Skip to comments.The Neocon Thing: Myths, facts and the 'Jewish flavor' of neoconservatives.
Posted on 11/04/2003 2:39:31 PM PST by quidnunc
"When things go well, the neoconservatives aren't so Jewish any more. That's when Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich become neocons, too. But when things go badly, when the neocons are to blame, suddenly they're all Jewish or pro-Israel fanatics. Victory has many neocons, failure few and all are Jewish." Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online, May 21, 2003
Murray Friedman is stuck. He is sitting behind a cluttered desk in his cramped room on the second floor of Temple University's downtown Philadelphia offices. The longtime advocate of Jewish activism in conservative politics is expressing some introspective bewilderment.
The inquiry: "Can you define neoconservative, and is there anything Jewish about it?"
Dr. Friedman looks over to the right and up a bit, perhaps searching for a few floating words. "It's so clear in my book," says the director of Temple's Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, "and I find myself grappling with your questions, and I'm not sure why."
It's a fair question, he admits. After all, he is the author of the soon-to-be published "The Neoconservative Revolution" (Cambridge University Press), which has a concluding chapter on Jewish neoconservatives. Besides, the question is being bounced in various forms across America's political ideological battlegrounds. Some have approached the issue from a standpoint of interest; others have used it to dabble in anti-Semitism. All have noticed the frequency of Jewish names amongst the neocon leadership.
Oh yes, one should add that this relatively small circle of intellectuals, academics, journalists and policymakers might just be rewriting the American political landscape as their favored policies literally reshape the world.
Talk about such things and thus the Jews advocating the amorphous body of thought known as neocon reached new heights last winter and spring as neocons furiously advocated the Iraq War. Some conservative critics, Arab journalists and many European intellectuals eagerly jumped on the notion of the neocons being controlled by "the Jews" despite poll after poll showing the majority of American Jews more opposed to a new Persian Gulf campaign than Americans in general.
By the way, neocons might be defensive these days for criticism of post-war planning in Iraq, but their foreign policy doctrines still rule the day. And some observers say they are pushing just as strong on conservative domestic policies, ones that for the moment are escaping the scrutiny being piled onto their view of telling quasi-friends overseas "eat some democracy, whether you're hungry or not."
But what is a neocon? Do the Jewish ones symbolize anything today regarding American Jewish identity and voting patterns? And on the eve of this winter's presidential primaries, how important will the Jewish neocons be in shaping debate within the Jewish community and the broader American society?
Dr. Friedman is not alone in his struggle to define neocons. About the best neocons themselves can do, it seems, is to declare what they are not. First comes the quip of influential author and intellectual Irving Kristol, which is famous in neocon circles: "A neocon is a liberal who got mugged by reality."
Then there's Matthew Brooks, director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He certainly does not look like he's been mugged any time recently. From his F Street office in the nation's capital walls lined with Frank Sinatra memorabilia, shots with the famed Republicans of recent decades, and family photos his explanation of a neocon echoes the 1960s legal decision of what constitutes pornography: "Neocon is one of the more over-used terms that clearly is in search of a definition," he says. "As the Supreme Court justice says, 'I know it when I see it.'" When pushed, he falls back on the White House's promotion of "a conservatism based on compassion."
Jonah Goldberg, the energetic editor-at-large of the National ReviewOnline, explained the lack of clear responses: "Part of the problem is that it's not a movement and therefore there's no politburo, no institute on Dupont Circle, no press releases on what neoconservatives think." Another problem, he adds, is that it's a generally pejorative term first used by others to describe a group of conservative "apostates, traitors or whatever. I think a lot of the people who call themselves neocons get it wrong, too, which makes it very complicated."
Indeed, he and most neocons spend more time talking about the origins of the movement if it can be called that than its specific stands. Their responses to what and who created the label includes bits such as: former Democrats who went AWOL when the Democrats shirked from confronting the Soviets; mainstream conservatives who pushed heavy internationalism known as advocates of Wilsonianism; former Trotskyites who grew to distrust the rigidly controlled state; and intellectual centrists who fought liberalism's mantra of "more government funding, please."
Perhaps the only certainty about neocons is this: They're not liberal.
(Excerpt) Read more at jewishtimes.com ...
"Neocon has become a preoccupation, an over-preoccupation, in the media and as well as the political spectrum of the left," says Mr. Foxman. "Where it will go now I don't know. But I think most political observers see a shift to conservatism and to the right and to the Republican Party [in the Jewish community]. How significant? How long will it last? Will it be a function of Bush and Israel? I don't know. But from my perspective I believe we, the Jewish people, are very smart, as everyone thinks we are. So we should be voting 45-55 and every couple of years shift and then everyone will take us more seriously. Eighty to 90 on side and 10 to 20 on the other side doesn't get you far. One side takes you for granted and the other one doesn't pay attention."
Neocons have become a preoccupation almost to the point of being a monomania of the paleocon wingnuts too.
And fear it is not us, the US. That scares them.
Probably not too many Jews in IDAHO?
It merely means that someone, not previously even dreaming of voting for a Republican candidate from anything from dogcatcher on up, suddenly sees the light. I.E., that his former love, the Democrat Party, is a danger to his family, himself, and his nation. This can happen when a hippie buys a house, or a media guy gets faked out of a promotion in favor of some Affirmative Action Clymer. Or, in the classic NYC scenario, gets his left-drooping ass mugged.
Yeah, there's a Jewish Factor. Many Jews suddenly realized that the Left, of which they were such a prominent part, was willing to sell Israel down the river and was blindly in love with the "Palestinian" cause. So, they make common cause with the Republicans. In all the above cases, "Neocons" find a lot they don't like about the Republican Party.
Cheer up, Neocons, Enlightened self-interest requires some sacrifice.
I'm relegated to the B list again.
And so it is as the Kultur/Culture War is raging. Ask Habermas, Jameison and students and the Deans of Postmodernism and "Critical Theory" and Neoconservatism is a major word in their cultural, economic, and world political vocabulary.
The media is largely in the camp of the Postmodern Left. Many are useful idiots drawing handsome paychecks without really thinking of what they aren doing and while their so-called counterpart "intellectuals" continue betraying the common man who by chance and circumstance was not given the same privledges.
Neocon in different, you have to be controlled by the Jews to qualify.
These are the isolationist paleocons, the group whose most visible figures include Pat Buchanan, Noam Chomsky and Robert Novak none being a particular favorite to win the Anti-Defamation League's Person of the Year Award.
Chomsky may be many things, but he is not a paleocon. He's part of the far left.
Is this one of those world domination, international conspiracy thingies again?
Why, yes indeedie. They got their hooks in me when various Mossad and Shin Bet agents on FR started posting graphic pictures of the corpses of Israeli citizens on buses and in discos. How could this be when the TeeVee and mainstream media tells me the Israeli government is brutally oppressing the po' "Palistinian" people?
Hey, did you know the first moon landing was all staged? Yeah, at that Area 51 facility!
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