Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

GARY HART AND "HOMELAND LOYALTIES"....I don't get it. Both Jacob Jevy and Matt Yglesias are unhappy with Gary Hart's statement from last week:

We must not let our role in the world be dictated by ideologues with their special biases and agendas, by militarists who long for the clarity of Cold War confrontation, by think-tank theorists who grind their academic axes, or by Americans who too often find it hard to distinguish their loyalties to their original homelands from their loyalties to America and its national interests.

Most of the criticism of Hart has centered on whether his last phrase is a cryptic reference to Jews who put Israel's wellbeing above America's, but that's not really what Matt and Jacob object to. As Jacob puts it:

But there are lots of special interests. From the perspective of Hart's civic republicanism, our foreign policy also shouldn't be dictated by partial economic interests (labor, agriculture, textile, steel, whoever); by pacifists who nurse the grudges of Vietnam too long; by utopian internationalists willing to sacrifice national security for global dreams....

But isn't that exactly what Hart said? He didn't single out only "homeland loyalties," he also mentioned ideologues, militarists, and think-tank theorists. He obviously had a fairly broad range of special interests in mind when he said this. (Although I note that Jacob apparently thinks that "think-tankers, ideologues, and militarists" is also code for Jews....)

So here's my question for Matt and Jacob: both of you clearly state your opinion that Hart's concern is a legitimate one and that it isn't necessarily a sign of anti-semitism. So what's your real beef? That he didn't delve into it even further and in more detail?

Or is it just the way he said it? If Hart really was referring to Jews who are loyal to Israel, and if it really is a legitimate concern, how should he have talked about it?

Kevin Drum 11:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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