State of Israel

Pro-Israel advocacy with news and views.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


Neo-Conservative: This is a frequently misused term. Here's the actual definition of the phrase, "Michael Harrington, the big-hearted socialist, coined the phrase to describe a bunch of "renegade" liberals and leftists who were moving right. It wasn't meant as a compliment. Indeed, in a very real sense, neoconservatism was from the beginning a more useful word to describe a phenomenon rather than a school of thought." Source: Jonah Goldberg. So for example, while David Horowitz and I may have fairly similar ideological beliefs, he is a neo-Conservative while I am not. That's because Horowitz was once a lefty and I never was.

So who are these "scary" neoconservatives I hear people on the left ranting about?: "Neocons" are often portrayed as shadowy figures (usually Jewish) who're somehow manipulating America towards war in order to help Israel or just to stoke their bloodlust.

But in reality, the term neocon was coined simply to describe left-wingers who moved to the right. Because there are a number of hawkish Jews who fit that description, neoconservatism has been identified with Jewishness and hawkishness, although neither is a requirement to be a neocon. Neocons do not have a universal set of beliefs, nor do the prescriptions of prominent neocons for the war on terrorism seem to differ significantly from those of the "average conservative".

Neocons = Conservative Jewish Hawks To The Kooks?: I probably wouldn't even bother to comment on this article from "Arab News" entitled, "Protocols of the Elders of Neocons" if I hadn't seen the sentiments in it slipping into mainstream leftist and Paleocon thought. But, since there are some people out there who buy into this sort of garbage (probably more so than many of them are willing to admit in front of a camera), I thought it was worth shooting down. Here's the opening paragraph that gives a good general idea of what the writer is trying to get across...

"In this weekly telephone report Paul Wolfowitz expressed his anxiety to Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister about the situation in the Middle East. "How are you doing?" asked Wolfowitz. "OK, OK," answered Sharon, "but you must go to Syria." Wolfowitz pondered, "this will be tougher to get the president's okay on." Sharon could not help but scream, "He does not know Damascus from Des Moines, Iowa. Move it Paul. You can always tell him that this man of peace thinks it's kosher," concluded Sharon with a hysterical laugh."

The idea here is that these "neocons" have an insidious influence on the Bush administration. Their goal? To manipulate Americans in general and the Bush administration in particular into doing Israel's dirty work. Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle are the two most often cited although I've on occasion heard David Frum & Douglas Feith's names mentioned. You even hear some people get all skittery about the influence of pundits like Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol.

I have no idea how rational people can buy into this cockeyed theory. If you look at the big four players in Bush administration foreign policy, you'll find three hawks (Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice) & then there's Colin Powell who is a bit more dovish. Then there's the President himself who seems to work out of the Ronald Reagan cowboy diplomacy playbook. I could add that more than 70% of the American people supported the invasion of Iraq in the last poll I saw including a majority of Democrats. So how can anyone look at this overwhelming support for an invasion, pick a handful of Jews and go, "you caused this to help Israel!" It's just ludicrous.

Furthermore, I hate to break this to Pat Buchanan, Arab News, the French, the anti-war movement, etc, but Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Jonah Goldberg, etc, have mainstream Conservative views on foreign policy. The overwhelming majority of American Conservatives are hawkish, Pro-Israel, and strongly supported using the military to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Furthermore, the majority of all Americans would have supported invading Syria in the last poll I saw so I'm sure the numbers among Conservatives are probably 70%+ there as well. So again, there's nothing unusual about the positions taken by the prominent Jewish Conservatives who kooks think are somehow manipulating the President into settling scores for Israel. Just how do you look at foreign policy position supported by almost every prominent Conservative in the US from Rush Limbaugh to Ann Coulter and go, "See! See! There are some Conservative Jews who support it too! That means it's all a plot the Jews have come up with to support Israel!" Of course, that makes no sense whatsoever.

That's why I always suspect anti-semitism when I hear someone ranting about "neoconservatives" (by which they usually mean Jewish Conservatives) influencing Bush administration foreign policy. There's simply nothing to distinguish the views of people like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle from their superiors other than their Jewishness. So to pick that out and spin conspiracy theories about it says more about the person doing the spinning than the "neoconservatives" they're speculating about...

The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism

Shmuel Bar writes "The Religious Sources of Islamic Terrorism" in Policy Review. Serious, but quite readable. He argues that the religious-ideological factors which are deeply embedded in Islam ("Islam is, in essence, both religion and regime.") as a cause of terrorism have to be understood--even at the risk of being branded bigoted and Islamophobic--if we are to have an effective long-range strategy against terrorism.