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Attacks on Jewish and Black Conservatives:

Joe Klein's outburst about the "Jewish neocons" allegedly pulling John McCain's strings on behalf of Israel reminded me that I've been meaning to blog about the fact that liberals, including (and sometimes especially) Jewish liberals increasingly use the charge of "dual loyalty" to try to discredit, and thus silence, Jewish conservatives.

This is especially clear from Klein's piece, because unlike many writers, he actually shows an understanding of neoconservatism, which he describes, in roughly accurate terms, "as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy." There is nothing uniquely "Jewish" about this ideology, and the neocons have applied to everything from the Salt II treaty to Grenada to Bosnia to Iraq, usually in circumstances that have nothing to do with Israel--as I have written, "if Israel suddenly was at complete peace with its neighbors and was no longer an issue of foreign policy concern, I would bet that all of the Jewish neoconservatives would remain neoconservatives, and continue to promote neoconservative views on foreign and domestic policy." And, as I've noted previously, Jews are not overrepresented among neoconservatives relative to their prominence as public intellectuals generally.

The purpose, then, of associating "neocons" with Jews, and neoconservatism exclusively or primarily with concern for Israel, is to delegitimize conservative Jews, just as conservative blacks are called "Uncle Toms" and whatnot. As the National Review media blog notes, "conservatives who aren't 'neo' in any appreciable way — say, Jonah Goldberg — are denounced as 'neocons' based mostly on their surnames."

One interesting aspect of all this is that the standard left-wing "Uncle Tom" attack on black conservatives accuses them of being insufficiently supportive of "their people," while the emerging attack on Jewish conservatives accuses them of being too supportive of "their people" and thus having dual loyalties. Hmm.

UPDATE: In reaction to a previous, more outlandish Klein screed, Shmuel Rosner of Ha'aretz pointed out quite aptly that liberal Jews also argue that the policies they support will help Israel. [And given that Israel is very popular with Americans in general, and American Jews in particular, it would be foolhardy to argue that a policy is good because it would hurt Israel; even the Chomskys and Finkelsteins of the world usually claim to have Israel's ultimate best interests at heart.] But, Rosner points out, it's only the conservative Jews, or at least the ones that are hawkish on foreign policy, including Israel-related foreign policy that get accused by the likes of Klein of dual loyalty:

Here's a little mind game with which to demonstrate my point. Imagine Klein, back in the late Nineties, writing this:

"The fact that a great many Jewish officials in the Clinton administration plumped for this Oslo process between Israel and the Palestinians, and now for an even more foolish summit at Camp David between Ehud Barak and Yassir Arafat, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. diplomatic leverage and money, to make the world safe for Israel."

Can you imagine him writing such thing? Can you imagine him blaming the many-many Jewish members of the Clinton administration for tilting the American agenda toward the peace process only because they want to help Israel?

If you can - Klein is being honest. If you can't - Klein is just using religion to denounce people with whom he has policy differences.

DangerMouse:
One interesting aspect of all this is that the standard left-wing "Uncle Tom" attack on black conservatives accuses them of being insufficiently supportive of "their people," while the emerging attack on Jewish conservatives accuses them of being too supportive of "their people" and thus having dual loyalties. Hmm.

Being called a racist these days is meaningless. It just means you're winning an argument with a liberal.
7.26.2008 6:47pm
Crunchy Frog:
I think it's more an attempt at delegitimizing "neoconservativism" (how I hate that term) in general. You don't have to be Jewish to believe in a commitment to democracy coupled with a muscular foreign policy. To assert that it's only the Jooooos and their unwitting tools is just a play on antisemitic fears.
7.26.2008 7:18pm
Nonny:
It must be very hard to be David Bernstein. Constantly under attack.
7.26.2008 7:20pm
gwinje:
Why the Hmmm? I find the both "Unlce Tom" and criticism of Jewish neocons tasteless and often tinged with racism, but to say that one group is too selfish and another is inaccurately selfish doesn't, by itself, seem like a contradiction to me.
7.26.2008 7:27pm
mga (mail):
Nothing irritates the left so much as a black who dares to wander off the plantation and think for himself.
7.26.2008 7:51pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I agree with Prof. Bernstein about this. Accusing Jews of dual loyalties is an anti-Semitic slur with a long history, and it should be avoided.

What probably frustrates a lot of people (including Klein) is the perception that a lot of American policies get pursued that may make us less safe because they further a particularly hawkish view of what is good for Israel. But if that's the critique, make it in those terms and argue that other policies would be better for the US, or Israel, or that we should do what's best for us even if it is on balance not best for Israel. But don't accuse people of dual loyalties; questioning the patriotism of American Jews, or even right-wing American Jews, is a slur and aids the anti-Semites.
7.26.2008 8:02pm
Anon21:
Joe Klein is a liberal? Then I guess he does a pretty admirable job of setting his political convictions aside and working to promote the candidacies of people he actually disagrees with in his "reporting" and punditry. It would be quite admirable if it weren't enabling such destructive policies.
7.26.2008 8:03pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Thanks for proving my point, Nonny. I am neither a conservative nor a neoconservative, so in theory this post doesn't relate to me at all. But I'm Jewish and not on the left, so it's all the same to you.
7.26.2008 8:03pm
EH (mail):
Why do the interests of Israel get euphemized as "unilateral bellicosity" and "freedom and democracy?"
7.26.2008 8:06pm
SteveMG (mail):
As was pointed out, if (somehow) a peace agreement took place between Israel and the Arab world and the issue of the Middle East (shorthand) magically disappeared, does anyone think Charles Krauthammer or William Kristol would fundamentally change their views of the use of American power in the world?

If so, you haven't been paying close attention.

If not, go tell Klein he's full of it.
7.26.2008 8:16pm
loki13 (mail):

Being called a racist these days is meaningless. It just means you're winning an argument with a liberal.


Well, I keep hearing from conservatives that racism is dead, which makes sense, because it has been a LONG time since a conservative has won an argument with a liberal (I'd say almost eight years).
7.26.2008 8:21pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I'd suppose FDR was the original neocon. Next they'll be claiming he was actually named Rosenfelt.

I'd pose a different alternative universe. Suppose that al-Qaeda and Iran and Hezbollah and whatnot were to suddenly announce that they'd realized that the US was a wonderful force for modernism and democracy, wanted to bury the hatchet and form an alliance.

How long until the MSM began running stories about how they oppress women, execute gays, kill children, and deserve to be overthrown or wiped out as savages?
7.26.2008 8:34pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
The other side of the same coin is that pro-Israel Jewish liberals such as myself are smeared as conservatives.
7.26.2008 8:34pm
helene edwards (mail):
Our Joe Kleins are best explained by Joe Queenan in "Balsamic Dreams." Once liberals defaulted on their early-70's promise to foreswear materialism, the only way for "progressives" to distinguish themselves from Eisenhower republicans was to slavishly identify with dark skin. Liberals have no raison d'etre unless attached to a "liberation" movement of a melanin-advantaged group, and the Palestinians are "right" simply for their hue. Conservatism, neo or otherwise, is hated for the refusal to adopt that reflex.
7.26.2008 8:41pm
hawkins:
The obvious flaws with neo conservatism are so great, i have no idea why people resort to bigoted antisemitic attacks.
7.26.2008 8:47pm
Mike& (mail):
But don't accuse people of dual loyalties; questioning the patriotism of American Jews, or even right-wing American Jews, is a slur and aids the anti-Semites

Why? What if a Jewish person does, in fact, have dual loyalties. To paragraph the title of a well-known book: We can't say that?!

During WWI, many German-Americans had dual loyalties. That's a historical fact. Should we not mention that?

Why not?

Why are some truths not allowed to be spoken?

I am not, of course, saying that American Jews as a group have dual loyalties. I'd need to see some data.

I do know, however, that when a person who is Jewish is obsessed with American intervention in Israel on "human rights" grounds; but who does not seem to even know where Darfur is; I wonder what's really motivating that person. Is it a concern for "human rights," or a sentimental attachment to a racial or ethnic group?

My dominant ethnic origins are Serbian. When Clinton started bombing Serbia, I didn't feel any sort of connection with the people being bombed - other than the usual sympathy I feel for any victim of collateral damage. If I had, you could have rightfully accused me of having dual loyalties.

Are Jews supposed to be specially insulated for such charges? If so, why?
7.26.2008 8:48pm
hawkins:

I am neither a conservative nor a neoconservative


To be fair, aside from Israel, I could see someone assuming you were conservative based on the frequency of your (mostly anti) Obama posts.
7.26.2008 8:54pm
Bruce:
the fact that liberals, including (and sometimes especially) Jewish liberals increasingly use the charge of "dual loyalty" to try to discredit, and thus silence, Jewish conservatives.

Isn't the problem here just that liberals are evil?
7.26.2008 8:56pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I believe that Peter Spiro just completed a book deconstructing the idea of citizenship. I would like to take this another way. Why can't an American of jewish origin support United States policies that support Israel? Like an Italian-American could support U.S. policies that are good for Italy? When the Irish immigration quota was made huge by Senator Kennedy I did not hear the critique of dual loyalty used on him.

I agree with those who say the double loyalty canard is a way of silencing persons - trying to make them freeze. I lived in France for 17 years and I have a strong feeling of satisfaction when relations between the US and France are harmonious - so what? does not mean dual loyalty.

I would think the cases of dual loyalty would be the ones where someone was an American spying for the foreign country. We have seen some of these with Israel and China recently. That's a pretty specific case and actually is probably not about dual loyalty but is about no loyalty to the United States and loyalty to the foreign country.

The dual loyalty bit seems to come right out of the loyalty oaths etc of the McCarthy era and earlier. It is a certain kind of nationalist strain that the upper class could use to keep white ethnics (I suspect) in line.

As to Uncle Tom's, the slur does work in a similar way to freeze someone in their actions. Sell-out is another term used. Being an Uncle Tom is one coping mechanism to survive and maybe flourish in a certain way. There are many others too. It could be an ignorant comment in one setting or an accurate comment in another about a given person. I do not hear it much anymore. I heard John McLaughlin used the term "oreo" for Barack Obama on one of his shows - BHO is not seen as a conservative.

"Oreo" (black on the outside and white on the inside) is so 60's. Uncle Tom feels so 50's or earlier.

Best,
Ben
7.26.2008 9:07pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Hawkins, neither am I a liberal.
7.26.2008 9:23pm
trad and anon:
Nothing irritates the left so much as a black who dares to wander off the plantation and think for himself.

Yep. After all, the only black people who think for themselves are conservatives. The other 95% of black people are mindless sheep.
7.26.2008 9:33pm
hawkins:

Hawkins, neither am I a liberal.


Ha! That was a good one, thanks.


Seriously though - that's good. We need more people who do not associate with either.
7.26.2008 9:44pm
Mike& (mail):
Why can't an American of jewish origin support United States policies that support Israel? Like an Italian-American could support U.S. policies that are good for Italy? When the Irish immigration quota was made huge by Senator Kennedy I did not hear the critique of dual loyalty used on him.

I disapprove of all of those situations. Incidentally, many Cuban-Americans are putting the (what they view as) interests of Cuba over the interests of the United States. I - and most Americans - would benefit with free trade with Cuban. Cuban-Americans oppose this because that would not allow Cuba to become the country many Cuban-Americans want it to become.

That's wrong, and I think any Cuban taking that position is disloyal to the United States.

If you're an American, you should support pro-American policies.

Now, if it's your position that "We are one world," great. That's a legitimate position. Perhaps it's silly for us to view ourselves as "Americans" or "Frenchmen," or whatever. The world might be a better place if everyone lived that way. In the short term, though, we Americans would be exploited - perhaps to our own economic demise.

But "We are the world" is not what you seem to be saying.

You seem to say that it's appropriate for someone to choose his ethnicity or national origin over his actual country of citizenship. Which is quite a different position from "We are the world."
7.26.2008 9:53pm
EH (mail):
Benjamin Davis: Seems like a better question to ask here is when does a policy preference turn into a loyalty?
7.26.2008 9:56pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I assume some homosexual men, bisexual individuals, and other folk identifying as conservative face similar accusations. I've found myself resisting similar statements toward gun-owning Kerry or Obama supporters. It's an unfortunate side effect of politicizing an identity.
7.26.2008 10:06pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Gee, you would never think that the neoconservative types referred to Jewish people who opposed them as self-hating and worse.

Pot, kettle, black, which is amusing considering some of the stuff thrown around here
7.26.2008 10:17pm
Hoosier:
"Jews are not overrepresented among neoconservatives relative to their prominence as public intellectuals generally."



That's quite a good observation. I'm embarrassed that it never occurred to me as a response to that accusation. I remember asking my mom one time how it was that Jews were so small in numbers in the US, but so accomplished in classical music (My dad's field).

She replied that any creative or intellectual field is going to have an abundance of Jews. It wasn't just music. Mom didn't conclude that there was some Israeli intelligence plot to run the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. I suspect she was right in this. But I'd like to ask Joe Klein for his analysis.

"Are Jews supposed to be specially insulated for such charges? If so, why?"

I would say, bluntly, "Yes."

Why? Because the history of such accusations is long and vicious. The Jew as Alien In Our Midst certainly goes back as far as Medieval times. Keep in mind that outbreaks of plague were regularly followed by pogroms against the Jews.

This country has seen this phenomenon as well: The outbreak of antisemitism that went hand-in-hand with post-WWI nativism and anti-war backlash is a good example. Who were the "Merchants of Death" but The Jewish bankers like Rothschilds and the arms merchants. Also assumed to be Joos.

Please, PLEASE visit websites devoted to "The 9/11 Conspiracy." Or go to Youtube and type in 9/11. Then sit back and watch the videos and comments. You shall find that 9/11 was, of course, perpetrated by The Zionists. And if you post a rebuttal, you will be accused of being a "shill for the Zionists."

So I think we have to treat Jews accused of divided—or hidden—loyalties the way we would treat a man accused of rape and murder who had been cleared on DNA evidence. 30 times. In other words, there is a very, very heavy burden of proof upon the person making the accusation.


(In the interest of full disclosure: I am a lapsed Irish-Catholic. A moderate conservative with no noticeable "neo-" or other Wilsonian leanings. Pretty much a Christian Democrat in philosophy. I am NOT in the pay of Mossad, though I did accept a free copy of a book from AIPAC one time, when they over-bought. It WAS a hardback, so you may want to take this into account when you assess my objectivity.)
7.26.2008 10:26pm
Hoosier:
gattsuru: Your post made me think of this:

snltranscripts.jt.org/88/88cgunclub.phtml
7.26.2008 10:28pm
FlimFlamSam:

it has been a LONG time since a conservative has won an argument with a liberal (I'd say almost eight years)


Go ask Al Gore, John Kerry, Saddam Hussein, and Khalid Sheik Mohammed (just to name a few) if conservatives have been winning arguments in the last eight years.
7.26.2008 11:15pm
DG:
Mike&: I believe you are unreasonable. I'm a jew who likes Israel. I have nothing against Irish Americans like Kennedy who have a soft spot for the Emerald Isle or Chinese Americans who like China. Or, for that matter, Cuban-Americans who want, very badly, for capitalism and democracy to be spread to Cuba.

Did Kennedy's love of Ireland weaken America? Come on. I don't agree with the Cuban embargo, but the Cuban-American community's heart is in the right place, and their desire for Cuban freedom is motivated by American values.

As someone of Serbian extraction, its a shame you didn't feel a twinge of regret when Serbia was being bombed. It needed to happen, but feeling bad about it doesn't make you disloyal.
7.26.2008 11:35pm
corneille1640 (mail):
Hoosier:

"Are Jews supposed to be specially insulated for such charges? If so, why?"

I would say, bluntly, "Yes."

The argument you use to support your position is convincing at first glance: the history of antisemitism is quite long and sad. Antisemitism is pervasive in our culture and I recognize in myself certain modes of antisemitic thought and assumptions.

Having said that, your argument, at a deeper level, doesn't convince me. What if another scapegoat emerges? Are we to insist that that newly scapegoated peoples endure centuries of repression and hardship (and genocide) before we grant them the "Hoosier exemption"? Are we supposed to devise a threshold of acceptable historical oppression a scapegoated group must meet to obtain this exemption? Are we to formulate a ranking system to determine which group has been most oppressed?
7.27.2008 12:26am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I thought we already had a ranking system to determine which group has been the most oppressed... hence the term "Disadvantaged minority"
7.27.2008 12:32am
therut:
I often wonder what it would be like to be part of an ethnic group. I just will never know. There is nothing ethnic about me or my family. We are just long term mutts in this Country of ours. I guess if we go back a few hundred years we are from Irish and German stock. That however means absolutely NOTHING to me. I am a nothing. Think how weird that is when all the talk is about this minority and that minority and this ethnic group and culture and that other special group over there. I do not even have a culture. Just MUTT. I guess the closest thing to any idenity group is that of blondes.???????
7.27.2008 12:46am
Nate in Alice:
Joe Klein is not a liberal.
7.27.2008 12:48am
Oren:
therut, unfortunately you are a dying breed too -- blond hair will be bred out of the human race sometime around 2060. It's a recessive trait and not enough blonds procreate with other blonds.
7.27.2008 12:56am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Are Jews supposed to be specially insulated for such charges? If so, why?

Hoosier's got one of the reasons-- because dual loyalty is historically an anti-Semitic slur lobbed only or disproportionately at Jews.

The other reason is because it doesn't accomplish anything. If the critique is that we shouldn't be supporting particular policies, why not attack the policies instead of people's motives? For instance, Klein probably feels that we are supporting hawkish policies that in the long term will harm both our interests and Israels. If I have is position right, why doesn't he just say that? Why go off on disloyal Jewish neocons conspiring against the interests of the US? What does that add to his argument?

To me, the only thing that line of argument does is further the goals of anti-Semites.
7.27.2008 1:26am
LM (mail):
I agree that implications of Jewish duel-loyalty are pernicious, and I regularly put in time on left wing sites calling that stuff out. But Eli Rabett's also right that some people who know what's wrong with "Jewish neo-con" have no problem calling Jewish liberals "self-hating Jews." The same goes for "Uncle Toms" on the one hand, and "race hustlers" and "poverty pimps" on the other. It would be nice to here condemnations of all these things come at the same time. Each side has its pet arguments for why the slurs that hit closer to their home are worse, but they're all objectionable. It makes me ask why anyone would condemn one without including the other.
7.27.2008 2:27am
LM (mail):
BTW, Joe Klein was right about one thing: McCain impugning Obama's patriotism and loyalty is outrageous. It's at least as bad as any of these slurs.
7.27.2008 2:35am
David Warner:
"BTW, Joe Klein was right about one thing: McCain impugning Obama's patriotism and loyalty is outrageous. It's at least as bad as any of these slurs."

Well, this is the inverse of the phenomenon noted by Dilan Esper, and perhaps an answer to his question. When one does critique policies, one is quickly accused of impugning motive/character/loyalty. I guess there are too many minds out there incapable of making/unwilling to make the distinction.
7.27.2008 4:17am
Hoosier:
"and not enough blonds procreate with other blonds"

(I KNOW there's a joke in there. Think, Hoosier! THINK!)
7.27.2008 6:49am
corneille1640 (mail):

Hoosier's got one of the reasons-- because dual loyalty is historically an anti-Semitic slur lobbed only or disproportionately at Jews.

The other reason is because it doesn't accomplish anything. If the critique is that we shouldn't be supporting particular policies, why not attack the policies instead of people's motives? For instance, Klein probably feels that we are supporting hawkish policies that in the long term will harm both our interests and Israels. If I have is position right, why doesn't he just say that? Why go off on disloyal Jewish neocons conspiring against the interests of the US? What does that add to his argument?

The "other reason" you cite is certainly a good reason not to accuse people of dual loyalty in lieu of making substantive critiques of whatever policy they advocate. But this reason should apply, I think, equally to all people of good will who advocate a policy. Hoosier's point, if I understood him correctly, was that Jewish people should be "specially insulated" from such charges due to the particularly harsh oppression they have had to endure.
7.27.2008 9:07am
pete (mail) (www):

I disapprove of all of those situations. Incidentally, many Cuban-Americans are putting the (what they view as) interests of Cuba over the interests of the United States. I - and most Americans - would benefit with free trade with Cuban. Cuban-Americans oppose this because that would not allow Cuba to become the country many Cuban-Americans want it to become.

That's wrong, and I think any Cuban taking that position is disloyal to the United States.


So if a Cuban takes the exact same position on trade with Cuba that a wasp like me does, he is being disloyal. Jeez.

I guess you should start questioning my loyalty because I think it is very important to continue the U.S.A's close alliance with Great Britain.
7.27.2008 9:37am
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
A reminder --

In the period 1972-2006, none of the other 14 members of the UN Security Council ever voted "no" in support of any of about 40 US vetoes of resolutions aimed at Israel, and in the period 1988-97, there was an unbroken string of ten 14-1 such vetoes (i.e., no abstentions). In all that time, the big bad US was not able to twist the arm of any other Security Council member hard enough to get a supporting "no" vote to give the US veto a little legitimacy.

How do you justify that? David, your only response to this inconvenient fact has been to threaten to censor my comment.
7.27.2008 10:08am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Justify it? Hell I'm proud of it.
7.27.2008 10:16am
Milhouse (www):
I don't know how to justify the USA not having twisted the arm of any other countries to support its vetoes. I suppose it would have been a waste of diplomatic capital, since the veto would have been just as valid with a 14-1 vote as with a 13-2 vote. Just because the USA generally has the decency to do the right thing doesn't mean it has to spend capital to pressure other countries to do the same. If other countries want to let their antisemitism hang harmlessly out, why should the USA care?

And yes, in every one of those votes, the "yes" votes were motivated by pure antisemitism, direct or vicarious (i.e. sucking up to antisemites). In those votes where it was possible to construct a non-antisemitic reason for voting against Israel, the USA generally abstained and did not veto.
7.27.2008 10:32am
Lex:

A reminder --

In the period 1972-2006, none of the other 14 members of the UN Security Council ever voted "no" in support of any of about 40 US vetoes of resolutions aimed at Israel, and in the period 1988-97, there was an unbroken string of ten 14-1 such vetoes (i.e., no abstentions). In all that time, the big bad US was not able to twist the arm of any other Security Council member hard enough to get a supporting "no" vote to give the US veto a little legitimacy.

How do you justify that? David, your only response to this inconvenient fact has been to threaten to censor my comment.


If I were David and looking to answer your question, I think I'd quote another man called [Henry] David: "[A]ny man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already."
7.27.2008 11:25am
LM (mail):
David Warner:

"BTW, Joe Klein was right about one thing: McCain impugning Obama's patriotism and loyalty is outrageous. It's at least as bad as any of these slurs."

Well, this is the inverse of the phenomenon noted by Dilan Esper, and perhaps an answer to his question.

No, it's exactly the phenomenon noted by Dilon. His rhetorical question was:

"If the critique is that we shouldn't be supporting particular policies, why not attack the policies instead of people's motives?"

Apparently we agree with Dilan's rhetorical question, but you seem to think it applies to my criticism of McCain, while I'm convinced it applies to McCain's criticism of Obama. Here's what McCain said:

"It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign."

That's a textbook attack on (Obama's) motives (as political) while impugning patriotism and loyalty (i.e., Obama wants to lose the war). Which I believe is precisely the phenomenon Dilon lamented. Yet you think my pointing it out is an attack on McCain's motives? What motives? I attacked only the comment. I said nothing about McCain's motives.

When one does critique policies, one is quickly accused of impugning motive/character/loyalty.

You sure got that right, but you'll have to explain how it applies to me. Obama critiqued McCain's policy, and as the above quote indicates, McCain impugned his "motive/character/loyalty."

I guess there are too many minds out there incapable of making/unwilling to make the distinction.

Once more we agree, but I again get the feeling we're talking about different people.
7.27.2008 11:38am
LM (mail):
Larry F,

To the other answers to your question I'd add, "What does it have to do with this thread?"
7.27.2008 11:40am
LM (mail):
Bill Poser:

The other side of the same coin is that pro-Israel Jewish liberals such as myself are smeared as conservatives.

Actually I think it's the same side of the coin, and I get it a lot myself. The other side of the coin is "self-hating Jew" directed at anti-Israel liberal Jews.
7.27.2008 11:45am
Yankev (mail):
From Mike&'s post one would think that those who think supporting Israel's interests were asking the US to intervente militarily in Israel's wars. As far as I know, no such request has ever been made.

They ask only that the US not embargo arms to Israel, that Israel be allowed to buy US arms on the same terms as other nations, and that the US not restrict Israel's right to defend itself against attack, build on territory tht it obtained during a defensive war and that it is entitled to govern (per UN Security Resolution 242) until there is a comprehensive peace agreement with secure and recognized borders, and not pressure Israel to make suicidal concessions to neighboring countries. This hardly constitutes intervention. If anything, it is a request for the opposite.
7.27.2008 12:20pm
Careless:

therut, unfortunately you are a dying breed too -- blond hair will be bred out of the human race sometime around 2060. It's a recessive trait and not enough blonds procreate with other blonds.

That's a myth, Oren. It's impossible to eliminate blonds without going out and killing essentially everyone with the gene for it. They'll continue to pop up for the foreseeable future.
7.27.2008 1:08pm
Hoosier:
"Hoosier's point, if I understood him correctly, was that Jewish people should be "specially insulated" from such charges due to the particularly harsh oppression they have had to endure."

Nope. I just read my post again, and my point is clear. It pertains to the specific accusation of divided/hidden loyalties. If you want to accuse Jews of something else, I'd probably have a response to that.

But let's just assume that I meant what I said.
7.27.2008 1:09pm
Nonny:
[Editor: Obnoxious post deleted. Nonny, I don't know who you are, it's the height of arrogance to presume that you know more about my ideological views than I do.]
7.27.2008 1:30pm
davod (mail):
"I am a magical telepathic unicorn."

Were you the unicorn Obama was riding on the other day.
7.27.2008 2:21pm
sbron:
Ok, I'm a Jew, but I view myself simply as an American without a hyphen (America the nation, not the continent.) I do believe the US government should support Israel militarily (but not economically) simply for the same reason we would support any other ally such as Australia or Canada or Mexico, if one of those countries were threatened by bellicose neighbors. I do not consider my opinion to be the result of "dual loyalty," again, I think most Americans regardless of ethnicity would support aiding Australia, for example, if it was attacked by Indonesia.

That said, any problems with dual loyalty among American Jews pale in comparison with the divided loyalties of many elected officials of Mexican and Latin American descent. LA Mayor Villaraigosa, former assembly speaker Fabian Nunez, former AG Gonzalez, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, and on and on have openly scorned territorial sovereignty and supported the violation of U.S. immigration law. An outrageous example of dual loyalty was evinced by Texas Border Patrol Chief Carlos Carillo, who stated that his job was not to stop illegal aliens, but only to intercept terrorists.

Equally serious allegations of dual loyalty can be legitimately raised against Muslim U.S. Citizens who have been indicted and convicted of aiding terrorist organizations. Just google "muslim us citizens convicted of terrorism".

Given the seriousness of real dual loyalties among Mexican-Americans and Muslim Americans, I think that there is an anti-Semitic tone when pro-Israel Jews are accused of divided allegiance.
7.27.2008 2:27pm
Nonny:
DB: Can you provide an argument for why one's ideological self-description must be taken as truth? Do you believe George Bush is a fiscal conservative just because he says so?
7.27.2008 3:21pm
David Warner:
To clarify:

I believe that the HE'S IMPUGNING HIS PATRIOTISM! baloney is a way to dodge the substance of the policy, or in some cases character, critique. Thus, limiting oneself to policy critiques (which McCain usually bends over way backwards to do) is nearly pointless, as such critiques are perceived (or such is claimed) to be of motives/loyalty anyway. Hence an answer to the original question from Mr. Esper.

As for your example, one could still be a patriot and believe that "losing" this war would be a good thing. Many, and not all on the left, have in fact argued that this is so in that it would lead to a more humble foreign policy, and surely a patriotic Democrat would believe that winning an election campaign would be a patriotic thing to do.

Obama could accuse McCain of being willing to "lose" the war on Global Warming in order to win an election and be entirely legitimate in doing so.
7.27.2008 4:14pm
one of many:
n the period 1972-2006, none of the other 14 members of the UN Security Council ever voted "no" in support of any of about 40 US vetoes of resolutions aimed at Israel, and in the period 1988-97, there was an unbroken string of ten 14-1 such vetoes (i.e., no abstentions). In all that time, the big bad US was not able to twist the arm of any other Security Council member hard enough to get a supporting "no" vote to give the US veto a little legitimacy.

not DB but simply, there was no need for any other nation to vote against the resolutions since a US veto was assured. the US has made little effort to secure support from other nations on these since a veto was sufficient to derail them. the occasions when the US pulls out the big stick of threatening to abstain instead of veto results in a show of support by other nations which would otherwise vote against the resolution by their abstaining. no big surprise there, if the US veto is guaranteed why would any other SC nation risk upsetting the oil/muslim nations by voting any other way?
7.27.2008 4:18pm
Floridan:
Israel asks to ". . . build on territory tht it obtained during a defensive war"

Why should Americans be expected to support this?
7.27.2008 4:20pm
Milhouse (www):

Israel asks to ". . . build on territory tht it obtained during a defensive war"

Why should Americans be expected to support this?

Because they have no legitimate reason to oppose it. No reason is necessary to support other people's rights.
7.27.2008 4:32pm
Overgetter:
Oh come on. I have spent hours and hours with David Bernstein discussing personal, political, and philosophical matters. David, you are a conservative.

It doesn't matter to me if you want to deny it or not, although the denial is hilarious to those who know you at all well. I know other libertarians with strongly conservative views who also deny that they are conservatives for what I assume are strategic reasons. The strategic reasons are by and large unfathomable to me, but perhaps you have good reasons for them.

I read most of the Volokh posts. Orin's and Eugene's (for instance) are typically academic and would fit well into a law review. David's are typically political and would fit well into National Review. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy polemics and I am a NR subscriber, finding a lot in there I agree with substantively. But David, for you to deny that you are a conservative suggests on your part an extremely idiosyncratic understanding of the term.
7.27.2008 4:42pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Overgetter, I can count on my fingers the number of people I've spent "hours and hours with" discussing personal, political, and philosophical matters in, say, the last ten years. I'm highly confident you aren't one of them. (Are you an ex-girlfriend? My wife? My dad? Were you in my wedding party? I didn't think so.)

But it's fun to write an anonymous post and pretend you're on close terms with a poster, right?
7.27.2008 6:01pm
PC:
sbron:
Equally serious allegations of dual loyalty can be legitimately raised against Muslim U.S. Citizens who have been indicted and convicted of aiding terrorist organizations. Just google "muslim us citizens convicted of terrorism".


Equally serious critiques can be made against Chinese-Americans, Google "Wen Ho Lee", or Jewish-Americans, Google "AIPAC spying." Does that mean expressing concern about these types of events makes a person anti-Chinese or anti-Jewish?
7.27.2008 6:05pm
Sinestro:
"if Israel suddenly was at complete peace with its neighbors and was no longer an issue of foreign policy concern, I would bet that all of the Jewish neoconservatives would remain neoconservatives, and continue to promote neoconservative views on foreign and domestic policy."

This is laughably untrue. Maybe intellectually honest ones would, but at least a significant number are only concerned with Israel and think that hawkishness is the only way to promote its interests. The (many) Jewish neocons and 9/11 Republicans I know personally could not care less about Grenada or Bosnia.
7.27.2008 6:16pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I doubt you know "many" Jewish neocons, because it's an intellectual movement without any significant following among the public at large. Or do you hang out with the Kristols and Podhoretzes? You may no some Jews with hawkish foreign policy views, but that doesn't make them "neocons."

And since 9/11 was only tangentially, at best, related to Israel, it's not clear how peace breaking out in Israel would affect any "9/11 Republicans'" views.

And to the extent they don't care about Grenada or Bosnia, it's probably because you're in your 20s, and Grenada was a big issue in the early 80s, and Bosnia in the early-mid 90s. It's fair to say that NO ONE cares about Grenada NOW, except Grenadans.
7.27.2008 6:25pm
Sinestro:
'I doubt you know "many" Jewish neocons, because it's an intellectual movement without any significant following among the public at large. Or do you hang out with the Kristols and Podhoretzes? You may no some Jews with hawkish foreign policy views, but that doesn't make them "neocons."'

This is fair enough. I am, indeed, talking about average people, not widely-read intellectuals. I don't know how the people you name would feel about a given hypothetical situation.

"And to the extent they don't care about Grenada or Bosnia, it's probably because you're in your 20s, and Grenada was a big issue in the early 80s, and Bosnia in the early-mid 90s. It's fair to say that NO ONE cares about Grenada NOW, except Grenadans."

Those are examples. You may believe that most Jews with hawkish foreign policy views would care about East Timor or Darfur and want the U.S. to send its military to intervene. I am considerably more cynical.
7.27.2008 6:40pm
Larry Fafarman (mail) (www):
Well, it has finally happened -- David Bernstein arbitrarily censored my comment. He also apparently arbitrarily censored another commenter, saying "it's the height of arrogance to presume that you know more about my ideological views than I do."

David, this is not your personal blog -- you have co-bloggers here who may be concerned about your damaging the reputation of this blog by your arbitrary censorship. By now this blog has probably been cited over a hundred times by law journal articles and willingness to cite this blog is jeopardized by arbitrary censorship of comments. You may think that you are a bigshot now but your chutzpah may someday come back to haunt you.

"one of many" said,
. . .there was no need for any other nation to vote against the resolutions since a US veto was assured. the US has made little effort to secure support from other nations on these since a veto was sufficient to derail them.

I am sure that the US would have just loved to get supporting "no" votes for the US vetoes. No country ever tried to curry US favor by voting "no" in support of one of those 40 US vetoes. It is embarrassing -- or should be embarrassing -- to the US that there was never a supporting "no" vote for any of those 40 US vetoes in that period of 1972-2006.

. . . .if the US veto is guaranteed why would any other SC nation risk upsetting the oil/muslim nations by voting any other way?

So you are saying that the US should take all the heat of "upsetting" the oil/muslim nations.

Other SC members have been willing to upset the oil/muslim nations at least a little by abstaining when the US made those vetoes.
7.27.2008 6:59pm
Perseus (mail):
"If the critique is that we shouldn't be supporting particular policies, why not attack the policies instead of people's motives?"

Obama critiqued McCain's policy, and as the above quote indicates, McCain impugned his "motive/character/loyalty."


It does not strike me as particularly objectionable for one politician to accuse another politician of acting from political motives to the extent that it encourages some healthy skepticism among voters. Senator Obama certainly is in no position to complain about the practice as a general matter given his own regular habit of accusing conservatives of allegedly exploiting people's angers and fears about "divisive" issues like gun control, welfare, affirmative action, crime, religion, etc. "for their own electoral ends."
7.27.2008 7:19pm
gurbach (mail):
You are all making the assumption that neoconservative preferred policies are:
good for israel
bad for the US

I will posit that the implementation thereof was disastrous from an Israeli point of view and that American current foreign policy does not support Israeli objectives.
A weak Israeli government is unable to refuse and reject these policies.

Case in point - US was able to put Israel in the line of Iranian fire - whereas Iranian beef is with US ME hegemony.
7.27.2008 7:28pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
David,
With all due respect, I think you may be dismissing too quickly the observations of others. I, like several of the above posters, would characterize you as conservative. My conclusion is based only on your numerous postings here on the VC, and elsewhere on the internet. I have not danced at your wedding, have not chatted with you at cocktail parties, and of course, cannot look into your heart and soul.

But it may be worthwhile for you to think about this: If everyone who reads your thoughts and opinions (okay, everyone who both reads your posts and takes the time to respond, which admittedly is *not* the same thing) sees you as conservative, what does that mean? One possibility is that we are simply misreading what you have said. One possibility is that we are correctly reading, but that you are posting only on "conservative-favoring" subjects. And one possibility is that you are in fact somewhat conservative. Is it possible that you see yourself in a way that is inconsistent with how others see you? [An example totally unrelated to you: We all have known people who will say, "I'm not a racist, but have you noticed that . . . [fill in long racist anti-black or anti-Mexican, or anti-Arab story.]?"

David, you may well decide that how you are perceived by the VC readers does not matter to you. That is fine. You may decide that you want to modulate your postings, to more accurate reflect your true political/sociological/philosophical leanings. That is fine as well. Either of these are perfectly reasonable approaches. But it's also reasonable for those of us who read what you write to form opinions based on your body of work. If you want to be seen as 'objective,' then simply write more objectively.

If I post here, and only write about McCain's numerous flip-flops, idiotic policy positions, and 'senior moments,', then--very quickly--people will see me as someone biased in favor of the Left, and of liberal causes. But if I also criticize Obama's many flip-flops, stupid comments, and other mis-steps, in roughly equal amounts, then people will see me as more objective (although probably as a hyper-critical person), and will factor that into the equation when listening to an argument that I make.
7.27.2008 7:34pm
David Warner:
"If I post here, and only write about McCain's numerous flip-flops, idiotic policy positions, and 'senior moments,', then--very quickly--people will see me as someone biased in favor of the Left, and of liberal causes."

Those people will have drawn a conclusion insupportable by logic alone. The unspoken assumption is the existence of only two options, and further that members of neither group can see their role as criticizing their own (think Mickey Kaus).

What you're saying is that such criticism is "objectively leftist". However, anti-(banal)right does not equal left. Nor does, in this case, defending a minority (Jewish neo-conservatives) who have been wrongly disparaged by members of the overwhelming majority (among Jewish intellectuals/academia/the international elite/its media) make one thereby a Jewish Neo-conservative. Or even a conservative.

Those who see things exclusively in political terms might care to check their own views before assigning them (or their simplistic negations) to the original poster.
7.27.2008 7:58pm
hey (mail):
Sinestro: Jonah Goldbegr, for one, is a hawkish Jew who has vocally supported military intervention/adventurism in Africa. He's stated my beliefs in colonialism now! to save Africans from their kleptocratic, genocidal governments. Bill Kristol is on record as wanting action on Darfur and not just UN talk in this Weekly Standard piece

Don't accuse them of dual loyalties, nor use the horridly inaccurate term "neo-conservative". Just try to show why their policies would be bad. You'll be wrong and incapable of doing so, but try. It would be nice to have honest opposition for once, rather than a bunch of racist traitors like we've had for so long. I'm an libertarian imperialist WASP and I approve this message. I'm not a neo-conservative as I have never been of the left, never mind a communist.
7.27.2008 8:09pm
LM (mail):
Perseus,

It does not strike me as particularly objectionable for one politician to accuse another politician of acting from political motives to the extent that it encourages some healthy skepticism among voters.

I'm never a fan of attacking people's motives without evidence of their motives, but that wasn't my main complaint. I only took it up to refute David Warner's absurd implication that I attacked McCain's motives, and that McCain didn't attack Obama's. But as you can see from my original comment, my real objection was that McCain impugned Obama's patriotism and loyalty. That I find despicable. I'm confident Obama has never done that to McCain, and that he never will.
7.27.2008 8:09pm
LM (mail):
David,

No doubt you have a well thought out political philosophy, and it may be ill-described by "conservative." I'd only be surprised if you're surprised that regular readers might reasonably get the impression you're generally somewhere along the libertarian-conservative axis.
7.27.2008 8:22pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I always thought the attacks against black conservatives were funny because every single black person I know is conservative in almost every area, at least how conservatives are defined by liberals. Hell, a black guy that has been my buddy since 1976 (2nd grade) makes me look like a flaming liberal, and I think Goldwater and Reagan were too liberal!

As for Israel, it deserves full American support. Watching liberals (and especially liberal Jews) act like that if Israel were to just go away all of the problems in the Middle East would be solved makes me laugh even louder because of its rank idiocy. That attitude reminds me of the part of the Dark Knight where some of the citizens were blaming Batman for causing the increase in crime.
7.27.2008 8:31pm
sbron:
It's interesting how support for Israel used to be associated with the (far) left, and is now apparently associated with the right. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko strongly supported Israel's creation at the UN in 1947. Castro's Cuba was initially similarly pro-Israel. Dalton Trumbo penned the screenplay to the film version of "Exodus", etc.

What happened? Interesting that Golda Meir was as socialistic as you can get, yet has not been embraced by left-wing feminism for example.
7.27.2008 8:33pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Those are examples. You may believe that most Jews with hawkish foreign policy views would care about East Timor or Darfur and want the U.S. to send its military to intervene. I am considerably more cynical.
Setting aside whether that's true, what does it have to do with anything? "Neoconservative" does not mean "Jew with hawkish foreign policy views." The fact that all neoconservatives are hawks -- assuming it is a fact -- does not mean that all hawks are neoconservatives.
7.27.2008 8:35pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
It's interesting how support for Israel used to be associated with the (far) left, and is now apparently associated with the right. ... What happened?
1967 happened.

The left only likes minorities who are victims.
7.27.2008 8:36pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
LM,
I like your (much shorter and more accurate) analysis more than what I wrote. :-)
7.27.2008 8:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):

No doubt you have a well thought out political philosophy, and it may be ill-described by "conservative." I'd only be surprised if you're surprised that regular readers might reasonably get the impression you're generally somewhere along the libertarian-conservative axis.
That is fair enough, but somewhere along the conservative-libertarian axis ranges from Murray Rothbard to Milton Friedman to Pat Buchanan to Bill Kristol to Jack Kemp to Pat Robertson, a wide range of views, only some of which would be accurately described as "conservative" in a generally accepted sense. I doubt, for example, one can be a conservative in good standing if one thinks that prostitution, drugs, abortion, and pornography should all be legal and, if the market so dictates, widely available.
7.27.2008 8:48pm
TGGP (mail) (www):
Glen Greenwald says it's okay to have dual loyalties. It's not a slur, but some folks are hypersensitive and try to be all P.C about things.

Are Jews really underrepresented in the left-wing anti-globalization movement? Its biggest figurehead is Naomi Klein. Buchanan was supported by Murray Rothbard in the past and Paul Gottfried today. There were a sizable number of "Jews for Ron Paul" when he was in the race. You might be surprised by how many Jews hang out at Lawrence Auster's (himself a convert from Judaism to Episcopalianism) View From the Right, which puts out more offensive stuff than Paul/Buchanan but is also quite sensitive to anti-semitism.

Steve Sailer, who at one time identified as a Jewish neo-conservative, proposes a "Cuban model" for the Israel lobby here.

I also assumed David Bernstein was a neo-conservative from reading him, especially his reaction to criticism of neocons. I would ask him where he differs from them or what caused him to drift away from that identity? I personally entered libertarianism via the Chicago school and old 70s style domestic neo-conservatism and I've become an anti-federalist paleolibertarian more sympathetic to pluralist communitarianism and less to big business and the "essential" government programs simply from taking my old conservative/libertarian beliefs to a more radical place, as well as reading more history and economics.
7.27.2008 8:48pm
Overgetter:
OK, David -- I've spent several hours talking with you (although at times it was more of a monologue from you, occupational hazard for lawprofs I guess). Maybe you would say that is more accurate, although I think 'hours and hours' was sufficiently appropriate. Yes, you are a conservative. No, I do not fit into any of the categories you mentioned: I did not attend your wedding, am not related to you, and have never dated you.

Your memory of your conversations with others is apparently as imperfect as your understanding of the way you appear to others. These are perfectly understandable imperfections and most of us have them. However, it is to say the least unusual to act as if people who disagree with you on these matters are simply wrong.
7.27.2008 8:50pm
Perseus (mail):
But as you can see from my original comment, my real objection was that McCain impugned Obama's patriotism and loyalty. That I find despicable. I'm confident Obama has never done that to McCain, and that he never will.

Senator McCain's alleged impugning of Senator Obama's patriotism seems to be mainly the result of the fact that the indifference to the public good implied in allegedly acting mainly from political motives in this case deals with an issue of war. I'm also reasonably confident that Senator Obama is unlikely to impugn Senator McCain's patriotism because I'm confident that Senator Obama is a talented enough politician that he would resist such a foolish undertaking.
7.27.2008 9:13pm
Dave N (mail):
Oh, I get it, Overgetter is a former student. Based on the apparent bitterness of his tone, I am assuming he is one whose grade was not particularly good.
7.27.2008 9:34pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Dave N., don't give him/her even that much credit. We've already gone from "hours and hours" of discussion about matters including the personal such that OG knows me "well" to "several hours" about unspecified topics. Eventually, we'll get down to "I saw you shopping at Whole Foods once."

Obviously, there are some libertarians who think that anyone to the right of Rothbard is a conservative, and some on the left who think that everyone on the right is "conservative" (when they are being polite). So be it, but I don't have to follow it.

I defend neocon's a lot because I wrote my senior thesis on them, still follow their goings-on, and find that they are sometimes attacked as Jews instead of for their often wrongheaded policy positions (not to mention their generally wrongheaded ideology).
7.27.2008 10:31pm
bigdog (mail):
"unilateral bellicosity cloaked in utopian rhetoric about freedom and democracy"? You think this is roughly accurate as a description of this 'neocon' thing?

SO, out of curiousity, what is the definition of plain conservatism?

And what would provoke a non-neo-conservative to consider deploying large amounts of armed forces, or to put it the other way, what specific kind of talk/action in that area would qualify as non-bellicose, or non-neo? Is there such a circumstance? Or is conservatism all about abortion, or fiscal responsibility, or low taxes, or busybody libertarianism, or whatever....? Sounds like Klein, and by extension you, David, have a HUGE problem with people talking about right and wrong, and trying to do right. That, after all, is the boiled down thing that Bush did that has upset so many principle-free 'superior intellects'.

Bush's original argument, as I saw it, was that if we did not intervene, really rotten people were going to do really terrible things, things they have both promised to do and demonstrated they would do, and many many people would die, lots of them Jews and Americans. I have yet to hear a rational and convincing argument to the contrary.

From this, the left invented (and lots of formerly trustworthy people lapped up) this term "neo-cons",with its deliberate reference to neo-nazis (the only other commonly used descriptor of its form, chosen carefully and repeated often). This, because a man of conviction and courage saw that he had to act even if it was unpopular.

oh yeah, and he's one of those insane stupid Christian guys.

I sometimes wonder if, someday in the not too distant future, the act of standing against evil will simply be permanently abandoned as too socially and politically risky.

Evil is real, and it's a part of the makeup of human beings. It is something guaranteed to appear in various forms at all times in history. The only choice is how people react to it, not whether it can be prevented or made obsolete.

Grow up, intellectuals. Embrace all of humanity, not just the 'i'm smarter than you' part. Or catch hell, as literally as you'd care to read that.
7.27.2008 11:23pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
There's little I can add to Matt Yglesias's take on this.

It always surprises me that Jews have been able to get ahead in the United States. This is, after all, a country that's almost unique in the western world in that even in the 21st century it seems to include so many anti-semites in prominent places. Indeed, a frightening large proportion of prominent American Jews have their political views motivated by a racist loathing of their co-religionists and co-ethnics. Joe Klein, for example and again here is a big-time Jew-hater as you can see in not-at-all hysterical remarks from Commentary and the Anti-Defamation League that are in no way cynical political interventions masquerading as deeply implausible accusations of anti-semitism.
7.27.2008 11:31pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
How come Bigdog noticed my rather obvious implicit criticism of the neoconservatives, while others assumed that I was one with them substantively, and not just defending them from scurrilous attack?

Lazarus, Klein isn't an anti-Semite. He's just using a phoney allegations that plays on both anti-Semitism and on prejudices among Jewish liberal themselves for political purposes. Similarly, blacks who attack Clarence Thomas or Condi Rice as Uncle Toms are racists, but they are content to use vile racially charged rhetoric to score political points.
7.27.2008 11:39pm
Nobody special (mail):
It's interesting how support for Israel used to be associated with the (far) left, and is now apparently associated with the right. ... What happened?



1967 happened.

The left only likes minorities who are victims.


I have an alternative theory: Oil.

In 1947 the Middle East wasn't particularly important to the world economy. Since then, the Left has realized that there are about 200 million Arabs and 3 or 4 million Jews in the Middle East.

The Left goes with the money.
7.27.2008 11:39pm
LM (mail):

That is fair enough, but somewhere along the conservative-libertarian axis ranges from Murray Rothbard to Milton Friedman to Pat Buchanan to Bill Kristol to Jack Kemp to Pat Robertson, a wide range of views, only some of which would be accurately described as "conservative" in a generally accepted sense.

As you alluded, to us liberals those guys all look alike. :)

Eventually, we'll get down to "I saw you shopping at Whole Foods once."

If that statement is even potentially true, I may have to re-evaluate my entire thesis.
7.27.2008 11:40pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
And btw, Yglesias's post is devoid of substance on the most relevant part of Klein's remark--that somehow McCain, whose donors and advisors are overwhelmingly not Jewish, is actually "surrounded" by Jewish neocon advisors and funders who are pulling his strings.
7.27.2008 11:42pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
10:39 above should say "are NOT racists."
7.27.2008 11:52pm
Dave N (mail):
LM,

I don't know about David Bernstein, but I shop at Whole Foods. I love their selection and quality. Because there is one close to where I work, I eat lunch there at least once a week.

Don't be so fast to pidgeonhole your adversaries. ;-)
7.27.2008 11:54pm
LM (mail):
Perseus:

Senator McCain's alleged impugning of Senator Obama's patriotism seems to be mainly the result of the fact that the indifference to the public good implied in allegedly acting mainly from political motives in this case deals with an issue of war.

You've only proving how wrong unsupported attacks on motives are by how terribly destructive they can be. In this case such an attack was further bootstrapped into an even more scurrilous attack on patriotism and loyalty. How does that mitigate any part of it?
7.28.2008 12:12am
LM (mail):
josh bornstein,

Thanks.
7.28.2008 12:13am
LM (mail):
Dave N,

That does it. If you guys can shop at Whole Foods, then I can buy a gun.

Wait, I already have one.... ;)
7.28.2008 12:18am
David Warner:
"In this case such an attack was further bootstrapped into an even more scurrilous attack on patriotism and loyalty."

The only bootstrapping you've yet given evidence of is your own, here repeated. Where is McCain scurrilously attacking Obama's patriotism and loyalty?

To preclude further obtuseness on your part, I am not and was not impugning anyone's motives, least of all yours', about which I could care less. As far as I can tell, however, you are crying wolf quite loudly, to no benefit to your argument.
7.28.2008 12:36am
zefal (mail):
Back in the 80s I was watching Late Night America with Dennis Wholey. He had some guy on who was involved in Republican politics. He wasn't an elected official nor a political appointee, I think he was just a businessman active in politics. At some point Dennis (I'm 99% certain it was his show) pointed out that he was Jewish and how rare and unusual it was for a Jew to be a Republican. After that every question from the callers was how could he be a Republican. You could hear the sense of betrayal in their voices, and the callers, odds are, weren't even Jewish.
7.28.2008 1:12am
EPluribusMoney (mail):
I doubt, for example, one can be a conservative in good standing if one thinks that prostitution, drugs, abortion, and pornography should all be legal and, if the market so dictates, widely available.

Good point. Glenn Reynolds is also called a conservative though he supports these.

Apparently Left-ism is a religion. If you disagree with them on anything, the war, guns, affirmative action, then you are a heretic. Conservative is their word for heretic.
7.28.2008 1:13am
Overgetter:
I certainly am not a former student of David's. And, yes, he and I have had hours of discussions on all sorts of matters over the years. I am not surprised that he can't figure out who I am -- I've had hours of discussions with all sorts of people -- but I do think it's the height of arrogance to assume total recall of all conversations with everyone over one's lifetime!
7.28.2008 1:42am
Ephraim (mail):
[deleted by editor. see DG's explanation below.]
7.28.2008 2:06am
DG:
And the trolls are out! That last post (by Ephraim) was taken right from a bizarrely anti-Semitic conspiracy website, viewzone.com. They also believe in UFOs and think that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln killed JFK. Apparently, naming a bunch of Jews (and some non-Jews, like Larry Franklin) and then claiming they hold Israeli citizenship is considered journalism. Ah, the democratizing power of the Intraweb!
7.28.2008 3:03am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Mike&asked above, about the charge of dual loyalty: "Are Jews supposed to be specially insulated for such charges? If so, why?" People answered above, but "Ephraim" illustrates the reason better than any of those who responded: because disloyalty is a long-standing anti-semitic slur:

Perhaps the highest form of dual allegiance is that of dual citizenship, where someone has sworn an oath of loyalty to two separate nations. Below are listed members of the U.S. Government who have dual citizenship with Israel under special dispensation, which is allowed with no other country. To object to such divided loyalty in such highly placed individuals often brings a cry of "anti-Sematism", but the issue has nothing to do with race or religion.
Except, of course, that it's entirely false that there is "special dispensation" with Israel or that dual citizenship is "allowed with no other country." And those people are not "dual citizens" at all, but Jews. So, yeah it kind of has everything to do with religion.
7.28.2008 3:15am
Dave N (mail):
Ephraim,

You quote an anti-semitic site. Care to link to one with some degree of credibility? Just one. Please.

The State Department's website does indicate that the United States recognizes that certain people claim dual citizenship or nationality but the United States, as government policy, discourages it.

You provided a list of Jewish-American politicans and other individuals, who under the Law of Return, could claim Israeli citizenship if they ever went to Israel and chose to do so. You provide absolutely NO evidence that any of these people actually have done so.

In fact, any other Jew could claim Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return: David Bernstein, Arlen Specter, Ed Koch, Joseph Lieberman, Barbara Boxer, etc. etc.

To conclude that people who have a right to claim Israeli citizenship because they are Jewish are also somehow automatically suspect if they hold posts in the American government is the height of anti-semitism.

And no, I am not Jewish.
7.28.2008 3:25am
LM (mail):
DG:

That last post (by Ephraim) was taken right from a bizarrely anti-Semitic conspiracy website, viewzone.com. They also believe in UFOs and think that the ghost of Abraham Lincoln killed JFK.

You're just saying that to make them sound crazy. They know LBJ killed Kennedy as well as you do. And your cynicism about UFOs makes me wonder if you know anything at all about The BioMusic Conspiracy. Because if you really understood that

"[t]he full-lotus is a very quick and powerful means to harmonize the electrochemicals of the body [and e]ventually light can be shot out of the eyes, via the 3rd Eye or the pineal gland, so that healing of others can be achieved [and that t]his is a natural resonance revolution from the formless awareness"

you wouldn't be so smug. But with an attitude like yours, I don't expect to see light shooting out of your eyes any time soon.
7.28.2008 5:02am
LM (mail):
David Warner:

The only bootstrapping you've yet given evidence of is your own, here repeated. Where is McCain scurrilously attacking Obama's patriotism and loyalty?

To preclude further obtuseness on your part, I am not and was not impugning anyone's motives, least of all yours', about which I could care less. As far as I can tell, however, you are crying wolf quite loudly, to no benefit to your argument.

Wanting your own country to lose a war is pretty much the definition of unpatriotic and disloyal. But you claim it's perfectly innocent to accuse Obama of wanting precisely that because "one could still be a patriot and believe that "losing" this war would be a good thing." I'd confess my skepticism that you really believe that, and I'd challenge you to show me the "many" on the left who "have in fact argued that this is so," but it's not necessary. McCain didn't say Obama wants us to lose the war because it would be strategically advantageous for us to do so. He said Obama wants us to lose the war for his own political advantage. And if wanting us to lose for no particular reason is unpatriotic and disloyal, wanting us to lose for one's own political gain is worse. I don't know even know what the word for that would be.

As for your red herring about how "a patriotic Democrat would believe that winning an election campaign would be a patriotic thing to do," give me a break. What's our usual attitude toward people who act on their desire for us to lose a war, e.g. passing intelligence, sabotaging munitions and transports, etc? You know, as in "treason"? You're not seriously suggesting that anyone with the possible exception of Ephraim would consider that a-ok so long as the perpetrator did it to get power because the country would be better off with him at the helm? Please. And the only differences between wanting that result and acting on it are practical and legal. They would be equally condemned as morally horrific.

Bottom line: If Obama actually wanted us to lose a war so he could win an election, that would reprehensible and every reasonable person would agree. For McCain to accuse him of that is reprehensible, and every reasonable person should agree.
7.28.2008 7:12am
LM (mail):
... and not that it matters (or ought to), but though I strongly support Obama, I like McCain. But in politics, too often even the people you like do things that are inexcusable.
7.28.2008 9:07am
LM (mail):
... and speaking of anti-Semites, here's a video interview with David Irving at his first public appearance (in N.Y.C.) since being released from an Austrian prison. Lovely fellow with some lovely followers.
7.28.2008 9:26am
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Bottom line: If Obama actually wanted us to lose a war so he could win an election, that would reprehensible and every reasonable person would agree. For McCain to accuse him of that is reprehensible, and every reasonable person should agree.


I think McCain has a point. When most of the country thought the war was unwinable (never my position) Obama was saying that the surge couldn't work and that we should pull out in 16 months. i.e. Obama took the politically popular (at the time) position. McCain did not take that position. In fact he took the opposite position.

Now a days things look different and Obama is still looking for a pull out time table. While at the same time Sunnis say we should stay to insure their protection i.e. to prevent a resumption of the civil war. Now Obama says that he thinks a civil war would require a return to Iraq. Why isn't he saying a prevention of a civil war is worth our staying?
7.28.2008 10:33am
Brian Mac:

If Obama actually wanted us to lose a war so he could win an election, that would reprehensible and every reasonable person would agree. For McCain to accuse him of that is reprehensible, and every reasonable person should agree.

I guess you were equally outraged during the Republican primaries, when McCain's mantra was along the lines of "I'd rather lose an election than lose a war." Which to me implied that his primary opponents didn't hold the same priorities.
7.28.2008 12:26pm
r78:
Would anyone like to explain why the US should particularly care about Israel any more than any other little country?

It doesn't have any real strategic importance to the United States and it doesn't seem to have any natural resources whose extraction we need to protect.
7.28.2008 12:57pm
Hoosier:
LM--I checked out your links. The DEavid Irving piece is just pathetic: Why do Jews arriving in a new nation as "pathetic refusgees" soon find that they have to move on?

He doesn't get to the US very often, does he?
7.28.2008 1:47pm
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Joe Klein's outburst about the "Jewish neocons" allegedly pulling John McCain's strings on behalf of Israel reminded me that I've been meaning to blog about the fact that liberals, including (and sometimes especially) Jewish liberals increasingly use the charge of "dual loyalty" to try to discredit, and thus silence, Jewish conservatives.


Reprehensible, and by far worse than neocon Jews accusing their critics of being anti-Semitic because that slur is, of course, completely accurate.


One interesting aspect of all this is that the standard left-wing "Uncle Tom" attack on black conservatives accuses them of being insufficiently supportive of "their people," while the emerging attack on Jewish conservatives accuses them of being too supportive of "their people" and thus having dual loyalties. Hmm.


Well, that's not really the same. Black conservatives are criticized for supporting conservative policies that are harmful to blacks. Neocon Jews are criticized for supporting policies that they believe to be beneficial to Israel and that might be harmful to the U.S. Unless you can somehow equate black politicians supporting their black constituents in America with neocon American Jews supporting their brethren in Israel.


I think McCain has a point. When most of the country thought the war was unwinable (never my position) Obama was saying that the surge couldn't work and that we should pull out in 16 months. i.e. Obama took the politically popular (at the time) position. McCain did not take that position. In fact he took the opposite position.


FYI, withdrawal from Iraq is still the more popular position. Also, since McCain supported the war then, does now, and will support it tomorrow no matter what happens, I'm not sure how he demonstrates anymore resolve than Obama who, in your scenario, is for withdrawal no matter how things go in Iraq.
7.28.2008 2:06pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier;

Why do Jews arriving in a new nation as "pathetic refusgees" soon find that they have to move on?

I'm sure the two audience members with the intelligent facial features could give you some penetrating insights, but the very fact that you even have to ask the question tells me one person whose Christmas Card list you won't be on. And I can only imagine the festivity of opening a Christmas Card from David Irving.

He doesn't get to the US very often, does he?

Once is too often for me. I was surprised he qualified for a visa. I'm guessing it's since what he was convicted of wouldn't be criminal here, because otherwise my operative assumptions would be that any conviction carrying a three year sentence would be considered felonious, and it's not our practice to give visas to convicted felons. But you know what they say about assumptions -- they make an "ass" out of "u" and "mptions." Anyway, I oppose criminalizing what he did, but the idea that he'd be considered less undesirable than John Lennon was is galling.
7.28.2008 4:40pm
LM (mail):
M. Simon:

I think McCain has a point.

How does anything you said justify accusing Obama of wanting us to lose a war? Let me clear something up I've mistakenly assumed that by now needs no explanation. The source of this whole controversy is the Orwellian and logically fallacious re-definition by many Republicans of "wanting to lose." It goes like this:

Person "A" conflates Person "B" wanting something that Person "A" says will cause "X," into Person "B" wanting "X." "Wanting "X"" has now been re-defined to mean "disagreeing with "A."

That's how many Republicans, starting with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney have demonized Iraq war opponents for six years, and that's what McCain just did to Obama. McCain is better than that, he knows better, and he should be ashamed.
7.28.2008 5:16pm
LM (mail):
Brian Mac:

I guess you were equally outraged during the Republican primaries, when McCain's mantra was along the lines of "I'd rather lose an election than lose a war." Which to me implied that his primary opponents didn't hold the same priorities.

Depends. If the topic or question is his opponents' position on the war, that sounds like a reasonable inference. But if he's being asked or is talking about only himself, then his comment seems legitimate. I might draw the conclusion about the other candidates on my own, but I wouldn't infer it directly from his remarks. He's entitled to make a positive case for himself without our assuming he intends the negative implication for others. Of course there are other ways he can hint at the implication, e.g., tone of voice, facial expressions, but that's another story. That's actual evidence of his intention.
7.28.2008 5:32pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
It doesn't have any real strategic importance to the United States and it doesn't seem to have any natural resources whose extraction we need to protect.

For one thing they have brains. See Intel and AMD and Motorola among others. Not to mention medical research.

For another they are very good at gathering intel from the various Arab/Persian countries in the region.

FYI, withdrawal from Iraq is still the more popular position.


The popularity of that position is declining. In any case the question is when and how. If Obama believes that a civil war in Iraq is a bad idea and in the case of one we would have to re-enter Iraq then the obvious thing to do is to leave when civil war is very unlikely.

In any case it is my opinion that the Iraqis should have a say in the matter. And so far the Iraqi Government has not asked us to leave.
7.28.2008 5:52pm
David Warner:
LM,

Remind me next time not to pick a fight with a guy who sells arguments by the hour...

Look, I could concede your entire last post (and at gunpoint I might have to, though sans gun I'm pretty agnostic on the whole thing), and it would still be (largely?) immaterial to the original point, which was actually connected to the point of the thread.

That is, Dilan Esper asked why one wouldn't criticize policies instead of loyalty. You came back with, basically, "McCain sure doesn't!" My perception is that McCain usually bends over backward to avoid questions of loyalty (you might even concede this, though I will concede that this is likely to change as the campaign heats up) and has even taken steps to shut down local organizations independent of his campaign whose ads could possibly be construed as doing so.

And yet thereby he gains no benefit - he's accused of questioning patriotism whatever he does. Hence one answer to Dilan Esper's question. On the other hand, I suspect McCain's general aversion to questioning Obama's character has more to do with his sense of personal honor than any political cost/benefit analysis, but the general principle stands.
7.28.2008 8:10pm
LM (mail):
David Warner:

Remind me next time not to pick a fight with a guy who sells arguments by the hour...

I'd be happy to take the appropriate umbrage at that if I had any idea what it meant.

That is, Dilan Esper asked why one wouldn't criticize policies instead of loyalty. You came back with, basically, "McCain sure doesn't!"

Wrong. As an afterthought to my comment about DB's post, I tacked on an observation about the main point of Klein's article. I didn't "come back with" anything. What I said about McCain's statement was neither inspired by nor a response to Dilon's comment.

And yet thereby he gains no benefit - he's accused of questioning patriotism whatever he does.

That's also false. You based your generalizations on my comment, and I can only speak for myself. I've only ever accused McCain of questioning patriotism when he questioned patriotism. Specifically, this is the first time I've done it. Moreover, I've defended him countless times as a decent, principled man, usually against the onslaught of my right wing friends and relatives who consider him an evil, unprincipled liar.

[...] I suspect McCain's general aversion to questioning Obama's character has more to do with his sense of personal honor [...].

I agree, which is why I said this episode is beneath him, and not something like, "I'd expect no better from such a partisan hack."
7.28.2008 8:57pm
Hoosier:
LM:

"And I can only imagine the festivity of opening a Christmas Card from David Irving."

Does he send money?

If someone had asked me this morning: "Hoosier, do you think that something could happen today that would cause you to find David Irving more repulsive than you currently do?", why, I would have said: "No chance, Vance."

That video you linked--about Irving in America--demostrated, once more, that any day in my life can be more depressing than I would predict.

Of course I recognize that this too is the fault of the Jews.
7.28.2008 10:07pm
LM (mail):

Of course I recognize that this too is the fault of the Jews.

... which is why if we had any decency, by now we'd have packed our pathetic selves up and moved on.
7.28.2008 10:51pm
David Warner:
"I'd be happy to take the appropriate umbrage at that if I had any idea what it meant."

Ink by the barrel, lawyer edition.

The rest - a comedy of errors, all around.

So then, one last attempt to answer Esper's question, and thereby Bernstein's original post.

Esper asks why not attack policies rather than loyalty. Perhaps because for our primitive ancestor's minds, questions of loyalty were more pressing than policy, and they so kindly gave us their brains, hardware-wise? We of course have a choice to update (though not easily) the software, but the lowest-common denominator remains the underlying instinct and making mass markets are about nothing if not lowest common denominators, whether those markets are embodied in elections or, in Klein's case, newspapers. Especially yellowed (and increasingly yellow) ones such as Time.
7.29.2008 12:25am
LM (mail):
David Warner:

Ink by the barrel, lawyer edition.

Guilty.

The rest - a comedy of errors, all around.

Fair enough.
7.29.2008 1:27am