June 18, 2007

Eric Alterman on Marty Peretz

Considering that columnist Eric Alterman recently got himself arrested at the Democratic candidate's debate, there's a bit of a pot-kettle aspect to Alterman's American Prospect article denouncing long-time New Republic boss Marty Peretz as "crazy." But he does a good job of explaining how Peretz's passionate ethnocentrism has damaged his magazine:

It is really not too much to say that almost all of Peretz's political beliefs are subordinate to his commitment to Israel's best interests, and these interests as Peretz defines them almost always involve more war. Ask yourself: Have you ever -- ever -- read an editorial in The New Republic that does not take the Israeli government's side in a dispute? ... Is it possible that Israel's leaders -- unlike every set of leaders that have ever ruled any nation -- are always right? And is it possible that for the first time in history, two nations -- one, a tiny, beleaguered state in the Middle East, surrounded by hostile countries, the other, a North American superpower, unmenaced on its borders and surrounded by friendly neighbors -- just happen to have interests that are identical in absolutely every situation?

Peretz insists that, yes, the interests of Israel and the United States are indeed identical. "Support for Israel," he claims, "is deep down, an expression of America's best view of itself." Which begs the question of just what "support" entails. For Peretz it has clearly meant support both for the Iraq war and, now, for yet another war against Iran. In a February 5, 2007, cover story entitled "Israel's Worst Nightmare," Israeli writers Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren failed even to mention America's interest in going to war against Iran; they made their case purely on the basis of an allegedly existential and unavoidable threat to Israel.

Alterman points to the year 1967 as the turning point:

Peretz and [heiress] Farnsworth married in June 1967 -- coincidentally, the same month that the Six Day War transformed not only the Middle East but also American liberalism and American Jewry. For the left, the war's legacy became a point of painful contention -- as many liberals and leftists increasingly viewed Israel as having traded its David status for a new role as an oppressive, occupying Goliath. For many American Jews, however, most of whom previously kept their emotional distance from Israel, the emotional commitment to Israel became so central that it came to define their ethnic, even religious, identities. For Marty Peretz, who had been supporting various New Left causes, these two competing phenomena came to a head in September of that year when a "New Politics" convention that he largely funded collapsed amid a storm of acrimonious accusation, much of it inspired by arguments over Israel.

Lots of people love a winner. Similarly, Israel is never mentioned in long-time Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz's second autobiography until p. 323, when the 1967 war is won by Israel.

Indeed, I've argued jokingly that the lack of big-time college football teams in New York City and Washington D.C. has warped American foreign policy. Ultra-competitive men who, if they had grown up in Oklahoma, would be devoting their fortunes and energies to buying high school quarterbacks for the U. of Oklahoma Sooners, instead buy magazines and think tanks for Israel.

But, maybe that's not a joke ... So, please, would some hedge fund manager give NYU a quarter of a billion to start a Top 10 football team? Your country needs you!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

More anti-Semitism Steve. Israel's continued existence is in our best interests:

*It is an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" where if we are unable to have basing rights anywhere else we can project force in the critical region of the world.

*It is a demonstrable show of strength against Muslims who are aggressive against us, demanding our submission. Israel's existence and continued existence forces Muslim men to come to terms with the West rather than using force to cause us to submit.

[Unless you think submitting to Muslim demands which are ever growing is a good thing: cartoons, Rushdie, no guide dogs or booze in taxis, special Muslims only bathrooms, and on and on.]

*Israel has excellent intelligence, superior to the CIA's for obvious reasons, on Islamists threats and can be relied upon to share them (unlike Muslim regimes which will keep them close for obvious reasons).

[The CIA is filled with female cube dwellers like Plame who "marry up" to clueless aristos like Wilson, and couldn't find it's way out of a paper bag. That the CIA lawyers nixed the project to provide faulty detonators to the Iraqi IED cells to blow them up speaks for itself. Muslim regimes of course have terrorists as part of the government itself, or closely related through clan ties.]

I'm shocked you don't get it Steve: Israel is not dominated by clan and family. As such it is the ONLY society/nation in the ME that is compatible with the US way of doing business. At best with the Saudis you get an "agreement" where they may not plan on backstabbing you and cutting your throats because you are not family. Israel can be relied upon to broadly speaking, stick to an agreement because they don't operate in a clan/family way, their record of technical innovation including medical and computer technology speaks to this.

All Presidents since Truman have recognized this truth: Israel while far from perfect contains the only society with a fairly broad set of compatibilities with American society, and thus in American geopolitical influence deserves our support. While withdrawing it is a huge flag that America cannot be relied upon and should be viewed as a nation which will break it's part of the bargain.

Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon (an open Anti-Semite who despised Jews), Ford, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2 all knew this. Only Carter who was not very smart and filled with religious hatred for Jews deviated from America's support for Israel.

Besides, Israel and America share a common enemy: Muslims. Muslims demand our destruction no less than Israel. Iran opens every session of Parliament with "Death to America" and the Fort Dix Six, JFK plotters, DC snipers, various "sudden jihad" individuals too numerous to mention all illustrate that besides 9/11 and the 1993 WTC bombing (done by the same family / clan btw).

Muslims from Osama, Ahmadinejad, Khatami (the "moderate"), Khomeni, Khameni, Zawahari, etc. have all stated clearly what it will take for them to stop trying to kill as many of us as possible: convert to Islam and submit to their authority. ABC News reports Osama has sent 300 new suicide bombers to Europe and the US (with film too).

The conflict with Muslims will not go away unless we all submit and convert and become slaves. So we are going to have to fight. Given that Israelis have been effective fighters logic dictates we should ally with them.

Oceans didn't protect us from 9/11. It won't from Iran's nukes either.

Anonymous said...

Last add -- Eric Alterman hates Israel with a passion. Largely because it proves side-by-side the bankruptcy of the "noble savage" ala Hamas and the Western model of non-clan oriented secular rational nationalism.

Transnational progressives who deride nationalism and populism and traditional Western values in favor of Rousseauian fantasies like Alterman HATE Israel.

Because Israel shows Nationalism and traditional Western values DO WORK. It still exists. Israel also shows that military action as a populist leveler and opportunity can provide an effective alternative path to the hereditary and effeminate path of Alterman and the elite politics he represents.

The Left is made up elitists who come from a hereditary class removed from any connection to ugly reality. Israel is filled with people like Barak or Netanyahu. Neither of whom had a genteel upbringing. Better Israel is erased than a model that directly threatens their hereditary, dynastic rule.

Garland said...

I don't entirely follow the football team thing. If it's "East Coast money people" that need to be diverted from Israel, the field is way beyond than NYU. We need to drastically pump up the teams of all the Ivy Leagues and several other major universities and colleges. NYU undergrads aren't exactly alpha-competitives.

Garland said...

"Nixon (an open Anti-Semite who despised Jews)"

Doesnt credit your argument. Nixon was hyper-sensitive to being hated, and most Jews in political circles hated him, so he ranted about it bitterly. But he didnt dislike Jews as Jews, let alone despise them.

Anonymous said...

What's odd is that Alterman stole the '1967 as the turning point' argument from Noam Chomsky, whom Alterman hates with a comically irrational passion.

Of course, "stole" might be too strong if two people are making the same, correct point but for the longest time I'd only ever seen Chomsky make this point and he has made it repeatedly. Norman Finkelstein is the other person I know has used this argument and he got it directly from Chomsky.

Anyway, here's Noam from 1992:

"Besides that, the Jewish community has changed socially and economically. It's now become substantial, not huge in numbers, but given its numbers it's a substantial part of the dominant privileged elite groups in every part of the society -- professional, economic, political, etc. It's not like the anti-Semitic stereotype, they don't own the corporations, but relative to the numbers they're very influential, particularly in the ideological system, lots of writers, editors, etc. and that has an effect.

Furthermore, I think it's changed because of what's happened since 1967. In 1967 Israel won a dramatic military victory, demonstrated its military power, in fact, smashed up the entire Arab world, and that won great respect. A lot of Americans, especially privileged Americans, love violence and want to be on the side of the guy with the gun, and here was a powerful, violent state that smashed up its enemies and demonstrated that it was the dominant military power in the Middle East, put those Third World upstarts in their place. This was particularly dramatic because that was 1967, a time when the United States was having only minimal success in carrying out its invasion of by then all of Indochina, and it's well worth remembering that elite opinion, including liberal opinion, overwhelmingly supported the war in Vietnam and was quite disturbed by the incapacity of the United States to win it, at least at the level they wanted. Israel came along and showed them how to do it, and that had a symbolic effect. Since then it has been presenting itself, with some justice, as the Sparta of the Middle East, a militarily advanced, technologically compe- tent, powerful society. That's the kind of thing we like. It also became a strategic asset of the United States; one of the reasons why the United States maintains the military confrontation is to assure that it's a dependable, reliable ally that will do what we want, like, say, support genocide in Guatemala or whatever, and that also increases the respect for Israel and with it tends to diminish anti-Semitism. I suppose that's a factor."

Anonymous said...

Here is what America needs to do with regard to the Middle East: Stay out of it and don't let it into America (that means restricting immigration).

Here is what Israel needs to do: Build the wall. Stay behind it. Keep people from crossing it.

Seems simple enough to me. No mucking about, "spreading democracy", waging some big-all-important worldwide war against an amorphous enemy like "terrorism" or "islamic extremism" for people who missed out on the big struggles against militaristic imperialism/fascism/Nazism/communism and want to measure up their dads or grandparents. Edward Luttwak is right: fuck the Middle East.

MS69 said...

Anon, relax. Alot of economists cant write about immigration. Steve's got a thing for the Jews and Israel. I always read it as status seeking among the Paleo Right instead of the Left.

Brian said...


There was, to be sure, one thing that many of even the most passionately committed American Zionists were reluctant to do, and that was to face up to the fact that continued American support for Israel depended upon continued American involvement in international affairs -- from which it followed that an American withdrawal into the kind of isolationist mood that prevailed most recently between the two world wars, and that now looked as though it might soon prevail again, represented a direct threat to the security of Israel.

Norman Podhoretz, neocon godfather, writing about the centralness of Israel, in Breaking Ranks (1979).

Brian said...

New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz proclaims Judith Miller to be "a damn good reporter." I wonder if Peretz thinks the other writers working at his magazine are up to the Miller Standard.

Judith Miller virtually lied us into the Iraq war using the NYT. Scooter Libby and John Bolton visited her in jail when she would not reveal her sources in the Plame affair.

That reporting might be "damn good" for somebody, but certainly not US citizens.


Anonymous said...

We do business very well in the middle east. They have been selling us their oil for decades. They only stoppage was over anger against Israel. So Israel hurts, not helps. our ability to do business in the middle east.

Israel is not a "show of strength" but rather a thorn in the side of other middle eastern countries which makes it more difficult to do business there. Israel makes the US a target of terrorist attacks.

Israel intelligence is manipulated towards the interest of Israel and therefore is HIGHLY unreliable. They gave us bogus info about the Iraq WMD capabilities and are doing the same for Iran.

The part about family and clan is basically irrelevant. We can do business in the middle east, we just can't "force" democracy on them. But we really don't need to. The only people pushing for that are Israel supporters.

Israel is a sectarian state that has little shared common values with the United States. It is illegal to convert a Jew there, for example. Jews can’t marry non-Jews inside the country. The women have to sit in the back of certain religious “buses” etc. The orthodox modesty squads regularly use threats and violence to enforce their codes, and some even spit on or behind non-Jews (as called for by the Torah).

Israel does not share values with the US or the west in general.

As far as oceans not protecting us, that was largely due to immigration, which is often push for by those same supporters of Israel.

Anonymous said...

From Frum:

In 1994, I published my first book, Dead Right, which predicted that the immigration issue would emerge as one of the largest issues in American politics.

That is a prediction. It is not advocating a position.

It gives no sense that Frum argued for greater immigration control.

And he goes on:

the president's determination to proceed with his immigration ideas would wreck the Republican party.

Again, this is political analysis. It is not discussion of immigration on the merits or problems.

And his discussing of immigration in light of terrorism if very narrowly focused on the issue that is much closer to his heart.

Also, his excuse that VDare et al. took the racial line is not a good one. It takes but a few words to say "I think we should control immigration for reasons X,Y or Z. However, I disagree with those arguing A,B and C.

A miserable record, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Israel does not share values with the US or the west in general.
No, it's more of a western country with some odd religious attributes thrown in for historical reasons. It's no more an anomaly among the West than the US with its lack of public transport, religiosity, and weak welfare state.

The problem with Israel is that it is another country. Its interests aren't necessarily going to coincide with ours any more than those of England, Mexico, or Iran. The special problem with Israel is that we need oil from the Arabs. Morally I'm inclined to give the Israelis the nod, as they have a much higher level of civilization than the other countries in the area. And, of course, they have an extra advantage politically in that they look like us; whatever the political views of the Diaspora, the Israelis are white. Remember all those famines in Africa we ignore; nobody can get quite as worked up about Darfur as about Kosovo.

But we need that damn oil.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and about the football (we have twenty other posts a month to talk about Jews): building up Northeastern football teams wouldn't make a difference. Not sure how long you've spent up here--sounds like you've been in California and Texas most of your life--but Northeasterners have baseball where the rest of the country has football, and we have a long tribal feud going on between Boston and New York that is reflected in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. (Come on, you don't really think Bostonians chant 'Yankees Suck' when the ball drops because they're annoyed at losing baseball games, do you?)

At any rate, there's almost a snobbish disregard for college football up here; particularly among elite universities, the general view is that any college known for its football team must not be very good. Lousy football never stopped Columbia from jumping ahead of Yale in selectivity; there's only a small prestige dip and you get to hang out in NYC for 4 years! (Remember, you're not paying New York rent.) NYU has no football team to speak of, but they're still high school kids' number one dream school. (Their parents rather more sensibly opt for Harvard.)

You also have to remember that New York schools, in particular, have no physical space for a football field. Columbia's football field is all the way uptown and nobody ever goes.

College football just isn't part of the culture of the Northeast in the way it is of other parts of the country. Additionally, since the Northeast likes to fancy itself the smartest part of the country, you're not likely to change this.

(BTW, there may be some truth to this. Glance through med school admissions stats sometime; state schools in blue states have much higher average MCATs. I believe Inductivist also looked at this and found the same thing: people in New England really are smarter than people in the rest of the country.)

Anonymous said...

That is a pretty amazing quote from Pod the greater. It basically confirms his (and other neocon's) support for a strong US military and US involvement in world affairs is motivated, at least in part, by a desire to have the US protect Israel.

Can you say “dual loyalty?” Yes, I knew you could.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 6/18/2007 9:19 PM

"[Israel]is an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" where if we are unable to have basing rights anywhere else we can project force in the critical region of the world."

Really? When was the last time US aircraft operated openly or not from Israel. And not from a carrier in the Med or the Gulf for instance, which would do the same job.

When was the last time Israeli aircraft flew a mission in the ME (or anywhere else)which was not directly in Israeli interests? Have Israelis fought in Iraq? Did Israel help NATO in Bosnia?

"Israel and America share a common enemy: Muslims."

Muslims are enemies of the US at least partly because of US support for Israel. Israel's enemies become our enemies, lucky us! So Israel is our ally against people who are our enemies because we are allied with Israel. Well we could change one part of that equation.

"submitting to Muslim demands which are ever growing is a good thing: cartoons, Rushdie, no guide dogs or booze in taxis, special Muslims only bathrooms, and on and on."

Now, here you are quite right. Which is why we shouldnt be allowing any Muslims to settle anywhere in the US, Europe etc. And why we should be making arrangements for the rest to go home. All in all its a good job Jewish people have such a strong record on restricting immigration to our countries.

Anonymous said...


Why no love for our local powerhouse Rutgers?

Anyhow, if every Israel-obsessed Jew in American transferred his zeal to a college football team, you'd still be left with -- what, 60 million? -- evangelicals whose support for Israel is stronger and less critical than perhaps even that of Marty Peretz.

Anonymous said...

Were we attacked on 9/11 because of Israel? Personally, I doubt it. Osama has listed our support for Israel among his grievances, but he's listed numerous things including the Kyoto accords and various other inanities. Bashing Israel makes you popular on the Arab/Muslim street, and pointing out the peace "moderate" regimes like Saudi Arabia and Egypt (the primary enemies of al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood before them, with the US seeming to be an obstacle to removing those regimes in power) have made with Israel helps to discredit them. al Qaeda has not carried out serious attacks on Israel (if I recall correctly the one attack attributed to them happened years after the Iraq invasion and was just a rocket attack that did no real damage), which I would expect them to if they really placed a high priority on Israel. There are numerous other terrorist groups that have it in for Israel, and we should keep them distinct from Israel. al Qaeda is America's problem, Hezbollah & Hamas & Fatah & Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine etc are not America's problems, but Israel's.

Brian said...

No, it's more of a western country with some odd religious attributes thrown in for historical reasons.

SFG, the prohibition against conversion of Jews was passed fairly recently in Israel. So, it is not "historical." And, Your attempt to equate "public transport" and the right to get married is just bizarre (or perhaps desperate?).

And, it doesn't really matter whether it is historical or not, it is still on the books and enforced. In the west, any "historical" law such as this would be attacked by the likes of Alan Dershowitz and the ACLU like red meat.

Israel works very hard, and openly, to preserve its Jewish majority. The idea of actively preserving the religious majority of a state is something that would be unacceptable in most western states and certain the US (opposed mostly by Jewish organizations).

It may be OK that Israel is a sectarian state, but the result of this is that is does not have "shared value" with the US, or the west as currently constituted. (Its sectarianism may be also hypocritical in view of the views promoted by many Jewish organizations, but that is another topic.)

Historical artifacts are things such as the church of England, and other similar state churches in European countries. Israel's sectarian nature goes far beyond these types of artifacts.

Oh, and here is another great example of the kids of "values" they have in Israel:

Chinese workers at a company in Israel have been forced to agree not to have sex with or marry Israelis as a condition of getting a job.

According to a contact they are required to sign, male workers may not have any contact with Israeli women - including prostitutes, a police spokesman, Rafi Yaffe, said.

He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and that no investigation had been opened.

Shared values my ass.


Brian said...


If the U.S. government keeps supporting Israel ... then we will continue to carry out operations inside and outside the United States... All people who support the U.S. government are our targets in our future plans, and that is becuase all those people are responsible for their government's actions and they support the U.S. foreign policy and are satisfied with it.

Ramzi Yousef's laptop computer recovered by Philippine authorities in 1995.

See page 138 of A Pretext for War, James Bamford.

Brian said...


While largely ignored by the American Press, the [Israeli] massacre at Qana was front page News in London, much of Europe, and throughout the Middle East ... the pictures of headless Arab babies and other grisly photographs were likely the final shove, pushing bin Laden over the edge and leading him to dedicating his life to war against what he would call the Israeli-United State alliance. From then on, he would often use the massacre at Qana as a battle cry, and it would become the match lighting the fuse that would eventually lead to the WTC on Tuesday morning five years later.

James Bamford, page 144 of A pretext for War.

ricpic said...

There's a fascinating recent article in Commentary (I think the June issue) in which the point is made that as the years go by the gap between Israelis and American Jews has actually been widening, not narrowing. After all, it becomes increasingly apparent to both parties that the one act which would genuinely certify the centrality of Israel to American Jews, namely the return from the diaspora, is the one act that American Jews, with the rarest of rare exceptions, will not act on. Bad faith and the hostility that emerges from it can only be suppressed for so long.

Anonymous said...

College football just isn't part of the culture of the Northeast in the way it is of other parts of the country. Additionally, since the Northeast likes to fancy itself the smartest part of the country, you're not likely to change this.

It has nothing to do with intelligence. The central purpose of college football is the expression of gentile group allegiance. This sense survives to a much greater degree in the parts of the South and Midwest where traditional America survives and college football thrives.

It is no coincidence that Ivy League football went into sharp decline as Jews matriculated in large numbers in the 1940's and 1950's or that the football program at Columbia -- the most Jewish of the Ivies -- became the doormat.

Anonymous said...

"NYU undergrads aren't exactly alpha-competitives."

You mean the Violent Violets? They have had that nickname for years. And I think the last time they were competitive in sports was back during that basketball point fixing scandal back in the 1950's.

Anonymous said...

We can't support Israel when that support requires us to commit acts of violence against innocent civilians.

I don't particularly like Iraqs or Iranians. I'm no great lover of humanity in general but we can't wage war all over the world just because Israel has once again enacted some dubious policy of aggression certain to solve its problems once and for all.

I had thought things would turn around when Sharon started forcing settlers to abandon their homes in outlying areas that Israel was no longer going to defend. This was the best strategy and if we insisted on remaining true to our values, Israel would make policies that would guarantee our support instead of expecting the US to follow its every whim.

Anonymous said...

Poor little Israel, constantly forced to develop armouries of nuclear weapons outwith international oversight, forever having to occupy and colonize other people's countries for decades on end, never being allowed to quit spying on the USA or sinking our ships or selling our knowhow to the Chinese.... and it's all you white Christian antisemites' fault, aren't you ashamed of yourself?

Well, never mind. You can expiate your sins against the Chosenmost by contributing another few billions in aid, this year, next year and for the foreseeable future, and by putting your diplomatic weight behind every Zionist finagle to preserve a deadlock in the ME and make the Muslim Arabs look like savages-- OK?

Pope Poddy, loyal American, hath spoken-- and so have 1,049 other syndicated Jewish columnists.

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with intelligence.
I'm arguing from snobbery, not college football fans actually being dumber, BTW. Yes I said the Northeast was smarter but that has nothing to do with football; it's more a matter of an excuse for believing they're better (just like the Midwest likes to think they're the real America, the South likes to think they're an independent nation that got conquered, and the West likes to think they're laid-back and know how to enjoy life). Every city, state, region, and country has regional chauvinism.

The central purpose of college football is the expression of gentile group allegiance. This sense survives to a much greater degree in the parts of the South and Midwest where traditional America survives and college football thrives.

It is no coincidence that Ivy League football went into sharp decline as Jews matriculated in large numbers in the 1940's and 1950's or that the football program at Columbia -- the most Jewish of the Ivies -- became the doormat.

As I recall Penn has more Jews than Columbia and has much more active sports. You could be right overall though, the more 'intellectual/artsy' Ivies like Columbia and Brown tend to have more Jews than the more 'sportsy' Ivies like Dartmouth and Princeton, though that may just be an urban-vs-rural thing. These things are very hard to disentangle, though; a big-city environment will attract Jews, liberals, artsy types, and a rural environment will do the opposite, but it's hard to tell which came first, and in many cases these things all feed each other. Keep in mind cities are usually more tolerant areas in every culture, not just our own.

I wouldn't say the correlation implies causality here, though; more likely both increased Jewish enrollment and the decline of football both resulted from the increase in academic emphasis in colleges, especially after Sputnik. Nerds dislike sports regardless of their ethnicity.

College football is about group alliegance, although I'm not sure being a gentile is the key element here, or even that it's ethnically based; white alumni have no problem rooting for black quarterbacks. Notre Dame isn't mostly Irish anymore but people keep rooting for their team. Sports may be one of the few things that brings people of different ethnic groups together, actually.

Anonymous said...

Sports doesn't bring people together. Whites are the only group that supports athletes from other races.

Anonymous said...

I think that these charges of anti-semitism against Steve are completely unfounded. I've never read anything he's written that seems anti-semitic. The term anti-semitism is now often thrown around like the term racism has been - not as an accurate charge, but as a means of suppressing argument.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with investigating the influence wielded by particular groups of influential people, whether they happen to be Jews, or WASP patricians like G.H.W. Bush, or Kennedys. It is not incorrect to point out that some influential Jews (such as Elliot Abrams, Norman Podhoretz, Paul Wolfowitz, among others), have deep loyalties to Israel that may at least compromise their loyalties as Americans. And that certainly does not mean that all Jews do, nor that only Jews do. G.W. Bush, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, and many other gentiles also have loyalties that compromise their loyalty to America.

The truly interesting question to me is why is their judgement so bad. They are good at asking the famous question: "But, is it good for the Jews". They're not so good at answering that question.

Supporting unlimited immigration is definitely bad for the jews, if it makes this country increasingly muslim (which it has) or mexican (the latin american peoples not being known for their judeophillia).

Bringing "democracy" (i.e. chaos and civil war) to Iraq turns out to have been a very bad idea. Better to have an enemy like Saddam Hussein, who is more brutal to his own people (and to Iranians) than he ever was to Israelis, who maintains a monopoly on violence within his domain, and who is completely incompetent as a war-lord. The status quo in the arab world (exepting the Palestinians) was pretty good for Israel - they were surrounded by enemies, yes. But enemies who kept their people in check, and who could not fight and win a modern war.

And as far as I can tell, Israels greatest enemy are its own left-wingers, and left-wing jews in this country, like Noam Chomsky.

I wish Israel well, and believe that we should sell them weapons with which to defend themselves. But I don't think our national policy should be tied to theirs.

Israel has much bigger problems than American support - such as its own large (and probably growing) arab population, and their own ultra-orthodox jewish population which does not contribute to the national defence and itself views the state of Israel to be illegitimate.

jen lovely said...

Anti-semitism is only used as an insult or criticism these days by rabid Jewish supremacists

Anonymous said...

Jews are presently terrified of the Christian Right, because they want to convert them, and conversion means the end of the Jewish people; the ethnic background isn't that strong anymore.

They have sound historical reasons for fearing the conservative end of the political spectrum.

It's worth mentioning (which I think Steve has) that the neocons and Jewish liberals are two separate groups, which largely hate each others' guts. Most Jewish liberals (except those at the New Republic) thought the Iraq War was stupid.

Luke Lea said...

Personally I don't fault Peretz -- or any Americn Jew for that matter -- with being preoccupied with the survival of Israel, as a matter of simple self-preservationl

The problem is a long history of Jewish political naivite. The smartest people don't necessarily get it right even when it comes to their own long-term interest, or the long-term interests of Western values in general. Marxism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, neoconservatism a la Bush in Iraq, are good examples of this. The governance of Israel itself (including its mediocre economic performance) is further evidence of this. Intelligence by itself is greatly over-rated. Look at the handful of people on the net who have scored the all-time highest on special IQ tests: a bunch of pitiful basket cases.

Anonymous said...

"They have sound historical reasons for fearing the conservative end of the political spectrum.

By SFG, at 6/21/2007 5:28 AM"

If by the "conservative end of the political spectrum" you mean Nazis, then you are wrong.

The Nazis were not conservatives. Naziism grew out of a left-wing millieu. It began as a form of populist, racialist socialism, which was levened with a few reactionary and militaristic elements.

Actual conservatives in germany were royalists. They may have been anti-semites, but not violently so.