Food for Thought

Ha’aretz reports,

WASHINGTON – President George Bush announced Saturday his intention to nominate Paul J. McNulty, of Virginia, to be Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice.
McNulty is the Federal prosecutor in the cases of former defense analyst Larry Franklin, and the two former AIPAC lobbyists, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman….

We all know how, to a certain extent, “neocon” means “Jewish” in the lexicon of American political discourse. Surely, some within proximity of the White House policymaking apparatus believed that the US invasion of Iraq would be as much in Israel’s interest as they believed it was in America’s. But even to the extent that the Israeli security establishment itself believed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to be a WMD threat, it was hardly held to be a priority when compared to Syria and Iran.
And the more we learn of Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the Swift Boating of Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, the better we understand how little the Bush-Cheney adminstration was sincere about the Iraqi threat as advertised in President Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech. As Joshua Micah Marshall wonders,

Now, if McNulty had been cooperating with or become a participant or enabler of some sort of Fitzgerald’s investigation, he’s not the first person you’d figure President Bush would be appointing to the number two spot at DOJ — especially when you consider that Al Gonzales will almost certainly have to recuse himself from any consideration of the entire Plame case. If something is afoot between Fitzgerald and McNulty, what went into the appointment? Who came up with the idea?
I don’t know which of these scenarios is closest to the mark. And these are very strange times — most anything is possible. But there’s something here that doesn’t fit.

Strange times, indeed. At such times it may be wise to consider, as the White House recognizes the necessity to mend fences with its conservative base, and assuming the Bush administration has learned valuable lessons in triangulation, that Israel and its American Jewish supporters are ripe to take the fall for leading Americans into the Iraq debacle. And with the complicity of some American progressives to boot, as Professor Juan Cole sums up,

With both Iraq and Iran in flames, the Likud Party could do as it pleased in the Middle East without fear of reprisal. This means it could expel the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan, and perhaps just give Gaza back to Egypt to keep Cairo quiet. Annexing southern Lebanon up to the Litani River, the waters of which Israel has long coveted, could also be undertaken with no consequences, they probably think, once Hizbullah in Lebanon could no longer count on Iranian support. The closed character of the economies of Iraq and Iran, moreover, would end, allowing American, Italian and British companies to make a killing after the wars (so they thought).

Oh, those crafty Zionist neocons…

12 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Dameocrat,
    So what? I know it, you know it. Lots of us who hang here know it. Even professed antisemites and other shameless opportunists know it. But, since when do facts matter when there’s an agenda to advance and a boogeyman needed to move masses? Whether it’s activist judges, trial lawyers, homosexual agendas, Hollywood elites, or Massachusetts liberals, the important thing is having someone to fear and/or blame. This is the point.
    Does Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really have to believe that Israel (5.5 million Jews on 20,000 sq kms of Mediterranean coast) is an existential threat to the Islamic world to say that, “Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation’s fury, any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world”?
    The important thing to understand is that as Jews we are vulnerable from anywhere along the political spectrum, and it’s best to keep our heads in the game.

  2. The Jewish neocons are just fundies like the Christian neocons, and the Iranian you are talking about. I don’t weep for them and I think we are all better off without them in the political process. Sorry.

  3. Dameocrat,
    And what about Professor Juan Cole? How different are his comments from those of President Ahmadinejad really? Better off without him in the political process too? Seriously, I am sincerely curious about how other Jews approach these apparent contradictions, and how we might gauge the political landscape.

  4. I don’t see how his comments are similar to the Iranians comments sorry. All he did was observe the philosophy of the Likud Party which up until recently did promote transfer, and greater Israel. When he calls for the elimination of Israel maybe I will see it.

  5. Professor Cole and President Ahmadinejad share the opinion that Israeli interestes are incurably insidious. Even if transfer has been advocated by any Likud party member, a Likud-run government still serves at the pleasure of an elected Knesset, and with the oversight of an independent judiciary. As such, transfer cannot honestly be taken as anything other than an extreme fringe ideal.
    Elevating the notion of transfer to broader Israeli national policy, as Professor Cole obviously does, amounts to the radical demonization of Israeli interests, and in no significantly different way than calling for the elimination of Israel as President Ahmadinejad does. If you really see a difference, please explain it to me.

  6. I don’t have to explain anything. That is Likud’s agenda. Observing this fact is not demonizing Israel. I really think you should examine why you think it is. I am sorry the Israeli public elected a Likud government, but people who point out what Likud stands for, are no more antiIsrael then people who point out all the religious right nutcases in the Bush administration are antiAmerican.

  7. Dameocrat, if you want to assert a fact, then you have to show it. Just saying so without any support is hollow propaganda. I’m no fan of Likud, but ascribing the worst and most extreme elements of Israeli political discourse to an entire political party is inconsistent with historical fact, and amounts to unfair demonization. Where does it stop? If we should believe unsupported allegations, then how tough is it to condemn Israel as a racist genocidal imperial colony whose delegation should be banned from the UN General Assembly and its membership revoked; meanwhile, Sharon convinced Bush to invade Iraq so he could transfer every Arab from the Jordan to the sea, so we should terminate the criminal US-Israeli alliance. See? Easy.
    Ulitimately, you’re right, you don’t have to explain anything. And that’s my point. Common wisdom needs no explanation, only repetition.

  8. I wouldn’t really worry about Juan Cole.
    His style is to start from the assumption that what he views as archetypal Israelis and Zionists — shorthand = “Likud” — are a acquisitive, rapacious minority that doesn’t really belong to the Middle East and will take advantage of any opportunity to expand their holdings.
    He then builds on the antisemitic stereotypes to construct chains of hypotheticals. Whenever anyone bothers disagreeing with him, he gets really hyper and either (1) spins history to show how antisemitic stereotypes are precise descriptions of how Israel has always behaved, or (2) tries to get into long arguments about the plausability of his hypotheticals.
    In other words, not worth it.

  9. … to which I’d add that the one innovation is to look for the code words used on which to displace the usual stereotypes. Used to “Jews”. Sometimes “Israelis”. More recently “Likudniks”, “neocons”, or even — in some circles — “Ashkenazim”.
    (The latter one being a neat way of encoding the canard that there never has been a Jewish people: here you counterpose non-semitic imports from Europe with all the greed and cleverness, on one side, and the exotic earthy Middle Easterns: the ones are “really” Slavs, the others are “really” Arabs, and who the hell said there was a such thing as Jewish history? That’s just uppity.)

  10. Suggestor,
    I don’t so much worry about Juan Cole in particular as I am concerned about the general inclination, from across the political spectrum, to accept those code words, scenarios, characterizations and conspiracy theories all bundled in an all too familiar package. Namely, for every problem, there’s a Jew. Professor Cole is just one voice within the din.

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