reveal Israel Lobbyist Noah Pollak Astroturfing an Anti-Palestinian Protest

Exclusive leaked scenes from Al Jazeera’s “The Lobby – USA” documentary show how Emergency Committee for Israel Executive Director Noah Pollak and the Hoover Institution astroturfed an inflammatory protest against the 2016 Students for Justice in Palestine national conference.

By Max Blumenthal

The Grayzone Project has released scenes from an investigative Al Jazeera undercover documentary, “The Lobby – USA,” whose publication was blocked by the government of Qatar under Israel lobby pressure.

The footage reveals how Emergency Committee on Israel Executive Director Noah Pollak and the right-wing Hoover Institution organized an astroturfed a protest aimed at disrupting the 2016 Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) national conference.

According to one Hoover Institution campus fellow, “This is the first foot soldier activity that I think we’ve been forced to do.”

Continue reading “Leaked Scenes from Censored Documentary Reveal Israel Lobbyist Noah Pollak Astroturfing an Anti-Palestinian Protest”

Who’s Behind Canary Mission’s Anonymous Anti-Palestinian Blacklisting Website?

Canary Mission has exploited its anonymity to smear college students with impunity. The Grayzone is investigating the forces behind the malicious anti-Palestinian organization’s web domain.

By Hamzah Raza and Max Blumenthal

Editor’s note #1: An attorney for Howard David Sterling has asserted that Sterling “does not own the website” of CanaryMission.org, “did not engage in any of the conduct” committed by Canary Mission, and “had never even heard of that website until he was asked about it by a reporter earlier this year.” Sterling’s attorney stated, “GoDaddy specifically informed us that Howard Sterling is not and never has been the owner of that domain registration.”

Editor’s note #2: The Grayzone has continued to investigate the forces behind Canary Mission. We have obtained a bank statement recording a November 21, 2018 donation to CanaryMission.org that was accompanied by a cellphone number that was registered in Sterling’s name until at least March 15, 2015 — a month after the Canary Mission domain was registered.

Editor’s note #3: As Ali Abunimah and Asa Winstanley first reported, the censored Al Jazeera documentary, “The Lobby – USA” identified pro-Israel oligarch Adam Milstein as “Canary Mission funder.” 

Since it first registered its website in February 2015, Canary Mission has been a source of mystery and menace. Dedicated to blacklisting students involved in Palestine solidarity activism, intimidating them and denigrating their public reputations, Canary Mission’s administrators have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities. The secrecy has enabled them to target legally defenseless students – who are mostly members of minority and immigrant groups — with total impunity.

A document supplied to the Grayzone identifies the person who was at least the initial owner of Canary Mission’s domain name as a wealthy lawyer who has been a fervent supporter of Israel. According to document provided to the Grayzone, his name is Howard David Sterling.

Continue reading “Who’s Behind Canary Mission’s Anonymous Anti-Palestinian Blacklisting Website?”

Ukraine Attacks Journalists Who Reported Israeli Weapons Flow to Its Neo-Nazi Militia

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel attacked Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal by name, along with The Real News and Electronic Intifada, spreading false accusations after they reported on Ukrainian neo-Nazis using Israeli weapons.

By Ben Norton

Ukraine’s embassy in Israel has attacked Grayzone editor Max Blumenthal by name and indirectly implicated this writer, Grayzone contributor Ben Norton, for reporting on Israel’s arming of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.

While the Ukrainian government has falsely accused us of spreading “fake news,” it has ironically spread fake news itself, incorrectly alleging that Blumenthal has been writing under the pseudonym “John Brown” — based on a “quick search on the internet.”

The Ukrainian government has also denied that Israel has armed Ukraine’s neo-Nazi militia the Azov battalion, even after Azov posted a video on its own YouTube channel showing it using unmistakably Israeli weapons.

On June 10, the Ukrainian embassy in Israel published an open letter to Aluf Benn, the editor-in-chief of the major Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Kiev condemned Haaretz for publishing a June 9 news report titled “Rights Groups Demand Israel Stop Arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine.”

Continue reading “Ukraine Attacks Journalists Who Reported Israeli Weapons Flow to Its Neo-Nazi Militia”

VIDEO: OAS Panel Accusing Venezuela of “Crimes Against Humanity” is Grilled on Moral Hypocrisy and Open Bias

An OAS panel featured condemnations of Venezuela’s human rights violations by one of the world’s most prominent defenders of Israeli atrocities

By Max Blumenthal

(Video of my questioning of the OAS panel follows the article.)

On May 29, a panel of self-described independent experts convened a press conference at the Organization of American States in Washington DC. The panel presented a 400-page report accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity and demanding the prosecution of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the International Criminal Court.

The panel comprised a collection of aggressive advocates of regime change in Venezuela. I attended the event to question the self-proclaimed experts on their ulterior agenda and the absurd contradictions behind their claims to support universal human rights.

“With right-wing allies ruling Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru, the OAS has faded back into its history as an instrument of US domination of Latin America,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the Grayzone Project.

Weisbrot added OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, “is obsessed with Venezuela, and determined to do whatever he can to achieve regime change there, by any means necessary.”

Continue reading “VIDEO: OAS Panel Accusing Venezuela of “Crimes Against Humanity” is Grilled on Moral Hypocrisy and Open Bias”

Killing Gaza: A Film on Life Under Siege

By Max Blumenthal

Hours before Australia joined the US as the only countries in the UN Human Rights Council to vote against an investigation into Israel’s killing of over 60 protesters in one day in Gaza’s no-go zone, I joined Sky News Australia to discuss the massacre and my and Dan Cohen’s new documentary on life under siege, Killing Gaza.

You can watch the trailer below and purchase the complete film here.

Killing Gaza from Dan Cohen on Vimeo.

In the Electronic Intifada, I profiled a few of the survivors of war who appear in Killing Gaza:

Continue reading “Killing Gaza: A Film on Life Under Siege”

Why Is YouTube Censoring Content Critical of Israel?

In November 2015, Abby Martin’s Empire Files interviewed me about the Israeli right’s consolidation of control over the country’s institutions and the predominance of racist attitudes in Jewish Israeli society. It was a fairly straightforward discussion that covered many of the same subjects I touched on in my book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel.

The video published by Empire Files did feature a shockingly genocidal tirade, but not from me; it concluded with footage of an Israeli soldier barking through a megaphone to the residents of the Palestinian town of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank: “Go home, or we will gas you until you die!”

Last week, I learned that YouTube had blocked Martin’s interview of me in 28 countries, asserting some vague legal mandate to do so. It also limited the sharing functions of the video in many others, but without explanation.  Continue reading “Why Is YouTube Censoring Content Critical of Israel?”

Cutting Through Media Propaganda on the Battle in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

The corporate media has grossly distorted the battle for Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, which is occupied by extremist Salafi-jihadists funded by Saudi Arabia.

By Ben Norton

Continue reading “Cutting Through Media Propaganda on the Battle in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta”