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September 16, 2012 9:58 AM The Middle East Wins The Morning

By Ben Jacobs

Between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s appearance on Meet The Press, warning of the Iranian nuclear program, the continued turmoil in the Middle East in the wake of the embassy attacks last week and a spectacularly off-key column by Maureen Dowd, the morning shows were dominated by the Middle East this morning, which incidentally happens to be Erev Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year’s Eve).

Although Netanyahu’s appearance on American network television was expected to be the highlight of the morning, he did a good job of staying on message and focusing on Iranian nuclear threat. The Israeli Prime Minister defended himself from charges that he was trying to play politics in the United States, stating his timing was driven not by “the American political calendar but the Iranian nuclear calendar.” Instead, it seems likely to be an afterthought compared to Dowd’s column.

Dowd, in assailing neo-conservative influence in GOP foreign policy, veered dangerously close to anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish puppet masters. In describing a foreign policy speech by Paul Ryan, she wrote “Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor” and of “a duty to invade and bomb Israel’s neighbors.” Although there was no prejudice behind it—-it was merely Maureen Dowd being Maureen Dowd—-it will be far more likely to spark conversation and controversy about the Middle East than Netanyahu’s rather anodyne appearance.

But what is most important in electoral terms is that the conversation this morning was entirely about foreign policy less than two months before Election Day. This is not an issue that voters tend to prioritize normally. Although Obama’s diplomacy has been less than flawless, it’s still far more friendly turf than the economy for the President responsible for the death of Osama Bin Laden to fight an election on. The debate may soon return to the economy and unemployment but, until then, foreign policy and the Middle East are receiving top billing.

Ben Jacobs is a journalist living in New York. He is a former reporter for Newsweek/The Daily Beast and contributor to the Boston Globe editorial page. Follow him on Twitter @bencjacobs.

Comments

  • jjm on September 16, 2012 11:02 AM:

    What is despicable in most commentaries like Dowd's (as you describe it; I didn't have the courage to read it) is the way Israel is supposed to equate with "American Jewry." There are many, many Jews in the USA who do not support Netanyahu's version of "Israel" and do support Obama.

    Netanyahu seems to be afraid of Obama, that he's too smart to be manipulated and too courageous to be barked down.

    Romney, on the other hand...

  • Dredd on September 16, 2012 11:03 AM:

    Didn't anyone pick up on the reality that the Iran is going nuclear meme is old and weak, kinda like our protest music lately?

  • stormskies on September 16, 2012 11:04 AM:

    Maureen Dowd's column, to me, reflects and states what is actually fucking true. If people find offense to that truth then fuck'um ...

  • melior on September 16, 2012 11:13 AM:

    "Anti-Semitism"? I went back and read that piece again and still can't see it.
    You nailed it farther on, it's Maureen being Maureen. Or more accurately, being the Maureen of Spring 2002 who like all the rest of us was properly outraged at realizing how deeply we got played by the PNAC over imaginary WMD.

  • c u n d gulag on September 16, 2012 11:21 AM:

    This makes over 30 years that Iran is 2-3 years, or, GASP!, 6-9 months!, away from a nuclear weapon.

    30 FECKIN' YEARS!!!

    And the Chicken Little's who've gone from college to near retirement drumming-up this bullsh*t, have built a great nest-egg for that retirement from their banging on the drums of war.

    America shouldn't be Likud's trained monkey.
    Israel - YOU want to dance to "Bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran?"
    Fine.
    YOU PAY THE FECKIN' PIPER!!!

    The Middle East is a sh*thole.
    It's been a sh*thole for hundreds of years.

    And the key problems they have are problems that we're rapidly heading for - huge inequalities in income, and religious intolerance.
    The Middle East was once one of the beacons of religious TOLERANCE. While Jews were being killed in Christian Europe, other Jews found peace in Muslim areas of the Middle East.
    Today, only a few nations share their oil money with their people. In most of them, they use religion as a diversion from that inequality.
    Sound familiar?
    That's the American Taliban's game-plan.

    We need to concentrate on renewable energy, and let them figure things out for themselves.
    We need to keep religion and government seperate.
    And yes, we CAN support Israel - we just don't need to dance everytime they break out their accordion.

  • PB on September 16, 2012 11:29 AM:

    I don't read anti-semitism in her column, unless any criticism of Israel constitutes anti-semitism. It seems pretty fair to argue that neoconservatives are deep into Romney's campaign, and they are strong supporters of their conservative counterparts in Israel. Criticism of another country's actions and policies is not the same thing as attacking one's religion.

  • Anonymous on September 16, 2012 11:31 AM:

    So, it's "anti-Semitic" to point out the truth of what is going on with the neocons? Those Likudniks have always had a greater loyalty to the state of Israel than they have had to the United States. Their policies do in fact amount to the U.S. fighting Israel's enemies (that was the entire purpose of the Iraq war). They are in fact traitors and the more someone who is listened to says so, the better.

    Israel has managed to insert itself into American politics since 1968 to the point where if incontrovertible was found that the Mossad had been behind this whole "Muslim video" thing (which in fact does have all the hallmarks of an Israeli false flag operation - go Google "The Lavon Affair") and had done so at the express orders of Netanyahu, the American political system would be incapable of dealing with it and the American media would portray those who found the evidence as "anti-Semites." Accusations of "anti-Semitism" when it comes to criticism of the Israeli government in the American media (criticisms that are far less strong than are made domestically in Israel itself) is the tool AIPAC uses to shut people up. It is pure unadulterated bullshit. The pendulum has swung over-far in Israel's direction, so kudos to Maureen Dowd for so pointing it out. The emperor does indeed have no clothes.

  • matt w on September 16, 2012 11:32 AM:

    jjm -- Dowd doesn't equate Israel to American Jewry. She correctly calls out a faction in American politics that pushes relentlessly for the U.S. to tilt its foreign policy to the interests of the Israeli far-right, in this case their campaign for a war against Iran. Whether or not you think her language about Dan Senor as the puppet-master is an anti-Semitic trope, I don't think she's suggested that American Jews in general support the neoconservative lobby (she correctly calls out non-Jews like Rumsfeld, Cheney, and (I believe) Richard Williamson.

  • J on September 16, 2012 11:33 AM:

    And in a rare act of patriotism, Mitt Romney announced
    that in view of the fact that britains prince Harry is serving in the war zone, his 5 sons will be rushing down to enlist, after all, they could not let the county down.

    Sorry this is my twisted sense of humor.

  • TCinLA on September 16, 2012 11:33 AM:

    So, it's "anti-Semitic" to point out the truth of what is going on with the neocons? Those Likudniks have always had a greater loyalty to the state of Israel than they have had to the United States. Their policies do in fact amount to the U.S. fighting Israel's enemies (that was the entire purpose of the Iraq war). They are in fact traitors and the more someone who is listened to says so, the better.

    Israel has managed to insert itself into American politics since 1968 to the point where if incontrovertible was found that the Mossad had been behind this whole "Muslim video" thing (which in fact does have all the hallmarks of an Israeli false flag operation - go Google "The Lavon Affair") and had done so at the express orders of Netanyahu, the American political system would be incapable of dealing with it and the American media would portray those who found the evidence as "anti-Semites." Accusations of "anti-Semitism" when it comes to criticism of the Israeli government in the American media (criticisms that are far less strong than are made domestically in Israel itself) is the tool AIPAC uses to shut people up. It is pure unadulterated bullshit. The pendulum has swung over-far in Israel's direction, so kudos to Maureen Dowd for so pointing it out. The emperor does indeed have no clothes. Criticism of the Israeli government and their American stooges is not anti-Semitism, it's just the truth, and "they can't stand the truth!"

  • jrosen on September 16, 2012 11:36 AM:

    I have to second Melior. I didn't find anything anti-Semitic in the column, and I am a Jew myself. Maureen being Maureen is a lot less troublesome than Dan Senor being Dan Senor.

    The facts speak for themselves: there is a loony strain in the Evangelical ranks that believes that the State of Israel is a fulfillment of the insane prophecies of Revelation (and any Jew who doesn't see through that belongs up there with Reheboam as a blind idiot). There is certainly a strain of vulture capitalism that slavers over ME oil and can't see anything else. There is a maniacal group (Niall Ferguson is their meme-master) who still dream of Empire, and there are American Jews like Adelson who cannot see that their obsession with the Holocaust pushes them toward actions that may make a 2nd Holocaust more possible.

    All these factions would not mesh comfortably under less stressful circumstances, but are placated and comforted by the same crew that brought us "shock and awe". That some of the most crass and inept neocons happen to be Jewish (in origin, certainly not in their lack of ethical grounding) is unfortunate but true, and means nothing in particular. If you want to check out Reheboam (in the Book of Kings, OT) you will see that Jews (and before them Israelites) have been disagreeing with, fighting and even warring with each other for 3000 years. As Barney Frank might put it "So what else is new?"

  • g.powell on September 16, 2012 11:37 AM:

    I read Dowd's piece several times, and didn't see a smidgen or a hint of antisemitim, just her normal snark which this time happen to also tell the truth.

    Somebody writing here is very, very paranoid. Explain yourself, Mr. Jacobs.

  • thisdave on September 16, 2012 11:38 AM:

    I second melior. Dowd's column was typically pretentious and self-indulgent, but I couldn't locate any content in it that rang out-of-tune.

    Anti-Semitism? I think it's clearly obvious that Netanyahu, both with his words and timing, meant to influence the U.S. political media agenda during the home stretch of the presidential campaign. If that conclusion seems anti-Semitic to you, Ben, here's a question for you - does it hurt when your knee jerks that hard?

  • stormskies on September 16, 2012 11:48 AM:

    It should not be surprising to learn that the paper that Netanyahu inserted himself into our politics, a mass circulation paper in Israel, is funded by, what for it, the evil Jewish American billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

  • c u n d gulag on September 16, 2012 11:51 AM:

    I read her column before commenting, and I didn't see any anti-Semitic things in it at all.

    Is basically calling Dan Senor an @$$hole, anti-Semitic?
    Or, anti-@$$holic?

  • Sheldon on September 16, 2012 11:52 AM:

    I'm going to echo some of the other comments that have been made here. I'm as sensitive to antisemitism as anyone can be - Holocaust-survivor parents, for one quite non-trivial thing - and I felt NOTHING like what Ben is suggesting. Dowd is pointing out that Senor has spouted and is spouting neocon nonsense. Is she forbidden to do that because he happens to be Jewish (which most people reading that column wouldn't know anyway)? Nonsense. If he had been Black would the column be racist? Jacobs' implication here is totally unwarranted. Deal with the substance of her argument, such as it is, and not what in your imagination she was implying.

  • Sean on September 16, 2012 11:56 AM:

    I followed the link to Maureen Dowd's column and found nothing objectionable about it. It would've been surprising if I had. Over the years, she has written a number of brave columns and some terrible ones, but she has never shown any trace of bigotry. Mr. Jacobs owes her an unqualified apology.

  • Danny on September 16, 2012 12:02 PM:

    I don't know if Mr Jacobs ever venture unto www.jpost.com or www.ynetnews.com. Please do and be sure to read through the comments section. There you'll find pure, unadulterated bigotry against the moslem schwartze currently occupying the White House in pretty much every post.

    Pointing out what is trivially true: that the Likud-aligned US neo-cons are obsessed with trying to steer US foreign policy towards perfect alignment with Likud's isn't anti-semitism in any shape or form. I'm rather shocked to read that suggestion at the Washington Monthly. That there's a crowd who'd love nothing more than a religious war with orthodox Jews and Conservative Christians in alliance against Islam can't come as a surprise to you Ben. You just have to spend the smallest amount of time at NRO's corner and consume the oevre of their resident neocons and counter-jihadists. They got a bunch of 'em.

    Shame on you, Ben, for playing the anti-semite card to defend the Likudniks. That dog won't hunt any more, not after Iraq II.

  • Danny on September 16, 2012 12:15 PM:

    I might add this, Ben, just some food for thought: Consider the proposition that every-time Bibi and his merry hawks declare the second Holocaust at hand and themselves offering salvation through "strength" - maybe that's the tune of a pied piper you're hearing.

  • gregor on September 16, 2012 12:25 PM:

    Mr. Jacobs should perhaps rewrite the Dowd column that criticizes Dan Senor but is agreeably distant from the boundary between antisemitism and genuine non-bigoted critique of Senor's pronouncements that have been made directly and through Ryan and Romney, as I, like most others here, do not see the Maureen piece to be in the same vein as he does.

  • Anonymous on September 16, 2012 12:26 PM:

    So please tell me what part of what I quote below is "anti-Semitic" to anyone who isn't in the AIPAC tank (as you obviously are, Mr. Jacobs):

    Senor is emblematic of how much trouble America blundered into in the Middle East — trillions wasted, so many lives and limbs lost — because of how little we fathom the culture and sectarian politics. We’re still stumbling in the dark. We not only don’t know who our allies and enemies are, we don’t know who our allies’ and enemies’ allies and enemies are.

    As the spokesman for Paul Bremer during the Iraq occupation, Senor helped perpetrate one of the biggest foreign policy bungles in American history. The clueless desert viceroys summarily disbanded the Iraqi Army, forced de-Baathification, stood frozen in denial as thugs looted ministries and museums, deluded themselves about the growing insurgency, and misled reporters with their Panglossian scenarios of progress.

    “Off the record, Paris is burning,” Senor told a group of reporters a year into the war. “On the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq.”

    Before he played ventriloquist to Ryan, Senor did the same for Romney, ratcheting up the candidate’s irresponsible bellicosity on the Middle East. Senor was the key adviser on Romney’s disastrous trip to Israel in July, when Mittens infuriated the Palestinians by making a chuckleheaded claim about their culture.

    That all sounds like observational truth, Mr. Jacobs. And I'll reiterate what was said above about going to the comments sections of www.jpost.com or www.ynetnews.com. and see the JEWISH RACISM that is rampant there?

    And please tell us why it is we have to let this Israeli tail wag the American dog, Mr. Jacobs?

  • Bo on September 16, 2012 12:41 PM:

    Mr. Jacob's opinion about the Dowd opinion piece is an example of the key misunderstanding that plagues our domestic politics, our perception in the Middle East and our relationship with Israel.

    Mr. Jacobs -- similar to the neocons who are well-practiced at "playing the victim" and conflating issues -- confuses "anti-semitic" with "anti-Zionist". The behavior of the Israeli government of late has been reprehensible and Dowd is correct to point that out.

    The real issue playing out in Bibi's antics is that he is playing the extreme Zionist card on the international stage in order to secure his own political survival in Israel. He is as craven, cynical and intemperate as his personal friend, Willard Romney. May both of them lose their upcoming elections.

  • TCinLA on September 16, 2012 12:43 PM:

    It's interesting to read the comments section for Dowd's column. Majority opinion there is even stronger what it is here - that she nailed it about the neocons and their pro-Likud foreign policy, with lots of people taking note of the ineptness of Romney and Ryan.

    Methinks, Mr. Jacobs, that you "put your foot in it" with this post.

  • girl down the street on September 16, 2012 12:45 PM:

    I don't think Ben played the anti-Semite card. He said Maureen was being Maureen and he said there was no prejudice behind it. Plus all of what we as humans read is subject to our interpretation, personal reactions and individual analysis.

    It is always noteworthy that Israel's geographically located in a tinderbox of an area, with Israel's supporters so far away over here in the U.S.

    I saw it as, as one commenter said, Romney seems knotted to others who are actively pulling the strings for a war in Iran-- with that pull by the neo-cons. Dick Cheney certainly was a neo-con, and George Bush was converted to neo-conism--or also puppeted with strings held by Cheney. Neither were Jewish.
    But I understand the sensitivity Ben to which Ben alluded.

    And someone said somewhere that Mitt was like Pinnochio--with his traits of lying, and presenting as totally wooden.

    I think people could be pretty troubled by what you read about Mormons baptizing the dead from other religions. This really seems imperial of them. To override someone's original baptism without their consent.

  • Kathryn on September 16, 2012 12:47 PM:

    Just retread Dowd's column and like most do not see anti Semitism. Mitt Romney went to Israel, sat Sheldon Adelson next to him, and came close to ceding control of his Israel/U.S. policy over to Netenyahu. What was said or hatched in private is a frightening thought indeed. To say that Adelson is a hard liner on Israel is the understatement of 2012. Netanyahu is trying to meddle in the election between Pres. Obama and Romney my insinuating that Obama is not doing enough IMO. Ryan went to "Value Voters" Conference and accused the president of indifference's bordering on contempt towards Israel! Suggest Mr. Jacobs read David Ignatius column in Sunday, Washington Post for a clear perspective on the relationship between these two countries. Further, I read less than a month ago an interview with Ehud Barak praising Obama Administraton as the best on their dealings with Israel in terms of communication, military aid and other areas of cooperation.

    Romney is a foreign policy cipher, no better than Bush, maybe worse as he seems to have unparrelled and unjustified confidence in himself.

  • Danny on September 16, 2012 12:51 PM:

    @Bo

    I would use the term "Revisionist Zionism", as that's pretty much what Bibi, Lieberman - and their U.S. allies - subscribe to.

  • Ron Byers on September 16, 2012 1:12 PM:

    Ben, you really ought to know your a little about your readers before you write. Most of us here are a little too well read for the knee jerk antisemitism play. Dan Senor really does run foreign policy in the Romney campaign and like all Neo-Cons he is a Likud loving fool.

    By the way Ben, Netanyahu is trying to play American politics and why not. Senor and Bolton will do anything he asks and Romney is simply a weak minded pretty face who will sign whatever they put in front of him.

  • schtick on September 16, 2012 1:23 PM:

    When Willard visited Israel, did Bibi and Willard have a conversation about Mormons baptising the Jewish people of the Holocaust?

  • SadOldVet on September 16, 2012 1:29 PM:

    Don't know who or what the f*ck you are Jacobs, but you have destroyed your credibility here. Yelling anti-semitism whenever anyone criticizes Benny NutAndYahoo or The Likud Party or AIPAC is the worn out trope of idiots who do not have valid arguments on their side.

    How many more f*cking wars do ameriKans have to fight for The Likud Party? Take the time to watch the next AIPAC convention and watch the ameriKan politicians of both parties kissing their Likud @sses. It is truly disgusting.

  • Werewolf on September 16, 2012 2:24 PM:

    A few things-
    Anti-Zionism IS anti-Semitism, as many have pointed out, including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. If you're saying that all peoples are entitled to self -determination *except* Jews, you just might be an anti-Semite. However, opposing specific Israeli policies or political parties, as many Israelis do, is not anti-Semitic. A lot of Israelis, in fact probably most, dislike Bibi and his policies. He's PM because he was able to form a coalition, not because he has majority support. (Those who want a lot of political parties in the US should take note.
    One of the many reasons that I loathe neocons is that they hand ammunition to idiots, left and right, who think that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is fact.

  • exlibra on September 16, 2012 3:04 PM:

    I didn't know Dan Senor was a Jew -- his name sounds Spanish to me - but I knew he was an unparalleled prick, with an oversize influence on the R-money's campaign. So I was pleasantly surprised by Dowd's to-the-point and factual column; as someone above had said, she seems to swing between pretty good and terrible, with nothing in between and you never know which column will show up when.

    I'm only half Jewish but, when I was growing up (in Poland) several decades ago, my Mother made me pretty sensitive to antisemitism, just so I'd have a tool in my self-defense kit. But, look as I might, I didn't see anything antisemitic about Dowd's column, even after I was told that Senor is Jewish. Ben, you must have started drinking too early in the morning; it made you see things that aren't there.

  • Nancy Cadet on September 16, 2012 3:09 PM:

    Are the NRA and AIPAC the two lobbies that have endangered/corrupted US politics the most? I know, everything from NAM to ABA to US Chamber of Commerce to the pro-chemical, pro-nuke, pro- fossil fuel lobbies, pro-defense industry , etc. Distort and impoverish us, so this is a tough and perhaps pointless call.

    I alway skip over Maureen Dowd's columns in my NYT; like so many others she's a real waste of precious op Ed space when so many brilliant social critics are writing Nd speaking in other venues (the Nation, hullabaloo , etc.) but after Ben's critique, I will have to read it. I agree with commenters here that a criticism of Israeli politics, of Likud, or their neo con supporters, is not anti Semitic. It's realistic , I'm tired of my local NY polticsand our national politics dominates by a specious "concern" for modern Israel.

  • exlibra on September 16, 2012 3:14 PM:

    Oh, and one more thing, Ben. You seem to be resentful of the fact that the Middle East issues have been dominating the political conversation for the past week, dislodging the economy as #1 topic. Why not, if what's happening there might have very serious consequences to us?

    You say that voters don't normally, prioritize foreign affairs over economy. That's quite true. But the economy has been sick for a long time and is on a road to mend; we've learnt to live with that, and we know we can. The situation in the Middle East burst out unexpectedly and threatens to become even more deadly than it's already been. Should we ignore it? Suppose you had had a cold, which was beginning to recede and your appendix started to hurt, badly, all of a sudden. Would you ignore the appendix, and pester the doctor to cure your cold faster?

  • zandru on September 16, 2012 3:15 PM:

    girl down the street, when you say that "Israel's geographically located in a tinderbox of an area", I think you have not considered the possibility that Israel was and continues to be the out of control campfire that threatens the surrounding forest of the Middle East.

  • Bo on September 16, 2012 4:15 PM:

    werewolf, anti-Zionism is NOT anti-semitism any more than being anti-Hitler is being anti-German.

  • MrToad on September 16, 2012 4:53 PM:

    I do hope that JJM will read Ms. Dowd's column and draw his own conclusions. Either Mr. Jacobs' has an imperfect sense of past history, or he leans neocon and can't get enough of that old song. Maureen Dowd may not have hit this one out of the park, but she came a lot closer than Ben Jacobs. I'd hate to think he's hoping to replace Jennifer Rubin, but, if that's his plan, he's off to a good start.

  • Jeff Johnson on September 16, 2012 5:24 PM:

    It took my breath away to see the insinuation that Maureen Dowd was using an anti-Semitic trope. As a goy, I'm not as attuned to such things as would be a Jew, but when I read Dowd's article before I read this one, anti-Jewish propaganda did not even enter my mind. I just saw it as saying the neo-con Dan Senor was influencing or controlling the message coming out of Ryan's mouth. This is ordinary politics. Is Dan Senor Jewish? I had no idea, and it matters not at all to me. I can't help think there is an element of paranoia involved here. I realize you excused Dowd, but implied that others might legitimately mistake her meaning. I say any such insinuation would be disingenuous and based on either paranoia or malicious intent.

    The Jewish people do have a unique claim to being very sensitive about religious or cultural based hatred, but they don't own the word puppet or the term puppet master. Neither do they have the right to claim that if I say Bain Capital were blood sucking vampires, it can't reasonably be construed as blood libel. It's simply a metaphor about how I personally view the act of heaping debt on the books of a takeover target in order to extract wealth for a private equity vulture capital firm and it's investors. I don't care if they are Christian, Jews, atheists, or Muslims, I see it as akin to blood sucking parasitism, and it should be clear I don't really think they drink blood, and it doesn't matter what their religion is, it matters what their actions are.

  • Jeff Johnson on September 16, 2012 5:35 PM:

    @ Werewolf: This sentence: "If you're saying that all peoples are entitled to self -determination *except* Jews, you just might be an anti-Semite. " is basically an admission that anti-Zionism does not necessarily equal anti-Semitism. The use of the word 'might' makes it so.

    I agree much anti-Zionism stems from anti-Semitism, but anti-Zionism is not necessary and sufficient to qualify a person as an anti-Semite. Especially when opposition to a Greater Israel permanently annexing all of mandatory Palestine is characterized frequently and dishonestly as anti-Zionism.

    Your formulation is just too crude and ignores important distinctions.

  • Doug on September 16, 2012 6:32 PM:

    Bo @ 4:15 PM

    Zionism began as movement to provide a "National Home" for Jews in Palestine. There is, in fact, NOTHING in Zionism that requires a separate Jewish state and separation was strongly resisted by those who eventually founded Israel. If I understand correctly, Lebanon, as it was in the 18th, 18th and early 20th centuries was their goal; a multi-ethnic society where members of different religions lived together, if not side-by-side.
    Today, however, "Zionist" has become, not just a perjorative used to define Israeli policies one might disagree with but, and most importantly, it's main use is to deny the right Israel to its' very existence. Which being "anti-Hitler" NEVER meant in relation to the existence of Germany.
    So perhaps in a much more perfect world, being "anti-Zionist" wouldn't equate to being anti-semitic, but this is not that world...

  • Werewolf on September 16, 2012 6:39 PM:

    @Jeff Johnson-
    I define Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish People. As such, denial of the right of Jews, alone of all peoples on Earth, to self-determination is anti-Semitic. The word "might" is sarcastic, as in "you might be a redneck." Zionism=/=rabid Greater Land of Israel ultra-nationalism. As @Danny pointed out above, that would be a particular philosophy within Zionism, ie Revisionism. That's the philosophy of the Likud. The majority of Israelis are *not* Likudniks. For the record, I am a proud Zionist who is anti-Likud, anti-West Bank settlements, and pro-Two State Solution. And I'm not the only one. You want to oppose the Likud, fine. Oppose settlements, fine. But when you question the legitimacy of the State of Israel itself, there, I have a problem. Just like most commenters on this board would have a problem with calling for the dissolution of the United States of America just because we had a @sshole government here from 2001-2009.

  • Danny on September 16, 2012 8:04 PM:

    I agree with the poster arguing that talking about "Zionism" when one wants to refer to various hawkish Likud policies, the occupation of Palestine, etc is counterproductive and prone to misunderstandings. Many people understand Zionism as the historical movement pursuing a Jewish state. Subscribing to anti-Zionism is therefore easily construed as rejection of the legitimacy of the state of Israel. That is certainly a position held by many in the Islamic world, and - while perhaps somewhat understandable given history, and not necessarily the same thing as anti-semitism - might not be the most descriptive term if one wishes to voice disagreement with the policies of Bibi Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman.

  • OhioRick on September 16, 2012 9:09 PM:

    "Dowd, in assailing neo-conservative influence in GOP foreign policy, veered dangerously close to anti-Semitic tropes about Jewish puppet masters. In describing a foreign policy speech by Paul Ryan, she wrote “Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor” and of “a duty to invade and bomb Israel’s neighbors.” "

    Oh, stop it. Senor happens to be Jewish. In your eyes, that apparently puts him beyond the bounds of criticism. Senor has served his country badly, prompting, as he has, thousands of American deaths. To assert that he his above criticism because he's Jewish is it's own form of anti-Semitism

  • Sean Scallon on September 17, 2012 1:38 AM:

    Where in the world is the word "Jew" even mentioned in the Dowd column? There are just as many Catholic neocons (Bennett, Donohue, Weigel, Novak) as their are Jews. No amount of red-herrings about "anti-Semitism" should keep writers from telling it like it is: the neocons are vermin and war pigs, and they must be kept away from the levels of power before they get more people killed.

  • tko on September 17, 2012 11:20 AM:

    According to Glenn Greenwald, there is a new definition of anti-semitism. "Look at what Josh Block told Politico about what makes someone an anti-Semite:

    As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling, like ‘Israel Firster or ‘Likudnik’, and policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel, or suggests that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has no place in the mainstream Democratic party discourse. I also believe that when it occurs, progressive institutions, have a responsibility not to tolerate such speech or arguments."