Saturday, November 1, 2008

Family Affair: Joe Klein Is 'Anguished' by Necessary Task of Informing on Jewish Neocons

November 01, 2008

The Obama effect is roiling the Jewish waters. Yesterday I wrote that the Jewish left cannot reemerge until progressive Jews identify the neoconservatives' Iraq war agenda as a Jewish agenda. Joe Klein has done so already this year, in a bold, if 5-years-self-embargoed statement about Jewish neocons with divided loyalties, and he does so again today, in a Khalidi-inspired response to Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic. This is precisely the conversation that I have been calling for, and here it comes. Amazing that exactly a year ago at Yivo, Goldberg took part in a panel smearing Walt and Mearsheimer as antisemites because they blamed the Iraq war on the Israel lobby. Well a year goes by and that conversation is now happening inside the castle gates. This is the masque of the red death, Poe's great story about the plague outside that is actually within.

Here's Klein's latest, a response to a Goldberg post that is filled with the usual familial self-justification:

Jeff [Goldberg], however, goes on to make a truly foolish argument about my efforts to call out a small group of Jewish neoconservatives for their disgraceful, bullying behavior and their dangerous influence on John McCain's and the Bush Administration's foreign policy:

"I know [Goldberg now] that Joe derives great pleasure from criticizing Jewish supporters of the Iraq War -- the Wolfowitzes, Perles and Feiths --in specifically Jewish terms, while never seeming to use the Christianity of other supporters of the war, including Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and other such marginal figures, against them. I don't like the double-standard, but it's part of the rough and tumble."

No, Jeff, I don't derive great pleasure from it. I'm pretty anguished about it. As a Jew, I'm embarrassed by these extremists and outraged by their assumption that they represent mainstream Jewish opinion in this country. Furthermore, I don't use the Christianity of Bush et al against them because their Christianity had nothing to do with their support for the war. For people like Doug Feith et al, their Jewish identity--their ethnic nationalism, not the religious part of it--had an awful lot to do with their plumping for war with Iraq and, more recently, Iran. Feith et al advised Binyamin Netanyahu, in a paper called "A Clean Break," to go to war with Iraq when he was Prime Minister in order to protect Israel. I find the conflation, by some Jewish neoconservatives, of Israel's interests and America's--and their truly dangerous misreading of both--to be appalling. But much worse is their rush to pin the tag of antisemitism on anyone who disagrees with them, including me.

Beautiful. Quoting the Clean Break paper just like Grant Smith and the paleo's. Klein's anguish is exactly like the anguish of the Italian-American who dimes out his cosa nostra cousin to the feds. Because this was a family affair, and we were supposed to give cover to the neocons. This conversation won't be finished till the neoliberal hawks like Goldberg himself are made to account openly for their own thinking/reporting preceding the Iraq war, and how much of it came out of an Israeli agenda. All that talk of Palestinian suicide bombers. And make no mistake, the conversation's going there. Just remember the free for all after Vietnam. A necessary one, in which the Liebermans and Bermans and Schumers of the world rose up, in antiwar righteousness--and status.

Two more things: The issue again arises of why Klein, who obviously understands these issues in the way that I do, as central to both American and Jewish history, has not done more than the occasional blog entry to talk about them. He has never defended Walt and Mearsheimer, as say Avrahum Burg has. He has not done a major story in the magazines to which he has access. Why, because there are Jewish seals on this discussion, as heavy as those seals on the Hasmonian tunnels that Netanyahu broke...

Something else: Goldberg says he can't respond to Klein till after the Sabbath, an indication that he is observant. I wonder if Klein is observant, and I wonder too whether there is not a connection between religiosity and support for Israel, which Goldberg obviously has in greater measure than Klein, having emigrated there once out of a belief that the diaspora was bad for Jews. No doubt, ethnocentrism is clearly associated with pro-Israel belief. And assimilationism with anti-Zionist belief. And thus the conundrum: has this messianic movement called Zionism not had the effect in the end of knocking down Jewish numbers by helping to make Judaism something that I and other assimilationists wanted to distance myself from?




by Kellia Ramares (Posted by Carolyn Baker)

Which country comes foremost in US foreign policy, the United States or Israel? Sometimes it's hard to tell. The Israeli-centric approach to US Middle East foreign policy, which is unfair to the Palestinians and dangerous to a United States dependent on foreign oil, will not change in an Obama Administration.

Which office is Obama running for?

On June 4, 2008, the day after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination, he spoke to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Here are some excerpts of that speech:

I want you to know that today I'll be speaking from my heart and as a true friend of Israel. And I know that when I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends. Good Friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that they bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow, and forever.

... I was drawn to the belief that you could sustain a spiritual, emotional and cultural identity. And I deeply understood the Zionist idea – that there is always a homeland at the center of our story. ... We know the establishment of Israel was just and necessary, rooted in centuries of struggle and decades of patient work. But 60 years later, we know that we cannot relent, we cannot yield, and as president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel's security....Those who threaten Israel threaten us. Israel has always faced these threats on the front lines. And I will bring to the White House an unshakeable commitment to Israel's security. ... Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper – but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.1

Great speech...for a candidate for Prime Minister of Israel.

Read the rest:

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