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By STEPHEN J. SNIEGOSKI
Neocons deny their own existence, but in his column for January 9 Justin Raimondo nevertheless provides an excellent summary of their movement. However, Raimondo, doubtlessly desiring to fend off the career-killing charge of "anti-Semitism," himself denies the very essence of neoconservatism. For example, citing neocon Max Boot's statement that the neocons' critics maintain that "neocons are Jews who serve the interests of Israel," Raimondo objects that this connection of Jewish neocons to Israel's interests is "a proposition that precisely no one of any consequence holds." Interestingly put. I certainly am of no consequence, which is why it falls to me and others of my ill-respected ilk to point out that the connection between the predominant Jewishness of the neocons and their support of Israel is self-evident.
Now, Raimondo does acknowledge that neocons identify wholeheartedly with Israel:
The defense of Israel has always been a foundation stone of the neoconservative approach to U.S. policy in the Middle East, but aside from that, the links of individual neocons now in government, such as Douglas Feith, to Israel's extremist Likud party, and to the "settler" movement, are no secret.
To avoid the "anti-Semitic" stigma, however, Raimondo tries to separate identification with Israel from Jewishness. According to Raimondo, neocons support the self-identified Jewish state simply out of an ideological belief that is unconnected with ethnic identity. Apparently it is just coincidental that most of the leading neocons are Jewish Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, the Kristols, the Podhoretzes, David Brooks, and on and on. And presumably it is again just coincidental that the original flagship of the neoconservative movement was Commentary Magazine, which is produced by the American Jewish Committee and which has as its stated purpose the protection of Jews and Israel. It seems reasonable that Jews might support a country that describes itself as the Jewish state and that favors Jews over gentiles just as it is reasonable that blacks would be more apt to support the Black Muslims than white people would be.
As is well-known, many of the first-generation neocons originally were liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists often of the Trotskyite variety. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic Party moved to the antiwar McGovernite left. And concern for Israel and other Jewish issues loomed large in that rightward drift.
Political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg (who happens to be Jewish) describes the origins of neoconservatism in his book about Jews:
One major factor that drew them inexorably to the right was their attachment to Israel and their growing frustration during the 1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly enamored of Third World causes [e.g., Palestinian rights]. In the Reaganite right's hard-line anti-communism, commitment to American military strength, and willingness to intervene politically and militarily in the affairs of other nations to promote democratic values (and American interests), neocons found a political movement that would guarantee Israel's security. [Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 231. Brackets in original.]
Editor's note. Dr. Sniegoski's TLD review-essay on Ginsberg's book, "Deadly enemy, deadly friend," is posted here on the TLD site.
Another Jewish author who presents the Jewish nature of neoconservatism is J.J. Goldberg in Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment (Reading, Mass.: Addison Wesley Publishing Company, Inc., 1996), pp. 159-162.
Raimondo makes much of the fact that there are a number of gentiles who are also neocons. And just as all neocons are not Jews, all Jews are not neocons.
Contrary to the neocons' own effort to equate "neocon" with "Jew," neocons represent only a small segment of Jewish Americans. However, that does not refute the fact that Jewish neocons are motivated by their Jewish ethnicity. It is perfectly permissible in this country to say that other groups are motivated by ethnic allegiance to say, for example, that anti-Castro Cuban-Americans are motivated by their ethnic background (though not all Cuban-Americans are anti-Castro and some non-Cubans are anti-Castro).
Saying that neocons support Israel because of ethnic identity would seem to be no different from saying that Jews support Israel because of ethnic identity.
Kevin MacDonald goes over the Jewish/neocon connection in his enlightening article at VDare.com, "Thinking About Neoconservatism." MacDonald writes: "Ethnic politics in the U.S. are certainly not limited to Jewish activism. They are an absolutely normal phenomenon throughout history and around the world. But for well over half a century, with rare exceptions, Jewish influence has been off-limits for rational discussion."
The fact that Raimondo has to deny the Jewish nature of neoconservatism out of self-protection illustrates the tremendous power of the taboo against discussing Jewish influence. And that very taboo has contributed greatly to the neocons' power and success.
January 12, 2004
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To Raimondo's Antiwar.com column
"Everything You've Always Wanted to Know about Neocons
but Were Afraid to Ask ..."
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