Is The Democratic Party Going European? — Cont’d
The following item from James Taranto’s Opinion Journal column on Tuesday cites more evidence that openly anti-Semitic comments are no longer beyond the pale for the left-wing of the Democratic Party.
The item also brings more evidence that Stephen Walt (Harvard) and John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) are increasingly incapable of saying or writing a true word about Israel, and have fallen prey to the wildest of conspiracy theories. This week they told a CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) gathering that Israel used Hizbullah’s July 12 kidnapping of Israeli soldiers as a pretext to launch a long-planned invasion. One wonders how much they had to pay Nasrallah to provide the cover. One also wonders how come Israel had no war plan if they had long-intended to launch an attack. This claim is of a piece with the claim in the infamous Walt-Mearsheimer paper on the Israel Lobby that Israel withdrew from Gaza to bring Hamas to power and thereby doom the Roadmap. Clever people those Jews.
In the most recent issue of the University of Chicago Alumni Magazine, Mearsheimer further makes the ridiculous claims that Ehud Barak and Yasir Arafat both rejected the deal offered by President Clinton at Camp David, a claim that will be news to Mr. Clinton, who pointedly told Arafat, “No, I’m not a great man. I am a failure and you have made me one.” Mearsheimer then goes on to claim that negotiations ended when Israel walked away from Taba three months after Camp David, failing to note that Israel had considerably upped its offer to Arafat, while the latter’s positions remained unchanged.
‘Stomp Israel Like a Bug’
Robert Goldberg, writing in the Washington Times, surveys the MoveOn.org Action Forum, an online bulletin board for the Angry Left’s premier grass-roots organization, and finds it rife with anti-Semitism:
“Christian Zionists are ultimately responsible for whatever Israel does, whether they realize it or not! Of course they’re going to play dumb and say they’re powerless over Israel! We’re supposed to fall for that. The US Gov. could stomp Israel like a bug, if we had to! That’s where the Christian Zionist “beliefs” mix with US laws and Foreign Policy. They are favoring Israel because of their Zionist belief system.” Ninety [percent of readers expressing an opinion] agreed with this post.
Why the Jews? Or as one post quipped, “Why are the Jews so Jew-y?” According to the mind of Moveon, “(I)t’s those GREEDY PIGS who own our mainstream media who are placing RELIGION/POLITICS (ISRAEL) and CORPORATE GREED above the best interests of the American people (peace, democracy, clean air, healthcare, etc.). As we’ve already agreed, most of these GREEDY PIGS are Jewish.” Fifty percent approved of this post. . . .
Meanwhile, postings (mostly by Jews) pleading for moderation are rejected.
“The amount of anti-Semitic trash on this forum is abhorrent to most Americans. These rants, castigating Israel and Jews in general, are taking MoveOn so far from its roots and avowed purpose.” Well said. But only 21 percent of Moveon members agree.
MoveOn is, by its own description, “a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media.” The hateful posts Goldberg quotes, that is, don’t reflect the views of MoveOn’s leadership but rather are spontaneous expressions by its members. It’s not clear how representative they are, but at the very least, the Angry Left’s grass roots are beset by some aggressive weeds.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reports that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of a notoriously tendentious “study” about the “Israel lobby,” appeared at a National Press Club panel sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations:
Walt singled out two Jews who worked at the Pentagon for their pro-Israel views. “People like Paul Wolfowitz or Doug Feith . . . advocate policies they think are good for Israel and the United States alike,” he said. “We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but we also don’t think there’s anything wrong for others to point out that these individuals do have attachments that shape how they think about the Middle East.”
“Attachments” sounds much better than “dual loyalties.” But why single out Wolfowitz and Feith and not their non-Jewish boss, Donald Rumsfeld?
“I could have mentioned non-Jewish people like John Bolton,” Walt allowed when the question was put to him.
Picking up on the “attachments” lingo, Mearsheimer did mention Bolton but cited two Jews, Elliott Abrams and David Wurmser, as “the two most influential advisers on Middle East affairs in the White House. Both, he said, are ” fervent supporters of Israel.” Never mind that others in the White House, such as national security adviser Stephen Hadley, Vice President Cheney and President Bush, have been just as fervent despite the lack of “attachments.”
This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames. And, indeed, Walt seemed defensive about the charges of anti-Semitism. He cautioned that the Israel lobby “is not a cabal,” that it is “not synonymous with American Jews” and that “there is nothing improper or illegitimate about its activities.”
But Mearsheimer made no such distinctions as he used “Jewish activists,” “major Jewish organizations” and the “Israel lobby” interchangeably.
Milbank adds this detail: “Before leaving for an interview with al-Jazeera, Mearsheimer accepted a button proclaiming ‘Walt & Mearsheimer Rock. Fight the Israel Lobby.’ ‘I like it,’ he said, beaming.” What a loser.
It is true that there are a number of noisy Democrats who say nasty things about Israel and/or Jews, and as a Democrat, I don’t like it. (I’m not sure how much of this is untainted anti-Zionism, how much is true antisemitism and how much of it is what Orwell called “transposed nationalism”, romanticizing the Palestinians as A People Who Can Do No Wrong.) But the noise they can make is way out of proportion to their influence on the party. I don’t see this antisemitism affecting the positions taken by national Democratic politicians. Even among liberal Democratic bloggers, these attitudes are not the norm.
See, for example, this posting by Billmon, someone who is philosophically opposed to Zionism: “Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals — all this doesn’t leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democrats, or at least the overwhelming majority of Democratic politicians, will support it.”
The Mearsheimer/Walt paper on the “Israel Lobby” got a very skeptical reaction from the liberal Democratic blogs that I read. See here and here, for example. And by the way, Mearsheimer himself is a Republican who voted for Bush in 2000.
After 9.11, there were two ways to approach the Arab world that the US could have taken. One is the path actually taken, an agressive approach that blames the Arab world for not recognizing Israel and that says the gripes that the Arab world has the with the USA are illegitmate. The other approach says that the Arab world has legitmate gripes, the major one being Israel, the land that the Jews “stole” from its legitmate inhabitants, the Arabs. For years leading up to 9.11, the USA finessed this, but after 9.11 it is difficult to impossible to finesse this. To my mind, if you oppose the war in Iraq, which the bulk of the Democratic party does,you are definitely on the road to taking the second approach.
I personally support the war in Iraq, and voted for a Republican for President for only the second time since I turned 18 because of Kerry’s opposition to the War expressed during the campeign (I voted for Reagan over Mondale in 1984). If the election were re-held today I would still vote for Bush; there simply is no other choice if you support the legitmacy of Israel’s existance as a Jewish state. A so-called “smart” approach to terrorism involving intellegence, economic sanctions, isolating extremist Moslems from mainstream Moslems, etc, that would be supported by the UN and the international community would require the US to sell out Israel as part of the cost of getting “mainstream” Moslems to support it.