A Slight Break From the Script

Joe Klein is having a quarrel with the folks over at Commentary: Klein is miffed by Max Boot’s reiteration of his boss John McCain’s 100-years-in-Iraq proposition, and Jennifer Rubin takes exception to Klein’s notion that right-wing Jewish supporters of Israeli military policy — like Joe Lieberman — pushed the invasion of Iraq because they believed destroying Iraq would be good for Israel, and that they favor war with Iran for the same reason.

Rubin objects to this (bolds hers):

The notion that we could just waltz in and inject democracy into an extremely complicated, devout and ancient culture smacked–still smacks–of neocolonialist legerdemain. The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives — people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary — plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel. And then there is the question–made manifest by the no-bid contracts offered U.S. oil companies by the Iraqis–of two oil executives, Bush and Cheney, securing a new source of business for their Texas buddies.

and snaps:

And just who would raise the “question of divided loyalties” — the favorite from the anti-Semitic playbook? Why, it’s Klein himself. Perhaps he [sic] suggesting a new standard for Jews: take no position that cannot be construed as an example of dual loyalties. Or better yet, take no position which might benefit Israel and avoid the problem altogether.

Leave aside the non-Jewish supporters of the war, Klein offers not one smidgen of support that Lieberman or any other Jewish advocate of the war did not believe it was in America’s security interest to pursue the war and/or to prosecute it effectively. One can argue with the merits of those individuals’ positions without clumsily injecting an anti-Semitic canard into the discussion.

Klein complains:

… what can one say about Jennifer Rubin, who accuses me of antisemitism? I must say that’s rather thrilling coming from the Commentary crowd. You want evidence of divided loyalties? How about the “benign domino theory” that so many Jewish neoconservatives talked to me about–off the record, of course–in the runup to the Iraq war, the idea that Israel’s security could be won by taking out Saddam, which would set off a cascade of disaster for Israel’s enemies in the region? As my grandmother would say, feh! Do you actually deny that the casus belli that dare not speak its name wasn’t, as I wrote in February 2003, a desire to make the world safe for Israel? Why the rush now to bomb Iran, a country that poses some threat to Israel but none–for the moment–to the United States…unless we go ahead, attack it, and the mullahs unleash Hezbollah terrorists against us? Do you really believe the mullahs would stage a nuclear attack on Israel, destroying the third most holy site in Islam and killing untold numbers of Muslims? I am not ruling out the use of force against Iran–it may come to that–but you folks seem to embrace it gleefully.

Furthermore, as a Jew, I find it offensive that the American Jewish Committee would support such an ideologically unbalanced publication as Commentary, one that spouts a Likudnik bellicosity that is out of sync with the beliefs of the vast majority of American Jews. A question to all concerned: When was the last time you opposed a policy, any policy, of the Israeli government–other than one that attempted to move toward peace?

Well. I actually agree with some of that — particularly the part about the Commentary crowd being well to the right of mainstream Jewish opinion about Israel. I have to say, though, that if Jewish neocons in this country truly believed that a “cascade of disaster for Israel’s enemies in the region” would be good for Israel, their brain development is more stunted than I already know it is.

One Response to “A Slight Break From the Script”

  1. Hold_That_Tiger says:

    Now I realize why I like Joe Klein…he is not afraid to speak the truth. OF COURSE the neo-cons, most of whom are “Israel Firsters,” pushed the War in Iraq in the hair-brained hope that our brand of “coersive Democracy” would win Israel a Democratic “Friend” in the midst of an Autocratic region and Of course it bit them in the ass. Michael Kinsley opined the same thing when the War started and was promptly shouted down as being “anti-semitic.” I fear that the close US-Israeli relationship has veered into the unhealthy with the cons starting to overwhelm the pros.

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