"And half of the them are Jewish"
April 2, 2004 10:00 AM   Subscribe

The magazine Adbusters has published a list of "the 50 most influential neocons in the US," and, writes editor Kalle Lasn, "half of the them are Jewish." Lasn identifies the Jews on the list with a dot. At least I think they're dots; maybe they're very small yellow stars.
posted by tranquileye (91 comments total)
It's statistically significant... just like the unmentioned fact that the list is 100% white men who are unboubtably in the top tier tax bracket.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2004

John Neuhaus is most likely in the bottom tax bracket, him being a priest and editor of non-profit, small circulation magazine and all. Can't imagine that Jonah Goldberg or Max Boot are making even six figures yet, either.
posted by MattD at 10:13 AM on April 2, 2004

yes! yes! Lasn is an anti-Semite!
liberals are anti-Semites, too!
if one disagrees with the Israeli government/the Bush White House/Wolfowitz/a Jewish person, then one is obviously an anti-Semite.

happy now?

ps the list you linked has been up for several weeks.
at least it's not NewsFilter. maybe OldNewsFilter, or AgendaFilter

posted by matteo at 10:14 AM on April 2, 2004

From the article:

Drawing attention to the Jewishness of the neocons is a tricky game. Anyone who does so can count on automatically being smeared as an anti-Semite.

Bingo! Invoke the holocaust! Clearly this magazine is a front for a genocidal movement. I mean, I respect the way you can take some of the most powerful, connected people in the country and make them look like persecuted victims, but... wait - no I don't.
posted by scarabic at 10:21 AM on April 2, 2004

How many influencial democrats are jewish?

not making a point... just asking.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:26 AM on April 2, 2004

What's the point of them pointing the "jewishness" of the list in the first place? Do jewish faith and neoconservative views clash? If so, how?
posted by mathowie at 10:26 AM on April 2, 2004

Marty Peretz isn't a "neoconservative" by any stretch of the imagination--though The New Republic has drifted idiosyncratically rightward over the years, Peretz is still a Big Wheel in the Democratic Party.

Matt, I think that Lasn's point can only be that "Jewish people are automatically in favor of any ridiculous stance taken by the current Israeli government."

Since Lasn apparently defines "neoconservative" as "in favor of the current Israeli government", and he defines "top neoconservatives" rather idiosyncratically (where, for example, is Andrew Sullivan?), it seems a bit tautological.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:31 AM on April 2, 2004

posted by brownpau at 10:31 AM on April 2, 2004

mathowie, he explains it in the article (4th link). It's not the most convincing explanation... but at the same time there is no reason to get all PC about it and say that race/ethinicty/whatever is off-limits. So... pass? I don't know. I don't feel threatened by it but it seems kind of weak.
posted by chaz at 10:35 AM on April 2, 2004

Mathowie - it's because they're neocon Jews. Which means they're obviously Likudniks. And thus, obviously, Israeli spies.

The point should be that it's a disgusting display of racism. Don't see a similar list of Jewish Democrats, or Muslims who give to Cynthia McKinney, or Christian Democrats with little dots next to their names.

Scarabic, it does invoke the holocaust, actually. Carefully crafted lists of political opponents in which an additional identifier is made for Jews? What else is it like? The Muslim Internment Lists that he also made in that issue? Oh wait, he didn't. The Buddhist Libertarian lists? He didn't make those either.

You overstate things when you say that it's a front for a genocidal movement, and you disappoint when you don't recognize that it's motivated by antisemitism. It would be less offensive if there were any of the other things I listed - or say - a list identifying all of the religions of the neocons.

What's funny is that in the last hundred years, Jews have started all of one war, maybe. (Russian Revolution had a few Jews at the top, family of mine among them) Other than that, nothing, so far as I know.

You don't see lists of German neo-cons, despite their starting two world wars. You don't see lists of influential Russians, despite the cold war. Just Jews.

Because, as we all know, Jews are... what, exactly?
posted by swerdloff at 10:39 AM on April 2, 2004

Do jewish faith and neoconservative views clash? If so, how?
They do clash. We believe in social justice and community, and of argument and discussion to solve problems, not preemptive wars and violence. We do not think we can make the rest of the world live the way we want them to. We're also not as delusional as the neo-cons.

At least the editor admitted: Indeed, American Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat and many of them disagree strongly with Ariel Sharon’s policies and Bush’s aggression in Iraq.
Which kinda brings up the obvious question: Then why mention it, if it's not representative at all of how we think and vote? What's his/her point? Why label us this way?
posted by amberglow at 10:39 AM on April 2, 2004

What's the point of them pointing the "jewishness" of the list in the first place?

Well, that's where the accusations of anti-Semitism might have some validity. What other reason is there to even mention it? Just goes to show that the right dosen't have a monopoly on bigotry.

The whole screed sounds like something out of the Aryan Nations playbook: "It's all a plot by the secret cabal of rich Jews who control the media & the government." If this was from any other source it would be denounced as the tinfoil hat paranoia that it is. Even his disclaimers sould like "Some of my best freinds are Jewish..."

Looks like Adbusters slide from interesting commentators to preachy demogougues to utter yo-yos is complete.
posted by jonmc at 10:41 AM on April 2, 2004

It's in the definition of "neoconservative" that the bearer of the label was once a liberal, or at least a Democrat. Several "neoconservatives" like the oft-maligned Paul Wolfowitz, or Charles Krauthammer, got their start in the Carter administration, or at the Democratically-aligned New Republic. I guess I remember a time when the worst among conservatives, in their own company, felt comfortable bandying a certain "hippy Jew" stereotype. Of course there are the infamous tapes of H.R. Haldeman and Billy Graham, unctuously going along while Nixon speculated about who among his enemies was a Jew.

I just don't remember that kind of thing ever being publicly acceptable, is all, when these "neoconservatives" were working for the other side. And even if it ever was, I don't consider it acceptable now.
posted by coelecanth at 10:42 AM on April 2, 2004

Meaning that I don't consider it publicly or privately acceptable, and I never did.
posted by coelecanth at 10:46 AM on April 2, 2004

Yeah, the whole thing feels very weird to me. Kind of like "Well, we're not saying it means anything, but here's the list, and you can draw your own conclusions, but we thought it was important enough to print in our magazine, even though we aren't saying why the list is relevant." They have the "courage" to print this list and pre-emptively attack their critics ("We're going to be called anti-semetic, you just watch!") and then don't have the guts to examine what their pseudo-scientific list means in political terms.
posted by gwint at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2004

Duh. This is stupid beyond words. And I'm a lefty.

The founders of the neoconservative movement were left-wing Jewish intellectuals at City College in the 50's who steadily moved rightward as they became disullusioned with Marxism. They were all Jews because that was the only place where the children of poor immigrant Jews could either afford to go or get in because of quotas. It was a public college. They called it the "poor man's Harvard" back then.

Two of those guys are at the top of this list, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. There was a great documentary about them a while back called "Arguing the World." (Some of their friends became leading lights of the left).

It was called "neo" conservative because it was a new
phenomenon: a traditionally liberal group -- Jewish immigrants -- embracing principles held by old style conservatives. They freaked out a lot of people, including a lot of leftist Jewish intellectuals. They also conferred some intellectual legitimacy on conservativism, which at the time was mostly William F. Buckley and the John Birch Society,
and a bunch of other WASPs.

We're now in the second generation -- Irving's son Bill is a founder of the Weekly Standard, for example.

I'd argue that "neocon" doesn't mean much anymore. It has become mainstream conservative thought. What does this list mean, anyway? Who decides who gets to be on it? It's b.s. and I'm really disappointed to see the left resort to anti-Semitism. Working class Jews and Catholics built the left in this country, and their blood is on the streets. We've seen the same rightward drift among Catholics, too. It's what happens when immigrant groups become mainstream, make money and forget their roots.
posted by Slagman at 10:48 AM on April 2, 2004

I think the most insidious things about Lasn's list, and this came through loud and clear when he was interviewed by CBC a few days ago, is that he presents evidence that implies a conclusion, but is too cowardly to state the conclusion himself. And that conclusion, obviously, is that the "Jewish-ness" of these neocons has somehow tainted American foreign policy in regards to the Middle East. This sort of essentializing is, at best, intellectually sloppy, and at worst sectarian and anti-Semetic.
posted by tranquileye at 10:49 AM on April 2, 2004

Do jewish faith and neoconservative views clash? If so, how?

no. But, there is a problematic thread that runs from cheney through the neo-cons in washington, to JINSA, on and on to Sharon/Netanyahu and the Likudniks in Tel Aviv.

Look at who Perle, Pipes, Feith, and Wolfowitz have all worked for ... USA's interests? or Israel's interests? or are they now bound together until the red heifer comes?
posted by specialk420 at 10:51 AM on April 2, 2004

Also, a lot of the early neocons were Democrats, as others here have pointed out. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was considered a neocon by some, especially when he worked for Nixon. Anyone who broke with liberal dogma from that side of the spectrum got the label. They used to say a neoconservative is a liberal who's been mugged. This was when crime was a big issue and the cities were falling apart, yadda yadda. They feared America was in decline. That's why Marty Peretz could in some ways be considered a neocon -- they were trying to pull the Democrats to the center. That led to the Democratic Leadership Council and the ascent of Bill Clinton -- who was not liberal in the opinion of some.
posted by Slagman at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2004

For the record, this piece is disgusting. Please note, however, that Peretz was often identified in the past as a neoconservative, along with sociologists Daniel Bell and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I believe that all eventually rejected the term, Bell in particular. But that didn't stop Peretz from signing a pro-Iraq war letter to Bush sent by the neo-conservative dominated Project for a New American Century on Sept. 20, 2001.
posted by raysmj at 10:54 AM on April 2, 2004

It's not only inappropriate, it's pointless. Many fundamentalist Christians are just as hard-line supporters of Israel as "the Jews." (As if all of us will automatically worship or even tolerate people like Ariel Sharon.)

Some of the people getting blown up by suicide bombers are my third, fourth, and fifth cousins; this doesn't change the fact that my love of peace and democracy is stronger than arbitrary connections to strangers through bloodlines.

Again, I'm not sure why this list proves anything.
posted by PrinceValium at 10:56 AM on April 2, 2004

Perhaps someone can contact AdBusters and ask for a list of the names of their editorial board with their religion listed.
posted by gwint at 10:57 AM on April 2, 2004

I'm thinking AdBusters did this to start exactly this kind of argument, that have ALWAYS been provocative. and Statistically in this case they are correct... there may be a trend here. why and is it important are the NEXT questions...

That being said Anti Israeli is not more Anti-semitic than Anti-palistinian, Both ARE semitic in origin,. Both forget that and so do we.
posted by Elim at 11:02 AM on April 2, 2004

I would argue that the neocon Jews and the neocon Gentiles have pretty much the same Likudnik attitudes, so their "Jewishness" doesn't really have anything to do with it. Which doesn't let them off the hook for their slavish devotion to the interests of Israel over those of the US...
posted by laz-e-boy at 11:05 AM on April 2, 2004

PrinceValium: To play devil's advocate for a sec, if someone printed a list of people involved in pushing social policy in the Bush administration, and put a star next to the fundamentalists evangelicals, hardly anyone would be pitching a fit about on metafilter or anywhere else.
posted by raysmj at 11:06 AM on April 2, 2004

The point should be that it's a disgusting display of racism. Don't see a similar list of Jewish Democrats, or Muslims who give to Cynthia McKinney, or Christian Democrats with little dots next to their names.

Oh, here's a few.
posted by laz-e-boy at 11:15 AM on April 2, 2004

raysmj, every "fair and balanced" news source would scream bloody murder if somebody pointed out the religious backgrounds of social Conservatives... of course, some would be surprised how many Catholics would be among 'em, and I'd estimate 5% Jewish... And, of course, 2% Devil's Advocates.

Although I like gwint's idea of disclosing the religious membership of any medium's editorial staff when they get into the religious categorization of public figures... I've always been curious about the people behind the Christian Science Monitor.
posted by wendell at 11:22 AM on April 2, 2004

Many fundamentalist Christians are just as hard-line supporters of Israel as "the Jews."
because fundy Christians really believe that the Jews will go to hell anyway, when Rapture finally comes, not having recognized Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. but since Jews are in charge of the Holy Land right now, the Christian Fundys blindly support the Israeli right. Mainly in the name of Armageddon. it's a strategic allegiance, nothing else.
their theologies are just too different -- if Christians are right, the Jews are still waiting for the Messiah they didn't recognize in the first place 2,000 years ago. if Jews are right, Christianity is an heresy, cult created by a crazed zealot Jew who didn't recognize the Sabbath and tricked people into thinking he was the Messiah.
all the ecumenism in the world (and I'm a big Pope John XXIII / Pope Paul VI fan) can't change that theological clash

check out this years' real wedge issue: the Gibson movie.
then you'll see how well this do-ut-des thing really works. you'll see the contempt.

say what you want about Lasn, I suppose his main beef with the neocons is their role in the Iran-Contras treason and the Iraq Attaq scam. I suppose he doesn't really hate the Jews because "they killed Christ".
that's the nice part about being an atheist -- you don't really care about what happened in Palestine in the Bronze Age

re Lasn's list: double-loyalty is an issue delicate enough to raise a few accusations on both parts.
Lasn has made a career out of being outrageous. of course there are better (and more rational, and more polite) ways to introduce the topic of the possibility that some American officials have Israel's interest in mind more than they have the USA's (because, I'm sorry, I don't think the USA and Israel's interest are 100% the same, all the time, forever)

but at least Lasn didn't name good old Jonathan Pollard, didn't he?
posted by matteo at 11:22 AM on April 2, 2004

How many on that list are Fundamentalist Christians?
posted by SweetIceT at 11:23 AM on April 2, 2004

Kettle to Pot: "What did you call me?"
posted by Elim at 11:24 AM on April 2, 2004

raysmj beat me to it. it's no different than pointing out the evangelicals.

if you're going to pound the drums of war, prepare to have your philosophy and motives examined.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:29 AM on April 2, 2004

I'm sorry, I don't think the USA and Israel's interest are 100% the same, all the time, forever)

Neither do I, matteo, but if this came from a right wing source pointing out (hypothetically) how many Jews are liberal, would we be so quick to dismiss this as being merely "provocative,"?

I suppose he doesn't really hate the Jews because "they killed Christ".
that's the nice part about being an atheist -- you don't really care about what happened in Palestine in the Bronze Age

Religiousity is not a prerequisite for bigotry. I've met plenty of non-religious racists. Some people have a fear of whatever's different from them and never got over it, that's all.

You know me well enough to know that I'm probably the least PC being alive, but even I can recognize Jew-baiting paranoia when I see it. Lasn is being disingenuous at best and hateful at worst.
posted by jonmc at 11:34 AM on April 2, 2004

nonetheless, i cringed when i saw that feature in the magazine.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:35 AM on April 2, 2004

I think what gives some people the willies about the AdBuster list is that Jews have a very recent, very bad connotation associated with people in a Western democracy drawing up lists that imply (1) Jews have disproportionate power (2) Are not loyal to the Fatherland (3) Help to foster a more dangerous world via their politics. It started with lists. Then it got really really bad. Fundamentalist evangelicals have no such history. Also, if you simply asked many fundamentalist evangelicals what their goals are, I would imagine they would be pretty straight-forward about them (abortion, school prayer, etc.). One problem with this list is it implies "Even though these people won't admit that they have Israels interests ahead of the US, we know it is true not because they are neo-cons but because they are Jews."
posted by gwint at 11:42 AM on April 2, 2004

This is reminiscent of the pro-Nazi features over at JewWatch.com. Nevertheless, as a Jew I find the reactionary drift of the Jewish community in the last few years sort of disturbing. Remember, the Old Book says, you were once a stranger in Egypt, too, y'know...
posted by inksyndicate at 11:49 AM on April 2, 2004

swerldoff - I guess I just get sick of people crying Holocaust at every perceived offense to the Jewish people. Cry racism, cry discrimination, etc. But this gravitational force that draws something like this toward the extermination of millions of civilians is imaginary. I find these implications themselves offensive. In case no one has noticed, it's actually Arabs who are being catalogued, rounded up and secreted away, stripped of their rights, while we ship millions in aid to the Jewish home state annually. This is the brink of another Jewish holocaust?

I thought the article was interesting in that I've always stereotypes neocons as bible-thumping christians. Lo and behold, that's not entirely accurate. Now Lasn is an utter crank, and the way he goes about everything is insensitive and sometimes rude, but shit, man, this post is garbage.

"OMFG. An article about prominent Jews. What is this, the holocaust?"
posted by scarabic at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2004

but if this came from a right wing source pointing out (hypothetically) how many Jews are liberal, would we be so quick to dismiss this as being merely "provocative,"?

"And then there was Secretary of State James Baker's infamous "fuck the Jews" remark. In a private conversation with a colleague about Israel, Baker reportedly uttered the vulgarity, noting that Jews "didn't vote for us anyway." This was more or less true—Bush got 27 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 73 percent for Dukakis, in 1988. And thanks in part to Baker, it was even truer in 1992, when Bill Clinton got 78 percent of the Jewish vote and Bush got only 15 percent—the poorest showing by a Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964."
from "The Bushes and the Jews -- Explaining the president's philo-Semitism", by Anne E. Kornblut, Slate. Updated Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Some people have a fear of whatever's different from them and never got over it, that's all.
this explanation works for, say, the anti-black, anti-mexican or the anti-Muslims -- the ratio for their racism is "these people are dumber/lazier/dirtier/whatever than us white folks".
Lasn's alleged crime amounts to havign a very crude way to accuse certain administration officials and commentators of double loyalty at best and treason at worst.
I don't see Lasn arguing classic anti-semite talking points about shylocks or hooked noses.
it's different.
I don't support it, but come on, the yellow star thing is an ever cruder and more crass smear -- pot kettle, definitely
posted by matteo at 11:56 AM on April 2, 2004

jonmc: I got the idea that the guy was not Jew-baiting so much as trying to sound deliberately provocative. And in that way, it's thoughtless, as if the writer were hopelessly unaware of the whole history in the background here. If has about the whiff of someone wanting to stir up trouble and debate, but acting innocent about it.
posted by raysmj at 12:03 PM on April 2, 2004

It's a shame how some of the Left seems to be actually trying to scare away the Jews.
posted by callmejay at 12:03 PM on April 2, 2004

What I find more interesting than pro-Israeli sentiment on the right is the persistence of pro-Israeli sentiment in the Democratic Party leadership, when most of the hard left hate Sharon more than they hate bin Ladin (if they hate bin Ladin, at all, of course.)

If Kerry loses and the Republicans expand their hold on Congress, I bet the left will make their move to oust pro-Israeli Democrats the way they ousted pro-life Democrats. If they succeed, I can imagine that Jewish voters will end up nearly as solid a Republican voting block as evangelicals are now.
posted by MattD at 12:15 PM on April 2, 2004

I don't see Lasn arguing classic anti-semite talking points about shylocks or hooked noses.
it's different.

OK, it's self starting entreprenuerial bigotry.

It's actually a new spin on an old myth: Rich Jews control the world. Go to any White Power (and many Black Muslim) websites and you'll hear the same shpeil. It's old hatreds dressed up for a more "intellectual" constituency. Remember the "Protocols of The Elders of Zion?" scam?

Lasn's too samrt and too well educated not to know what he sounds like here. So either he actually buys this bullshit on some level or he's trying to immolate himself.
posted by jonmc at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2004

MattD: Please stop confusing "Jewish" with "pro-Israeli," expecially when by "pro-Israeli" you undoubtedly mean "pro-Likud."
posted by callmejay at 12:28 PM on April 2, 2004

There are buttloads of Catholics on that list, too. Because they're MARCHING IN LOCKSTEP TO THE VATICAN'S DRUM!

And I wonder how many Masons there are...


Seriously, this is utter crap along the lines of the "Know-Nothing" Party.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:41 PM on April 2, 2004

MattD: Please stop confusing "Jewish" with "pro-Israeli," expecially when by "pro-Israeli" you undoubtedly mean "pro-Likud."

If you're talking about Jewish neocons I think we can safely assume that most of them are probably pro-Israel.

the project for a new american century had (probably still has) some old papers up published by perle and wolfowitz and the assorted like, one of which outlined why jews need to reignite their zionism and transcend their "enemies" (arabs).

I agree with Matteo, by and large, in that I don't view this as straight-forward anti-semitism as jonmc does, but the list itself won't serve any purpose because given the circumstance you can't expect it's going to be viewed any other way. So, ya know, stupid idea.
posted by The God Complex at 12:52 PM on April 2, 2004

jonmc: I didn't see it that way. In this case, we do know that plenty of these people lobbied rather publicly and in an organized way for an invasion of Iraq, long before the issue went public, as it were. A large number of them, far out of proportion to the U.S. population and even the country's leadership and political elite, happened to be Jewish and mostly virulently pro-Israel. In some cases, those cited even noted the link in a positive fashion. It's not a conspiracy, but the truth.

The only Catholics on there I noticed - that is, ones who have happily made note of the religiosity in public - wer Francis Fukuyama and William Bennett. If the two had worked their religion in to the defense of a particular country or perceived homeland, their religious identity would be more relevant. This religious identity is in and of itself, however, just one piece of a larger puzzle. And bringing it up in such an isolated fashion - especially with the historical background as regards Jewish people - is not the smartest way to spark debate, even if we're all yakking about the issues right now.
posted by raysmj at 1:08 PM on April 2, 2004

Assuming that you believe that neocons have a position of power and influence in the U.S. then I see nothing wrong with asking question of the type this list brings up - even if I have been influenced by my culture to feel uncomfortable with lists like this.

I see many here attacking the idea of drawing up this list, but I don't see anyone attacking the premise. So I am going to call you out to answer a few questions.

1) Are Jews disproportionately represented in the neocon movement?

2) Is the neocon movement advocating positions that might be more favorable to Israel than the U.S.?

3) What is the difference between pointing this out, and for example pointing out that in the U.S. government , there are a disproportionate number of rich white men, and they often vote to advance the interests of their group over those of the nation at large?
posted by bashos_frog at 1:10 PM on April 2, 2004

A) Father Richard J. Neuhaus is Catholic, raysmj, and definitely makes a Great Big Point of it in public.

B) It's rather over-egging the pudding to put whole families on the list (Norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, and John Podhoretz; Irving and Bill Kristol) and then suggest that that represents some sort of EVIL JEWISH CONSPIRACY rather than a family tradition of right-wingitude.

Given that John and Bill were tiny kids when their parents "converted" to conservatism, is it even appropriate to call them "neo-conservatives"?
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:18 PM on April 2, 2004

There are buttloads of Catholics on that list, too. Because they're MARCHING IN LOCKSTEP TO THE VATICAN'S DRUM!

That's a point well taken and an interesting analogy.

I guess the difference being that there's a very active political relationship between the US and Israel that carries quite a hefty price tag. I really don't care what people's religious views are in their own private lives, but it's hard to deny that the US, a so-called secular democracy, heavily supports a nation whose slim ethnic majority has militantly segregated everyone else on religious grounds. Clearly, there's nothing fishy about *that* relationship. How silly and racist of anyone to even run the numbers.
posted by scarabic at 1:20 PM on April 2, 2004

Oh, and the Wurmsers (whoever they are).

Jeez, I guess all New York State retro-conservatives are Irish Catholics--just look at the enormous Buckley family!
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:21 PM on April 2, 2004

The kind of people who are going to be taking over the Democratic Party aren't merely anti-Likud, or anti-settlements ... they are flat-out partisans of Palestinian rule over all of Israel. Whether they support a Hamas style massacre or an Arafat style right of return, is ultimately immaterial to the destruction of an integral Jewish state.

I know lots of liberal Jews, some of whom dislike Sharon with passionate intensity, and not one of them will be voting for a party with those kind of views.
posted by MattD at 1:28 PM on April 2, 2004

There's no such thing as "running the numbers" here, scarabic. Lasn came up with a list that fit his own preconception, and stacked the deck by including whole families and leaving out significant public figures (Andrew Sullivan, for example, Clarence Thomas, and Pat Buchanan--all Catholics) who wouldn't support his claim.

Yes, there are people who are prominent in American political life who support the most outrageous policies of the current Israeli government because of their religious convictions (whether those convictions be Jewish or Christian). Yes, commenting on that is a meaningful exercise in political analysis.

But this isn't a meaningful analysis--this is simply childish hate-mongering. People are saying things like "statistically, he's got a point", but there is no statistical method involved here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:30 PM on April 2, 2004

1) Yup. And in Hollywood, Journalism, and Poliitics in general. Better start whipping up a list, don't you think? Or series of lists.

2) The Roadmap you mean? Which puts the onus on the Palestinians to do only one teensy weensy thing (stop terror) in exchange for a state? Or the invasion of Iraq? Or did you forget that starting in 1979 in Iran, fundamentalist Islamic "Militants" (Terrorists) have been attacking US interests? And that Saddam had been funding them? NOT Al Qaeda, but Ansar Al-Islam, Abu Nidal (remember the Achille Lauro?), and others? Which do you mean, precisely? Should the US have attacked, say, France, when we were attacked? Belgium?

3) There isn't one. And people weren't pointing that out and haven't.

Now Laz-E-Boy, you intentionally misread my question about where are the concommensurate lists about other groups, so I'll restate it:
Where are the lists in the same forum listing any other group by their religion?

Scarabic - after the September '01 roundup of people who had been under surveillance for terrorism ties, what roundups are you talking about? Have any examples? Not saying there aren't any or there are, I just haven't heard a lick about that, and it's the sort of thing CAIR would be howling to the walls about.
posted by swerdloff at 1:33 PM on April 2, 2004

MattD, when are those anti-Israel people going to be taking over the Democratic Party? Because my husband--Jewish and anti-Sharon--would be delighted if any of his fellow Democrats would even listen to his critiques of the current Israeli government.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:33 PM on April 2, 2004

Sidhedevil: The term "neo-conservative" typically implied a different sort of conservatism than the American norm. And the younger Kristol, along with David Brooks, has gone on and on and on about how they embraced something they called "national greatness conservatism" or some other nutso crap like that. It's Big Goverment conservatism, which to me sounds like a contradiction, although it's what we have coming from the White House right now. It's closer in spirit, if not in the details, to what you heard from state corporatist leaders of the mid-20th Century. (On the other hand, it's no more a contradiction than "free-market conservatism," which is really just economic liberalism in one aspect.)
posted by raysmj at 1:40 PM on April 2, 2004

If there wasn't a long, sad, horrific history of using people's Judaism against them, then a list like this wouldn't be a problem, except for its obvious scapegoating and targetting. If anyone here thinks that the majority of Jews in the US feel the same way as the neocons, then you're sadly mistaken, and that's the problem--that's the message this list sends.
posted by amberglow at 1:42 PM on April 2, 2004

Pat Buchanan is not identified with the sort of conservatism or foreign policy stances listed above. Saying he's aligned with these folks would be stupid.
posted by raysmj at 1:46 PM on April 2, 2004

RaySMJ, you're proving my point. Pat Buchanan has more in common with, say, Irving Kristol than does Marty Peretz--except on the issue of support for the current Israeli government.

Lasn defines "neoconservative" and "influential" in an idiosyncratic way--including "pro-Likud" as one of the necessary criteria-- and then says, "Look! It's objectively apparent that half of these people are Jewish."

Are Jewish people overrepresented (in terms of their demographics) among the prominent Americans who take a pro-Likud stance in print and/or in public policy? Yes, absolutely.

There are some very complicated reasons for that, though, which Lasn's foolish article doesn't address.

One might equally say, from the basis of Lasn's list, that "men", "white people", and "wealthy people" are overrepresented among Lasn's cherry-picked group of "influential neoconservatives".
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:57 PM on April 2, 2004

(Note: please append to my last post at 1:33pm that if CAIR were pointing out disappearances of Muslims, and howling to the walls about it, they'd be damn right to do so.)
posted by swerdloff at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2004

Ray, I'm going to make it simpler.

Pat Buchanan and Irving Kristol have lots of political views in common. Marty Peretz and Irving Kristol have exactly two things in common--a) both support the current Israeli government, and b) both are Jewish.

For Lasn to include Peretz and Kristol on a list of "influential neocons" smacks of special pleading for that reason.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:01 PM on April 2, 2004

most of the hard left hate Sharon more than they hate bin Ladin (if they hate bin Ladin, at all, of course.)

So obviously you do not think it's wrong to imply a link between Jewish Neocons and Israeli interests if you're so willing to imply a link between liberals and bin Laden. I mean, that's the only intellectually consistent conclusion, right?
posted by crank at 2:08 PM on April 2, 2004

sidhedevil: I wouldn't be so sure of that. Pat B. is not a pro-big government "conservative." Kristol is, I think, closer to Peterz on plenty of issues than Buchanan is to Kristol. See: NAFTA, etc.
posted by raysmj at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2004

crank: Only if political stance=religion/ethnicity.
posted by Snyder at 2:15 PM on April 2, 2004

it's no different than pointing out the evangelicals.

It's very different, for a number of reasons. First, there hasn't been a systematic large-scale gassing of evangelicals in the past 75 years. Sorry to invoke the Holocaust, since that's apparently declasse nowadays, but the fact is, it happened. Singling out jews has nasty, nasty baggage with it, whether you like it or not.

Second, evangelicalism is a faith, whereas judaism carries a large helping of race in its classification. This makes a difference, since while an evangelical, by definition, holds a certain number of defined beliefs, a jew does not. Therefore, it is inappropriate to classify them by ideology.

I think that this is extremely troubling. I don't really care if it was meant to be provocative or not; it's a troubling time for jews, and this shit doesn't help.

MattD: that's utter bullshit. I would love you to back up your assertion that the left prefers bin Laden to Sharon. Disapproval of Sharon's tactics implies neither antisemitism nor approval of bin Laden. Holy shit.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:19 PM on April 2, 2004

Fred Barnes on big-government conservatism, which he links directly to something he calls neo-conservatism.
posted by raysmj at 2:22 PM on April 2, 2004

I'd be interested in someone coming up with a history/list of how many neo-cons were former communists/Trotskyites and what brought about their change of heart.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 2:34 PM on April 2, 2004

the Observer ran a piece on Neo-Cons a while ago (including this not-funny joke from Coulter):
For instance, when asked if she was a neocon herself, the best-selling right-wing pundit Ann Coulter replied, "No, I’m a gentile. That’s only partially a joke. These days, the term ‘neoconservative’ is almost always used to insult someone. More recently, the term has become a liberal epithet to mean ‘Jew conservative.’

posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on April 2, 2004

i'm late to the party.

Working class Jews and Catholics built the left in this country, and their blood is on the streets. We've seen the same rightward drift among Catholics, too. It's what happens when immigrant groups become mainstream, make money and forget their roots.

some of it is what happens when Jews and Catholics remember their roots. conservatism is not solely about the rich getting richer (though i'm concerned about that correlation). it's also about supporting more traditional morality.
posted by Sean Meade at 4:11 PM on April 2, 2004

It was funnier when the eXile did it.
posted by Ptrin at 4:58 PM on April 2, 2004

Does anybody even care who is or isn't a Jew? In this day and age?

Maybe it's an East Coast, West Coast thing, but nobody i know even cares about Jewishness, one way or the other. i can't even begin to tell you how not an issue it is.

I mean, just off the top of my head, we got blacks, indians from india, indians from america, all kinds of hispanics, all different flavors of asians... That's just off the top of my head. Jewish isn't really a big deal in the face of all that. It's just another isotope of white.

It seems so... quaint.
posted by Miles Long at 6:08 PM on April 2, 2004

I'm from a Jewish background. I can't stand the religion, and have serious problems with a lot of the cultural traditions. I've been disgusted by Sharon for more than twenty years. I support the right of Israel to exist, and a two-state solution. I was crushed by Rabin's assasination and the failure of the peace process. I oppose the settlements in the occupied territories. I have lots of family in Israel, including my grandfather's brother who was killed by a suicide bomber while he was grocery shopping.

Like most people from a Jewish background, I don't conform to the stereotype of the knee-jerk "kill all the Palestinians and deport those who survive" position. But I and almost all of the Jews I know are seriously worried by the recent deliberate tendency on the left of confusing the distinction between "Jew" and "supporter of Sharon's policies". That worry gets exacerbated by the genuinely scary rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, where I live. Many on the left are ready to argue that Jews are a monolithic and powerful bloc that has forfeited the right to the privileged status of victims deserves to pay the consequences for Israel's behavior.

It's very hard to argue that it's not really a problem, and that Jews who oppose Sharon have nothing to worry about. The last 150 years of my family's history proves that all the worst paranoid fantasies come true, and those who ignore the early warning signs end up dead. Even if you believe that things today are different, you're going to have a hard time convincing anyone who comes from a Jewish family.

AdBusters is just fueling the fires. Anyone who desires peace in the Middle East has to work to create a situation in which Israelis and Jews outside of Israel feel secure in their right to exist. Singling out neocon Jews is a great way to help Sharon.
posted by fuzz at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2004

What scarabic said.

I'm about to make myself really unpopular...but here goes...the yellow star reference strikes me as reactionary and offensive. I have Jews in my family, I have Coptic Christians in my family, my mother and her family are Maronites who still speak and read Aramaic, and to round things out, we have Muslims, Zoroastrians and me...who refuses to take sides...and just avoids making ham for family gatherings...I say all of that in preamble to this statement:

This magazine has NOTHING to do with with Hitler. These sort of hysterical, "Look! They outed a Jew! The world is ending!" statements are what helps the real neo-nazi's spread their hate. If anything that references the fact that someone is Jewish is a hate crime...then god help us all.

It's an editorial in a magazine...it's not a government. Krystalnacht is not upon us. Nobody is calling for the removal of Jews. Nobody is suggesting camps, or property confiscation, or any sort of penalty for being Jewish.

The fact is that the US gives Israel a free ride both financially, politically and from a human rights standpoint. Anyone who knows anything at all about the history of Israel is well aware of the acts of terror committed by the leaders of the Likud...and yet, the US will back them up right up to and including nuclear war. I think the reasons behind that should be examined.

It's not articles like this that confuse the issue between being Jewish and being pro-Israeli...it's the people ON THE LIST that spend an enormous amount of time trying to blur that line. People like Paul Wolfowitz would very much like everyone to believe that all Jews support Sharon, and they spend a fair amount of time and money to get that message out.

I'm not suggesting that there is some vast Jewish conspiracy. Good lord, try getting my family out the door to a chosen restaurant can require mediation...much less get everyone to agree on how to take over the world...but I think a discussion of who is pulling strings, setting memes, and writing checks is entirely appropriate.

As to people saying that nobody mentioned the Catholics on the list, I remind you that it's been a while since Rome wandered into another country, started killing off people it didn't like, annexing their land and bulldozing their homes. Also, I as a taxpayer am not funding the Vatican...whereas I as a taxpayer am most certainly funding Isreal...
posted by dejah420 at 7:48 PM on April 2, 2004

These sort of hysterical, "Look! They outed a Jew! The world is ending!"

"outed a jew"?

this seems really disturbing to me. Would people feel like this were not a problem if they were listing who was black or gay and implying that they were somehow infiltrating and pushing their agenda?

It isn't equivalent to pointing out evangelicals, as littlemisscranky outlined above. Being jewish is more of a racial distinction than a belief-system distinction. And the history cannot be ignored here. You know, there are people who theorize that jews are "the other" in europe, and I've always dismissed it as silly psychobabble, but stuff like this makes me think there really is a deep-seated weird distrust in play. What the hell does being jewish have to do with the issue at hand? List who's pro-israel, discuss the issue, but why "out" jews? I thought I liked adbusters. I find this depressing.
posted by mdn at 8:02 PM on April 2, 2004

RaySMJ, Martin Peretz isn't a conservative. Full stop. He's a lifelong Democrat and a mainstay of the Democratic Party. He's close friends with Al Gore. He thinks that the DLC is way too right-wing.

Peretz is more conservative than he was in the 1970s (when he and his wife were giving cocktail parties for the Black Panthers) but he's still far from being a "conservative" by any reasonable definition of the word.

He is a pro-Likud left-to-moderate Democrat.

Pat Buchanan and Irving Kristol have much more in common with each other, politically, than either do with Peretz. The only reason Peretz is included on this list is because he's Jewish and supports the current Israeli government.

How is this not "special pleading"?
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:08 PM on April 2, 2004

For God's sake, is nobody allowed to criticize any childish stupidity and illogic as long as it's not as bad as Hitler?

Just because someone can rig a list of supporters of the current (crappy, corrupt, repressive) Israeli government to look like THEY'RE ALL SCARY JEWS, nobody's allowed to point out that it's an idiotic example of ethnic baiting?

As I said above, it would be perfectly reasonable for Lasn to discuss the public statements of some people and analyze how their political pronouncements may be drawn from personal chauvinism.

I think there are, indeed, prominent Jewish people in our society who are zealous advocates of the current (violent, prejudiced, cruel) Israeli government for personal reasons.

But to make a list--based on no obvious criteria other than Lasn pulling names of people who bug him out of his ass--and then say "LOOK! STATISTICS PROVE THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF JEWS WHO SUPPORT ISRAEL!" and then mutter about how he's willing to be a martyr to this obviously unpopular point of view...

...is nothing but cheap theatrics. And, frankly, I thought that publishing unfounded rumors about how the JEWS ARE OUT TO GET US in the Easter season went out with Ferdinand and Isabella.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:15 PM on April 2, 2004

Sidhedevil: I never said he was "a conservative," just that he's not as far away on many issues of neo-cons as you pointed out, and that neo-cons aren't conservative in the Buchanan mold, at all. The label conservative doesn't really apply here in many ways, I don't think. It's a shorthand. That's all it is.

In any case, there was a reason Peretz was put together with neocons to begin with, even if the label wasn't totally accurate. The difference is mainly a matter of emphasis and sympathies. The New Republic has often been indistinguishable, at the surface level, in its editorial content from the Weekly Standard for just this sort of reason. And the late Michael Kelly, who often came off to me as very right wing due to his prototypical sort of Clinton hating, also thought of himself as a liberal.

In any case, it's not irrational to make a distinction between the beliefs or ideology that drive someone's foreign policy stances, and their beliefs in other areas. It's much like calling someone a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Peretz is absolutely aligned with the core group of neoconservatives on foreign policy, to the point of helping them lobby the White House to attack Iraq - just over a week after Sept. 11.
posted by raysmj at 9:40 PM on April 2, 2004

... wait a minute: Michael Kelly was Jewish?

posted by coelecanth at 10:05 PM on April 2, 2004

No, he was an asshole.
posted by raysmj at 10:20 PM on April 2, 2004

this isn't a meaningful analysis--this is simply childish hate-mongering

Fair enough. I don't want to defend this or anything else Kalle Lasn does. Like I said, he's a crank, and the statistic he offers is a minutely interesting one, if that. All I'm saying is quiet down about the holocaust paranoia.
posted by scarabic at 11:48 PM on April 2, 2004

Michael Kelly was a good guy. I didn't agree with his politics, but he had uncommon courage, left behind a widow and a couple of kids, and maybe you ought to think twice before speaking ill of the dead.

As for this thread, the recent leftish meme "I'm not an anti-Semite but have you noticed the Jews started this war" is a disgusting, and the people who advance it are turning off people who agree with them about the war/Bush/everything else. I'm not Jewish, and I don't care for the current government of Israel, but I do believe in the idea of Israel, and support an effort to reach a land for peace compromise with the Palestinians. Both sides over there are guilty of atrocities, and anyone who supports the violent impulses of either Israel or the Palestinians has the blood of children on his hands. This means you. And you. And you. And you.
I'm amazed when people who claim to favor peace stoke the flames of hate and resentment and uncompromising nationalism. That is what you do when you fail to hold the Palestinians (or Israelis) accountable for what is done in their name. That is what you do when you fail to hold U.S. voters accountable for what is done in their name in Afghanistan and Iraq and many other places. Beware of those with a grievance, who think they are morally right, whether it's the PLO, Israel or post-9/11 USA.
posted by Slagman at 6:05 AM on April 3, 2004

[points accusing finger...]

posted by thedude256 at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2004

Oh, I read his editorials, thanks. He was as much of an asshole, in re to being provocative in his editorials as the guy who wrote the piece in this FPP and at times came off as perversely angry and as near-psychopathic sounding, as anyone working in journalism. I don't miss his editorial commentary at all. Sorry.The world's a better place without it.

What he was like in his personal life is a different story. I have no idea, and you really don't either.
posted by raysmj at 11:51 AM on April 3, 2004

More in U.S. blame Jews for crucifixion

The percentage of Americans who say Jews were responsible for Jesus' death is rising, particularly among blacks and young people, according to a nationwide poll taken since the release of Mel Gibson's ``The Passion of the Christ.''
The poll released Friday by the Pew Research Center is the first statistical evidence that the movie's box-office success may be associated with an increase in anti-Jewish feeling, though social scientists cautioned that cause and effect are not clear.
In the March 17-21 telephone survey of 1,703 randomly selected adults, 26 percent said Jews were responsible for Jesus' death, up from 19 percent in a 1997 ABC News poll that asked the same question. The increase was especially pronounced among two groups. The portion of people under age 30 who say Jews were responsible for killing Jesus has roughly tripled, from 10 percent in 1997 to 34 percent today.

posted by matteo at 11:57 AM on April 3, 2004

The fact is that the US gives Israel a free ride both financially, politically and from a human rights standpoint. Anyone who knows anything at all about the history of Israel is well aware of the acts of terror committed by the leaders of the Likud...and yet, the US will back them up right up to and including nuclear war. I think the reasons behind that should be examined.

This is the real question. While examing it you will also have to come to terms with who the current group of movers and shakers in the Bush governement are. Part of this group includes Pro-Likud jews and Pro-likud evangelicals. Trust me neither of these sub groups has America's best interests at heart.

Anyone pro-Likud is a very dangerous person.
posted by sic at 3:37 PM on April 3, 2004


Actually, he was an acquaintance, so I do know. It was hard to connect the dots between the guy in person and the guy on the page, but beyond that, it's pretty crappy to attack a guy who's dead.
posted by Slagman at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2004

Slagman: Why? All I know of him was his public face, and that's all most anyone here could be expected to know. And he did quite a bit of damage to public discourse. It was some nasty, rancid crap he put out. He can remembered well as a private individual, maybe, but his public persona was, to borrow a line from Dwight Yoakam in "Sling Blade," rather assholish.
posted by raysmj at 4:44 PM on April 3, 2004

This article is stupid. I think that most "practicing" neocons belong in jail, but their "Jewishness" is not relevant in and of itself. If every Jewish person in America were to unanimously reject the current government of Israel, their nonsense would still be funded by the American Taliban set. I would agree that Holocaust comparisons are off, and I'm reticent to say the article is "evil" or "shameless," but it's also completely useless.

I mean, who cares about their religion? Is Dick Perle's relationship with God relevant, or is his hard-on for the Likud/killing in general? I say the latter, and seeing as how those traits are clearly evident in goys everywhere, I think that approaching this as a religious or cultural matter is fruitless on its face.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:56 PM on April 3, 2004

From "Toronto Jews live their faith publicly," faith & ethics writer Leslie Scrivener's article in today's Toronto Star:

[...] There's also been a firestorm of controversy and charges of anti-Semitism against the Vancouver-based, lefty, creatively anti-corporate magazine Adbusters. Written by editor Kalle Lasn, the article, "Why won't anyone say they are Jewish?" names 50 influential U.S. neo-conservatives who shape foreign policy on the Middle East, either in the Bush government, or as academics or journalists.

Lasn describes the pro-Israel leanings of leading American conservatives and says "a disproportionate percentage of them are Jewish" and most of those have close ties to Israel's Likud party.

Lasn received thousands of letters, lost 50 subscriptions and gained 10.

"I agonized over it for six months before deciding to go ahead," he says. But, "with these intellectual thugs who have distorted public perception about the Middle East I felt it was okay to get provocative."

He added: "I admit choosing any particular group, Jewish or Christian, in most cases is objectionable. But this one group of neo-cons are so powerful and influence the way all the people in the planet live. We are all caught up in it.

"This provocation is justified even though there is an unethical twinge to it."

He said most magazines and newspapers are afraid to approach this and other subjects Adbusters has willingly engaged. [...]

posted by allaboutgeorge at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2004

Hmmm... Neocons? New Convicts? Does that make liberals Neolibs?

Hey I have an idea, lets use REAL words.
posted by cmdnc0 at 10:46 AM on April 5, 2004

a little passover fun: IJC Yet to Choose US President "It's not that he said all Jews are going to hell. After all, stupidity is what we pay him for. Besides, we checked with Upstairs, and we hear George is going to be pretty surprised when he gets to the other side, so it's sticks and stones," Silver Spoon told INJEWCON. "It's that every time he tries to think for himself, he gets it wrong. When we told him to screw the economy, we meant with his stupid tax cuts, where the rich would get the extra. Instead he pours it all into the desert." ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:52 PM on April 5, 2004

for achival purposes:

In a previous issue of Adbusters and on our website, Adbusters editor Kalle Lasn wrote an article that asked a contentious question: "Does the Jewishness of the neocons influence American foreign policy in the Middle East?" Hundreds of responses flooded in -- postings on our site, letters, emails, faxes, threatening phone calls, cancelled subscriptions, and even talk of picketing stores that carry Adbusters magazine.

Here, then, is Kalle's response, and the ongoing debate:

The list of Jewish neocons we came up with is a provocation, I’ll admit. And if it were a list of dentists or firefighters or stockbrokers, then that would indeed be very offensive. However, the neocons are no ordinary group – they are the most influencial political/intellectual force in the world right now. They have the power to start wars and to stop them. They are the prime architects of America’s foreign policy since 9/11 – a policy that is heavily weighed in favor of Israel and a key source of anti-Americanism around the world. So I think it is not only appropriate, but necessary to put them under a microscope. And if we see maleness, whiteness, Jewishness, Zionism or intellectual thuggery there, then let us not look the other way.

On the ethnic question: Is it not just as valid to comment on the Jewishness of the neocons as it is to point out that the majority of them are male or white or wealthy or from the Western world or have studied at a particular university? If half the neocons were Palestinians, would the US have invaded Iraq?

Kalle Lasn,
Editor-in-Chief, Adbusters

posted by matteo at 9:52 AM on April 6, 2004

I can't believe I missed this thread.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:52 PM on April 7, 2004

« Older Simpsons stars strike for more 'D'oh!'   |   No question about it. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments