Blumenthal slammed on Twitter for AlterNet article criticizing The White Helmets

Published October 4th, 2016 - 02:07 GMT
A group of White Helmets working in Aleppo (AFP/Thaer Mohammed)
A group of White Helmets working in Aleppo (AFP/Thaer Mohammed)

Max Blumenthal is no stranger to divisive articles. The American journalist has covered a variety of Middle Eastern issues, often controversial. He posted a video showing North American Jewish teenagers shouting racial slurs while on a Birthright trip in Israel, and resigned from Lebanon’s Al Akhbar, calling their staff “Assad apologists.”

Now, Blumenthal is in a Twitter war over his latest article at AlterNet, which argues that The White Helmets – the widely praised and Nobel Peace Prize-nominated group of emergency responders also known as the Syrian Civil Defense who perform rescue operations in rebel parts of Syria – are impartial supporters of US interventionism in Syria. The piece puts forth similar arguments on The Syria Campaign, a public relations firm that backs the group.

Twitter is currently embroiled in a full-fledged tweet and reply frenzy over the article, as Blumenthal is being widely hammered for the piece, but he’s also fighting back.

Many called Blumenthal an Assad supporter for the article, which is perhaps ironic given that he resigned from Al Akhbar over what he called their objectionable support for the Syrian president.

Others took the criticisms a step forward. One of the most vocal critics was Iyad el-Baghdadi, an activist exiled from the UAE. He argued that Blumenthal diminished the Syrian revolution by asserting that one of its major players is a vehicle of US intervention.

But Blumenthal did not take the heat sitting down. For one, he criticized the ad-hominem and personal attacks he received.

He also claimed that his opponents are supporters of US intervention in the Middle East, which Blumenthal believes to be destructive.

Much of the Twitter reactions to the article are critical, but some, including pro-Assad media personalities, defended it. Leith Abou Fadel, the CEO of Al-Masdar News, defended Blumenthal’s right to criticize The White Helmets amidst the backlash.

Another tweeter pointed out that Blumenthal has criticized the Assad regime on numerous occasions, including with his aforementioned resignation from Al Akhbar.

This not the first time The White Helmets have been attacked. Some allege that they are connected to jihadist groups in Syria. However, they are confirmed to have saved tens of thousands of lives throughout the course of Syria’s brutal civil war, and received wide praise internationally for their efforts. They were the subject of a recent Netflix documentary entitled “White Helmets.”



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