It's come full circle. The neocons are now using classic anti-semitic tropes to attack Maureen Dowd for criticizing Romney adviser Dan Senor and the other neocons who are in charge of the Romney campaign's foreign policy apparatus. See this in Commentary, typical of the anti-Dowd onslaught.
Dowd's column yesterday was about neoconservatives who, after their ignominious history of pressuring the U.S. to attack Iraq, are now "slithering" into the Romney campaign to be in place to do the same thing with Iran.
In the column she suggests, actually she more than suggests that these neocons are largely motivated by their support for Binyamin Netanyahu and his policies. She never uses the words "Jewish" or "Jew" or, uh, the crucifixion of Jesus!
In fact, she says nothing about Jews. And everything she says about neocons is simple fact. No one has ever denied that they were instrumental in getting us into the Iraq war.
Neocons are not all Jews. Many are (Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Abrams Lieberman, Senor, Krauthammer, Commentary, etc) but not all. John Bolton is a prominent neoconservative. And, more to the point, so is Dick Cheney. All neocons are Israel-centered, but only a minuscule percentage of Jews are neocons. (Jews overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq war and supported and support, Barack Obama).
So an attack on neocons is not an attack on Jews. It is an attack on a tiny but influential movement that is dominated by hawks whose #1 concern seems to be Israel. Many, if not most, happen to be Jews.
Saying that attacking neoconservatism is anti-Semitic is like saying that attacking the neo-fascist Opus Dei movement is an attack on all Catholics. Or that attacking the Muslim Brotherhood is an attack on Islam. Or that an attack on the Nation Of Islam is an attack on all African-Americans.
It is worse than that. The neoconservatives now savaging Maureen Dowd are saying that an attack on Jewish individuals who do bad things is anti-Semitic. They are foaming at the mouth because she singles out Dan Senor, Romney's Middle East brain trust, for particular scorn.
This is where the neocons employ classic antisemitism. They are saying that any Jew represents all Jews. Attacking Senor is anti-Semitic even though it just happens to be Senor who is Romney's #1 advisor on Middle East issues. This is no different from saying that attacking Bernie Madoff for the biggest fraud in U.S. history is anti-Semitic. Or that noting that Goldman-Sachs is heavily implicated in the financial collapse is anti-Semitic. Every Jew is all Jews. (This point of view has distinct echoes from the past.)
Dan Senor is no ordinary Jewish guy who happens to work for Romney. He was Paul Bremer's spokesman in Iraq. He has written a best-selling book on the wonders of Israel. His sister runs AIPAC's Jerusalem office and her husband is a far-right writer in Israel (they emigrated from the United States). He is an outspoken apologist for the right-wing Israeli position and has been his whole life (he worked for me as a college kid). See this remarkable profile of Senor that appeared in the Jewish Tablet.
To accuse Dowd of anti-Semitism for attacking Senor could be considered anti-Semitic.
After all, these neoconservatives and their fellow regular conservatives attack President Obama (the president!) with far more vitriol than anything Dowd directed at Senor and company. Are they racists? No, they say, they are attacking particular individuals, not a race or ethnicity.
So, you can attack individual African-Americans including the president and not be indicted for racism. You can condemn the Pope for indifference to sex scandals in the church and not be deemed anti-Catholic. You can excoriate Justice Sotamayor and not be deemed anti-Latino.
But you cannot attack individual Jews because we are all the same and thus attacking one is attacking all.
The neoconservatives and their defenders have now crossed over from just fueling anti-Semitism. Now they are directly spreading it themselves.
Hang in there, Maureen Dowd. Do it for us Jews. And for our country too because, if these guys come back, we will have war.
Last point, anti-Semitism is about hating Jews, refusing to associate with them, discriminating against them, blaming Jews for all the ills of the world or your street. It has nothing to do with Israel. Don't let the neocons get away with this lie too!
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