« The Assad government is defending the minorities. - Clifford Kirakofe | Main | You are never safe in "the field." »

13 October 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Just another cya/Lady Macbeth moment - they happen periodically. Where were the liberal zionists (oxymoron?)when the not-liberal zionists were bombing Gaza to the pleistocene, for example?

It's a false distinction - an israel firster is an israel firster is an israel firster.

Clifford Kiracofe

Cantor got his push up in the Republican House hierarchy from then Congressman and now Senator Roy Blunt. Blunt is a Christian Fundamentalist and thus Cantor reflects the alliance between the Neoconservative Republicans with the Christian Fundamentalists in the party. Aside from his Neoconservative perspective, Cantor is able to bundle millions upon millions of dollars from "Jewish funders" for Repubican candidates who toe the pro-Israel line.

The alliance between Neoconservatives and Christian Fundamentalists/Zionists was advocated by Irving Kristol, among others, in the late 70s early 80s. Kristol argued that the traditional Jewish alliance with Black Americans was falling apart and so another voting block was needed with which to align. Pro-Israel Christian Fundamentalists thus were just the ticket. So, Jerry Falwell back then and John Hagee today...

Mondoweiss and Alterman are engaging in wishful thinking. The Israeli Lobby machinery such as AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations are not going to fade away any time soon and they know that. What the supposedly "liberal" Jewish masses may want is of no concern to these elite organizations.

As to Neoconservatives, the best single introduction to the matter is by a former Neocon:
Jacob Heilbrunn, They Knew They Were Right.The Rise of the Neocons (NY: Doubleday, 2008)

The influence of "Jewish" foreign policy orgs is not recent. The Neocons emerged from the American Jewish Committee established in 1906. Early Neocons clustered around the AJC's Commentary Magazine established after WWII. The formula was pro-Zionist and anti-Communist.

One key issue before the country at the moment is whether the Republican Party will drop its Neocon foreign policy and revert to pre-GW Bush/Cheney moderate to conservative "realism." There are ample normal Republican foreign policy specialists and experienced "Wise Men" like Scowcroft, Lugar, Hagel, Gates, Jim Baker, and so on to advise.

Will Romney dump the Neocons if elected?


If Romney is elected, Bibi, his old Wall Street buddy, will be the administration's chief foreign policy advisor.


Another thread article on Mondoweiss in the Mark H. Ellis series, is very, very important in this context, Sara Roy's Edward Said lecture, since it goes far beyond Cast Lead:


"In this zone [Gaza], she argues, one finds “new spaces of obscenity in the politics of day-to-day lives” where engaging in normal, everyday acts of living and working—going to school, visiting neighbors, traveling abroad, planting a tree, growing vegetables and selling products in a nearby market—are treated as criminal activities, punishable, in some instances, by death. In these obscene spaces, innocent human beings—most of them, children—are slowly being poisoned by the water they drink, all with the knowledge and acquiescence of the world community."


Pirate Laddie

Well, things do appear to be getting more complicated for the Chosen Ones. Just a week ago, a large number of mainstream evangelical churches sent a letter to Congress, urging:
"an immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons to “internal security” or “legitimate self-defense.”

More broadly, we urge Congress to undertake careful scrutiny to ensure that our aid is not supporting actions by the government of Israel that undermine prospects for peace. We urge Congress to hold hearings to examine Israel’s compliance, and we request regular reporting on compliance and the withholding of military aid for non-compliance."

Granted these folks aren't part of the snakehandler, "Zion can do no wrong," wing of the faithful that responds readily to Israeli dog whistles. Still, it was enough for Abbie Foxman to threaten to pick up his inter-faith dialogue marbles and depart in a snit. It also seems to have brought the J Street Crowd back to the fold.

The Zionists are moving the Ark of their Covenant further away from the heathen fleshpots where they have sojourned and profited for many years and may be moving back into the Wilderness.

As a commentator in Arutz Sheva said as he packed his bags, "there is nothing to love about religions that have persecuted and murdered millions of Jews for the past 2,000 years."

Clifford Kiracofe

The fundamental foreign policy issue per the Republican Party is whether they will continue to be controlled by the Neocons or whether they will revert to a moderate to conservative "realism" of past days. This is with or without a Romney victory.

Foreign policy, and economic policy, are core issues. Since Reagan, the Neocons have taken over Republican foreign policy.

Mrs. Romney and the eldest son have intervened in the campaign to move their loved one toward moderation. Will this continue in foreign policy? Will the move toward moderation mean a move to dump the Neocons?

This is an interesting article:
..."A more ominous interpretation of the current debate about American power would view the steady disappearance of traditional realists and liberal internationalists within the Republican Party as enduring. The realist/internationalist wing of the party may be fading with the passing of the Cold War generation of Republicans who championed it and as a result of the party’s shift toward the South and Mountain West.

“In terms of the division between the neoconservative and realist wings of the Republican Party, I would argue that all of the intellectual energy is on the neoconservative side,” Elliot Abrams, a deputy national-security adviser in the Bush 43 administration, told me in a comment echoed by other prominent Republicans. “It’s hard to think of anyone below the age of forty who is pushing those ideas anymore. Where is the next generation of Republican realists?”

If the Republican Party moves so far to the right that liberal internationalists have no home other than with the Democrats, their brand of international engagement and moderation risks becoming just another political football tossed about in the partisan scrum of Washington politics. In that case, U.S. foreign policy will continue to vacillate wildly whenever power changes hands between the parties, the congressional opposition will keep stubbornly obstructing the president’s foreign-policy initiatives out of a sense of duty and ideology, and the perceived erosion in the quality of U.S. global leadership will persist. Meanwhile, the ongoing quest for a bipartisan, post–Cold War consensus on America’s rightful role in the world will remain quixotic. That’s not a prescription for American exceptionalism but rather a narrative of continued American decline."

I believe the earliest serious critique of the Neocons linking them to Jacobinism was by Prof. Claes Ryn of Catholic University, Washington, DC. The book is: The New Jacobinism. America as a Revolutionary State (Bowie, MD: National Humanities Press, 1991(2011 new ed).

Just saw Claes at the Metropolitan Club this week at a small panel discussion he organized relating to US foreign policy. Richard Gamble presented an interesting paper with critique on the use of "Exceptionalism" by the left and by the right to justify interventionist/imperial foreign policy.

Clifford Kiracofe

Yes, if he does not drop the Neocons who like Bibi channel Jabotinsky. So we have to await developments in the Romney camp, IMO.

On Jabotinsky:

Bibi's father, Benzion Netanyahu, was Jabotisnky's private secretary:

The Neocons emerge from Revisionist Zionism:

Medicine Man

I would like to believe Romney would hew to a more traditional foreign policy if he is elected, but I'm afraid that that too is wishful thinking. He seems to have fled into the arms of the Neos entirely, with little to indicate that it is a ruse or election year persona. In fact, Romney seems more resolute on this foreign policy views than he is on any other part of his ever-shifting platform.

Margaret Steinfels

Just to put in a word for the really earliest book on the neocons: "The Neoconservatives: The Men (yes, the men, my parens) who are changing America's Politics," by Peter Steinfels (Simon and Schuster, 1979). Also avail. in Italian and Korean!


It's been a long time since I read Alterman with any regularity but in his case I think you're correct. He's a liberal Zionist with an emphasis on the Zionist. He does seem to disapprove of bombing Iran into the Stone Age - at least, not immediately -- and no, he doesn't think Bibi is the "leader of the Jewish people," but when push comes to shove there's not as great a divide between Alterman and the neocons where Israel is concerned as Weiss seems to think.


"There is nothing to love about religions that have persecuted and murdered millions of Jews for the past 2,000 years."

Why stop at 2,000 years? As I've said before "Jews: Kicked out of every country they've been in, but everyone else is the problem."

Clifford Kiracofe


Thanks much, I will look for it. I am particularly interested in the linkages to Trotsky, Jabotinsky, Nietzsche, Alexander Kojeve, and Leo Strauss. The relationship to the AJC is also of interest.

I noted this review comparing the two books:

" From both Steinfels and Heilbrunn, we learn that neoconservatism was the final stop of an ideological journey for a group of New York intellectuals, typically the children of Jewish immigrants, that began during the early 1940s in Alcove 1 of the cafeteria at City College. Alcove 1 was the gathering place for a group of brilliant young Trotskyists that included Irving Kristol, Seymour Martin Lipset, Nathan Glazer and Melvin Lasky. Along with Irving Howe, who would later break with Trotskyism but not with the left, and Daniel Bell, who never accepted Marxist orthodoxies in any form, the Alcove 1 Trotskyists waged intellectual battle with the Stalinists in Alcove 2, who vastly outnumbered them. "....

Whether Romeny dumps them remains to be seen.

Clifford Kiracofe

Here is an interesting piece by Col. Bacevich, who teaches at Notre Dame, arguing that the US foreign policy has become Israelized through a process of what he calls "Israelification.":


...."What’s hard to figure out is why the United States would choose to follow Israel’s path. Yet over the course of the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama quarter-century, that’s precisely what we’ve done. The pursuit of global military dominance, a proclivity for preemption, a growing taste for assassination—all justified as essential to self-defense. That pretty much describes our present-day MO.....

The process of aligning U.S. national-security practice with Israeli precedents is now essentially complete. Their habits are ours. Reversing that process would require stores of courage and imagination that may no longer exist in Washington. Given the reigning domestic political climate, those holding or seeking positions of power find it easier—and less risky—to stay the course, vainly nursing the hope that by killing enough “terrorists” peace on terms of our choosing will result. Here too the United States has succumbed to Israeli illusions."

So will Romney dump the Neocons and liberate the Republican Party from their ideological and policy grip?

Clifford Kiracofe


His record so far shows he is surrounded by Neocons and influenced by them. Whether he will drop them or not is an open question at this point. I hope he does and we will see indications soon enough in the composition of the transition team if he wins. There are non-Neocons in the foreign policy team at present so that is a start and non-Neocons are in the transition team. We already see Zoelleck and Williamson assuming positions of influence in the transition team.

Clifford Kiracofe

A key article by Kristol (Irving) is:

"The Political Dilemma of American Jews," Commentary, Vol 78, No. l, July 1984.
This is where he argues that the traditional Jewish alliance with Black Americans was falling apart with the likes of Jess Jackson and other pro-Palestinian (or insufficiently pro-Israel) leaders. Thus, alliance with the Christian Fundamentalist bloc is recommended. At that time it was the Moral Majority group which took a pro-Israel leading position.


I dont really understand the situation with AIPAC in the US. However I do know that the Likud is not Israel, and the identification of Israel with Likud is something one sees more of in the US than in Israel. One comment I will make is that Neocon and Likudnik appear to be interchangeable terms. Why is that?

Israel has shifted to the right since the mass Russian immigration, but there remains more diversity of view on Israeli matters in Tel Aviv than there is in NYC.



You raise a valid point. IMO also there is more political diversity in Israel than NY City. In that context I think it is valid to ask of Cantor is the emerging true leader of "the Jewish People." pl




Personally I think a Romney loss could cause the party to go either way. They might decide to double down on the more wars, more debt, more outsourcing, more multicult, more Israel, more immigrants, and more "security" Democrat Lite party.

Or they could realise that their policies are incredibly destructive to their base (so called flyover country) and decide to be an actual alternative instead of the poor dears wringing their hands over not getting invited to cocktail parties.

A Romney victory means we're going to see an amnesty attempt, another war in MENA, and a further erosion of civil rights in the name of turning the President into an Emperor.

Cliffiord Kiracofe

I think some people use the terms together in the sense that the Neocons link to Revisionist Zionism and Jabotinsky.

There is more diversity in the press in Israel I think and more space to criticize the government. It is hard to imagine any of the critiques in Ha'aretz, for example, appearing in US newsmedia.

Actually, if Romney wins and dumps the neocons this might liberate Israel to some extent.

Margaret Steinfels

Another neocon book that might interest you: Neoconservatism: The Biography of a Movement by Justin Vaisse (Harvard University Press, 2010). It traces three generations! of the "guys" (still) and how they morphed from CUNY to Henry Jackson Democrats to today. And how Daniel Bell and Pat Moynihan dropped back. Amazingly it is translated from the French (orig pub. 2008).

 Larry Kart

About this "true leader of 'the Jewish People'" theme and its implicit subtext of how much or how little diversity is involved here, allow me in all seriousness to tell an old joke. Two Jews have been marooned for years on a desert island. Finally they are rescued, whereupon the landing party discovers that three imposing structures have been built on the island. Asked what these might be, one of the men says, "That's the synagogue I go to, and over there that's the synagogue he goes to." "And what's the third structure?" "That's the synagogue that neither of us would be caught dead in."


You could say the same 'bout them ragheads. For them, EVERYONE else is THE problem.

I'm gettin' REAL SICK Of these pain-in-the-butt semitic S.O.B.s



I will tell you, as I tell everyone else here that there will be no use of name calling; "chinks, japs, kikes, beaners, etc. pl

Margaret Steinfels

There is an unexamined amount of political diversity in NYC where I live. Whether or not it is more or less than in Israel, I don't know. But I have the impression, mostly from reading Ha'aretz than a great deal more diversity is expressed in Israel than in the U.S. Many of my Jewish neighbors are not fans of Bibi, the Likud, or the West Bank Settlements. They do not want the U.S. to be drawn into another ME war with Iran or Syria.

Yet, I suspect like many Christians of the non-Evangelical persuasion they hesitate to voice their views very loudly lest they be hit with "anti-Semite," or "self-hating Jew." My impression is that the NYTimes has shifted to a slightly more critical view of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Bibi's performance over the last couple of months has deeply antagonized many people...but apparently not our Congressional representatives, including those from NYC. The Likud's hold on our Congress is what needs serious examination.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

January 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad