...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Palpable Hatred

The July 16 edition of the Washington Post Magazine featured an absolutely ridiculous - and anti-Semitic - article about the Israeli lobby in the US. A pair of well-respected professors, Stephen Walt of Harvard University, and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, released a preposterous essay slamming the lobby and its purported effect on US foreign policy. The professors' viewpoint was the same old "Jewish conspiracy crap": A "cabal of powerful Jews" controls the US government and steers it towards objectives not in its best interest. This is the viewpoint of the most radical reactionary groups in our country, such as the KKK and the skinheads. In fact, David Duke, a well-known white supremacist, wrote the Two Professors to say "that the essay vindicated his views." The essay and the article reflect a disturbing trend in recent leftist politics - increasing and unbased hatred of Israel - and of America - rising anti-Semitism.

One would like to think, as time and the political climate of the US advances, so would its citizens' attitudes about race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. This, in the last 20 years, however, has simply not been the case. Statewide constitutional gay marriage bans are springing up across the country, conservative talk show hosts become increasingly xenophobic with regards to Hispanic immigration, Muslims, Arabs, and brown-skinned people in general face appalling, unconstitutional harassment at airports, etc. Things are no different for Jews. Recently, a Jewish family was forced to flee a rural, Delaware town due to anti-Semitic incidences, which included:

1) The local pastors comments at an invocation at a high school graduation included "requests for 'our Heavenly Father's guidance... for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name."

2) A middle school teacher told a Jewish student that "there is only one true religion."

3) "The district board announced the formation of a committee to develop a religion policy. And the local talk radio station inflamed the issue.

On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeting. The Dobrich family [the Jewish family] and Jane Doe [the mother of the family] felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him 'take your yarmulke off!' His statement, read by Samantha, confided 'I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy.'"

It would be difficult to pinpoint the precise cause of the rising anti-Semitism in the US, but perhaps locating the reasons that the left-wing is becoming more anti-Semitic is more feasible. This is could be due to the the Israeli lobby, which most people identify with the right-wing. Several organizations lobby on behalf of American Jews on Israeli issues. These organizations are extremely diverse in their overall place on the political spectrum, but none have the manpower, financial power, grassroots support, or connections in congress like the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a focus of the WPM article. AIPAC is a right-wing organization, but like the various conservative Jewish pundits (David Brooks, to name one), it does not represent the overwhelming political persuasion of American Jews: Liberal Democratic. AIPAC is a powerful organization, but its power is overstated by Democrats because it is their political impotence and their incompetence that has lead to the neoconservative age in America, and they need a scapegoat.

But how far does this anti-Semitic blame game go? Walt and Mearsheimer would like the American public to believe that "Israel and its lobby... was the main factor that had sent American policy off the rails when it came to Iraq." This, besides being patently absurd, flies in the face of what seems to the truth in retrospect, the "Frontline Theory," which was presented in a Frontline Documentary on PBS. This theory, which has been verified by all of the political and intelligence insiders I know personally, contends that Gulf War II was the off-shoot of a war in the Bush Administration between Tenet and Powell on one side, and Rumsfeld and Cheney on the other. The short story is that Rumsfeld and Cheney are arrogant, and like the rest of the administration, surround themselves only with information they want to hear. Thus, when their wild guesses about the nature of Iraq's weapons programs were seemingly discredited by CIA intelligence, they set up their own intelligence "agency" under the authority of the Office of the Vice President, which was housed in the Pentagon (this piece of information is not theory, it's fact). It was all about the superiority of the DoD over the CIA, of braun and guns over intelligence and prudence. This program knowingly provided false information to the rest of the Bush Administration, the CIA, and congress; those who doubted it were swiftly dealt with (Powell and Tenet, for example).

There were other feasible explanations too. Cheney seemed to believe in some sort of "Middle East Big Bang" Theory, reported a Post editorial. Cheney thought that the insertion of democracy into Iraq would ignite a democratic revolution throughout the Mideast. Some have speculated on more dubious motives, such as oil or personal vengeance by Bush on Hussein for the attempted murder of Bush I. All of these explanations command more merit than that of the Two Professors.

Walt's anti-Semitic dribble didn't stop with Iraq: "My belief is we would not be contemplating preventative war [with Iran] if we did not have a powerful domestic interest group [referring to the Israeli lobby] pushing this issue." AIPAC, which represents the minority, right-wing American-Jewish viewpoints on Israel, has commented publicly that it, in fact, does not want either the US or Israel going to war with Iran. In all likelihood, the Administration has warned the Israeli government that it will not support preemptive military action in Iran, as it has not militarily or financially (directly) supported the current campaigns in Gaza or Lebanon.

Perhaps the most outrageous aspect of the article was not the claims made by the people whom the author was writing about, but those made by the author, Glenn Frankel. Frankel, probably more due to ineptitude than intention, equates the usually unrelated agendas of the Israeli lobby and the Neoconservatives. I remind you again that most Jews are liberal Democrats, and that the majority of them view that Iraq war as a threat to global and regional stability. Frankel writes, "...the essay saves its hardest shot for the neoconservatives - that group of pro-Israel ideologues, many of them Jewish, who steered the Bush Administration toward the Iraq war." As if the neocons needed the Israeli lobby to act like waccos! As if the Administration needed a lobby in the first place to be morally compromised, damaging to national security, and silly enough to enter the Iraqi quagmire!

So, with all the other theories on why the America is taking bad turns in its approach to foreign policy, why is the WPM dedicating so much space to this wild theory. Anti-Semitism, or stupidity?

I would like to make clear that my stance on public perception of American-Jewish politics does not mean that I support everything Israel does, or neocons, or the huge amount of US foreign aid to Israel, etc. Anti-Semitism is the focus of this article, not foreign policy. I would also like to make clear that my pro-Israel views do not affect my views on the mistreatment of Arab and Muslim people in the Western world.

More Information:

Jewish family flees Delaware school district's aggresive Christianity - Jews on First
American Fascism - Daily Kos

The Aforementioned Article:

A Beautiful Friendship? - Glenn Frankel, Washington Post Magazine


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