Although the administration’s Jewish neoconservatives share the same policy positions as their gentile compatriots, they are being portrayed – at times subtly, at times not so subtly – as the instigators of the administration’s blunders, but more seriously as being agents of Ariel Sharon and his Likud Party, essentially doing Israel’s bidding.
The chatterboxes promoting this wild-eyed view will concede that most rational people at the time saw through the lies that took us to war. They imply, however, that this was beyond Mr. Bush’s ken and responsibilities. Neither was it, apparently, his duty to abide by his campaign commitment to a humble foreign policy. Mr. Bush was simply “bamboozled” – this manifestly neoconservative (and unrepentant) president is not responsible for his blind quest for power.
In other words, the Jewish neoconservatives ate the president’s homework.
Patrick J. Buchanan, for instance, is perfectly capable of entertaining the “complicity of the president of the United States in perpetrating fraud” when it comes to FDR, who, he claims, lied the U.S. into war with Germany, aided by a forged document. But when it concerns Mr. Bush, Mr. Buchanan finds it impossible to believe the president would deliberately lie to the nation. Either he was misled, or he was deceived.”
Perhaps there were fewer Jews to blame in FDR’s administration. Either way, too many paleoconservatives are ignoring that Wolfowitz is not the only thug pressed up against the famous bow, screaming, “I’m the king of the world.” Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Woolsey, Bolton, Rice and Powell are right there beside the Jews, hollering, “Me first.” Equally, and on the lower decks, Richard Perle is flanked by neoconservative Christians like Gary Bauer and William Bennett.
Kevin MacDonald, at least, comes straight out with it. Instead of the cowardly, infantile, and frankly nauseating nudge-nudge, wink-wink insinuations about Jews, he offers grand conspiracy. Jewish neocons recruited all the non-Jews and now manipulate them like marionettes. No mortal (read gentile) could possibly resist a Jewish intellectual – that a cabal of Jews allegedly hijacked the administration is because gullible gentiles are powerless in the face of Jewish persuasion, or so it goes according to MacDonald’s unique Science of Jews.
The argument that Jews act collectively to promote interests which are exclusively Jewish, also means, says MacDonald, that Jewish neoconservatives are in cahoots with the larger “organized Jewish community,” all working to promote a Jewish agenda that is “arguably only tenuously related to the interests of the U.S.”
MacDonald has proof. Immigration policy “provides a valuable acid test for the proposition that neoconservatism is actually a vehicle for perceived Jewish ethnic interests.” “In their attitude to race and immigration,” neoconservatives differ from mainstream conservatives, but resemble attitudes held by the Jewish community, he warns.
However, in his messy habit of mind, MacDonald omits that on issues of race and immigration, neocons are not that different from liberals. Jews, of course, are incorrigible liberals. Inasmuch as neocon views are leftist on race and immigration (and the welfare state), Jews would share their opinions. And so would countless other American egalitarians.
Indeed, liberalism (and I don’t mean classical liberalism) is a pathology Jews share with a good many Americans. Most Jews don’t like the Right and that, incidentally, includes the Israeli Right, represented by Ariel Sharon. It is far from clear that Jews, at large, identify with neoconservatives. Considering that most Americans supported the war in Iraq, Jews, to the extent they supported it, were wrong but not unique.
Jewish organizations, as a rule, do promote liberal causes and policies such as multiculturalism. But it isn’t obvious that this practice is conducive to the health of the Jewish community. At the very least, there is a contradiction between the leftist ideology so many Jews embrace, with its indifference to assimilation and its extreme tolerance for alternative lifestyles, and the survival of the Jewish religion and people.
MacDonald’s assertion that Jews support open immigration policies so that they can bring about a more diverse society in order to diminish anti-Semitism” and promote “Jewish ethnic interests” must be questioned, especially in the post-Sept. 11 world.
Jews have little to gain by advocating for minority communities with which they haven’t much in common, culturally or socioeconomically, and who are likely to be hostile to them. How does promoting immigration from Muslim countries, for instance, benefit Jewish interests?
Jewish activism, if anything, is self defeating as a group strategy. The community’s egalitarianism is thus more accurately seen as a function of liberal pathology, the same pathology so many Christian denominations exhibit – they all believe, mistakenly, that they are promoting justice.
All in all, the paleoconservatives’ attempts to blame Jews for pervasive gentile madness, such as Mr. Bush’s war in Iraq, his lingering presence in Afghanistan, multiculturalism and “mass, non-traditional-immigration,” is too silly to sustain, but, at the same time, a little sinister. (Next, MacDonald will hold Jews responsible for loading the Episcopal Church with homosexuals.)
About the Jewish psyche, MacDonald shows complete ignorance: Justified or not, Jews are petrified of anti-Semitism. I used to think they were mistaken. I still believe Jews express this deep-seated fear shamefully and inappropriately. But in light of recent scapegoating, I am no longer sure about anti-Semitism’s obsolescence.
The MacDonald Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum Science of sniffing out Jewish intellectual habits makes me (as a Jew) wary of mentioning Sigmund Freud in any capacity. (Certainly not much store should be put on his theories about human nature.)
Nevertheless, there’s no harm in a joke. When Freud was once quizzed about his incessant cigar smoking, he humorously chose to sidestep what was, according to the very theory he invented, a manifestation of his own oral fixation. He replied: “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”
And sometimes, anti-Semitism is just anti-Semitism.