Understanding Jewish Influence I:
Background Traits for Jewish Activism
in the ancient world, Jewish populations have repeatedly attained a position of power and influence within Western societies.
I will discuss Jewish background traits conducive to influence: ethnocentrism, intelligence and wealth, psychological intensity,
aggressiveness, with most of the focus on ethnocentrism. I discuss Jewish ethnocentrism in its historical, anthropological,
and evolutionary context and in its relation to three critical psychological processes: moral particularism, self-deception,
and the powerful Jewish tendency to coalesce into exclusionary, authoritarian groups under conditions of perceived threat.
have always had enormous effects on the societies in which they reside because of several qualities that are central to
Judaism as a group evolutionary strategy: First and foremost, Jews are ethnocentric and able to cooperate in highly organized,
cohesive, and effective groups. Also important is high intelligence, including the usefulness of intelligence in attaining
wealth, prominence in the media, and eminence in the academic world and the legal profession. I will also discuss two other
qualities that have received less attention: psychological intensity and aggressiveness.
The four background traits of ethnocentrism,
intelligence, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness result in Jews being able to produce formidable, effective groups—groups
able to have powerful, transformative effects on the peoples they live among. In the modern world, these traits influence
the academic world and the world of mainstream and elite media, thus amplifying Jewish effectiveness compared with traditional
societies. However, Jews have repeatedly become an elite and powerful group in societies in which they reside in sufficient
numbers. It is remarkable that Jews, usually as a tiny minority, have been central to a long list of historical events. Jews
were much on the mind of the Church Fathers in the fourth century during the formative years of Christian dominance in the
West. Indeed, I have proposed that the powerful anti-Jewish attitudes and legislation of the fourth-century Church must
be understood as a defensive reaction against Jewish economic power and enslavement of non-Jews.1 Jews who had nominally converted to Christianity but maintained their ethnic ties in marriage and
commerce were the focus of the 250-year Inquisition in Spain, Portugal, and the Spanish colonies in the New World. Fundamentally,
the Inquisition should be seen as a defensive reaction to the economic and political domination of these “New Christians.”2
Jews have also been central to all the important events of the twentieth century. Jews were a necessary component
of the Bolshevik revolution that created the Soviet Union, and they remained an elite group in the Soviet Union until at
least the post-World War II era. They were an important focus of National Socialism in Germany, and they have been prime
movers of the post-1965 cultural and ethnic revolution in the United States, including the encouragement of massive non-white
immigration to countries of European origins.3 In the contemporary world, organized American Jewish lobbying groups and deeply committed Jews in
the Bush administration and the media are behind the pro-Israel U.S. foreign policy that is leading to war against virtually
the entire Arab world.
How can such a tiny minority have such huge effects on the history of
the West? This article is the first of a three-part series on Jewish influence which seeks to answer that question. This
first paper in the series provides an introduction to Jewish ethnocentrism and other background traits that influence Jewish
success. The second article discusses Zionism as the quintessential example of twentieth-century Jewish ethnocentrism and
as an example of a highly influential Jewish intellectual/political movement. A broader aim will be to discuss a generalization
about Jewish history: that in the long run the more extreme elements of the Jewish community win out and determine the direction
of the entire group. As Jonathan Sacks points out, it is the committed core—made up now especially of highly influential
and vigorous Jewish activist organizations in the United States and hypernationalist elements in Israel—that determines
the future direction of the community.4 The third and final article will discuss neoconservatism as a Jewish intellectual and political movement.
Although I touched on neoconservatism in my trilogy on Jews,5 the present influence of this movement on U.S. foreign policy necessitates a much fuller treatment.
Figure 1: Understanding
Figure 1 (Not available) provides an overview of the sources of Jewish influence. The four background traits—discussed
in more detail below—are ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness. These traits are
seen as underlying Jewish success in producing focused, effective groups able to influence the political process and the
wider culture. In the modern world, Jewish influence on politics and culture is channeled through the media and through
elite academic institutions into an almost bewildering array of areas—far too many to consider here.
I. Jews are
I have argued that Jewish hyperethnocentrism can be traced back to their Middle Eastern origins.6 Traditional Jewish culture has a number of features identifying Jews with the ancestral cultures of
the area. The most important of these is that Jews and other Middle Eastern cultures evolved under circumstances that favored
large groups dominated by males.7 These groups were basically extended families with high levels of endogamy (i.e., marriage within
the kinship group) and consanguineous marriage (i.e., marriage to blood relatives), including the uncle-niece marriage sanctioned
in the Old Testament. These features are exactly the opposite of Western European tendencies (See Table 1).8
1: Contrasts between European and Jewish Cultural Forms.
European Cultural Origins
| || |
Companionate; Based on Mutual
Consent and Affection
Utilitarian; Based on
Family Strategizing and
Control of Kinship Group
Position of Women
| || |
Relatively High; "Hyper-
| || |
Dogmatism; Submission to
Ingroup Authority and
Morality Is Independent of
"Good is what is good for the Jews"
Whereas Western societies tend toward individualism, the basic Jewish cultural form is collectivism, in which
there is a strong sense of group identity and group boundaries.
Middle Eastern societies are characterized by anthropologists as “segmentary societies”
organized into relatively impermeable, kinship-based groups.9 Group boundaries are often reinforced through external markers such as hair style or clothing, as
Jews have often done throughout their history. Different groups settle in different areas where they retain their homogeneity
alongside other homogeneous groups, as illustrated by the following account from Carleton Coon:
the ideal was to emphasize not the uniformity of the citizens of a country as a whole but a uniformity within each special
segment, and the greatest possible contrast between segments. The members of each ethnic unit feel the need to identify
themselves by some configuration of symbols. If by virtue of their history they possess some racial peculiarity, this
they will enhance by special haircuts and the like; in any case they will wear distinctive garments and behave in a
These societies are by no means blissful paradises of multiculturalism. Between-group conflict often lurks
just beneath the surface. For example, in nineteenth-century Turkey, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived in a sort
of superficial harmony, and even inhabited the same areas, “but the slightest spark sufficed to ignite the fuse.”11
Jews are at the extreme of this Middle Eastern tendency toward hypercollectivism and hyperethnocentrism. I
give many examples of Jewish hyperethnocentrism in my trilogy on Judaism and have suggested in several places that Jewish
hyperethnocentrism is biologically based.12 Middle Eastern ethnocentrism and fanaticism has struck a good many people as extreme, including William
Hamilton, perhaps the most important evolutionary biologist of the twentieth century. Hamilton writes:
am sure I am not the first to have wondered what it is about that part of the world that feeds such diverse and intense
senses of rectitude as has created three of the worlds’ most persuasive and yet most divisive and mutually incompatible
religions. It is hard to discern the root in the place where I usually look for roots of our strong emotions, the part
deepest in us, our biology and evolution.13
to my first two books on Judaism, Hamilton then notes that “even a recent treatise on this subject, much as I agree
with its general theme, seems to me hardly to reach to this point of the discussion.” If I failed to go far enough
in describing or analyzing Jewish ethnocentrism, it is perhaps because the subject seems almost mind-bogglingly deep, with
psychological ramifications everywhere. As a pan-humanist, Hamilton was acutely aware of the ramifications of human ethnocentrism
and especially of the Jewish variety. Likening Judaism to the creation of a new human species, Hamilton noted that
a humanist point of view, were those "species" the Martian thought to see in the towns and villages a millennium
or so ago a good thing? Should we have let their crystals grow; do we retrospectively approve them? As by growth in numbers
by land annexation, by the heroizing of a recent mass murderer of Arabs [i.e., Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Arabs,
including children, at the Patriarch’s Cave in Hebron in 1994], and by the honorific burial accorded to a publishing
magnate [Robert Maxwell], who had enriched Israel partly by his swindling of his employees, most of them certainly not
Jews, some Israelis seem to favour a "racewise" and unrestrained competition, just as did the ancient Israelites
and Nazi Germans. In proportion to the size of the country and the degree to which the eyes of the world are watching,
the acts themselves that betray this trend of reversion from panhumanism may seem small as yet, but the spirit behind
them, to this observer, seems virtually identical to trends that have long predated them both in humans and animals.14
good start for thinking about Jewish ethnocentrism is the work of Israel Shahak, most notably his co-authored Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel.15 Present-day fundamentalists attempt to re-create the life of Jewish communities before the Enlightenment
(i.e., prior to about 1750). During this period the great majority of Jews believed in Cabbala—Jewish mysticism. Influential
Jewish scholars like Gershom Scholem ignored the obvious racialist, exclusivist material in the Cabbala by using words like
“men,” “human beings,” and “cosmic” to suggest the Cabbala has a universalist message.
The actual text says salvation is only for Jews, while non-Jews have “Satanic souls.”16
apparent in such statements was not only the norm in traditional Jewish society, but remains a powerful current of contemporary
Jewish fundamentalism, with important implications for Israeli politics. For example, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem
Mendel Schneerson, describing the difference between Jews and non-Jews:
We do not have a case of profound
change in which a person is merely on a superior level. Rather we have a case of…a totally different species….
The body of a Jewish person is of a totally different quality from the body of [members] of all nations of the world….
The difference of the inner quality [of the body]…is so great that the bodies would be considered as completely
different species. This is the reason why the Talmud states that there is an halachic difference in attitude about the
bodies of non-Jews [as opposed to the bodies of Jews]: “their bodies are in vain”…. An even greater
difference exists in regard to the soul. Two contrary types of soul exist, a non-Jewish soul comes from three satanic spheres,
while the Jewish soul stems from holiness.17
claim of Jewish uniqueness echoes Holocaust activist Elie Wiesel’s claim that “everything about us is different.”
Jews are “ontologically” exceptional.18
Gush Emunim and other Jewish fundamentalist sects described by Shahak and Mezvinsky are thus part of a long mainstream Jewish
tradition which considers Jews and non-Jews completely different species, with Jews absolutely superior to non-Jews and
subject to a radically different moral code. Moral universalism is thus antithetical to the Jewish tradition in which the
survival and interests of the Jewish people are the most important ethical goal:
Many Jews, especially religious Jews
today in Israel and their supporters abroad, continue to adhere to traditional Jewish ethics that other Jews would like
to ignore or explain away. For example, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem, after several
of his students were remanded on suspicion of murdering a teenage Arab girl: “Jewish blood is not the same as the
blood of a goy.” Rabbi Ido Elba: “According to the Torah, we are in a situation of pikuah nefesh (saving
a life) in time of war, and in such a situation one may kill any Gentile.” Rabbi Yisrael Ariel writes in 1982 that
“Beirut is part of the Land of Israel. [This is a reference to the boundaries of Israel as stated in the Covenant
between God and Abraham in Genesis 15: 18–20 and Joshua 1 3–4]…our leaders should have entered Lebanon
and Beirut without hesitation, and killed every single one of them. Not a memory should have remained.” It is usually
yeshiva students who chant “Death to the Arabs” on CNN. The stealing and corruption by religious leaders
that has recently been documented in trials in Israel and abroad continues to raise the question of the relationship between
Judaism and ethics.19
particularism in its most aggressive form can be seen among the ultranationalists, such as the Gush Emunim, who hold that
Jews are not, and cannot be a normal
people. The eternal uniqueness of the Jews is the result of the Covenant made between God and the Jewish people at Mount
Sinai…. The implication is that the transcendent imperatives for Jews effectively nullify moral laws that bind
the behavior of normal nations. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of Gush Emunim’s most prolific ideologues, argues that the
divine commandments to the Jewish people “transcend the human notions of national rights.” He explains that
while God requires other nations to abide by abstract codes of justice and righteousness, such laws do not apply to Jews.20
As argued in the second paper in this series, it is the most extreme elements within the Jewish community
that ultimately give direction to the community as a whole. These fundamentalist and ultranationalist groups are not tiny
fringe groups, mere relics of traditional Jewish culture. They are widely respected by the Israeli public and by many Jews
in the Diaspora. They have a great deal of influence on the Israeli government, especially the Likud governments and the
recent government of national unity headed by Ariel Sharon. The members of Gush Emunim constitute a significant percentage
of the elite units of the Israeli army, and, as expected on the hypothesis that they are extremely ethnocentric, they are
much more willing to treat the Palestinians in a savage and brutal manner than are other Israeli soldiers. All together,
the religious parties represent about 25% of the Israeli electorate21—a percentage that is sure to increase because of the high fertility of religious Jews and because
intensified troubles with the Palestinians tend to make other Israelis more sympathetic to their cause. Given the fractionated
state of Israeli politics and the increasing numbers of the religious groups, it is unlikely that future governments can
be formed without their participation. Peace in the Middle East therefore appears unlikely absent the complete capitulation
or expulsion of the Palestinians.
A good discussion of Jewish moral particularism can be found in a recent article in Tikkun—probably the only remaining liberal Jewish publication.
Kim Chernin wonders why so many Jews “have trouble being critical of Israel.”22 She finds several obstacles to criticism of Israel:
1. A conviction that Jews are always in danger, always
have been, and therefore are in danger now. Which leads to: 2. The insistence that a criticism is an attack and will lead
to our destruction. Which is rooted in: 3. The supposition that any negativity towards Jews (or Israel) is a sign of
anti-Semitism and will (again, inevitably) lead to our destruction…. 6. An even more hidden belief that a sufficient
amount of suffering confers the right to violence…. 7. The conviction that our beliefs, our ideology (or theology),
matter more than the lives of other human beings.
Chernin presents the Jewish psychology of moral particularism:
We keep a watchful
eye out, we read the signs, we detect innuendo, we summon evidence, we become, as we imagine it, the ever-vigilant guardians
of our people’s survival. Endangered as we imagine ourselves to be; endangered as we insist we are, any negativity,
criticism, or reproach, even from one of our own, takes on exaggerated dimensions; we come to perceive such criticism
as a life-threatening attack. The path to fear is clear. But our proclivity for this perception is itself one of our
unrecognized dangers. Bit by bit, as we gather evidence to establish our perilous position in the world, we are brought
to a selective perception of that world. With our attention focused on ourselves as the endangered species, it seems
to follow that we ourselves can do no harm…. When I lived in Israel I practiced selective perception. I was elated
by our little kibbutz on the Lebanese border until I recognized that we were living on land that had belonged to our
Arab neighbors. When I didn’t ask how we had come to acquire that land, I practiced blindness…
The profound depths of Jewish ethnocentrism are intimately
tied up with a sense of historical persecution. Jewish memory is a memory of persecution and impending doom, a memory that
justifies any response because ultimately it is Jewish survival that is at stake:
Wherever we look, we see nothing but impending Jewish destruction….
I was walking across the beautiful square in Nuremberg a couple of years ago and stopped to read a public sign. It told
this story: During the Middle Ages, the town governing body, wishing to clear space for a square, burned out, burned
down, and burned up the Jews who had formerly filled up the space. End of story. After that, I felt very uneasy walking
through the square and I eventually stopped doing it. I felt endangered, of course, a woman going about through Germany
wearing a star of David. But more than that, I experienced a conspicuous and dreadful self-reproach at being so alive,
so happily on vacation, now that I had come to think about the murder of my people hundreds of years before. After reading
that plaque I stopped enjoying myself and began to look for other signs and traces of the mistreatment of the former
Jewish community. If I had stayed longer in Nuremberg, if I had gone further in this direction, I might soon have come
to believe that I, personally, and my people, currently, were threatened by the contemporary Germans eating ice cream
in an outdoor cafe in the square. How much more potent this tendency for alarm must be in the Middle East, in the middle
of a war zone!…
Notice the powerful sense of history here. Jews have a very long historical memory. Events
that happened centuries ago color their current perceptions.
This powerful sense of group
endangerment and historical grievance is associated with a hyperbolic style of Jewish thought that runs repeatedly through
Jewish rhetoric. Chernin’s comment that “any negativity, criticism, or reproach, even from one of our own, takes
on exaggerated dimensions” is particularly important. In the Jewish mind, all criticism must be suppressed because
not to do so would be to risk another Holocaust: “There is no such thing as overreaction to an anti-Semitic incident,
no such thing as exaggerating the omnipresent danger. Anyone who scoffed at the idea that there were dangerous portents
in American society hadn’t learned ‘the lesson of the Holocaust.’ ”23 Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary,
a premier neoconservative journal published by the American Jewish Committee, provides an example:
My own view is that what had befallen
the Jews of Europe inculcated a subliminal lesson…. The lesson was that anti-Semitism, even the relatively harmless
genteel variety that enforced quotas against Jewish students or kept their parents from joining fashionable clubs or
getting jobs in prestigious Wall Street law firms, could end in mass murder.24
is a “slippery slope” argument with a vengeance. The schema is as follows: Criticism of Jews indicates dislike
of Jews; this leads to hostility toward Jews, which leads to Hitler and eventually to mass murder. Therefore all criticism
of Jews must be suppressed. With this sort of logic, it is easy to dismiss arguments about Palestinian rights on the West
Bank and Gaza because “the survival of Israel” is at stake. Consider, for example, the following advertisement
distributed by neoconservative publicist David Horowitz:
The Middle East struggle is not about right
versus right. It is about a fifty-year effort by the Arabs to destroy the Jewish state, and the refusal of the Arab states
in general and the Palestinian Arabs in particular to accept Israel’s existence…. The Middle East conflict
is not about Israel’s occupation of the territories; it is about the refusal of the Arabs to make peace with Israel,
which is an expression of their desire to destroy the Jewish state.25
of Israel” arguments thus trump concerns about allocation of scarce resources like water, the seizure of Palestinian
land, collective punishment, torture, and the complete degradation of Palestinian communities into isolated, military-occupied,
Bantustan-type enclaves. The logic implies that critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza also favor
the destruction of Israel and hence the mass murder of millions of Jews.
Similarly, during the debate over selling military
hardware to Saudi Arabia in the Carter administration, “the Israeli lobby pulled out all the stops,” including
circulating books to Congress based on the TV series The Holocaust. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main Jewish lobbying group in Congress, included
a note stating, “This chilling account of the extermination of six million Jews underscores Israel’s concerns
during the current negotiations for security without reliance on outside guarantees.”26 In other words, selling AWACS reconnaissance planes to Saudi Arabia, a backward kingdom with
little military capability, is tantamount to collusion in the extermination of millions of Jews.
Jewish thinking about immigration
into the U.S. shows the same logic. Lawrence Auster, a Jewish conservative, describes the logic as follows:
liberal notion that “all bigotry is indivisible” [advocated by Norman Podhoretz] implies that all manifestations
of ingroup/outgroup feeling are essentially the same—and equally wrong.
It denies the obvious fact that some outgroups are more different
from the ingroup, and hence less assimilable, and hence more legitimately excluded, than other outgroups. It means, for example, that
wanting to exclude Muslim immigrants from America is as blameworthy as wanting to exclude Catholics or Jews.
Now when Jews put together the idea that “all social prejudice and exclusion leads
potentially to Auschwitz” with the idea that “all bigotry is indivisible,” they must reach the conclusion
that any exclusion of any group, no matter how alien it may be to the host society, is a potential Auschwitz.
So there it is. We have identified the core Jewish conviction that makes Jews keep pushing
relentlessly for mass immigration, even the mass immigration of their deadliest enemies. In the thought-process of Jews,
to keep Jew-hating Muslims out of America would be tantamount to preparing the way to another Jewish Holocaust.27
The idea that any sort of exclusionary thinking on the part of Americans—and especially European Americans
as a majority group—leads inexorably to a Holocaust for Jews is not the only reason why Jewish organizations still
favor mass immigration. I have identified two others as well: the belief that greater diversity makes Jews safer and an
intense sense of historical grievance against the traditional peoples and culture of the United States and Europe.28 These two sentiments also illustrate Jewish moral particularism because they fail to consider the
ethnic interests of other peoples in thinking about immigration policy. Recently the “diversity-as-safety” argument
was made by Leonard S. Glickman, president and CEO of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a Jewish group that has advocated
open immigration to the United States for over a century. Glickman stated, “The more diverse American society is the
safer [Jews] are.”29 At the present time, the HIAS is deeply involved in recruiting refugees from Africa to emigrate to
The diversity as safety argument and its linkage to historical grievances against European civilization is implicit in a
recent statement of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in response to former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s
argument that Muslim Turkey has no place in the European Union:
Ironically, in the fifteenth century,
when European monarchs expelled the Jews, it was Moslem Turkey that provided them a welcome…. During the Holocaust,
when Europe was slaughtering its Jews, it was Turkish consuls who extended protection to fugitives from Vichy France
and other Nazi allies…. Today’s European neo-Nazis and skinheads focus upon Turkish victims while, Mr. President,
you are reported to be considering the Pope’s plea that your Convention emphasize Europe’s Christian heritage.
[The Center suggested that Giscard’s new Constitution] underline the pluralism of a multi-faith and multi-ethnic
Europe, in which the participation of Moslem Turkey might bolster the continent’s Moslem communities—and, indeed,
Turkey itself—against the menaces of extremism, hate and fundamentalism. A European Turkey can only be beneficial
for stability in Europe and the Middle East.30
Here we see Jewish moral particularism combined with a profound sense of historical grievance—hatred
by any other name—against European civilization and a desire for the end of Europe as a Christian civilization with
its traditional ethnic base. According to the SWC, the menaces of “extremism, hate and fundamentalism”—prototypically
against Jews—can only be repaired by jettisoning the traditional cultural and ethnic basis of European civilization.
Events that happened five hundred years ago are still fresh in the minds of Jewish activists—a phenomenon that should
give pause to everyone in an age when Israel has control of nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems.31
Indeed, a recent article on Assyrians in the U.S. shows that many Jews have not forgiven or forgotten events
of 2,700 years ago, when the Northern Israelite kingdom was forcibly relocated to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh: “Some
Assyrians say Jews are one group of people who seem to be more familiar with them. But because the Hebrew Bible describes
Assyrians as cruel and ruthless conquerors, people such as the Rev. William Nissan say he is invariably challenged by Jewish
rabbis and scholars about the misdeeds of his ancestors.”32
The SWC inveighs against hate but fails to confront the issue of hatred as a normative aspect of Judaism.
Jewish hatred toward non-Jews emerges as a consistent theme throughout the ages, beginning in the ancient world.33 The Roman historian Tacitus noted that “Among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever
ready to show compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies.34 The eighteenth-century English historian Edward Gibbon was struck by the fanatical hatred of Jews
in the ancient world:
From the reign of Nero to that of Antoninus Pius, the Jews discovered a fierce impatience
of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections. Humanity is shocked
at the recital of the horrid cruelties which they committed in the cities of Egypt, of Cyprus, and of Cyrene, where
they dwelt in treacherous friendship with the unsuspecting natives; and we are tempted to applaud the severe retaliation
which was exercised by the arms of the legions against a race of fanatics, whose dire and credulous superstition seemed
to render them the implacable enemies not only of the Roman government, but of human kind.35
The nineteenth-century Spanish historian José Amador de los Rios wrote of the Spanish Jews who assisted
the Muslim conquest of Spain that “without any love for the soil where they lived, without any of those affections
that ennoble a people, and finally without sentiments of generosity, they aspired only to feed their avarice and to accomplish
the ruin of the Goths; taking the opportunity to manifest their rancor, and boasting of the hatreds that they had hoarded
up so many centuries.”36 In 1913, economist Werner Sombart, in his classic Jews and
Modern Capitalism, summarized Judaism as “a group by themselves and
therefore separate and apart—this from the earliest antiquity. All nations were struck by their hatred of others.”37
A recent article by Meir Y. Soloveichik, aptly titled “The virtue of hate,” amplifies this theme
of normative Jewish fanatical hatred.38 “Judaism believes that while forgiveness is often a virtue, hate can be virtuous when one is
dealing with the frightfully wicked. Rather than forgive, we can wish ill; rather than hope for repentance, we can instead
hope that our enemies experience the wrath of God.” Soloveichik notes that the Old Testament is replete with descriptions
of horribly violent deaths inflicted on the enemies of the Israelites—the desire not only for revenge but for revenge
in the bloodiest, most degrading manner imaginable: “The Hebrew prophets not only hated their enemies, but rather
reveled in their suffering, finding in it a fitting justice.” In the Book of Esther, after the Jews kill the ten sons
of Haman, their persecutor, Esther asks that they be hanged on a gallows.
This normative fanatical hatred in Judaism can be seen
by the common use among Orthodox Jews of the phrase yemach shemo,
meaning, may his name be erased. This phrase is used “whenever
a great enemy of the Jewish nation, of the past or present, is mentioned. For instance, one might very well say casually,
in the course of conversation, ‘Thank God, my grandparents left Germany before Hitler, yemach
shemo, came to power.’ Or: ‘My parents were murdered by the Nazis, yemach
shemam.’ ”39 Again we see that the powerful consciousness of past suffering leads to present-day intense hatred:
Another danger inherent in
hate is that we may misdirect our odium at institutions in the present because of their past misdeeds. For instance,
some of my coreligionists reserve special abhorrence for anything German, even though Germany is currently one of the most
pro-Israel countries in Europe. Similarly, after centuries of suffering, many Jews have, in my own experience, continued
to despise religious Christians, even though it is secularists and Islamists who threaten them today, and Christians
should really be seen as their natural allies. Many Jewish intellectuals and others of influence still take every assertion
of the truth of Christianity as an anti-Semitic attack. After the Catholic Church beatified Edith Stein, a Jewish convert
to Christianity, some prominent Jews asserted that the Church was attempting to cover up its role in causing the Holocaust.
And then there is the historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, who essentially has asserted that any attempt by the Catholic
Church to maintain that Christianity is the one true faith marks a continuation of the crimes of the Church in the past.
Burning hatred, once kindled, is difficult to extinguish.
Soloveichik could also have included Jewish hatred
toward the traditional peoples and culture of the United States. This hatred stems from Jewish memory of the immigration
law of 1924, which is seen as having resulted in a greater number of Jews dying in the Holocaust because it restricted Jewish
immigration from Eastern Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. Jews are also acutely aware of widespread anti-Jewish attitudes
in the U.S. prior to World War II. The hatred continues despite the virtual disappearance of anti-Jewish attitudes in the
U.S. after World War II and despite the powerful ties between the United States and Israel.40
the transparently faulty logic and obvious self-interest involved in arguments made by Jewish activists, it is not unreasonable
to suppose that Jews are often engaged in self-deception. In fact, self-deception is a very important component of Jewish
moral particularism. I wrote an entire chapter on Jewish self-deception in Separation and Its
Discontents41 but it was nowhere near enough. Again, Kim Chernin:
Our sense of victimization as a people works in a dangerous
and seditious way against our capacity to know, to recognize, to name and to remember. Since we have adopted ourselves
as victims we cannot correctly read our own history let alone our present circumstances. Even where the story of our
violence is set down in a sacred text that we pore over again and again, we cannot see it. Our self-election as the people
most likely to be victimized obscures rather than clarifies our own tradition. I can’t count the number of times
I read the story of Joshua as a tale of our people coming into their rightful possession of their promised land without
stopping to say to myself, “but this is a history of rape, plunder, slaughter, invasion and destruction of other
peoples.” As such, it bears an uncomfortably close resemblance to the behavior of Israeli settlers and the Israeli
army of today, a behavior we also cannot see for what it is. We are tracing the serpentine path of our own psychology.
We find it organized around a persuasion of victimization, which leads to a sense of entitlement to enact violence, which
brings about an inevitable distortion in the way we perceive both our Jewish identity and the world, and involves us
finally in a tricky relationship to language.
Political columnist Joe Sobran—who has suffered professionally for expressing
his opinions about Israel—exposes the moral particularism of Norman Podhoretz, one of the chorus of influential Jewish
voices who advocate restructuring the entire Middle East in the interests of Israel:
Podhoretz has unconsciously exposed the Manichaean fantasy world of so many of those who are now calling for war with Iraq. The
United States and Israel are “good”; the Arab-Muslim states are “evil”; and those opposed to this
war represent “moral relativism,” ostensibly neutral but virtually on the side of “evil.” This
is simply deranged. The ability to see evil only in one’s enemies isn’t “moral clarity.” It’s
the essence of fanaticism. We are now being counseled to fight one kind of fanaticism with another. [My emphasis]
As Sobran notes, the moral particularism is unconscious—an
example of self-deception. The world is cut up into two parts, the good and the evil—ingroup-outgroup—as it
has been, for Jews, for well over two thousand years. Recently Jared Taylor and David Horowitz got into a discussion which
touched on Jewish issues. Taylor writes:
Mr. Horowitz deplores the idea that “we are all prisoners
of identity politics,” implying that race and ethnicity are trivial matters we must work to overcome. But if that
is so, why does the home page of FrontPageMag carry a perpetual appeal for contributions to “David’s Defense
of Israel Campaign”? Why Israel rather than, say, Kurdistan or Tibet or Euskadi or Chechnya? Because Mr. Horowitz
is Jewish. His commitment to Israel is an expression of precisely the kind of particularist identity he would deny to
me and to other racially-conscious whites. He passionately supports a self-consciously Jewish state but calls it “surrendering
to the multicultural miasma” when I work to return to a self-consciously white America. He supports an explicitly
ethnic identity for Israel but says American must not be allowed to have one… If he supports a Jewish Israel,
he should support a white America.42
is suggesting that Horowitz is self-deceived or inconsistent. It is interesting that Horowitz was acutely aware of his own
parents’ self-deception. Horowitz’s description of his parents shows the strong ethnocentrism that lurked beneath
the noisy universalism of Jewish communists in mid-twentieth century America. In his book, Radical
Son, Horowitz describes the world of his parents who had joined a “shul” (i.e.,
a synagogue) run by the Communist Party in which Jewish holidays were given a political interpretation. Psychologically these
people might as well have been in eighteenth-century Poland, but they were completely unaware of any Jewish identity. Horowitz
What my parents had done in joining the Communist Party and moving to Sunnyside was to return to the ghetto.
There was the same shared private language, the same hermetically sealed universe, the same dual posturing revealing
one face to the outer world and another to the tribe. More importantly, there was the same conviction of being marked for
persecution and specially ordained, the sense of moral superiority toward the stronger and more numerous goyim outside. And there was the same fear of expulsion
for heretical thoughts, which was the fear that riveted the chosen to the faith.43
Jews recreate Jewish social structure wherever they are, even when they are completely unaware
they are doing so. When asked about their Jewish commitments, these communists denied having any.44 Nor were they consciously aware of having chosen ethnically Jewish spouses, although they all married
other Jews. This denial has been useful for Jewish organizations and Jewish intellectual apologists attempting to de-emphasize
the role of Jews on the radical left in the twentieth century. For example, a common tactic of the ADL beginning in the
Red Scare era of the 1920s right up through the Cold War era was to claim that Jewish radicals were no longer Jews because
they had no Jewish religious commitments.45
Non-Jews run the risk of failing to truly understand how powerful these Jewish traits of moral particularism
and self-deception really are. When confronted with his own rabid support for Israel, Horowitz simply denies that ethnicity
has much to do with it; he supports Israel as a matter of principle—his commitment to universalist moral principles—and
he highlights the relationship between Israel and the West: “Israel is under attack by the same enemy that has attacked
the United States. Israel is the point of origin for the culture of the West.”46 This ignores the reality that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is a major part of the
reason why the United States was attacked and is hated throughout the Arab world. It also ignores the fact that Western culture
and its strong strain of individualism are the antithesis of Judaism, and that Israel’s Western veneer overlays the
deep structure of Israel as an apartheid, ethnically based state.
It’s difficult to argue with people
who cannot see or at least won’t acknowledge the depths of their own ethnic commitments and continue to act in ways
that compromise the ethnic interests of others. People like Horowitz (and his parents) can’t see their ethnic commitments
even when they are obvious to everyone else. One could perhaps say the same of Charles Krauthammer, William Safire, William
Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and the legion of prominent Jews who collectively dominate the perception of Israel presented
by the U.S. media. Not surprisingly, Horowitz pictures the U.S. as a set of universal principles, with no ethnic content.
This idea originated with Jewish intellectuals, particularly Horace Kallen, almost a century ago at a time when there was
a strong conception that the United States was a European civilization whose characteristics were racially/ethnically
based.47 As we all know, this world and its intellectual infrastructure have vanished, and I have tried to
show that the prime force opposing a European racial/ethnic conception of the U.S. was a set of Jewish intellectual and political
movements that collectively pathologized any sense of European ethnicity or European ethnic interests.48
that extreme ethnocentrism continues to pervade all segments of the organized Jewish community, the advocacy of the de-ethnicization
of Europeans—a common sentiment in the movements I discuss in The Culture of Critique—is best seen as a strategic move against peoples regarded as historical enemies. In Chapter 8 of CofC, I call attention to a long list of similar double standards, especially
with regard to the policies pursued by Israel versus the policies Jewish organizations have pursued in the U.S. These policies
include church-state separation, attitudes toward multiculturalism, and immigration policies favoring the dominant ethnic
group. This double standard is fairly pervasive. As noted throughout CofC,
Jewish advocates addressing Western audiences have promoted policies that satisfy Jewish (particularist) interests in terms
of the morally universalist language that is a central feature of Western moral and intellectual discourse; obviously David
Horowitz’s rationalization of his commitment to Israel is a prime example of this.
A principal theme of CofC
is that Jewish organizations played a decisive role in opposing the idea that the United States
ought to be a European nation. Nevertheless, these organizations have been strong supporters of Israel as a nation of the
Jewish people. Consider, for example, a press release of May 28, 1999, by the ADL:
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today
lauded the passage of sweeping changes in Germany’s immigration law, saying the easing of the nation’s once
rigorous naturalization requirements “will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance. It is encouraging to see
pluralism taking root in a society that, despite its strong democracy, had for decades maintained an unyielding policy
of citizenship by blood or descent only,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The easing of
immigration requirements is especially significant in light of Germany’s history of the Holocaust and persecution
of Jews and other minority groups. The new law will provide a climate for diversity and acceptance in a nation with
an onerous legacy of xenophobia, where the concept of ‘us versus them’ will be replaced by a principle of citizenship
There is no mention of analogous laws in place in Israel restricting immigration to Jews, or of the long-standing
policy of rejecting the possibility of repatriation for Palestinian refugees wishing to return to Israel or the occupied
territories. The prospective change in the “us versus them” attitude alleged to be characteristic of Germany
is applauded, while the “us versus them” attitude characteristic of Israel and Jewish culture throughout history
is unmentioned. Recently, the Israeli Ministry of Interior ruled that new immigrants who have converted to Judaism will no
longer be able to bring non-Jewish family members into the country. The decision is expected to cut by half the number of
eligible immigrants to Israel. Nevertheless, Jewish organizations continue to be strong proponents of multiethnic immigration
to the United States while maintaining unquestioning support for Israel. This pervasive double standard was noticed by writer
Vincent Sheean in his observations of Zionists in Palestine in 1930: “how idealism goes hand in hand with the most
terrific cynicism; . . . how they are Fascists in their own affairs, with regard to Palestine, and internationalists in
everything else.”50 The right hand does not know what the left is doing—self-deception writ large.
ethnocentrism is well founded in the sense that scientific studies supporting the genetic cohesiveness of Jewish groups
continue to appear. Most notable of the recent studies is that of Michael Hammer and colleagues.51 Based on Y-chromosome data, Hammer et al. conclude that 1 in 200 matings within Jewish communities
were with non-Jews over a 2000-year period.
Because of their intense ethnocentrism, Jews tend to have
great rapport with each other—an important ingredient in producing effective groups. One way to understand this
powerful attraction for fellow ethnic group members is J. Philippe Rushton’s Genetic Similarity Theory.52 According to GST, people are attracted to others who are genetically similar to themselves. One of
the basic ideas of evolutionary biology is that people are expected to help relatives because they share similar genes. When
a father helps a child or an uncle helps a nephew, he is really also helping himself because of their close genetic relationship.
(Parents share half their genes with their children; uncles share one-fourth of their genes with nieces and nephews.53) GST extends this concept to non-relatives by arguing that people benefit when they favor others who
are genetically similar to them even if they are not relatives.
GST has some important implications for understanding cooperation
and cohesiveness among Jews. It predicts that people will be friendlier to other people who are genetically more similar
to themselves. In the case of Jews and non-Jews, it predicts that Jews would be more likely to make friends and alliances
with other Jews, and that there would be high levels of rapport and psychological satisfaction within these relationships.
explains the extraordinary rapport and cohesiveness among Jews. Since the vast majority of Jews are closely related genetically,
GST predicts that they will be very attracted to other Jews and may even be able to recognize them in the absence of distinctive
clothing and hair styles. There is anecdotal evidence for this statement. Theologian Eugene Borowitz writes that Jews seek
each other out in social situations and feel “far more at home” after they have discovered who is Jewish.54 “Most Jews claim to be equipped with an interpersonal friend-or-foe sensing device that enables
them to detect the presence of another Jew, despite heavy camouflage.” Another Jewish writer comments on the incredible
sense of oneness he has with other Jews and his ability to recognize other Jews in public places, a talent some Jews call
“J-dar.”55 While dining with his non-Jewish fiancée, he is immediately recognized as Jewish by some other
Jews, and there is an immediate “bond of brotherhood” between them that excludes his non-Jewish companion.
Reich, Clinton administration Secretary of Labor, wrote that in his first face-to-face meeting with Federal Reserve Board
Chairman Alan Greenspan, “We have never met before, but I instantly know him. One look, one phrase, and I know where
he grew up, how he grew up, where he got his drive and his sense of humor. He is New York. He is Jewish. He looks like my
uncle Louis, his voice is my uncle Sam. I feel we’ve been together at countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals.
I know his genetic structure. I’m certain that within the last five hundred years—perhaps even more recently—we
shared the same ancestor.”56 Reich is almost certainly correct: He and Greenspan do indeed have a recent common ancestor, and this
genetic affinity causes them to have an almost supernatural attraction to each other. Or consider Sigmund Freud, who wrote
that he found “the attraction of Judaism and of Jews so irresistible, many dark emotional powers, all the mightier
the less they let themselves be grasped in words, as well as the clear consciousness of inner identity, the secrecy of the
same mental construction.”57
discussion of Judaism has to start and probably end with this incredibly strong bond that Jews have among each other—a
bond that is created by their close genetic relationship and by the intensification of the psychological mechanisms underlying
group cohesion. This powerful rapport among Jews translates into a heightened ability to cooperate in highly focused groups.
conclude this section: In general, the contemporary organized Jewish community is characterized by high levels of Jewish
identification and ethnocentrism. Jewish activist organizations like the ADL, the American Jewish Committee, the Hebrew
Immigrant Aid Society, and the neoconservative think tanks are not creations of the fundamentalist and Orthodox, but represent
the broad Jewish community, including non-religious Jews and Reform Jews. In general, the more actively people are involved
in the Jewish community, the more committed they are to preventing intermarriage and retaining Jewish ethnic cohesion. And
despite a considerable level of intermarriage among less committed Jews, the leadership of the Jewish community in the U.S.
is at present not made up of the offspring of intermarried people to any significant extent.
is ultimately simple traditional human ethnocentrism, although it is certainly among the more extreme varieties. But what
is so fascinating is the cloak of intellectual support for Jewish ethnocentrism, the complexity and intellectual sophistication
of the rationalizations for it—some of which are reviewed in Separation and Its Discontents58 and the rather awesome hypocrisy (or cold-blooded deception) of it, given Jewish opposition to ethnocentrism
Jews Are Intelligent (and Wealthy)
The vast majority of U.S. Jews are Ashkenazi Jews. This is a very intelligent group, with an average IQ of
approximately 115 and verbal IQ considerably higher.59 Since verbal IQ is the best predictor of occupational success and upward mobility in contemporary
societies,60 it is not surprising that Jews are an elite group in the United States. Frank Salter has showed that
on issues of concern to the Jewish community (Israel, immigration, ethnic policy in general), Jewish groups have four times
the influence of European Americans despite representing approximately 2.5% of the population.61 Recent data indicate that Jewish per capita income in the U.S. is almost double that of non-Jews,
a bigger difference than the black-white income gap.62 Although Jews make up less than 3% of the population, they constitute more than a quarter of the people
on the Forbes list of the richest four
hundred Americans. Jews constitute 45% of the top forty of the Forbes 400 richest Americans. Fully one-third of all American
multimillionaires are Jewish. The percentage of Jewish households with income greater than $50,000 is double that of non-Jews;
on the other hand, the percentage of Jewish households with income less than $20,000 is half that of non-Jews. Twenty percent
of professors at leading universities are Jewish, and 40% of partners in leading New York and Washington D.C. law firms are
In 1996, there were approximately three hundres national Jewish organizations in the United States,
with a combined budget estimated in the range of $6 billion—a sum greater than the gross national product of half
the members of the United Nations.64 For example, in 2001 the ADL claimed an annual budget of over $50,000,000.65 There is also a critical mass of very wealthy Jews who are actively involved in funding Jewish causes.
Irving Moskowitz funds the settler movement in Israel and pro-Israeli, neoconservative think tanks in Washington DC, while
Charles Bronfman, Ronald Lauder, and the notorious Marc Rich fund Birthright Israel, a program that aims to increase ethnic
consciousness among Jews by bringing 20,000 young Jews to Israel every year. George Soros finances liberal immigration policy
throughout the Western world and also funds Noel Ignatiev and his “Race Traitor” website dedicated to the abolition
of the white race. So far as I know, there are no major sources of funding aimed at increasing ethnic consciousness among
Europeans or at promoting European ethnic interests.66 Certainly the major sources of conservative funding in the U.S., such as the Bradley and Olin Foundations,
are not aimed at this sort of thing. Indeed, the Bradley Foundation has been a major source of funding for the largely Jewish
neoconservative movement and for pro-Israel think tanks such as the Center for Security Policy.67
Paul Findley68 provides numerous examples of Jews using their financial clout to support political candidates with
positions that are to the liking of AIPAC and other pro-Israel activist groups in the U.S. This very large financial support
for pro-Israel candidates continues into the present—the most recent examples being the campaigns to unseat Cynthia
McKinney and Earl Hilliard from Congress in 2002. Because of their predominantly Jewish funding base,69 Democratic candidates are particularly vulnerable, but all candidates experience this pressure because
Jewish support will be funneled to their opponents if there is any hint of disagreement with the pro-Israel lobby.
is also important in providing access to the entire range of influential positions, from the academic world, to the
media, to business, politics, and the legal profession. In CofC I describe several influential Jewish intellectual movements developed by networks of Jews who were motivated
to advance Jewish causes and interests. These movements were the backbone of the intellectual left in the twentieth century,
and their influence continues into the present. Collectively, they call into question the fundamental moral, political,
and economic foundations of Western society. These movements have been advocated with great intellectual passion and moral
fervor and with a very high level of theoretical sophistication. As with the neoconservative movement, discussed in the
third article in this series, all of these movements had ready access to prestigious mainstream media sources, at least
partly because of the high representation of Jews as owners and producers of mainstream media.70 All of these movements were strongly represented at prestigious universities, and their work was published
by prestigious mainstream academic and commercial publishers.
Intelligence is also evident in Jewish activism.
Jewish activism is like a full court press in basketball: intense pressure from every possible angle. But in addition to
the intensity, Jewish efforts are very well organized, well funded, and backed up by sophisticated, scholarly intellectual
defenses. A good example is the long and ultimately successful attempt to alter U.S. immigration policy.71 The main Jewish activist organization influencing immigration policy, the American Jewish Committee,
was characterized by “strong leadership, internal cohesion, well-funded programs, sophisticated lobbying techniques,
well-chosen non-Jewish allies, and good timing.”72 The most visible Jewish activists, such as Louis Marshall, were intellectually brilliant and enormously
energetic and resourceful in their crusades on behalf of immigration and other Jewish causes. When restrictionist arguments
appeared in the media, the American Jewish Committee made sophisticated replies based on at least the appearance of scholarly
data, and typically couched in universalist terms as benefiting the whole society. Articles favorable to immigration
were published in national magazines, and letters to the editor were published in newspapers. Talented lawyers initiated
legal proceedings aimed at preventing the deportation of aliens.
The pro-immigration lobby was also very
well organized. Immigration opponents, such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and organizations like the Immigration Restriction
League were kept under close scrutiny and pressured by lobbyists. Lobbyists in Washington also kept a daily scorecard of
voting tendencies as immigration bills wended their way through Congress, and they engaged in intense and successful efforts
to convince Presidents Taft and Wilson to veto restrictive immigration legislation. Catholic prelates were recruited to
protest the effects of restrictionist legislation on immigration from Italy and Hungary. There were well-organized efforts
to minimize the negative perceptions of immigration by distributing Jewish immigrants around the country and by getting
Jewish aliens off public support. Highly visible and noisy mass protest meetings were organized.73
Intelligence and organization are also apparent in contemporary Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel. Les Janka,
a U.S. Defense Department official, noted that, “On all kinds of foreign policy issues the American people just don’t
make their voices heard. Jewish groups are the exceptions. They are prepared, superbly briefed. They have their act together.
It is hard for bureaucrats not to respond.”74
A. Klein, national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), is typical of the highly intelligent, competent,
and dedicated Jewish activist. The ZOA website states that Klein had a distinguished career as a biostatistician in academe
and in government service in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. He has received accolades as one of the leading
Jewish activists in the U.S., especially by media that are closely associated with Likud policies in Israel. For example,
the Wall Street Journal called the ZOA “heroic and the most
credible advocate for Israel on the American Jewish scene today” and added that we should “snap a salute to those
who were right about Oslo and Arafat all along,… including Morton Klein who was wise, brave and unflinchingly honest….
[W]hen the history of the American Jewish struggle in these years is written, Mr. Klein will emerge as an outsized figure.”
The website boasts of Klein’s success “against anti-Israel bias” in textbooks, travel guides, universities,
churches, and the media, as well as his work on Capitol Hill.” Klein has led successful efforts to block the appointment
of Joe Zogby, an Arab American, to the State Department and the appointment of Strobe Talbott, Clinton nominee for Deputy
Secretary of State. Klein’s pro-Israel articles have appeared in a wide range of mainstream and Jewish media: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New Republic, New Yorker, Commentary, Near East Report,
Reform Judaism, Moment, Forward, Jerusalem Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Ha’aretz (Jerusalem), Maariv (Jerusalem), and the Israeli-Russian
Klein’s activism highlights the importance of access to the major
media enjoyed by Jewish activists and organizations—a phenomenon that is traceable ultimately to Jewish intelligence.
Jews have a very large presence in the media as owners, writers, producers, and editors—far larger than any other
identifiable group.75 In the contemporary world, this presence is especially important with respect to perceptions of Israel.
Media coverage of Israel in the U.S. is dominated by a pro-Israel bias, whereas in most of the world the predominant view
is that the Palestinians are a dispossessed people under siege.76 A critical source of support for Israel is the army of professional pundits “who can be counted
upon to support Israel reflexively and without qualification.”77 Perhaps the most egregious example of pro-Israel bias resulting from Jewish media control is the Asper
family, owners of CanWest, a company that controls over 33% of the English-language newspapers in Canada. CanWest inaugurated
an editorial policy in which all editorials had to be approved by the main office. As the Canadian Journalists for Free
Expression notes, “the Asper family staunchly supports Israel in its conflicts with Palestinians, and coverage of
the Middle East appears to be a particularly sensitive area.”78 CanWest has exercised control over the content of articles related to Israel by editing and spiking
articles with pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli views. Journalists who have failed to adopt CanWest positions have been reprimanded
III. Jews Are Psychologically Intense
I have compared Jewish activism to a full court press—relentlessly intense and covering
every possible angle. There is considerable evidence that Jews are higher than average on emotional intensity.79 Emotionally intense people are prone to intense emotional experience of both positive and negative
emotions.80 Emotionality may be thought of as a behavioral intensifier—an energizer. Individuals high on
affect intensity have more complex social networks and more complex lives, including multiple and even conflicting goals.
Their goals are intensely sought after.
In the case of Jews, this affects the tone and intensity of their efforts
at activism. Among Jews there is a critical mass that is intensely committed to Jewish causes—a sort of 24/7, “pull
out all the stops” commitment that produces instant, massive responses on Jewish issues. Jewish activism has a relentless,
never-say-die quality. This intensity goes hand in hand with the “slippery slope” style of arguing described
above: Jewish activism is an intense response because even the most trivial manifestation of anti-Jewish attitudes or behavior
is seen as inevitably leading to mass murder of Jews if allowed to continue.
Besides its ability to direct
Jewish money to its preferred candidates, a large part of AIPAC’s effectiveness lies in its ability to rapidly
mobilize its 60,000 members. “In virtually every congressional district…AIPAC has a group of prominent citizens
it can mobilize if an individual senator or representative needs stroking.”81 When Senator Charles Percy suggested that Israel negotiate with the PLO and be willing to trade land
for peace, he was inundated with 2200 telegrams and 4000 letters, 95% against, and mainly from the Jewish community in Chicago.82 The other side is seldom able to muster a response that competes with the intensity of the Jewish
response. When President Eisenhower—the last president to stand up to the pro-Israel lobby—pressured Israel into
withdrawing from the Sinai in 1957, almost all the mail opposed his decision. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles complained,
“It is impossible to hold the line because we get no support from the Protestant elements in the country. All we get
is a battering from the Jews.”83 This pales in comparison to the avalanche of 150,000 letters to President Johnson urging support for
Israel when Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran in May 1967. This was just prior to the “Six-Day War,” during which
the U.S. provided a great deal of military assistance and actively cooperated in the cover-up of the assault on the USS
Liberty. Jews had learned from their defeat at the hands of
Eisenhower and had redoubled their lobbying efforts, creating by all accounts the most effective lobby in Washington.
Pressure on officials in the State and
Defense departments is relentless and intense. In the words of one official, “One has to keep in mind the constant
character of this pressure. The public affairs staff of the Near East Bureau in the State Department figures it will spend
about 75 percent of its time dealing with Jewish groups. Hundreds of such groups get appointments in the executive branch
Psychological intensity is also typical of Israelis. For example, the Israelis are remarkably persistent in
their attempts to obtain U.S. military hardware. The following comment illustrates not only the relentless, intense pressure,
but also the aggressiveness of Jewish pursuit of their interests: “They would never take no for an answer. They never
gave up. These emissaries of a foreign government always had a shopping list of wanted military items, some of them high
technology that no other nation possessed, some of it secret devices that gave the United States an edge over any adversary.”85 Even though small in number, the effects are enormous. “They never seem to sleep, guarding
Israel’s interests around the clock.”86 Henry Kissinger made the following comment on Israeli negotiating tactics. “In the combination
of single-minded persistence and convoluted tactics the Israelis preserve in the interlocutor only those last vestiges of
sanity and coherence needed to sign the final document.”87
Jews Are Aggressive
aggressive and “pushy” is part of the stereotype of Jews in Western societies. Unfortunately, there is a dearth
of scientific studies on this aspect of Jewish personality. Hans Eysenck, renowned for his research on personality, claims
that Jews are indeed rated more aggressive by people who know them well.88
have always behaved aggressively toward those they have lived among, and they have been perceived as aggressive by their
critics. What strikes the reader of Henry Ford’s The International Jew
(TIJ), written in the early 1920s, is its portrayal
of Jewish intensity and aggressiveness in asserting their interests.89 As TIJ notes, from Biblical times Jews
have endeavored to enslave and dominate other peoples, even in disobedience of divine command, quoting the Old Testament,
“And it came to pass, when Israel was strong, that they put the Canaanites to tribute, and did not utterly drive them
out." In the Old Testament the relationship between Israel and foreigners is one of domination: For example, “They
shall go after thee, in chains they shall come over; And they shall fall down unto thee. They shall make supplication unto
thee” (Isa. 45:14); “They shall bow down to thee with their face to the earth, And lick the dust of thy feet”
(49:23). Similar sentiments appear in Trito-Isaiah (60:14, 61:5–6), Ezekiel (e.g., 39:10), and Ecclesiasticus (36:9).
The apotheosis of Jewish attitudes of conquest can be seen in the Book of Jubilees, where world domination and great reproductive
success are promised to the seed of Abraham:
I am the God who created heaven and earth. I shall increase you, and multiply you exceedingly; and kings shall
come from you and shall rule wherever the foot of the sons of man has trodden. I shall give to your seed all the earth
which is under heaven, and they shall rule over all the nations according to their desire; and afterwards they shall draw
the whole earth to themselves and shall inherit it for ever (Jub. 32:18‑19).
Elsewhere I have noted that a major
theme of anti-Jewish attitudes throughout the ages has been Jewish economic domination.90 The following petition from the citizens of the German town of Hirschau opposed allowing Jews to live
there because Jews were seen as aggressive competitors who ultimately dominate the people they live among:
only a few Jewish families settle here, all small shops, tanneries, hardware stores, and so on, which, as things stand,
provide their proprietors with nothing but the scantiest of livelihoods, will in no time at all be superseded and completely
crushed by these [Jews] such that at least twelve local families will be reduced to beggary, and our poor relief fund,
already in utter extremity, will be fully exhausted within one year. The Jews come into possession in the shortest possible
time of all cash money by getting involved in every business; they rapidly become the only possessors of money, and their
Christian neighbors become their debtors.91
Late nineteenth-century Zionists such as Theodor Herzl were quite aware that a prime source of modern anti-Jewish
attitudes was that emancipation had brought Jews into direct economic competition with the non-Jewish middle classes, a
competition that Jews typically won. Herzl “insisted that one could not expect a majority to ‘let themselves
be subjugated’ by formerly scorned outsiders whom they had just released from the ghetto.”92 The theme of economic domination has often been combined with the view that Jews are personally aggressive.
In the Middle Ages Jews were seen as “pitiless creditors.”93 The philosopher Immanuel Kant stated that Jews were “a nation
of usurers . . . outwitting the people amongst whom they find shelter....
They make the slogan ‘let the buyer beware’ their highest principle in dealing with us.”94
In early twentieth-century America, the sociologist Edward A. Ross commented on a greater tendency among Jewish
immigrants to maximize their advantage in all transactions, ranging from Jewish students badgering teachers for higher grades
to Jewish poor attempting to get more than the usual charitable allotment. “No other immigrants are so noisy, pushing
and disdainful of the rights of others as the Hebrews.”95
The authorities complain that the East European Hebrews feel no reverence for law as such and are willing
to break any ordinance they find in their way…. The insurance companies scan a Jewish fire risk more closely
than any other. Credit men say the Jewish merchant is often “slippery” and will “fail” in order
to get rid of his debts. For lying the immigrant has a very bad reputation. In the North End of Boston “the readiness
of the Jews to commit perjury has passed into a proverb.”96
These characteristics have at times been noted by Jews themselves. In a survey commissioned by the American
Jewish Committee’s study of the Jews of Baltimore in 1962, “two-thirds of the respondents admitted to believing
that other Jews are pushy, hostile, vulgar, materialistic, and the cause of anti-Semitism. And those were only the ones who
were willing to admit it.”97
Jews were unique as an American immigrant group in their hostility toward American Christian culture and in
their energetic, aggressive efforts to change that culture.98 From the perspective of Ford’s TIJ, the United States had imported around 3,500,000 mainly Yiddish-speaking, intensely Jewish immigrants over
the previous forty years. In that very short period, Jews had had enormous effect on American society, particularly in their
attempts to remove expressions of Christianity from public life beginning with an attempt in 1899–1900 to remove the
word “Christian” from the Virginia Bill of Rights: “The Jews’ determination to wipe out of public
life every sign of the predominant Christian character of the U.S. is the only active form of religious intolerance in the
example of Jewish aggressiveness toward American culture has been Jewish advocacy of liberal immigration policies which have
had a transformative effect on the U.S.:
In undertaking to sway immigration policy in a liberal direction,
Jewish spokespersons and organizations demonstrated a degree of energy unsurpassed by any other interested pressure
group. Immigration had constituted a prime object of concern for practically every major Jewish defense and community relations
organization. Over the years, their spokespersons had assiduously attended congressional hearings, and the Jewish effort
was of the utmost importance in establishing and financing such non-sectarian groups as the National Liberal Immigration
League and the Citizens Committee for Displaced Persons.100
Jewish aggressiveness and their role in the media, in the creation of culture and information in the social
sciences and humanities, and in the political process in the United States contrasts with the role of Overseas Chinese.101 The Chinese have not formed a hostile cultural elite in Southeast Asian countries motivated by
historical grievances against the people and culture of their hosts. For example, despite their economic dominance, the
Chinese have not been concerned with restrictions on their citizenship rights, which have been common in Southeast Asia.102 Whereas the Chinese have reacted rather passively to such restrictions, Jews have reacted to any manifestation
of anti-Jewish attitudes or behavior with an all-out effort at eradication. Indeed, we have seen that the mainstream Jewish
attitude is that even trivial manifestations of anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior must not be ignored because they can
and will lead to mass murder. Not only have the Chinese not attempted to remove public displays of symbols of Indonesian
nationalism and religion, they have not seriously attempted to change laws in place since the 1960s mandating that there
be no public displays of Chinese culture.103
the normal sorts of lobbying typical of the political process in the U.S., perhaps the clearest examples of Jewish aggressiveness
are the many examples of intimidation of their opponents—loss of job, death threats, constant harassment, economic
losses such as loss of advertising revenue for media businesses, and charges of anti-Semitism—the last being perhaps
the greatest sin against the post-World War II political order that can be imagined. When Adlai Stevenson III was running
for governor of Illinois, his record in opposition to Israeli settlement policy and his statement that the PLO was a legitimate
voice of the Palestinian people resulted in a whisper campaign that he was an anti-Semite. Stevenson commented:
is an intimidating, activist minority of American Jews that supports the decisions of the Israeli government, right
or wrong. They do so very vocally and very aggressively in ways that intimidate others so that it’s their voice—even
though it is a minority—that is heard in American politics. But it still is much louder in the United States than
in Israel. In other words, you have a much stronger, more vocal dissent in Israel than within the Jewish community in the
United States. The prime minister of Israel has far more influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East than
over the policies of his own government generally.104
A common tactic has been to charge that critics of Israel are anti-Semites. Indeed, George Ball, a perceptive
critic of Israel and its U.S. constituency, maintains that the charge of anti-Semitism and guilt over the Holocaust is the
Israeli lobby’s most effective weapon—outstripping its financial clout.105 The utility of these psychological weapons in turn derives from the very large Jewish influence on
the U.S. media. Historian Peter Novick notes regarding the importance of the Holocaust in contemporary American life:
[i.e., Jews] are not just “the people of the book,” but the people of the Hollywood film and the television
miniseries, of the magazine article and the newspaper column, of the comic book and the academic symposium. When a high
level of concern with the Holocaust became widespread in American Jewry, it was, given the important role that Jews
play in American media and opinion-making elites, not only natural, but virtually inevitable that it would spread throughout
the culture at large.106
And, of course, the appeal to the Holocaust is especially compelling for American Jews. When the Mossad wants
to recruit U.S. Jews for help in its espionage work, in the words of a CIA agent “the appeal is a simple one: ‘When
the call went out and no one heeded it, the Holocaust resulted.’ “107
Charges of anti-Semitism and guilt over the Holocaust are not the only instruments of Jewish aggressiveness
on Israeli issues. Jewish groups intimidate their enemies by a variety of means. People who oppose policies on Israel advocated
by Jewish activist organizations have been fired from their jobs, harassed with letters, subjected to intrusive surveillance,
and threatened with death. Although there is a great deal of self-censorship in the media on Israel as a result of the major
role of Jews in the ownership and production of the media, gaps in this armor are aggressively closed. There are “threats
to editors and advertising departments, orchestrated boycotts, slanders, campaigns of character assassination, and personal
vendettas.”108 Other examples recounted by Findley include pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to stop
broadcast licenses, demands for submission to an oversight committee prior to publication, and the stationing of a Jewish
activist in the newsroom of the Washington Post in order
to monitor the process.
The result of all this intense, well-organized aggression is that
Those who criticize Israeli policy
in any sustained way invite painful and relentless retaliation, and even loss of their livelihood by pressure from one
or more parts of Israel’s lobby. Presidents fear it. Congress does its bidding. Prestigious universities shun
academic programs and buckle under its pressure. Instead of having their arguments and opinions judged on merit, critics
of Israel suddenly find their motivations, their integrity, and basic moral values called into question. No matter how
moderate their criticism, they may be characterized as pawns of the oil lobby, apologists for Arabs, or even anti-Semitic.109
following quote from Henry Kissinger sums up the aggressive Israeli attitudes toward U.S. aid:
[Rabin] had many extraordinary qualities, but the gift of human relations was not one of them. If he had been handed
the entire “United States Strategic Air Command” as a free gift he would have (a) affected the attitude that
at last Israel was getting its due, and (b) found some technical shortcoming in the airplanes that made his accepting
them a reluctant concession to us.110
But of course by far the most important examples of Israeli aggressiveness have been toward their neighbors
in the Middle East. This aggression has been there from the beginning, as Israel has consistently put pressure on border
areas with incursions, including the Kibya massacre of 1953 led by Ariel Sharon.111 The personal aggressiveness of Israeli society has long been a topic of commentators. Israel is known
for its arrogance, insolence (chutzpah), coldness, roughness, rudeness, and lack of civility. For example, B. Z. Sobel, an
Israeli sociologist at the University of Haifa, found that among the motivations for emigrating from Israel was that “there
is indeed an edginess [in Israeli society]; tempers flare, and verbal violence is rampant”112
The current situation in the United
States is the result of an awesome deployment of Jewish power and influence. One must contemplate the fact that American
Jews have managed to maintain unquestioned support for Israel over the last thirty-five years despite Israel’s seizing
land and engaging in a brutal occupation of the Palestinians in the occupied territories—an occupation that will most
likely end with expulsion or complete subjugation, degradation, and apartheid. During this same period Jewish organizations
in America have been a principal force—in my view the main force—for erecting a state dedicated to suppressing
ethnic identification among Europeans, for encouraging massive multi-ethnic immigration into the U.S., and for erecting
a legal system and cultural ideology that is obsessively sensitive to the complaints and interests of ethnic minorities:
the culture of the Holocaust.113
American Judaism is well organized and lavishly funded. It has achieved a great deal of power, and it has
been successful in achieving its interests.114 One of the great myths often promulgated by Jewish apologists is that Jews have no consensus and therefore
cannot wield any real power. Yet there is in fact a great deal of consensus on broad Jewish issues, particularly in the areas
of Israel and the welfare of other foreign Jewries, immigration and refugee policy, church-state separation, abortion rights,
and civil liberties.115 Massive changes in public policy on these issues, beginning with the counter-cultural revolution of
the 1960s, coincide with the period of increasing Jewish power and influence in the United States. Indeed, one is hard-pressed
to find any significant area where public policy conflicts with the attitudes of mainstream Jewish organizations.
in this series will discuss concrete examples of Jewish activism: The history of Zionism as a radical Jewish movement and
the presently influential Jewish neoconservative movement.
References to the Book of Jubilees are from Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha
of the Old Testament II, ed. R. H. Charles, 1–82. Reprint, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 
References to the Book of Maccabees are
to The New English Bible: The Apocrypha. London: Oxford University
Press and Cambridge University Press, 1970.
T. Z.1999. Jewish ethics: Are they ethical? Are they Jewish? The Jewish Agency for Israel, Department for Jewish Zionist
Education, August 22. http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/juice/history1/week8.html
Alterman, E. 2002. Intractable foes, warring narratives:
While much of the world sees Mideast conflict through Palestinian eyes, in America, Israel’s view prevails; http://www.msnbc.com/news/730905.asp; March 28.
Ball G. and
Ball, D. 1992. The Passionate Attachment: American’s Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the
Present. New York: W. W. Norton.
Borowitz, E. B. 1973. The Mask Jews Wear: Self-Deceptions of American Jewry. New York: Simon and Schuster.
S. S. 2001. The Betrayal of Palestine: The Story of George Antonius.
Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Burton, M. L., Moore,
C. C., Whiting, J. W. M., and Romney, A. K. 1996. Regions based on social structure. Current
Anthropology 37: 87–123.
R. J. 1960. Double Identity: The Chinese in Modern Thailand. Hong
Kong and London: Hong Kong University Press and Oxford University Press.
Chernin, K. 2002. Seven pillars of denial. Tikkun,
Coon, C. 1958. Caravan:
The Story of the Middle East, 2nd ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
Curtiss, R. 1998. The cost of Israel to the American people. Talk presented at the Al-Hewar
Center in Vienna, Virginia, May 20, 1998.
1982. Jewish communities in Turkey during the last decades of the nineteenth century in light of the archives of the Alliance
Israélite Universelle. In Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of
a Plural Society, ed. B. Braude and B. Lewis.
New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers.
D. F. 1981. The Middle East: An Anthropological Approach. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Epstein, L. M. 1942.
Marriage Laws in the Bible and the Talmud. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Eysenck, H. J. 1962. The Uses and Abuses of Psychology. Baltimore: Penguin Books.
Findley, P. 1989. They Dare to Speak
Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby, 2nd ed.
Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.
P. 1988. Freud: A Life for Our Time. New York: W. W. Norton.
Getlin, J. 2002. Violence in Mideast galvanizes U.S. Jews. Los Angeles Times, April 28.
Gibbon, E. 1909. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
7 vols., ed. J. B. Bury. London: Methuen.
J.J. 1996. Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment.
Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Goldstein, J. 1990.
The Politics of Ethnic Pressure: The American Jewish Committee Fight against Immigration Restriction,
1906–1917. New York: Garland Publishing.
Gonen, J. Y. 1975. A Psychohistory of Zionism.
New York: Mason/Charter.
Hamilton, W. D. 2001.
At the world’s crossroads: Instability and cycling of two competing hosts with two parasites. In Narrow
Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton. Vol. 2,
The Evolution of Sex, pp. 253–285. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Hammer, M. F., Redd, A. J., Wood, E. T., Bonner, M. R., Jarjanazi,
H., Karafet, T., Santachiara-Benerecetti, S., Oppenheim, A., Jobling, M. A., Jenkins, T., Ostrer, H., and Bonné-Tamir,
B. 2000. Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 9.
Harris, J. F. 1994. The People Speak! Anti-Semitism and Emancipation
in Nineteenth-Century Bavaria. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Horowitz, D. L. 1985. Ethnic Groups in
Conflict. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Horowitz, D. 1997. Radical Son: A Journey through Our Time. New York: Free Press.
Horowitz, D. 2002. American conservatism:
An argument with the racial right. FrontPageMagazine.com, August 27.
Kornberg, R. 1993. Theodore Herzl: From Assimilation to Zionism.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
R. J., and Diener, E. 1987. Affect intensity as an individual difference characteristic: A review. Journal
of Research in Personality 21:1–39.
Lipset, S. M., and Raab, E. 1995. Jews and the New American Scene. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
A. 1912. Social France at the Time of Philip Augustus. New York: Frederick
Lustick, I. A.1987. Israel’s dangerous
fundamentalists. Foreign Policy 68 (Fall), 123–124.
Lynn, R. 1992. Intelligence: Ethnicity and culture. In Cultural Diversity and the Schools, ed. J. Lynch, C. Modgil, and S. Modgil. London and Washington, D.C.: Falmer Press.
MacDonald, K. B. 1994/2002. A People that Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism
As a Group Evolutionary Strategy with Diaspora Peoples. Lincoln, NE: iUniverse. (Originally
published in 1994 by Praeger, Westport, CT).
K. B. 1998a. Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism. Westport, CT: Praeger.
K. B. 1998b/2002. The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in
Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements. Bloomington, IN: 1stBooks Library. (Originally
published in 1998 by Praeger, Westport, CT).
K. B. 2002. Review of Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate
by Neil Baldwin (New York: Public Affairs, 2001, 416 pp.) and The International Jew: The World’s
Foremost Problem, by Henry Ford ( Dearborn, MI: Dearborn Independent, 1920–1921, 416 pp.). Part I: The education of a midwestern industrialist. The Occidental Quarterly 2, no. 3, 2002. Part II: The Dearborn Independent series in perspective. The Occidental
Quarterly 2, no. 4.
Massing, M. 2002. Deal breakers, American Prospect, March 11.
Neuringer, S. M.
1971. American Jewry and United States Immigration Policy, 1881–1953.
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1969. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms. (Reprinted by Arno
Novick, P. 1999.The
Holocaust in American Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Podhoretz, N. 1986. The hate that dare not speak its name. Commentary
N. 2000. My Love Affair with America: A Cautionary Tale of a Cheerful Conservative. New York: Free Press.
N. 2002. In praise of the Bush doctrine. Commentary, September.
Reich, R. 1997. Locked in the Cabinet. New York: Scribner.
1986. Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, 3rd ed. Belmont, MA: Association
of Arab-American University Graduations, Inc. (Originally published 1980.)
Rose, P. L. 1992. Wagner: Race and Revolution.
New Haven: Yale University Press.
Ross, E. A.
1914. The Old World and the New: The Significance of Past and Present Immigration to the American
People. New York: Century.
J. P. 1989. Genetic similarity, human altruism, and group selection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12: 503–559.
P. 1999. Genetic similarity theory and the nature of ethnocentrism. In K. Thienpont and R. Cliquet (eds.) In-group/Out-group
Behavior in Modern Societies: An Evolutionary Perspective, pp. 75–107. The Netherlands:
Sacks, J. 1993. One People? Tradition, Modernity, and Jewish Unity. London: The Littman Library
of Jewish Civilization.
Salter, F. K. 2002. Fuzzy but real: America’s
ethnic hierarchy. Paper presented at the meetings of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, Montreal, August
Schatz, J. 1991. The
Generation: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Communists of Poland. Berkeley: University of California
Shahak, I. 1993. Relations between Israel
and organized American Jews. Middle East Policy Council Journal
2, no. 3, http://www.mepc.org/public_asp/journal_shahak/shahakmain.asp
Shahak, I., and Mezvinsky, N. 1999. Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. London: Pluto Press.
Silbiger, S. 2000. The Jewish Phenomenon: Seven Keys to the Enduring
Wealth of a People. Atlanta, GA: Longstreet Press.
Sobel, B. Z 1986. Exodus from Israel. In E. Levine, ed., Voices
from Israel: Understanding the Israeli Mind. New York, London, Toronto: Herzl Press, Cornwall
Soloveichik, M. Y. 2003. The virtue of
hate. First Things 129:41–46.
Sombart, W. 1913/1982. Jews and Modern Capitalism,
trans. M. Epstein. Reprint, New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
Thernstrom, S., and Thernstrom, A. 1997. America in Black and White: One Nation,
Indivisible. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Vest, J. 2002. The men from JINSA and CSP. The Nation,
Walsh, W. T. 1930. Isabella of Spain: The Last Crusader. New York: Robert M. McBride.
Wiesel, E. 1985. Against Silence: The
Voice and Vision of Elie Wiesel. Selected and edited by Irving Abrahamson, vol. 1. New York:
Yaffe, J. 1968. The American Jews: Portrait of a Split Personality. New York: Random House.
1. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 3.
2. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 4.
5. MacDonald 1998b/2002, passim.
6. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 8; 1998b/2002, Preface.
8. See MacDonald 1994/2002, Chs. 3 and 8 for a discussion of Jewish tendencies toward polygyny, endogamy,
and consanguineous marriage.
9. E.g., Coon 1958, 153; Eickelman 1981, 157–174.
12. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 8; MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 1.
13. Hamilton 2001, p. 273. Hamilton likens Judaism to a speciation event in which there is a role for
cultural practices such as food preparation: “the main (but moderate) differences from biological situations being
that Judaism had come to use a cultural element of inheritance to replace what genes once had been doing more slowly”
(p. 271). He also notes that, “In the world of animals, ants perhaps provide Homo's nearest equivalent for typical broadness of niche. If an unspecialized ant species had a Bible, I’d
expect to find in it extremely similar injunctions about food, ant genocide, and so forth, as I find in the actual Bible,
and I would have no difficulty to suppose these as serving each ant colony well in its struggle for existence” (p.
14. Hamilton 2001, 271–272.
15. Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999.
17. In Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999, 59–60.
20. Lustick 1987, 123–124.
21. Shahak and Mezvinsky 1999, 8.
22. K. Chernin, Tikkun, Sept./Oct. 2002.
26. In Findley 1989, 102.
28. See MacDonald 1998/2002, Preface and Ch. 7.
29. Forward, November 29, 2002.
31. Interview with Dutch-Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld, January 30, 2003: “We possess
several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most
European capitals are targets for our air force. . . . Our armed forces . . . are not the thirtieth strongest in the world,
but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will
happen, before Israel goes under.” http://www.de.indymedia.org/2003/01/39170.shtml
32. Assyrians hope for U.S. protection, Los Angeles Times (Orange County Edition), February 17, 2003, p. B8.
33. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 2.
35. Gibbon 1909, Ch. 16, 78.
40. See MacDonald 1998/2002, Preface.
44. See MacDonald 1998b/2002, Chap. 3
45. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 6; 1998/2002, Preface.
47. MacDonald 1998b/2002.
52. See Rushton 1989; 1999.
53. This refers to genes identical because they are inherited from a common ancestor. Uncles and nieces
share one-fourth their genes only on average. Because the relationship is mediated though a sibling relationship, the actual
percentage can vary. Siblings may be more or less like one another depending on random processes, but on average they share
half their genes.
55. Toronto Globe and Mail, May 11, 1993.
58. MacDonald 1998a, Chs. 6–8.
59. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 7.
62. Thernstrom and Thernstrom, 1997.
64. Goldberg 1996, 38–39.
69. Lipset and Raab, 1995.
71. MacDonald 1998b/2002, Ch. 7.
75. MacDonald1998b/2002, Preface.
79. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 7.
80. See Larsen and Diener 1987.
83. In Findley 1989, 119.
84. In Findley 1989, 164.
85. In Findley 1989, 164.
87.In Ball and Ball 1993, 70.
89. See MacDonald 2002, Review of The International Jew. Occidental Quarterly, v. 2, nos. 3 & 4, pp. 69, 53.
90. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 2.
92. Kornberg 1993, 183; inner quote from Herzl’s diary.
94. In Rose 1992, 7; italics in text.
97. Yaffe 1968, 73. Yaffe embeds this comment in a discussion of self-hating Jews—implying that Jews
are simply accepting stereotypes that are the fantasies of bigoted non-Jews.
98. See also MacDonald 1994/2002.
99. The International Jew, 3/21/1920.
100. Neuringer 1971, 392–393.
101. MacDonald 1998b/2002.
103. See MacDonald 1994/2002, Preface to the First Paperback Edition.
104. In Findley 1989, 92.
110. In Ball and Ball 1992, 70.
111. See Ball and Ball 1992, 44 and passim.
113. See MacDonald 1998b/2002, Preface.
Understanding Jewish Influence II:
Zionism and the Internal Dynamics of Judaism
The history of Zionism
illustrates a dynamic within the Jewish community in which the most radical elements end up pulling the entire community
in their direction. Zionism began among the most ethnocentric Eastern European Jews and had explicitly racialist and nationalist
overtones. However, Zionism was viewed as dangerous among the wider Jewish community, especially the partially assimilated
Jews in Western countries, because it opened Jews up to charges of disloyalty and because the Zionists’ open racialism
and ethnocentric nationalism conflicted with the assimilationist strategy then dominant among Western Jews. Zionist activists
eventually succeeded in making Zionism a mainstream Jewish movement, due in large part to the sheer force of numbers of
the Eastern European vanguard. Over time, the more militant, expansionist Zionists (the Jabotinskyists, the Likud Party,
fundamentalists, and West Bank settlers) have won the day and have continued to push for territorial expansion within Israel.
This has led to conflicts with Palestinians and a widespread belief among Jews that Israel itself is threatened. The result
has been a heightened group consciousness among Jews and ultimately support for Zionist extremism among the entire organized
American Jewish community.
In the first part of this series I discussed Jewish ethnocentrism
as a central trait influencing the success of Jewish activism.1 In the contemporary world, the most important example of Jewish ethnocentrism and extremism is Zionism. In fact, Zionism
is incredibly important. As of this writing, the United States has recently accomplished the destruction of the Iraqi regime,
and it is common among influential Jews to advocate war between the United States and the entire Muslim world. In a recent
issue of Commentary (an influential journal published by the American Jewish Committee), editor Norman Podhoretz
states, “The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members
of the axis of evil [i.e., Iraq, Iran, and North Korea]. At a minimum, the axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya,
as well as ’friends’ of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, along with the
Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen.”2 More than anything else, this is a list of countries that Israel doesn’t like, and, as I discuss in the third part
of this series, intensely committed Zionists with close links to Israel occupy prominent positions in the Bush administration,
especially in the Department of Defense and on the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney. The long-term consequence of Zionism
is that the U.S. is on the verge of attempting to completely transform the Arab/Muslim world to produce governments that
accept Israel and whatever fate it decides for the Palestinians, and, quite possibly, to set the stage for further Israeli
Zionism is an example of an important principle in Jewish history: At all the turning points, it is the more ethnocentric
elements—one might term them the radicals—who have determined the direction of the Jewish community and eventually
won the day.3 As recounted in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Jews who returned to Israel after the Babylonian captivity energetically
rid the community of those who had intermarried with the racially impure remnant left behind. Later, during the period of
Greek dominance, there was a struggle between the pro-Greek assimilationists and the more committed Jews, who came to be
known as Maccabeans.
that time there appeared in Israel a group of renegade Jews, who incited the people. “Let us enter into a covenant
with the Gentiles round about,” they said, “because disaster upon disaster has overtaken us since we segregated
ourselves from them.” The people thought this a good argument, and some of them in their enthusiasm went to the king
and received authority to introduce non-Jewish laws and customs. They built a sports stadium in the gentile style in
Jerusalem. They removed their marks of circumcision and repudiated the holy covenant. They intermarried with Gentiles,
and abandoned themselves to evil ways.4
of the Maccabeans reestablished Jewish law and put an end to assimilation. The Book of Jubilees, written during this period,
represents the epitome of ancient Jewish nationalism, in which God represents the national interests of the Jewish people
in dominating all other peoples of the world:
I am the God who created heaven and earth. I shall increase you, and multiply you exceedingly; and kings shall
come from you and shall rule wherever the foot of the sons of man has trodden. I shall give to your seed all the earth
which is under heaven, and they shall rule over all the nations according to their desire; and afterwards they shall draw
the whole earth to themselves and shall inherit it forever.5
of this is that throughout history in times of trouble there has been an upsurge in religious fundamentalism, mysticism,
and messianism.6 For example, during the 1930s in Germany liberal Reform Jews became more conscious of their Jewish identity, increased
their attendance at synagogue, and returned to more traditional observance (including a reintroduction of Hebrew). Many
of them became Zionists.7As I will discuss in the following, every crisis in Israel has resulted in an increase in Jewish identity and intense mobilization
of support for Israel.
Today the people who are being rooted out of the Jewish community are Jews living in the Diaspora who do not support
the aims of the Likud Party in Israel. The overall argument here is that Zionism is an example of the trajectory of Jewish
radicalism. The radical movement begins among the more committed segments of the Jewish community, then spreads and eventually
becomes mainstream within the Jewish community; then the most extreme continue to push the envelope (e.g., the settlement
movement on the West Bank), and other Jews eventually follow because the more extreme positions come to define the essence
of Jewish identity. An important part of the dynamic is that Jewish radicalism tends to result in conflicts with non-Jews,
with the result that Jews feel threatened, become more group-oriented, and close ranks against the enemy—an enemy seen
as irrationally and incomprehensibly anti-Jewish. Jews who fail to go along with what is now a mainstream position are pushed
out of the community, labeled “self-hating Jews” or worse, and relegated to impotence.
Jewish Radicals Eventually Triumph within the
Jewish Community: The Case of Zionism
- Zionism began among the more ethnocentric, committed segments of the Jewish community (1880s).
- Then it spread and became mainstream within the Jewish community despite its riskiness. (1940s). Supporting Zionism
comes to define what being Jewish is.
- Then the most extreme among the Zionists continued
to push the envelope (e.g., the settlement movement on the West Bank; constant pressure on border areas in Israel).
- Jewish radicalism tends to result in conflicts with non-Jews (e.g., the settlement movement);
violence (e.g., intifadas) and other expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment increase.
in general feel threatened and close ranks against what they see as yet another violent, incomprehensible manifestation
of the eternally violent hatred of Jews. This reaction is the result of psychological mechanisms of ethnocentrism: Moral
particularism, self-deception, and social identity.
- In the U.S., this effect is accentuated
because committed, more intensely ethnocentric Jews dominate Jewish activist groups.
who fail to go along with what is now a mainstream position are pushed out of the community, labeled “self-hating
Jews” or worse, and relegated to impotence.
Origins of Zionism in Ethnic Conflict in Eastern Europe
The origins of Zionism and other manifestations of the intense Jewish
dynamism of the twentieth century lie in the Yiddish-speaking world of Eastern Europe in the early nineteenth century. Originally
invited in by nobles as estate managers, toll farmers, bankers, and moneylenders, Jews in Poland expanded into commerce
and then into artisanry, so that there came to be competition between Jews and non-Jewish butchers, bakers, blacksmiths,
shoemakers, and tailors. This produced the typical resource-based anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior so common throughout
Jewish history.8 Despite periodic restrictions and outbursts of hostility, Jews came to dominate the entire economy apart from agricultural
labor and the nobility. Jews had an advantage in the competition in trade and artisanry because they were able to control
the trade in raw materials and sell at lower prices to coethnics.9
increasing economic domination went along with a great increase in the population of Jews. Jews not only made up large percentages
of urban populations, they increasingly migrated to small towns and rural areas. In short, Jews had overshot their economic
niche: The economy was unable to support this burgeoning Jewish population in the sorts of positions that Jews had traditionally
filled, with the result that a large percentage of the Jewish population became mired in poverty. The result was a cauldron
of ethnic hostility, with the government placing various restrictions on Jewish economic activity; rampant anti-Jewish attitudes;
and increasing Jewish desperation.
The main Jewish response to this situation was an upsurge of fundamentalist extremism that
coalesced in the Hasidic movement and, later in the nineteenth century, into political radicalism and Zionism as solutions
to Jewish problems. Jewish populations in Eastern Europe had the highest rate of natural increase of any European population
in the nineteenth century, with a natural increase of 120,000 per year in the 1880s and an overall increase within the Russian
Empire from one to six million in the course of the nineteenth century.10 Anti-Semitism and the exploding Jewish population, combined with economic adversity, were of critical importance for producing
the sheer numbers of disaffected Jews who dreamed of deliverance in various messianic movements—the ethnocentric mysticism
of the Kabbala, Zionism, or the dream of a Marxist political revolution.
Religious fanaticism and messianic expectations have been a typical
Jewish response to hard times throughout history.11 For example, in the eighteenth-century Ottoman Empire there was “an unmistakable picture of grinding poverty, ignorance,
and insecurity”12 among Jews that, in the context of high levels of anti-Semitism, effectively prevented Jewish upward mobility. These phenomena
were accompanied by the prevalence of mysticism and a high fertility rate among Jews, which doubtlessly exacerbated the
The Jewish population explosion in Eastern Europe in the context of poverty and politically imposed restrictions
on Jews was responsible for the generally destabilizing effects of Jewish radicalism in Eastern Europe and Russia up to
the revolution. These conditions also had spillover effects in Germany, where the negative attitudes toward the immigrant
Ostjuden (Eastern Jews) and their foreign, clannish ways contributed to the anti-Semitism of the period.13 In the United States, radical political beliefs held by a great many Jewish immigrants and their descendants persisted even
in the absence of difficult economic and political conditions and have had a decisive influence on U.S. political and cultural
history into the present. The persistence of these beliefs influenced the general political sensibility of the Jewish community
and has had a destabilizing effect on American society, ranging from the paranoia of the McCarthy era to the triumph of the
1960s countercultural revolution.14 In the contemporary world, the descendants of these religious fundamentalists constitute the core of the settler movement
and other manifestations of Zionist extremism in Israel.
The hypothesis pursued here is that Jewish population dynamics beginning
in the nineteenth century resulted in a feed-forward dynamic: Increasing success in economic competition led to increased
population. This in turn led to anti-Jewish reactions and eventually to Jewish overpopulation, poverty, anti-Jewish hostility,
and religious fanaticism as a response to external threat. In this regard, Jewish populations are quite the opposite of European
populations, in which there is a long history of curtailing reproduction in the face of perceived scarcity of resources.15 This may be analyzed in terms of the individualism/collectivism dimension, which provides a general contrast between Jewish
and European culture:16 Individualists curtail reproduction in response to adversity in order to better their own lives, whereas a group-oriented
culture such as Judaism responds to adversity by strengthening group ties; forming groups with charismatic leaders and a
strong sense of ingroup and outgroup; adopting mystical, messianic ideologies; and increasing their fertility—all
of which lead to greater conflict.
There is an association between religious or ethnic fanaticism and fertility, and it is quite
common for competing ethnic groups to increase their fertility in response to perceived external threats.17 Ethnic activists respond to the perceived need to increase the numbers of their group in several ways, including exhorting
coethnics to reproduce early and often, banning birth control and abortions, curtailing female employment in order to free
women for the task of reproducing, and providing financial incentives. In the contemporary world, Jewish activists both
within Israel and in the Diaspora have been strong advocates of increasing Jewish fertility, motivated by the threat of intermarriage
in the Diaspora, the threat of wars with Israel’s neighbors, and as a reaction to Jewish population losses stemming
from the Holocaust. Pro-natalism has deep religious significance for Jews as a religious commandment.18 Within Israel, there is “a nationwide obsession with fertility,” as indicated by the highest rate of in-vitro
fertilization clinics in the world—one for every 28,000 citizens. This is more than matched by the Palestinians. Originating
in the same group-oriented, collectivist culture area as the Jews, the Palestinians have the highest birth rate in the world
and have been strongly attracted to charismatic leaders, messianic religious ideology, and desperate, suicidal solutions
for their political problems.19
the Jews, the religious fundamentalism characteristic of Eastern Europe from around 1800–1940 has been a demographic
wellspring for Judaism. Jewish populations in the West have tended to have low fertility. Beginning in the nineteenth century,
Western Jewish populations would have stagnated or declined in the absence of “the unending stream of immigrants from
Jewish communities in the East.”20 But the point here is that this demographic wellspring created the stresses and strains within this very talented and energetic
population that continue to reverberate in the modern world.
These trends can be seen by describing the numerically dominant Hasidic
population in early nineteenth-century Galicia, then a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire; similar phenomena occurred
throughout the Yiddish-speaking, religiously fundamentalist culture area of Eastern Europe, most of which came to be governed
by the Russian empire.21 Beginning in the late eighteenth century, there were increasing restrictions on Jewish economic activity, such as edicts
preventing Jews from operating taverns, engaging in trade, and leasing mills. There were restrictions on where Jews could
live, and ghettos were established in order to remove Jews from competition with non-Jews; taxes specific to Jews were imposed;
there were government efforts to force Jewish assimilation, as by requiring the legal documents be in the German language.
These laws, even though often little enforced, reflected the anti-Jewish animosity of wider society and undoubtedly increased
Jewish insecurity. In any case, a large percentage of the Jewish population was impoverished and doubtless would have remained
so even in the absence of anti-Jewish attitudes and legislation. Indeed, the emigration of well over three million Jews
to Western Europe and the New World did little to ease the grinding poverty of a large majority of the Jewish population.
was in this atmosphere that Hasidism rose to dominance in Eastern Europe. The Hasidim passionately rejected all the assimilatory
pressures coming from the government. They so cherished the Yiddish language that well into the twentieth century the vast
majority of Eastern European Jews could not speak the languages of the non-Jews living around them.22 They turned to the Kabbala (the writings of Jewish mystics), superstition, and anti-rationalism, believing in “magical
remedies, amulets, exorcisms, demonic possession (dybbuks), ghosts, devils, and teasing, mischievous genies.”23 Corresponding to this intense ingroup feeling were attitudes that non-Jews were less than human. “As Mendel of Rymanów
put it, ‘A Gentile does not have a heart, although he has an organ that resembles a heart.’ ”24 All nations exist only by virtue of the Jewish people: “Erez Yisreal [the land of Israel] is the essence of the world
and all vitality stems from it.”25 Similar attitudes are common among contemporary Jewish fundamentalists and the settler movement in Israel.26
Hasidim had an attitude of absolute faith in the person of the zaddic, their rebbe, who was a charismatic figure
seen by his followers literally as the personification of God in the world. Attraction to charismatic leaders is a fundamental
feature of Jewish social organization—apparent as much among religious fundamentalists as among Jewish political radicals
or elite Jewish intellectuals.27 The following account of a scene at a synagogue in Galicia in 1903 describes the intense emotionality of the community and
its total subordination to its leader:
There were no benches, and several thousand Jews were standing closely packed together, swaying in prayer like
the corn in the wind. When the rabbi appeared the service began. Everybody tried to get as close to him as possible.
The rabbi led the prayers in a thin, weeping voice. It seemed to arouse a sort of ecstasy in the listeners. They closed
their eyes, violently swaying. The loud praying sounded like a gale. Anyone seeing these Jews in prayer would have concluded
that they were the most religious people on earth.28
At the end
of the service, those closest to the rabbi were intensely eager to eat any food touched by him, and the fish bones were preserved
by his followers as relics. Another account notes that “devotees hoping to catch a spark from this holy fire run to
receive him.”29 The power of the zaddic extends so far “that whatever God does, it is also within the capacity of the zaddic to do.”30
important role for the zaddic is to produce wealth for the Jews, and by taking it from the non-Jews. According to Hasidic
doctrine, the non-Jews have the preponderance of good things, but...
It was the zaddic who was to reverse this situation. Indeed, R. Meir of Opatów never wearied of reiterating
in his homilies that the zaddik must direct his prayer in a way that the abundance which he draws down from on high
should not be squandered during its descent, and not “wander away,” that is, outside, to the Gentiles, but
that it mainly reach the Jews, the holy people, with only a residue flowing to the Gentiles, who are “the other side”
sermons were filled with pleas for vengeance and hatred toward the non-Jews, who were seen as the source of their problems.
These groups were
highly authoritarian—another fundamental feature of Jewish social organization.32 Rabbis and other elite members of the community had extraordinary power over other Jews in traditional societies—literally
the power of life and death. Jews who informed the authorities about the illegal activities of other Jews were liquidated
on orders of secret rabbinical courts, with no opportunity to defend themselves. Jews accused of heretical religious views
were beaten or murdered. Their books were burned or buried in cemeteries. When a heretic died, his body was beaten by a special
burial committee, placed in a cart filled with dung, and deposited outside the Jewish cemetery. In places where the authorities
were lax, there were often pitched battles between different Jewish sects, often over trivial religious points such as what
kind of shoes a person should wear. In 1838 the governor of southwestern Russia issued a directive that the police keep
tabs on synagogues because “Very often something happens that leaves dead Jews in its wake.”33 Synagogues had jails near the entrance, and prisoners were physically abused by the congregation as they filed in for services.
surprisingly, these groups had extraordinary solidarity; a government official observed, “The Hasidim are bound to
each other with heart and soul.”34 This solidarity was based not only on the personality of the rebbe and the powerful social controls described above, but
on the high levels of within-group generosity which alleviated to some extent their poverty. Needless to say, Hasidic solidarity
was seen as threatening by outsiders: “How much longer will we tolerate the Hasidic sect, which is united by such
a strong bond and whose members help one another.”35
triumphed partly by its attraction to the Jewish masses and partly because of the power politics of the rebbes: Opposing
rabbis were forced out, so by the early nineteenth century in Galicia, Poland, and the Ukraine, the vast majority of Jews
were in Hasidic communities. Their triumph meant the failure of the Jewish Enlightenment (the Haskalah) in Eastern
Europe. The Haskalah movement advocated greater assimilation with non-Jewish society, as by using vernacular languages,
studying secular subjects, and not adopting distinguishing forms of dress, although in other ways their commitment to Judaism
remained powerful. These relatively assimilated Jews were the relatively thin upper crust of wealthy merchants and others
who were free of the economic and social pressures that fueled Hasidism. They often cooperated with the authorities in attempts
to force the Hasidim to assimilate out of fear that Hasidic behavior led to anti-Jewish attitudes.
As noted above, one source of the inward unity
and psychological fanaticism of Jewish communities was the hostility of the surrounding non-Jewish population. Jews in the
Russian Empire were hated by all the non-Jewish classes, who saw them as an exploitative class of petty traders, middlemen,
innkeepers, store owners, estate agents, and money lenders.36 Jews “were viewed by the authorities and by much of the rest of population as a foreign, separate, exploitative, and
distressingly prolific nation.”37 In 1881 these tensions boiled over into several anti-Jewish pogroms in a great many towns of southern and southwestern Russia.
It was in this context that the first large-scale stirrings of Zionism emerged.38 From 1881–1884, dozens of Zionist groups formed in the Russian Empire and Romania.
Political radicalism emerged from the same intensely
Jewish communities during this period and for much the same reasons.39 Political radicalism often coexisted with messianic forms of Zionism as well as intense commitment to Jewish nationalism
and religious and cultural separatism, and many individuals held various and often rapidly changing combinations of these
two streams of political radicalism and Zionism, each stemming from the teeming fanaticism of threatened Jewish populations
in nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, continue to reverberate in the modern world. In both England and America the immigration
of Eastern European Jews after 1880 had a transformative effect on the political attitudes of the Jewish community in the
direction of radical politics and Zionism, often combined with religious orthodoxy.41 The immigrant Eastern European Jews demographically swamped the previously existing Jewish communities in both countries,
and the older community reacted to this influx with considerable trepidation because of the possibility of increased anti-Semitism.
Attempts were made by the established Jewish communities to misrepresent the prevalence of radical political ideas and Zionism
among the immigrants.42
Zionist and radical solutions for Jewish problems differed, of course, with the radicals blaming the Jewish situation on
the economic structure of society and attempting to appeal to non-Jews in an effort to completely restructure social and
economic relationships. (Despite attempting to appeal to non-Jews, the vast majority of Jewish radicals had a very strong
Jewish communal identity and often worked in an entirely Jewish milieu.43) Among Zionists, on the other hand, it was common from very early on to see the Jewish situation as resulting from irresoluble
conflict between Jews and non-Jews. The early Zionist Moshe Leib Lilienblum emphasized that Jews were strangers who competed
with local peoples: “A stranger can be received into a family, but only as a guest. A guest who bothers, or competes
with or displaces an authentic member of the household is promptly and angrily reminded of his status by the others, acting
out of a sense of self-protection.”44 Later, Theodor Herzl argued that a prime source of modern anti-Semitism was that Jews had come into direct economic competition
with the non-Jewish middle classes. Anti-Semitism based on resource competition was rational: Herzl “insisted that
one could not expect a majority to ‘let themselves be subjugated’ by formerly scorned outsiders whom they had
just released from the ghetto…. I find the anti-Semites are fully within their rights.”45 In Germany, Zionists analyzed anti-Semitism during the Weimar period as “the inevitable and justifiable response of
one people to attempts by another to make it share in the formation of its destiny. It was an instinctive response independent
of reason and will, and hence common to all peoples, the Jews included.”46
was often the case during the period, Zionists had a much clearer understanding of their fellow Jews and the origins of anti-Jewish
attitudes. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, a prominent Zionist and leader of the American Jewish Congress whose membership derived
from Eastern Europe immigrants and their descendants, accused Western European Jews of deception by pretending to be patriotic
citizens while really being Jewish nationalists: “They wore the mask of the ruling nationality as of old in Spain—the
mask of the ruling religion.”47 Wise had a well-developed sense of dual loyalty, stating on one occasion “I am not an American citizen of Jewish
faith. I am a Jew. I am an American. I have been an American 63/64ths of my life, but I have been a Jew for 4000 years.”48
in Western countries were also at the ethnocentric end of the Jewish population. Zionism was seen as a way of combating the
assimilatory pressures of Western societies: “Zionist ideologues and publicists argued that in the West assimilation
was as much a threat to the survival of the Jewish people as persecution was in the East.”49 Zionism openly accepted a national/ethnic conceptualization of Judaism that was quite independent of religious faith.
As Theodore Herzl stated, “We are a people—one people.”50 The Zionist Arthur Hertzberg stated that “the Jews in all ages were essentially a nation and…all other factors
profoundly important to the life of this people, even religion, were mainly instrumental values.”51 There were a number of Zionist racial scientists in the period from 1890–1940, including Elias Auerbach, Aron Sandler,
Felix Theilhaber, and Ignaz Zollschan. Zionist racial scientists were motivated by a perceived need to end Jewish intermarriage
and preserve Jewish racial purity.52 Only by creating a Jewish homeland and leaving the assimilatory influences of the Diaspora could Jews preserve their unique
For example, Auerbach advocated Zionism because it would return Jews “back into the position they enjoyed
before the nineteenth century—politically autonomous, culturally whole, and racially pure.”53 Zollschan, whose book on “the Jewish racial question” went through five editions and was well known to both
Jewish and non-Jewish anthropologists,54 praised Houston Stewart Chamberlain and advocated Zionism as the only way to retain Jewish racial purity from the threat
of mixed marriages and assimilation.55 Zollschan’s description of the phenotypic, and by implication genetic commonality of Jews around the world is striking.
He notes that the same Jewish faces can be seen throughout the Jewish world among Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Oriental Jews.
He also remarked on the same mix of body types, head shapes, skin, and hair and eye pigmentation in these widely separated
many Zionists, Jewish racialism went beyond merely asserting and shoring up the ethnic basis of Judaism, to embrace the idea
of racial superiority. Consistent with the anti-assimilationist thrust of Zionism, very few Zionists intermarried, and those
who did, such as Martin Buber, found that their marriages were problematic within the wider Zionist community.57 In 1929 the Zionist leaders of the Berlin Jewish community condemned intermarriage as a threat to the “racial purity
of stock” and asserted its belief that “consanguinity of the flesh and solidarity of the soul” were essential
for developing a Jewish nation, as was the “will to establish a closed brotherhood over against all other communities
of Zionist racialism continued into the National Socialist period, where they dovetailed with National Socialist attitudes.
Joachim Prinz, a German Jew who later became the head of the American Jewish Congress, celebrated Hitler’s ascent
to power because it signaled the end of the Enlightenment values, which had resulted in assimilation and mixed marriage among
assimilation to be replaced by a new law: the declaration of belonging to the Jewish nation and the Jewish race.
A state built upon the principle of the purity of nation and race can only be honoured and respected by a Jew who declares
his belonging to his own kind…. For only he who honours his own breed and his own blood can have
an attitude of honour towards the national will of other nations.59
common ground of the racial Zionists and their non-Jewish counterparts included the exclusion of Jews from the German Volksgemeinschaft.60 Indeed, shortly after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany submitted a memorandum to the German government
outlining a solution to the Jewish question and containing the following remarkable statement. The Federation declared that
the Enlightenment view that Jews should be absorbed into the nation state
discerned only the individual, the single human being freely suspended in space,
without regarding the ties of blood and history or spiritual distinctiveness. Accordingly, the liberal state demanded of
the Jews assimilation [via baptism and mixed marriage] into the non-Jewish environment…. Thus it happened that
innumerable persons of Jewish origin had the chance to occupy important positions and to come forward as representatives
of German culture and German life, without having their belonging to Jewry become visible. Thus arose a state of affairs
which in political discussion today is termed “debasement of Germandom,” or “Jewification.”
…Zionism has no illusions about the difficulty of the Jewish condition, which consists above all in an abnormal
occupational pattern and in the fault of an intellectual and moral posture not rooted in one’s own tradition.61
Zionism As a “Risky Strategy”
Zionism was a risky strategy—to use Frank Salter’s term62—because it led to charges of dual loyalty. The issue of dual loyalty has been a major concern throughout the history
of Zionism. From the beginnings of Zionism, the vast majority of the movement’s energy and numbers, and eventually
its leadership, stemmed from the Eastern European wellspring of Judaism.63 In the early decades of the twentieth century, there was a deep conflict within the Jewish communities of Western Europe
and the U.S., pitting the older Jewish communities originating in Western Europe (particularly Germany) against the new
arrivals from Eastern Europe, who eventually overwhelmed them by force of numbers.64 Thus, an important theme of the history of Jews in America, England, and Germany was the conflict between the older Jewish
communities that were committed to some degree of cultural assimilation and the ideals of the Enlightenment, versus the
Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe and their commitment to political radicalism, Zionism, and/or religious
fundamentalism. The older Jewish communities were concerned that Zionism would lead to anti-Semitism due to charges of dual
loyalty and because Jews would be perceived as a nation and an ethnic group rather than simply as a religion. In England,
during the final stages before the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, Edwin Montagu “made a long, emotional appeal
to his colleagues [in the British cabinet]: how could he represent the British government during the forthcoming mission
to India if the same government declared that his (Montagu’s) national home was on Turkish territory?”65 Similar concerns were expressed in the United States, but by 1937 most American Jews advocated a Jewish state, and the
Columbus Platform of the Reform Judaism of 1937 officially accepted the idea of a Palestinian homeland and shortly thereafter
accepted the idea of political sovereignty for Jews in Israel.66
post–World War I Germany, a major goal of Reform Judaism was to suppress Zionism because of its perceived effect of
fanning the flames of anti-Semitism due to charges of Jewish disloyalty.67 In Mein Kampf, Hitler argued that Jews were an ethnic group and not simply a religion, which was confirmed by his
discovery that “among them was a great movement . . . which came out sharply in confirmation of the national character
of the Jews: this was the Zionists.”68 Hitler went on to remark that although one might suppose that only a subset of Jews were Zionists and that Zionism
was condemned by the great majority of Jews, “the so-called liberal Jews did not reject Zionists as non-Jews, but
only as Jews with an impractical, perhaps even dangerous, way of publicly avowing their Jewishness. Intrinsically they remained
unalterably of one piece.”69
comments reflect the weak position of the Zionists of his day as a small minority of Jews, but they also show the reality
of the worst fears of the German Reform movement during this period: that the publicly expressed ethnocentric nationalism
of the Zionists would increase anti-Semitism, because Jews would be perceived not as a religious group but as an ethnic/national
entity with no ties to Germany. The existence of Zionism as well as of international Jewish organizations such as the Alliance
Israélite Universelle (based in France) and continued Jewish cultural separatism were important sources of German
anti-Semitism beginning in the late nineteenth century.
In the Soviet Union, Stalin regarded Jews as politically unreliable after they
expressed “overwhelming enthusiasm” for Israel and attempted to emigrate to Israel, especially since Israel was
leaning toward the West in the Cold War.70 During the fighting in 1948, Soviet Jews attempted to organize an army to fight in Israel, and there were a great many
other manifestations of Soviet-Jewish solidarity with Israel, particularly in the wake of Jewish enthusiasm during Golda
Meir’s visit to the Soviet Union. Stalin perceived a “psychological readiness on the part of the volunteers to
be under the jurisdiction of two states—the homeland of all the workers and the homeland of all the Jews—something
that was categorically impossible in his mind.”71 There is also some indication that Stalin, at the height of the Cold War, suspected that Soviet Jews would not be
loyal to the Soviet Union in a war with America because many of them had relatives in America.72
the U.S., the dual loyalty issue arose because there was a conflict between perceived American foreign policy interests that
began with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The U. S. State Department feared that a British protectorate in Palestine would
damage commercial interests in the region and that in any case it was not in the interests of America to offend Turkey or
other Middle Eastern states.73 While President Woodrow Wilson sympathized with the State Department position, he was eventually persuaded by American Zionists,
notably Louis Brandeis, to endorse the declaration; it was then quickly approved by the British.
The dual loyalty issue was also raised in Britain,
most especially after the Second World War, when the Labour government failed to support the creation of a Jewish state.
Many British Jews gave generously to finance illegal activities in the British protectorate of Palestine, including the smuggling
of arms and refugees and Jewish attacks on British forces.74 British losses to Jewish terrorism during this period were not trivial: the bombing of the King David Hotel by future Israeli
Prime Minister Menachem Begin and his associates led to the deaths of eighty-three of the British administrative staff plus
five members of the public. These activities led to widespread hostility toward Jews, and the Labour government pointedly
refused to outlaw anti-Semitism during this period. During the late 1960s and 1970s, charges of dual loyalty appeared in
the House of Commons among Labour MPs, one of whom commented that “it is undeniable that many MPs have what I can
only term a dual loyalty, which is to another nation and another nation’s interests.”75
ranging from unenthusiastic ambivalence to outright hostility to the idea of a Zionist homeland on the part of presidents,
the State Department, Congress, or the American public persisted right up until the establishment of Israel in 1948 and
beyond. After World War II, there continued to be a perception in the State Department that American interests in the area
would not be served by a Jewish homeland, but should be directed at securing oil and military bases to oppose the Soviets.
There was also concern that such a homeland would be a destabilizing influence for years to come because of Arab hostility.76 Truman’s defense secretary, James Forrestal, “was all but obsessed by the threat to [American interests] he
discerned in Zionist ambitions. His concern was shared by the State Department and specifically by the Near East Desk.”77 In 1960 Senator J. William Fulbright, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, declared in response to
attempts to coerce Egypt into agreeing to Israel’s use of the Suez Canal, “in recent years we have seen the
rise of organizations dedicated apparently not to America, but to foreign states and groups. The conduct of a foreign policy
for America has been seriously compromised by this development.”78 Truman himself eventually caved in to Zionist pressure out of desire to ensure Jewish support in the 1948 election, and
despite his own recently revealed personal misgivings about Jewish myopia in pursuit of their own interests.79
Extremism Becomes Mainstream
Since the Second World War, there has been a long evolution such that the American Jewish community now fully supports
the settler movement and other right-wing causes within Israel. Zionists made a great deal of progress during the Second
World War. They engaged in “loud diplomacy,” organizing thousands of rallies, dinners with celebrity speakers
(including prominent roles for sympathetic non-Jews), letter-writing campaigns, meetings, lobbying, threats against newspapers
for publishing unfavorable items, insertion of propaganda as news items in the press, and giving money to politicians and
non-Jewish celebrities in return for their support.80 By 1944, thousands of non-Jewish associations would pass pro-Zionist resolutions, and both Republican and Democratic platforms
included strong pro-Zionist planks, even though the creation of a Jewish state was strongly opposed by the Departments of
State and War.81
1945 poll found that 80.5% of Jews favored a Jewish state, with only 10.5% opposed.82 This shows that by the end of the Second World War, Zionism had become thoroughly mainstream within the U.S. Jewish community.
The triumph of Zionism occurred well before consciousness of the Holocaust came to be seen as legitimizing Israel. (Michael
Novick dates the promotion of the Holocaust to its present status as a cultural icon from the 1967 Six-Day War.83) What had once been radical and viewed as dangerous had become not only accepted, but seen as central to Jewish identity.
Since the late
1980s, the American Jewish community has not been even-handed in its support of Israeli political factions, but has supported
the more fanatical elements within Israel. While wealthy Israelis predominantly support the Labor Party, financial support
for Likud and other right-wing parties comes from foreign sources, particularly wealthy U.S. Jews.84 The support of these benefactors is endangered by any softening of Likud positions, with support then going to the settler
movement. “Organized U.S. Jews are chauvinistic and militaristic in their views.”85
Israel, there has been a transformation in the direction of the most radical, ethnocentric, and aggressive elements of the
population. During the 1920s–1940s, the followers of Vladimir Jabotinsky (the “Revisionists”) were the
vanguard of Zionist aggressiveness and strident racial nationalism, but they were a minority within the Zionist movement
as a whole. Revisionism had several characteristics typical of influential nineteenth-century Jewish intellectual and political
movements—features shared also with other forms of traditional Judaism. Like Judaism itself and the various hermeneutic
theories typical of other Jewish twentieth-century intellectual movements, the philosophy of Revisionism was a closed system
that offered a complete worldview “creating a self-evident Jewish world.”86 Like the Hasidic movement and other influential Jewish intellectual and political movements, Revisionism was united around
a charismatic leader figure, in this case Jabotinsky, who was seen in god-like terms—“Everyone waited for him
to speak, clung to him for support, and considered him the source of the one and only absolute truth.”87 There was a powerful sense of “us versus them.” Opponents were demonized: “The style of communication
. . . was coarse and venomous, aimed at moral delegitimization of the opponent by denouncing him and even ‘inciting’
the Jewish public against him.”88
Jabotinsky developed a form of
racial nationalism similar to other Zionist racial theorists of the period (see above). He believed that Jews were shaped
by their long history as a desert people and that establishment of Israel as a Jewish state would allow the natural genius
of the Jewish race to flourish. “These natural and fundamental distinctions embedded in the race are impossible to
eradicate, and are continually being nurtured by the differences in soil and climate.”89
Revisionists advocated military force as a means of obtaining a Jewish state; they wanted a “maximalist” state
that would include the entire Palestine Mandate, including the Trans-Jordan (which became the nation of Jordan in 1946).90 In the 1940s, its paramilitary wing, the Irgun, under the leadership of Menachem Begin, was responsible for much of the
terrorist activities directed against both Arabs and the British forces maintaining the Palestinian Mandate until 1948,
including the bombing of the King David Hotel and the massacre at Deir Yasin that was a major factor in terrorizing much
of the Palestinian population into fleeing.91
time, the Labor Party has dwindled in influence, and there has followed the rise and ascendancy of the Likud Party and ultra-nationalism
represented by Begin, who came to power in 1977 and began the process of resurrecting Jabotinsky,92 by Yitzhak Shamir (commander of LEHI [the Stern Group], another pre-1948 terrorist group), and now by the government of
Ariel Sharon, whose long record of aggressive brutality is described briefly below. Fundamentalists and other ultranationalists
were a relatively weak phenomenon in the 1960s, but have increased to around 25 percent in the late 1990s and are an integral
part of Sharon’s government. In other words, the more radical Zionists have won out within Israel. (As Noam Chomsky
notes, there has been a consensus on retaining sovereignty over the West Bank, so that the entire Israeli political spectrum
must be seen as aggressively expansionist.93 The differences are differences of degree.)
The connections between Jabotinsky and the current Israeli government are more than coincidental:
Just before Israel’s election in February 2001, Sharon was interviewed seated “symbolically and ostentatiously
beneath a large photo of Vladimir Jabotinsky, spiritual father of militant Zionism and Sharon’s Likud party. Jabotinsky
called for a Jewish state extending from the Nile to the Euphrates. He advocated constant attacks to smash the weak Arab
states into fragments, dominated by Israel. In fact, just what Sharon tried to do in Lebanon. Hardly a good omen for the
has been implicated in a long string of acts of “relentless brutality toward Arabs,” including massacring an
Arab village in the 1950s; the “pacification” of the Gaza Strip in the 1970s (involving large-scale bulldozing
of homes and deportation of Palestinians); the invasion of Lebanon, which involved thousands of civilian deaths and the
massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees; and the brutal Israeli response to the recent Palestinian intifada.95 The Kahan Commission, an Israeli board formed to investigate the Lebanese incident, concluded that Sharon was indirectly
responsible for the massacre, and it went on to say that Sharon bears personal responsibility.
The intention of the Sharon government is to
make life so miserable for the Palestinians that they will voluntarily leave, or, failing that, to simply expel them. Ran
HaCohen, an Israeli academic, sums up the situation as of June 2002:
Step by step, Palestinians have been dispossessed and surrounded by settlements,
military camps, by-pass roads and checkpoints, squeezed into sealed-off enclaves. Palestinian towns are besieged by tanks
and armed vehicles blocking all access roads. West Bank villages too are surrounded by road blocks, preventing the movement
of vehicles in and out: three successive mounds of rubble and earth, approximately 6 feet high, with 100 metre gaps
between them. All residents wishing to move in and out of the village—old or young, sick or well, pregnant or not—have
to climb over the slippery mounds. At present, this policy seems to have been perfected to an extent that it can be
further institutionalised by long-term bureaucracy: a permit system, considerably worse than the “pass laws”
imposed on blacks in Apartheid South Africa.96
changed since this assessment. Recently this state of affairs is being formalized by the construction of a series of security
walls that not only fence in the Palestinians but also result in the effective seizure of land, especially around Jerusalem.97 The wall encircles and isolates Palestinian villages and divides properties and farmland in ways that make them inaccessible
to their owners.98
current state of affairs would have been absolutely predictable simply by paying attention to the pronouncements and behavior
of a critical subset of Israeli leaders over the last fifty years. Again, they have been the most radical within the Israeli
political spectrum. The clear message is that an important faction of the Israeli political spectrum has had a long-term
policy of expanding the state at the expense of the Palestinians, dating from the beginnings of the state of Israel. Expansionism
was well entrenched in the Labor Party, centered around David Ben-Gurion, and has been even more central to the Likud coalition
under the leadership of Menachem Begin and, more recently, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon. The result is that the Palestinians
have been left with little hope of obtaining a meaningful state, despite the current “road map to peace” efforts.
The next step may well be expulsion, already advocated by many on the right in Israel, although the strategy of oppression
is in fact causing some Palestinians to leave voluntarily.99 Voluntary emigration has long been viewed as a solution by some, including Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (on the more “liberal”
end of the Israeli political spectrum), who urged that Israel “create…conditions which would attract natural
and voluntary migration of the refugees from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Jordan.”100
whether voluntary or involuntary, has long been a fixture of Zionist thought going back to Herzl, Chaim Weizmann, and Ben-Gurion.101 Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary in 1937: “the compulsory transfer of the Arabs from the valleys of the projected Jewish
state . . . we have to stick to this conclusion the same way we grabbed the Balfour Declaration, more than that, the same
way we grabbed at Zionism itself.”102 A prominent recent proponent of expulsion is Rehavam Zeevi, a close associate of Sharon and Israel’s Minister of Tourism
as well as a member of the powerful Security Cabinet until his assassination in October, 2001. Zeevi described Palestinians
as “lice” and advocated the expulsion of Palestinians from Israeli-controlled areas. Zeevi said Palestinians
were living illegally in Israel and “We should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get
rid of lice. We have to stop this cancer from spreading within us.” There are many examples, beginning no later than
the mid-1980s, of leading Israeli politicians referring to the occupied territories on the West Bank as “Judea and
point is that movements that start out on the extreme of the Jewish political spectrum eventually end up driving the entire
process, so that in the end not only American Jews but pro-Israeli non-Jewish politicians end up mouthing the rhetoric that
was formerly reserved for extremists within the Jewish community. In 2003, at a time when there are well over one hundred
Israeli settlements on the West Bank and Gaza filled with fanatic fundamentalists and armed zealots intent on eradicating
the Palestinians, it is revealing that Moshe Sharett, Israeli prime minister in the 1950s, worried that the border settlements
were composed of well-armed ex-soldiers—extremists who were intent on expanding the borders of Israel. Immediately
after the armistice agreement of 1948 Israeli zealots, sometimes within the army and sometimes in the nascent settler movement,
began a long string of provocations of Israel’s neighbors.104 An operation of the Israeli army (under the leadership of Ariel Sharon) that demolished homes and killed civilians at Qibya
in 1953 was part of a broader plan: “The stronger the tensions in the region, the more demoralized the Arab populations
and destabilized the Arab regimes, the stronger the pressures for the transfer of the concentrations of Palestinian refugees
from places near the border away into the interior of the Arab world—and the better it was for the preparation of the
next war.”105 At times the army engaged in provocative actions without Prime Minister Sharett’s knowledge,106 as when David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, led a raid in 1955 which resulted in a massacre of Arabs
in Gaza. When confronted with his actions by an American Jew, Ben-Gurion “stood up. He looked like an angry prophet
out of the Bible and got red in the face. He shouted, ‘I am not going to let anybody, American Jews or anyone else,
tell me what I have to do to provide for the security of my people.”107
war to occupy the West Bank did not take place until 1967, but Sharett describes plans by the Israeli army to occupy the
West Bank dating from 1953. Throughout the period from 1948–1967 “some of the major and persistent accusations”
by the Israeli right were that the Labor-dominated governments had accepted the partition of Palestine and had not attempted
to “eradicate Palestinian boundaries” during the 1948 war.108 The annexation of East Jerusalem and the settlement of the West Bank began immediately after the 1967 war—exactly
what would be expected on the assumption that this was a war of conquest. Menachem Begin, who accelerated the settlement
process when he assumed power in 1977, noted, “In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations
in the Sinai approaches do not prove that [Egyptian President] Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with
ourselves. We decided to attack him.”109
Given the tendency for Jewish
radicals to carry the day, it is worth describing the most radical Zionist fringe as it exists now. It is common among radical
Zionists to project a much larger Israel that reflects God’s covenant with Abraham. Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism,
maintained that the area of the Jewish state stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.”110 This reflects God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15: 18–20 and Joshua 1 3–4: “To your descendants
I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites,
the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”
The flexibility of the ultimate aims of Zionism can also be seen by Ben-Gurion’s comment in 1936 that
The acceptance of partition
[of the Palestinian Mandate] does not commit us to renounce Transjordan [i.e., the modern state of Jordan]; one does
not demand from anybody to give up his vision. We shall accept a state in the boundaries fixed today. But the boundaries
of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them.111
vision of “the boundaries of Zionist aspirations” included southern Lebanon, southern Syria, all of Jordan, and
the Sinai.112 (After conquering the Sinai in 1956, Ben-Gurion announced to the Knesset that “Our army did not infringe on Egyptian
territory…. Our operations were restricted to the Sinai Peninsula alone.”113 Or consider Golda Meir’s statement that the borders of Israel “are where Jews live, not where there is a line
on the map.”114
views are common among the more extreme Zionists today—especially the fundamentalists and the settler movement—notably
Gush Emunim—who now set the tone in Israel. A prominent rabbi associated with these movements stated: “We must
live in this land even at the price of war. Moreover, even if there is peace, we must instigate wars of liberation in order
to conquer [the land].”115 Indeed, in the opinion of Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky, “It is not unreasonable to assume that Gush Emunim,
if it possessed the power and control, would use nuclear weapons in warfare to attempt to achieve its purpose.”116 This image of a “Greater Israel” is also much on the minds of activists in the Muslim world. For example, in
a 1998 interview Osama bin Laden stated,
know at least one reason behind the symbolic participation of the Western forces [in Saudi Arabia] and that is to support
the Jewish and Zionist plans for expansion of what is called the Great Israel…. Their presence has no meaning
save one and that is to offer support to the Jews in Palestine who are in need of their Christian brothers to achieve full
control over the Arab Peninsula which they intend to make an important part of the so called Greater Israel.117
A century ago Zionism was a minority movement within Diaspora Judaism, with the dominant assimilationist Jews in the West
opposing it at least partly because Zionism raised the old dual loyalty issue, which has been a potent source of anti-Semitism
throughout the ages. The vast majority of Jews eventually became Zionists, to the point that now not only are Diaspora Jews
Zionists, they are indispensable supporters of the most fanatic elements within Israel. Within Israel, the radicals have
also won the day, and the state has evolved to the point where the influence of moderates in the tradition of Moshe Sharett
is a distant memory. The fanatics keep pushing the envelope, forcing other Jews to either go along with their agenda or to
simply cease being part of the Jewish community. Not long ago it was common to talk to American Jews who would say they
support Israel but deplore the settlements. Now such talk among Jews is an anachronism, because support for Israel demands
support for the settlements. The only refuge for such talk is the increasingly isolated Jewish critics of Israel, such as
Israel Shamir118 and, to a much lesser extent, Michael Lerner’s Tikkun.119The trajectory of Zionism has soared from its being a minority within a minority to its dominating the U.S. Congress, the
executive branch, and the entire U.S. foreign policy apparatus.
And because the Israeli occupation and large-scale settlement of the
West Bank unleashed a wave of terrorist-style violence against Israel, Jews perceive Israel as under threat. As with any
committed group, Jewish commitment increases in times of perceived threat to the community. The typical response of Diaspora
Jews to the recent violence has not been to renounce Jewish identity but to strongly support the Sharon government and rationalize
its actions. This has been typical of Jewish history in general. For example, during the 1967 and 1973 wars there were huge
upsurges of support for Israel and strengthened Jewish identity among American Jews: Arthur Hertzberg, a prominent Zionist,
wrote that “the immediate reaction of American Jewry to the crisis was far more intense and widespread than anyone
could have foreseen. Many Jews would never have believed that grave danger to Israel could dominate their thoughts and emotions
to the exclusion of everything else.”120 The same thing is happening now. The typical response to Israel’s current situation is for Jews to identify even more
strongly with Israel and to exclude Jews who criticize Israel or support Palestinian claims in any way.
This “rallying around the flag” in
times of crisis fits well with the psychology of ethnocentrism: When under attack, groups become more unified and more conscious
of boundaries, and have a greater tendency to form negative stereotypes of the outgroup. This has happened throughout Jewish
Several commentators have noted
the void on the Jewish left as the conflict with the Palestinians has escalated under the Sharon government. As noted above,
surveys in the 1980s routinely found that half of U.S. Jews opposed settlements on the West Bank and favored a Palestinian
state.122 Such sentiments have declined precipitously in the current climate:
At a progressive synagogue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Rabbi Rolando Matalo
was torn between his longtime support for Palestinian human rights and his support for an Israel under siege. “There
is a definite void on the left,” said Matalo…. Many American Jewish leaders say Israel’s current
state of emergency—and growing signs of anti-Semitism around the world—have unified the faithful here in a
way not seen since the 1967 and 1973 wars…. These feelings shift back and forth, but right now they’re tilting
the author of this article, Josh Getlin, portrays Israel as being “under siege,” even though Israel is the occupying
power and has killed far more Palestinians than the Palestinians have killed Israelis.
“I don’t recall a time in modern history when
Jews have felt so vulnerable,” said Rabbi Martin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los
Angeles…. This week, the center will be mailing out 600,000 “call to action” brochures that say “Israel
is fighting for her life” and urge American Jews to contact government leaders and media organizations worldwide….
Rabbi Mark Diamond, executive vice president of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California, said debate over the West Bank
invasion and the attack on the Palestinian Jenin refugee camp is overshadowed by “a strong sense that Israel needs
us, that the world Jewry needs us, that this is our wake-up call.” He said he has been overwhelmed in recent weeks
by numerous calls from members of synagogues asking what they can do to help or where they can send a check….
“I have American friends who might have been moderate before on the issue of negotiating peace, but now they think:
‘Our whole survival is at stake, so let’s just destroy them all,’” said Victor Nye, a Brooklyn,
N.Y., businessman who describes himself as a passionate supporter of Israel.
In this atmosphere, Jews who dissent are seen as traitors, and liberal
Jews have a great deal of anxiety that they will be ostracized from the Jewish community for criticizing Israel.124 This phenomenon is not new. During the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, Richard Cohen of the Washington Post criticized
the Begin government and was inundated with protests from Jews. “Here dissent becomes treason—and treason not
to a state or even an ideal (Zionism), but to a people. There is tremendous pressure for conformity, to show a united front
and to adopt the view that what is best for Israel is something only the government there can know.”125 During the same period, Nat Hentoff noted in the Village Voice, “I know staff workers for the American
Jewish Committee and the American Jewish Congress who agonize about their failure to speak out, even on their own time,
against Israeli injustice. They don’t, because they figure they’ll get fired if they do.”126
the fact that Jews who advocate peace with the Palestinians are on the defensive, funding has dried up for causes associated
with criticism of Israel. The following is a note posted on the website of Tikkun by its editor, Michael Lerner:
TIKKUN Magazine is
in trouble—because we have continued to insist on the rights of the Palestinian people to full self-determination.
For years we’ve called for an end to the Occupation and dismantling of the Israeli settlements. We’ve called
on the Palestinian people to follow the example of Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela and Gandhi—and we’ve
critiqued terrorism against Israel, and insisted on Israel’s right to security. But we’ve also critiqued
Israel’s house demolitions, torture, and grabbing of land. For years, we had much support. But since Intifada II
began this past September, many Jews have stopped supporting us—and we’ve lost subscribers and donors. Would
you consider helping us out?”127
that Jews who are “soft” on Israel are being pushed out of the Jewish community is an article by Philip Weiss.128
The refusal of
liberal American Jews to make an independent stand has left the American left helpless. American liberalism has always
drawn strength from Jews. They are among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party; they have brought a special
perspective to any number of social-justice questions, from the advancement of blacks and women to free speech. They
fostered multiculturalism…. The Holocaust continues to be the baseline reference for Jews when thinking about their
relationship to the world, and the Palestinians. A couple of months ago, I got an e-mail from a friend of a friend in
Israel about the latest bus-bombing. “They’re going to kill us all,” was the headline. (No matter that
Israel has one of largest armies in the world, and that many more Palestinians have died than Israelis). Once, when I
suggested to a liberal journalist friend that Americans had a right to discuss issues involving Jewish success in the
American power structure—just as we examined the WASP culture of the establishment a generation ago—he said,
“Well, we know where that conversation ends up: in the ovens of Auschwitz.”
Because of Jewish ethnocentrism and group commitment, stories of Jews
being killed are seen as the portending of another Holocaust and the extinction of the Jewish people rather than a response
to a savage occupation—a clear instance of moral particularism writ large.
The same thing is happening in Canada where Jews
are concerned about declining support by Canadians for Israel. “The past three years have been extraordinarily tough
on Jews in Canada and around the world,” said Keith Landy, national president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “Every
Jew has felt under attack in some form.”129 The response has been increased activism by deeply committed wealthy Jews, including, most famously, Israel Asper, executive
chairman of CanWest Global Communications Corp. Asper has used his media empire to promote pro-Likud policies and has punished
journalists for any deviation from its strong pro-Israel editorial policies.130 The efforts of these activists are aimed at consolidating Jewish organizations behind “hawkish” attitudes on
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Older Jewish organizations, such as the Canada-Israel Committee and the Canadian Jewish
Congress, would be remodeled or driven out of existence to exclude Jews less committed to these attitudes.
An important mechanism underlying all this is
that of rallying around the flag during times of crisis, a phenomenon that is well understood by social psychologists. Group
identification processes are exaggerated in times of resource competition or other perceived sources of threat,131 a finding that is highly compatible with an evolutionary perspective.132 External threat tends to reduce internal divisions and maximize perceptions of common interest among ingroup members,
as we have seen among American Jews in response to perceived crises in Israel, ranging from the Six-Day War of 1967 to the
unending crises of the 1990s and into the new millennium.133 Jewish populations also respond to threat by developing messianic ideologies, rallying around charismatic leaders, and
expelling dissenters from the community. Traditionally this has taken the form of religious fundamentalism, as among the
Hasidim, but in the modern world these tendencies have been manifested in various forms of leftist radicalism, Zionism,
and other Jewish intellectual and political movements.134 Throughout Jewish history, this siege mentality has tended to increase conflict between Jews and non-Jews. In the context
of the intense ethnic conflict of nineteenth-century Eastern Europe, the conflict was exacerbated by an enormous increase
in the Jewish population.
And in all cases, the leaders of this process are the more ethnocentric, committed Jews. They
are the ones who donate to Jewish causes, attend rallies, write letters, join and support activist organizations. As J. J.
Goldberg, the editor of the Forward, notes, Jews who identify themselves as doves feel much less strongly
about Israel than those who identify themselves as hawks. “Jewish liberals give to the Sierra Fund. Jewish conservatives
are Jewish all the time. That’s the whole ball game. It’s not what six million American Jews feel is best —
it’s what 50 Jewish organizations feel is best.”135 In other words, it’s the most radical, committed elements of the Jewish community that determine the direction
of the entire community.
As a European in a society that is rapidly becoming non-European, I can sympathize with Jabotinsky’s envy
of the native Slavic peoples he observed in the early twentieth century:
I look at them with envy. I have never known, and probably never will know,
this completely organic feeling: so united and singular [is this] sense of a homeland, in which everything flows together,
the past and the present, the legend and the hopes, the individual and the historical.136
Every nation civilised
or primitive, sees its land as its national home, where it wants to stay as the sole landlord forever. Such a nation will
never willingly consent to new landlords or even to partnership.137
It is the
memory of this rapidly disappearing sense of historical rootedness and sense of impending dispossession that are at the root
of the malaise experienced by many Europeans, not only in the U.S. but elsewhere. The triumph of Zionism took a mere fifty
years from Herzl’s inspiration to the founding of the state of Israel. There is a tendency to overlook or ignore the
powerful ethnocentrism at the heart of Zionism that motivated people like Jabotinsky, especially on the part of the American
Jewish community, which has been dedicated throughout the twentieth century to pathologizing and criminalizing the fragile
vestiges of ethnocentrism among Europeans.138
the bottom line is that the Zionists were successful. Israel would not have become a state without a great many deeply ethnocentric
Jews willing to engage in any means necessary to bring about their dream: a state that would be a vehicle for their ethnic
interests. It would not have come about without the most radical among them—people like Jabotinsky, Begin, Shamir,
Sharon, and their supporters—a group which now includes the entire organized American Jewish community. The impending
dispossession of Europeans will only be avoided if people of their ilk can be found among the political class of Europeans.
final paper in this series will discuss neo-conservatism as a Jewish intellectual and political movement. A main point of
that paper will be that Jewish neo-conservatives are the current radicals who are charting the direction of the entire Jewish
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6. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 3.
8. MacDonald 1994/2002, Ch. 5.
9. See MacDonald 1998/2004, preface to the paperback edition.
10. Alderman 1992, 112; Frankel 1981, 103; Lindemann 1991, 28–29, 133–135.
11. E.g., For exampple, Scholem 1971; MacDonald 1994/2002,Ch. 3.
14. MacDonald 1998/2002, especially Ch. 3.
15. MacDonald 1997, 2002.
16. See MacDonald (1998/2002), 2003.
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21. The following relies on Mahler 1985.
26. MacDonald 2003; Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999, 58–60.
33. Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999, 37.
36. See summary in MacDonald 1998/2004.
41. Alderman 1983, 47ff; MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 3.
42. Alderman 1983, 60; MacDonald 1998/2004, Ch. 8.
43. MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 3; Vital 1975, 313.
45. Kornberg 1993, 183; inner quote from Herzl’s diary.
47. In Frommer 1978, 118.
48. In Lilienthal 1953, 165.
51. In Neusner 1987, 203.
52. Efron 1994; Endelman 1991, 196.
55. Gilman 1993, 109; Nicosia 1985, 18.
58. In Niewyk 1980, 129–130
59. Prinz 1934; in Shahak 1994, 71–72; italics in text.
61. In Dawidowicz 1976, 150–152.
63. Laqueur 1972; Vital 1975.
64. Frommer 1978; Alderman 1983
65. Laqueur 1972, 196; see also John & Hadawi 1970a, 80.
66. Laqueur 1972, 546, 549; Wheatcroft 1996, 98–147; The Columbus Platform: “Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism”
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70. Schatz 1991, 375n.13.
72. Rubenstein 1996, 260.
75. In Alderman 1983, 151.
76. Goldmann 1978, 31; Lilienthal 1978, 50, 61; Sachar 1992, 580.
81. Ibid., 328; John & Hadawi 1970a, 357.
82. Wheatcroft 1996, 226.
90. John & Hadawi 1970a, 249.
91. Ibid., 351. John & Hadawi 1970b, 329.
92. M. Bruzonsky, “The Mentor Who Shaped Begin’s Thinking: Jabotinsky,” Washington Post, Outlook
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101. Chomsky 1999, 117; Masalha 1992.
102. In Masalha 1992, 210.
106. Wheatcroft 1996, 249.
107. In Findley 1989, 277.
112. In Chomsky 1999, 161.
113. In Chomsky 1999, 161.
114. In Chomsky 1999, 50.
115. In Shahak & Mezvinsky 1999, 73.
120. Hertzberg 1979, 210.
121. MacDonald 1998a, Ch. 1.
125. In Findley 1989, 269.
126. In Findley 1989, 271.
130. See MacDonald, 2003.
131. Hogg & Abrams 1987; Hewstone, Rubin & Willis 2002.
134. MacDonald 1998b/2002.
136. In Shavit 1988, 116.
137. In Wheatcroft 1996, 207.
138. MacDonald 1998/2002.
Understanding Jewish Influence III:
Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement
Over the last year, there has been a torrent of articles on neoconservatism raising (usually
implicitly) some difficult issues: Are neoconservatives different from other conservatives? Is neoconservatism a Jewish
movement? Is it “anti-Semitic” to say so?
The thesis presented here is that
neoconservatism is indeed a Jewish intellectual and political movement. This paper is the final installment in a three-part
series on Jewish activism and reflects many of the themes of the first two articles. The first paper in this series focused
on the traits of ethnocentrism, intelligence, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness.1 These traits will be apparent here as well. The ethnocentrism of the neocons has enabled them to create highly organized,
cohesive, and effective ethnic networks. Neoconservatives have also exhibited the high intelligence necessary for attaining
eminence in the academic world, in the elite media and think tanks, and at the highest levels of government. They have aggressively
pursued their goals, not only in purging more traditional conservatives from their positions of power and influence, but
also in reorienting US foreign policy in the direction of hegemony and empire. Neoconservatism also illustrates the central
theme of the second article in this series: In alliance with virtually the entire organized American Jewish community, neoconservatism
is a vanguard Jewish movement with close ties to the most extreme nationalistic, aggressive, racialist and religiously fanatic
elements within Israel.2
Neoconservatism also reflects many of the characteristics of Jewish intellectual movements
studied in my book, The Culture of Critique3(see Table 1).
Table 1: Characteristics of Jewish Intellectual Movements
- A deep concern with furthering
specific Jewish interests, such as helping Israel or promoting immigration.
- Issues are framed in a rhetoric of universalism rather than Jewish particularism.
- Issues are framed in moral terms, and an attitude of moral superiority pervades the movement.
- Centered around charismatic leaders (Boas, Trotsky, Freud).
- Jews form a cohesive, mutually reinforcing core.
appear in highly visible roles, often as spokespersons for the movement.
pronounced ingroup/outgroup atmosphere within the movement—dissenters are portrayed as the personification of evil
and are expunged from the movement.
- The movement is irrational in the
sense that it is fundamentally concerned with using available intellectual resources to advance a political cause.
- The movement is associated with the most prestigious academic institutions in the society.
- Access to prestigious and mainstream media sources, partly as a result of Jewish influence
on the media.
- Active involvement of the wider Jewish community in supporting
However, neoconservatism also presents several problems to any analysis, the
main one being that the history of neoconservatism is relatively convoluted and complex compared to other Jewish intellectual
and political movements. To an unusual extent, the history of neoconservatism presents a zigzag of positions and alliances,
and a multiplicity of influences. This is perhaps inevitable in a fundamentally political movement needing to adjust to changing
circumstances and attempting to influence the very large, complex political culture of the United States. The main changes
neoconservatives have been forced to confront have been their loss of influence in the Democratic Party and the fall of the
Soviet Union. Although there is a remarkable continuity in Jewish neoconservatives' interests as Jews—the prime one
being the safety and prosperity of Israel—these upheavals required new political alliances and produced a need for
new work designed to reinvent the intellectual foundation of American foreign policy.
Neoconservatism also raises difficult
problems of labeling. As described in the following, neoconservatism as a movement derives from the long association of
Jews with the left. But contemporary neoconservatism is not simply a term for ex-liberals or leftists. Indeed, in its present
incarnation, many second-generation neoconservatives, such as David Frum, Jonah Goldberg, and Max Boot, have never had affiliations
with the American left. Rather, neoconservatism represents a fundamentally new version of American conservatism, if it can
be properly termed conservative at all. By displacing traditional forms of conservatism, neoconservatism has actually solidified
the hold of the left on political and cultural discourse in the United States. The deep and continuing chasm between neocons
and more traditional American conservatives—a topic of this paper—indicates that this problem is far from being
The multiplicity of influences among neoconservatives requires some comment.
The current crop of neoconservatives has at times been described as Trotskyists.4 As will be seen, in some cases the intellectual influences of neoconservatives can be traced to Trotsky, but Trotskyism
cannot be seen as a current influence within the movement. And although the political philosopher Leo Strauss is indeed
a guru for some neoconservatives, his influence is by no means pervasive, and in any case provides only a very broad guide
to what the neoconservatives advocate in the area of public policy. Indeed, by far the best predictor of neoconservative
attitudes, on foreign policy at least, is what the political right in Israel deems in Israel’s best interests. Neoconservatism
does not fit the pattern of the Jewish intellectual movements described in The Culture of Critique, characterized
by gurus (“rabbis”) and their disciples centered around a tightly focused intellectual perspective in the manner
of Freud, Boas, or Marcuse. Neoconservatism is better described in general as a complex interlocking professional and family
network centered around Jewish publicists and organizers flexibly deployed to recruit the sympathies of both Jews and non-Jews
in harnessing the wealth and power of the United States in the service of Israel. As such, neoconservatism should be considered
a semicovert branch of the massive and highly effective pro-Israel lobby, which includes organizations like the America Israel
Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)—the most powerful lobbying group in Washington—and the Zionist Organization
of America (ZOA). Indeed, as discussed below, prominent neoconservatives have been associated with such overtly pro-Israel
organizations as the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
(WINEP), and ZOA. (Acronyms of the main neoconservative and pro-Israel activist organizations used in this paper are provided
in Table 2.)
Table 2: Acronyms of Neoconservative and Pro-Israel
Activist Organizations Used in this
AEI: American Enterprise Institute—A neoconservative think tank; produces and disseminates books and articles on foreign and domestic policy;
AIPAC: American Israel Public Affairs Committee—The main pro-Israel
lobbying organization in the U.S., specializing in influencing the U.S. Congress; http://www.aipac.org/.
Center for Security Policy—Neoconservative think tank specializing in defense policy; formerly headed by
Douglas Feith, CSP is now headed by Frank Gaffney; the CSP is strongly pro-Israel and favors a strong U.S. military;
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs—Pro-Israel think tank specializing in promoting military
cooperation between the U.S. and Israel; http://www.jinsa.org/.
Middle East Forum—Headed by Daniel Pipes, the MEF is a pro-Israel advocacy organization overlapping with
the WINEP but generally more strident; http://www.meforum.org/.
Project for the New American Century—Headed by Bill Kristol, the PNAC issues letters and statements signed
mainly by prominent neocons and designed to influence public policy; http://www.newamericancentury.org/.
Social Democrats/USA—“Left-neoconservative” political organization advocating pro-labor social
policy and pro-Israel, anticommunist foreign policy; http://www.socialdemocrats.org/.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy—Pro-Israel think tank specializing in producing and disseminating
pro-Israel media material; http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/.
Zionist Organization of America—Pro-Israel lobbying organization associated with the more fanatical end
of the pro-Israel spectrum in America; http://www.zoa.org/.
Compared with their deep and emotionally intense commitment to Israel, neoconservative attitudes on domestic policy
seem more or less an afterthought, and they will not be the main focus here. In general, neoconservatives advocate maintaining
the social welfare, immigration, and civil rights policies typical of liberalism (and the wider Jewish community) up to about
1970. Some of these policies represent clear examples of Jewish ethnic strategizing—in particular, the role of the
entire Jewish political spectrum and the entire organized Jewish community as the moving force behind the immigration law
of 1965, which opened the floodgates to nonwhite immigration. (Jewish organizations still favor liberal immigration policies.
In 2004, virtually all American Jewish public affairs agencies belong to the National Immigration Forum, the premier open
borders immigration-lobbying group.5) Since the neocons have developed a decisive influence in the mainstream conservative movement, their support for nonrestrictive
immigration policies has perhaps more significance for the future of the United States than their support for Israel.
As always when discussing Jewish involvement in intellectual movements, there is no implication that all or even
most Jews are involved in these movements. As discussed below, the organized Jewish community shares the neocon commitment
to the Likud Party in Israel. However, neoconservatism has never been a majority viewpoint in the American Jewish community,
at least if being a neoconservative implies voting for the Republican Party. In the 2000 election, 80 percent of Jews voted
for Al Gore.6
These percentages may be misleading, since it was not widely known during the 2000 election that the top advisors
of George W. Bush had very powerful Jewish connections, pro-Likud sympathies, and positive attitudes toward regime change
in Arab countries in the Middle East. Republican strategists are hoping for 35 percent of the Jewish vote in 2004.7 President Bush’s May 18, 2004, speech to the national convention of AIPAC “received a wild and sustained standing
ovation in response to an audience member’s call for ‘four more years.’ The majority of some 4,500 delegates
at the national conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee leaped to their feet in support of the president….
Anecdotal evidence points to a sea change among Jewish voters, who historically have trended toward the Democratic Party
but may be heading to Bush’s camp due to his stance on a single issue: his staunch support of Israel.”8 Nevertheless, Democrats may not lose many Jewish voters because John Kerry, the likely Democratic candidate, has a “100%
record” for Israel and has promised to increase troop strength and retain the commitment to Iraq.9
The critical issue is to determine the extent to which neoconservatism is a Jewish movement—the extent to
which Jews dominate the movement and are a critical component of its success. One must then document the fact that the Jews
involved in the movement have a Jewish identity and that they are Jewishly motivated—that is, that they see their
participation as aimed at achieving specific Jewish goals. In the case of neoconservatives, an important line of evidence
is to show their deep connections to Israel—their “passionate attachment to a nation not their own,” as
Pat Buchanan terms it,10 and especially to the Likud Party. As indicated above, I will argue that the main motivation for Jewish neoconservatives
has been to further the cause of Israel; however, even if that statement is true, it does not imply that all Jews are neoconservatives.
I therefore reject the sort of arguments made by Richard Perle, who responded to charges that neoconservatives were predominantly
Jews by noting that Jews always tend to be disproportionately involved in intellectual undertakings, and that many Jews
oppose the neoconservatives.11 This is indeed the case, but leaves open the question of whether neoconservative Jews perceive their ideas as advancing
Jewish interests and whether the movement itself is influential. An important point of the following, however, is that the
organized Jewish community has played a critical role in the success of neoconservatism and in preventing public discussion
of its Jewish roots and Jewish agendas.
Non-Jewish Participation in Neoconservatism
As with the
other Jewish intellectual and political movements, non-Jews have been welcomed into the movement and often given highly visible
roles as the public face of the movement. This of course lessens the perception that the movement is indeed a Jewish movement,
and it makes excellent psychological sense to have the spokespersons for any movement resemble the people they are trying
to convince. That’s why Ahmed Chalabi (a Shiite Iraqi, a student of early neocon theorist Albert Wohlstetter, and
a close personal associate of prominent neocons, including Richard Perle) was the neocons’ choice to lead postwar
Iraq.12 There are many examples—including Freud’s famous comments on needing a non-Jew to represent psychoanalysis (he
got Carl Jung for a time until Jung balked at the role, and then Ernest Jones). Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict were the
most publicly recognized Boasian anthropologists, and there were a great many non-Jewish leftists and pro-immigration advocates
who were promoted to visible positions in Jewish dominated movements—and sometimes resented their role.13 Albert Lindemann describes non-Jews among the leaders of the Bolshevik revolution as “jewified non-Jews”—“a
term, freed of its ugly connotations, [that] might be used to underline an often overlooked point: Even in Russia there
were some non-Jews, whether Bolsheviks or not, who respected Jews, praised them abundantly, imitated them, cared about their
welfare, and established intimate friendships or romantic liaisons with them.”14
There was a smattering of non-Jews among the New York Intellectuals, who, as members of the
anti-Stalinist left in the 1940s, were forerunners of the neoconservatives. Prominent examples were Dwight MacDonald (labeled
by Michael Wrezin “a distinguished goy among the Partisanskies”15—i.e., the largely Jewish Partisan Review crowd), James T. Farrell, and Mary McCarthy. John Dewey also had
close links to the New York Intellectuals and was lavishly promoted by them;16 Dewey was also allied closely with his former student Sidney Hook, another major figure on the anti-Stalinist left. Dewey
was a philosemite, stating: “After all, it was the Christians who made them ‘it’ [i.e., victims]. Living
in New York where the Jews set the standard of living from department stores to apartment houses, I often think that the
Jews are the finest product of historical Christianity…. Anyway, the finest living man, so far as I know, is a Jew—[humanitarian
founder of the International Institute of Agriculture] David Lubin.”17
This need for the involvement of non-Jews is especially acute for neoconservatism as a political movement: Because
neoconservative Jews constitute a tiny percentage of the electorate, they need to make alliances with non-Jews whose perceived
interests dovetail with theirs. Non-Jews have a variety of reasons for being associated with Jewish interests, including
career advancement, close personal relationships or admiration for individual Jews, and deeply held personal convictions.
For example, as described below, Senator Henry Jackson, whose political ambitions were intimately bound up with the neoconservatives,
was a strong philosemite due partly to his experiences in childhood; his alliance with neoconservatives also stemmed from
his (entirely reasonable) belief that the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a deadly conflict and his belief
that Israel was a valuable ally in that struggle. Because neoconservatives command a large and lucrative presence in the
media, thinktankdom, and political culture generally, it is hardly surprising that complex blends of opportunism and personal
conviction characterize participating non-Jews.
University and Media Involvement
feature of the Jewish intellectual and political movements I have studied has been their association with prestigious universities
and media sources. The university most closely associated with the current crop of neoconservatives is the University of
Chicago, the academic home not only of Leo Strauss, but also of Albert Wohlstetter, a mathematician turned foreign policy
strategist, who was mentor to Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, both of whom have achieved power and influence in the George
W. Bush administration. The University of Chicago was also home to Strauss disciple Allan Bloom, sociologist Edward Shils,
and novelist Saul Bellow among the earlier generation of neoconservatives.
Another important academic home
for the neocons has been the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Wolfowitz spent most
of the Clinton years as a professor at SAIS; the Director of the Strategic Studies Program at SAIS is Eliot Cohen, who has
been a signatory to a number of the Project for a New American Century’s statements and letters, including the April
2002 letter to President Bush on Israel and Iraq (see below); he is also an advisor for Frank Gaffney’s Center for
Security Policy, an important neocon think tank. Cohen is famous for labeling the war against terrorism World War IV. His
book, Supreme Command, argues that civilian leaders should make the important decisions and not defer to military
leaders. This message was understood by Cheney and Wolfowitz as underscoring the need to prevent the military from having
too much influence, as in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War when Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had
been influential in opposing the removal of Saddam Hussein.18
Unlike other Jewish intellectual movements, the neoconservatives have been forced to deal with major opposition
from within the academy, especially from Arabs and leftists in academic departments of Middle East studies. As a result,
neoconservative activist groups, especially the WINEP and the MEF’s Campus Watch, have monitored academic discourse
and course content and organized protests against professors, and were behind congressional legislation that will mandate
U.S. government monitoring of programs in Middle East studies (see below).
Jewish intellectual and political
movements also have typically had ready access to prestigious mainstream media outlets, and this is certainly true for the
neocons. Most notable are the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Public Interest, Basic Books (book publishing),
and the media empires of Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch owns the Fox News Channel and the New York Post, and
is the main source of funding for Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard—all major neocon outlets.
A good example illustrating these connections is Richard Perle. Perle is listed as a Resident Fellow of the AEI,
and he is on the boards of directors of the Jerusalem Post and the Hollinger Corporation, a media company controlled
by Conrad Black. Hollinger owns major media properties in the U.S. (Chicago Sun-Times), England (the Daily Telegraph),
Israel (Jerusalem Post), and Canada (the National Post; 50 percent ownership with CanWest Global Communications,
which is controlled by Israel Asper and his family; CanWest has aggressively clamped down on its journalists for any deviation
from its strong pro-Israel editorial policies19). Hollinger also owns dozens of smaller publications in the U.S., Canada, and England. All of these media outlets reflect
the vigorously pro-Israel stance espoused by Perle. Perle has written op-ed columns for Hollinger newspapers as well as for
the New York Times.
Neoconservatives such as Jonah Goldberg and David Frum also have a very large
influence on National Review, formerly a bastion of traditional conservative thought in the U.S. Neocon think tanks
such as the AEI have a great deal of cross-membership with Jewish activist organizations such as AIPAC, the main pro-Israel
lobbying organization in Washington, and the WINEP. (When President George W. Bush addressed the AEI on Iraq policy, the
event was fittingly held in the Albert Wohlstetter Conference Center.) A major goal of the AEI is to maintain a high profile
as pundits in the mainstream media. A short list would include AEI fellow Michael Ledeen, who is extreme even among the
neocons in his lust for war against all of the Arab countries in the Middle East, is “resident scholar in the Freedom
Chair at the AEI,” writes op-ed articles for The Scripps Howard News Service and the Wall Street Journal,
and appears on the Fox News Channel. Michael Rubin, visiting scholar at AEI, writes for the New Republic (controlled
by staunchly pro-Israel Martin Peretz), the New York Times, and the Daily Telegraph. Reuel Marc Gerecht,
a resident fellow at the AEI and director of the Middle East Initiative at PNAC, writes for the Weekly Standard
and the New York Times. Another prominent AEI member is David Wurmser who formerly headed the Middle East Studies
Program at the AEI until assuming a major role in providing intelligence disinformation in the lead up to the war in Iraq
(see below). His position at the AEI was funded by Irving Moscowitz, a wealthy supporter of the settler movement in Israel
and neocon activism in the US.20 At the AEI Wurmser wrote op-ed pieces for the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard, and the Wall
Street Journal. His book, Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, advocated
that the United States should use military force to achieve regime change in Iraq. The book was published by the AEI in 1999
with a Foreward by Richard Perle.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the New York Times was
deeply involved in spreading deception about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorist organizations. Judith
Miller’s front-page articles were based on information from Iraqi defectors well known to be untrustworthy because
of their own interest in toppling Saddam.21 Many of these sources, including the notorious Ahmed Chalabi, were also touted by the Office of Special Plans of the Department
of Defense, which is associated with many of the most prominent Bush administration neocons (see below). Miller’s
indiscretions might be chalked up to incompetence were it not for her close connections to prominent neocon organizations,
in particular Daniel Pipes’s Middle East Forum (MEF), which avidly sought the war in Iraq. The MEF lists Miller as
an expert speaker on Middle East issues, and she has published articles in MEF media, including the Middle East Quarterly
and the MEF Wire. The MEF also threw a launch party for her book on Islamic fundamentalism, God Has Ninety-Nine
Names. Miller, whose father is ethnically Jewish, has a strong Jewish consciousness: Her book One by One: Facing
the Holocaust “tried to … show how each [European] country that I lived and worked in, was suppressing
or distorting or politically manipulating the memory of the Holocaust.”22
The New York Times has apologized for “coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been”
but has thus far refused to single out Miller’s stories as worthy of special censure.23 Indeed, the Times’sfailure goes well beyond Miller:
Some of the Times’s coverage
in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq was credulous; much of it was inappropriately italicized by lavish
front-page display and heavy-breathing headlines; and several fine articles by David Johnston, James Risen and others that
provided perspective or challenged information in the faulty stories were played as quietly as a lullaby. Especially
notable among these was Risen’s “C.I.A. Aides Feel Pressure in Preparing Iraqi Reports,” which was completed
several days before the invasion and unaccountably held for a week. It didn't appear until three days after the war’s
start, and even then was interred on Page B10.24
is well known, the New York Times is Jewish-owned and has often beenaccused of slanting its coverage on issues of
importance to Jews.25 It is perhaps another example of the legacy of Jacob Schiff, the Jewish activist/philanthropist who backed Adolph Ochs’s
purchase of the New York Times in 1896 because he believed he “could be of great service to the Jews generally.”26
Involvement of the Wider Jewish Community
Another common theme of Jewish
intellectual and political movements has been the involvement and clout of the wider Jewish community. While the prominent
neoconservatives represent a small fraction of the American Jewish community, there is little doubt that the organized Jewish
community shares their commitment to the Likud Party in Israel and, one might reasonably infer, Likud’s desire to
see the United States conquer and effectively control virtually the entire Arab world.27 For example, representatives of all the major Jewish organizations serve on the executive committee of AIPAC, the most
powerful lobby in Washington. Since the 1980s AIPAC has leaned toward Likud and only reluctantly went along with the
Labor government of the 1990s.28 In October 2002, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a declaration of support for
disarming the Iraqi regime.29 Jack Rosen, the president of the American Jewish Congress, noted that “the final statement ought to be crystal clear
in backing the President having to take unilateral action if necessary against Iraq to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.”30
The organized Jewish community also plays the role
of credential validator, especially for non-Jews. For example, the neocon choice for the leader of Iran following regime
change is Reza Pahlavi, son of the former Shah. As is the case with Ahmed Chalabi, who was promoted by the neocons as the
leader of post-Saddam Iraq, Pahlavi has proven his commitment to Jewish causes and the wider Jewish community. He has addressed
the board of JINSA, given a public speech at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, met
with American Jewish communal leaders, and is on friendly terms with Likud Party officials in Israel.31
Most important, the main Jewish activist organizations
have been quick to condemn those who have noted the Jewish commitments of the neoconservative activists in the Bush administration
or seen the hand of the Jewish community in pushing for war against Iraq and other Arab countries. For example, the ADL’s
Abraham Foxman singled out Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, Rep. James Moran, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, James O. Goldsborough (a
columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune), columnist Robert Novak, and writer Ian Buruma as subscribers to “a
canard that America’s going to war has little to do with disarming Saddam, but everything to do with Jews, the ‘Jewish
lobby’ and the hawkish Jewish members of the Bush Administration who, according to this chorus, will favor any war
that benefits Israel.”32 Similarly, when Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) made a speech in the U.S. Senate and wrote a newspaper op-ed piece which
claimed the war in Iraq was motivated by “President Bush’s policy to secure Israel” and advanced by a
handful of Jewish officials and opinion leaders, Abe Foxman of the ADL stated, “when the debate veers into anti-Jewish
stereotyping, it is tantamount to scapegoating and an appeal to ethnic hatred…. This is reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic
canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government.”33Despite negative comments from Jewish activist organizations, and a great deal of coverage in the American Jewish press,
there were no articles on this story in any of the major U.S. national newspapers.34
media and political figures stand accused of anti-Semitism—the most deadly charge that can be imagined in the contemporary
world—by the most powerful Jewish activist organization in the U.S. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has also charged Buchanan
and Moran with anti-Semitism for their comments on this issue.35 While Foxman feels no need to provide any argument at all, the SWC feels it is sufficient to note that Jews have varying
opinions on the war. This of course is a nonissue. The real issue is whether it is legitimate to open up to debate the question
of the degree to which the neocon activists in the Bush administration are motivated by their long ties to the Likud Party
in Israel and whether the organized Jewish community in the U.S. similarly supports the Likud Party and its desire to enmesh
the United States in wars that are in Israel’s interest. (There’s not much doubt about how the SWC viewed the
war with Iraq; Defense Secretary Rumsfeld invited Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Center, to briefings on the war.)36
Of course, neocons in the media—most notably David Frum, Max Boot, Lawrence F. Kaplan, Jonah Goldberg, and
Alan Wald37—have also been busy labeling their opponents “anti-Semites.” An early example concerned a 1988 speech
given by Russell Kirk at the Heritage Foundation in which he remarked that “not seldom it has seemed as if some eminent
neoconservatives mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of United States”—what Sam Francis characterizes as “a
wisecrack about the slavishly pro-Israel sympathies among neoconservatives.”38 Midge Decter, a prominent neocon writer and wife of Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz, labeled the comment “a
bloody outrage, a piece of anti-Semitism by Kirk that impugns the loyalty of neoconservatives.”39
Accusations of anti-Semitism have become a common response to suggestions that neoconservatives have promoted the
war in Iraq for the benefit of Israel.40 For example, Joshua Muravchik, whose ties to the neocons are elaborated below, authored an apologetic article in Commentary
aimed at denying that neoconservative foreign policy prescriptions are tailored to benefit Israel and that imputations
to that effect amount to “anti-Semitism.”41 These accusations are notable for uniformly failing to honestly address the Jewish motivations and commitments of neoconservatives,
the topic of a later section.
Finally, the wider Jewish community provides financial support for intellectual
and political movements, as in the case of psychoanalysis, where the Jewish community signed on as patients and as consumers
of psychoanalytic literature.42 This has also been the case with neoconservatism, as noted by Gary North:
With respect to the close connection
between Jews and neoconservatism, it is worth citing [Robert] Nisbet’s assessment of the revival of his academic
career after 1965. His only book, The Quest for Community (Oxford UP, 1953), had come back into print in paperback
in 1962 as Community and Power. He then began to write for the neoconservative journals. Immediately, there
were contracts for him to write a series of books on conservatism, history, and culture, beginning with The Sociological
Tradition, published in 1966 by Basic Books, the newly created neoconservative publishing house. Sometime in the
late 1960’s, he told me: “I became an in-house sociologist for the Commentary-Public Interest crowd.
Jews buy lots of academic books in America.” Some things are obvious but unstated. He could follow the money: book
royalties. So could his publishers.43
support of the wider Jewish community and the elaborate neoconservative infrastructure in the media and thinktankdom provide
irresistible professional opportunities for Jews and non-Jews alike. I am not saying that people like Nisbet don’t
believe what they write in neoconservative publications. I am simply saying that having opinions that are attractive to neoconservatives
can be very lucrative and professionally rewarding.
In the following I will first trace the historical
roots of neoconservatism. This is followed by portraits of several important neoconservatives that focus on their Jewish
identities and their connections to pro-Israel activism.
Historical Roots Of Neoconservatism
Neoconservatism from the Far Left
All twentieth century Jewish intellectual and political movements stem
from the deep involvement of Jews with the left. However, beginning in the late 1920s, when the followers of Leon Trotsky
broke off from the mainstream communist movement, the Jewish left has not been unified. By all accounts the major figure
linking Trotsky and the neoconservative movement is Max Shachtman, a Jew born in Poland in 1904 but brought to the U.S. as
an infant. Like other leftists during the 1920s, Shachtman was enthusiastic about the Soviet Union, writing in 1923 that
it was “a brilliant red light in the darkness of capitalist gloom.”44 Shachtman began as a follower of James P. Cannon,45 who became converted to Trotsky’s view that the Soviet Union should actively foment revolution.
The Trotskyist movement had a Jewish milieu as Shachtman attracted young Jewish disciples—the familiar rabbi/disciple
model of Jewish intellectual movements: “Youngsters around Shachtman made little effort to hide their New York background
or intellectual skills and tastes. Years later they could still hear Shachtman’s voice in one another’s speeches.”46 To a much greater extent than the Communist Party, which was much larger and was committed to following the Soviet line,
the Trotskyists survived as a small group centered around charismatic leaders like Shachtman, who paid homage to the famous
Trotsky, who lurked in the background as an exile from the USSR living in Mexico. In the Jewish milieu of the movement,
Shachtman was much admired as a speaker because of his ability in debate and in polemics. He became the quintessential rabbinical
guru—the leader of a close, psychologically intense group: “He would hug them and kiss [his followers]. He would
pinch both their cheeks, hard, in a habit that some felt blended sadism and affection.”47
Trotskyists took seriously the Marxist idea that the proletarian socialist revolution should occur first in the
economically advanced societies of the West rather than in backward Russia or China. They also thought that a revolution
only in Russia was doomed to failure because the success of socialism in Russia depended inevitably on the world economy.
The conclusion of this line of logic was that Marxists should advocate a permanent revolution that would sweep away capitalism
completely rather than concentrate on building socialism in the Soviet Union.
Shachtman broke with Trotsky over
defense of the Soviet Union in World War II, setting out to develop his own brand of “third camp Marxism” that
followed James Burnham in stressing internal democracy and analyzing the USSR as “bureaucratic collectivism.”
In 1939–1941, Shachtman battled leftist intellectuals like Sidney Hook, Max Eastman, and Dwight Macdonald, who were
rejecting not only Stalinism but also Trotskyism as insufficiently open and democratic; they also saw Trotsky himself as
guilty of some of the worst excesses of the early Bolshevik regime, especially his banning of opposition parties and his
actions in crushing the Kronstadt sailors who had called for democracy. Shachtman defended an open, democratic version of
Marxism but was concerned that his critics were abandoning socialism—throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Hook, Eastman, Burnham, and Macdonald therefore constituted a “rightist” force within the anti-Stalinist
left; it is this force that may with greater accuracy be labeled as one of the immediate intellectual ancestors of neoconservatism.
By 1940, Macdonald was Shachtman’s only link to the Partisan Review crowd of the New York Intellectuals—another
predominantly Jewish group—and the link became tenuous. James Burnham also broke with Shachtman in 1940. By 1941 Burnham
rejected Stalinism, fascism, and even the New Deal as bureaucratic menaces, staking out a position characterized by “juridical
defense, his criticism of managerial political tendencies, and his own defence of liberty,”48 eventually becoming a fixture at National Review in the decades before it became a neoconservative journal.
Shachtman himself became a Cold Warrior and social democrat in the late 1940s, attempting to build an all-inclusive
left while his erstwhile Trotskyist allies in the Fourth International were bent on continuing their isolation in separate
factions on the left. During this period, Shachtman saw the Stalinist takeover in Eastern Europe as a far greater threat
than U.S. power, a prelude to his support for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and the U.S. role in Viet Nam. By the 1950s
he rejected revolutionary socialism and stopped calling himself a Trotskyist;49 during the 1960s he saw the Democratic Party as the path to social democracy, while nevertheless retaining some commitment
to Marxism and socialism. “Though he would insist for the rest of his life that he had found the keys to Marxism in
his era, he was recutting the keys as he went along. In the early 1950s he had spoken, written, and acted as a left-wing,
though no longer revolutionary, socialist. By the late 1950s he moved into the mainstream of U.S. social democracy”50 with a strategy of pushing big business and white Southerners out of the Democratic Party (the converse of Nixon’s
“Southern strategy” for the Republican Party). In the 1960s “he suggested more openly than ever before
that U.S. power could be used to promote democracy in the third world”51—a view that aligns him with later neoconservatives.
In the 1960s, Michael Harrington, author of the influential
The Other America, became the best known Shachtmanite, but they diverged when Harrington showed more sympathy toward
the emerging multicultural, antiwar, feminist, “New Politics” influence in the Democratic Party while Shachtman
remained committed to the Democrats as the party of organized labor and anti-communism.52 Shachtman became an enemy of the New Left, which he saw as overly apologetic toward the Soviet Union. “As I watch
the New Left, I simply weep. If somebody set out to take the errors and stupidities of the Old Left and multiplied them
to the nth degree, you would have the New Left of today.”53 This was linked to disagreements with Irving Howe, editor of Dissent, who published a wide range of authors, including
Harrington, although Shachtman followers Carl Gershman and Tom Kahn remained on the editorial board of Dissent until
The main link between Shachtman and the political mainstream was the influence
he and his followers had on the AFL-CIO. In 1972, shortly before his death, Shachtman, “as an open anti-communist and
supporter of both the Vietnam War and Zionism,”54 backed Senator Henry Jackson in the Democratic presidential primary. Jackson was a strong supporter of Israel (see below),
and by this time support for Israel had “become a litmus test for Shachtmanites.”55 Jackson, who was closely associated with the AFL-CIO, hired Tom Kahn, who had become a Shachtman follower in the 1950s.
Kahn was executive secretary of the Shachtmanite League for Industrial Democracy, headed at the time by Tom Harrington,
and he was also the head of the Department of International Affairs of the AFL-CIO, where he was an “obsessive promoter
of Israel”56 to the point that the AFL-CIO became the world’s largest non-Jewish holder of Israel bonds. His department had a budget
of around $40 million, most of which was provided by the federally funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED).57 During the Reagan administration, the AFL-CIO received approximately 40 percent of available funding from the NED, while
no other funded group received more than 10 percent. That imbalance has prompted speculation that NED is effectively in
the hands of the Social Democrats USA—Shachtman’s political heir (see below)—the membership of which today
includes both NED president Carl Gershman and a number of AFL-CIO officials involved with the endowment.
1972, under the leadership of Carl Gershman and the Shachtmanites, the Socialist Party USA changed its name to Social Democrats
USA.58 Working with Jackson, SD/USA’s members achieved little political power because of the dominance of the New Politics
wing of the Democratic Party, with its strong New Left influence from the 1960s. With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980,
however, key figures from SD/USA achieved positions of power and influence both in the labor movement and in the government.
Among the latter were Reagan-era appointees such as United Nations Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, Assistant Secretary of State
for Inter-American Affairs Elliott Abrams (son-in-law of Podhoretz and Decter), Geneva arms talks negotiator Max Kampelman
(aide to Hubert Humphrey and founding member of JINSA; he remains on its advisory board), and Gershman, who was an aide to
UN Ambassador Kirkpatrick and head of the NED.59 Other Shachtmanites in the Reagan administration included Joshua Muravchik, a member of SD/USA’s National Committee,
who wrote articles defending Reagan’s foreign policy, and Penn Kemble, an SD/USA vice-chairman, who headed Prodemca,
an influential lobbying group for the Contra opponents of the leftist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Abrams and Muravchik have
continued to play an important role in neocon circles in the George W. Bush administration (see below). In addition to being
associated with SD/USA,60 Kirkpatrick has strong neocon credentials. She is on the JINSA Board and is a senior fellow at the AEI. She also has received
several awards from Jewish organizations, including the Defender of Israel Award [New York], given to non-Jews who stand
up for the Jewish people (other neocon recipients include Henry Jackson and Bayard Rustin), the Humanitarian Award of B’nai
B’rith, and the 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Award from the prime minister of Israel (1998).61 Kirkpatrick’s late husband Evron was a promoter of Hubert Humphrey and long-time collaborator of neocon godfather
During the Reagan Administration, Lane Kirkland, the head of the AFL-CIO from
1979 to 1995, was also a Shachtmanite and an officer of the SD/USA. As secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO during the 1970s,
Kirkland was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger, a group of neoconservatives in which “prominent Jackson
supporters, advisers, and admirers from both sides of the aisle predominated.”62 Kirkland gave a eulogy at Henry Jackson’s funeral. Kirkland was not a Jew but was married to a Jew and, like
Jackson, had very close ties to Jews: “Throughout his career Kirkland maintained a special affection for the struggle
of the Jews. It may be the result of his marriage to Irena [nee Neumann in 1973—his second marriage], a Czech survivor
of the Holocaust and an inspiring figure in her own right. Or it may be because he recognized…that the cause of the
Jews and the cause of labor have been inseparable.”63
Carl Gershman remains head of the NED, which supports the U.S.-led invasion and nation-building
effort in Iraq.64 The general line of the NED is that Arab countries should “get over” the Arab-Israeli conflict and embrace democracy,
Israel, and the United States. In reporting on talks with representatives of the Jewish community in Turkey, Gershman frames
the issues in terms of ending anti-Semitism in Turkey by destroying Al Qaeda; there is no criticism of the role of Israel
and its policies in producing hatred throughout the region.65 During the 1980s, the NED supported nonviolent strategies to end apartheid in South Africa in association with the A. Philip
Randolph Institute, headed by longtime civil rights activist and SD/USA neocon Bayard Rustin.66 Critics of the NED, such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex), have complained that the NED “is nothing more than a costly program
that takes U.S. taxpayer funds to promote favored politicians and political parties abroad.”67 Paul suggests that the NED’s support of former Communists reflects Gershman’s leftist background.
In general, at the present time SD/USA continues to support organized labor domestically and to take an active interest
in using U.S. power to spread democracy abroad. A resolution of January 2003 stated that the main conflict in the world
was not between Islam and the West but between democratic and nondemocratic governments, with Israel being the only democracy
in the Middle East.68 The SD/USA strongly supports democratic nation building in Iraq.
A prominent member of SD/USA is
Joshua Muravchik. A member of the SD/USA National Advisory Council, Muravchik is also a member of the advisory board of
JINSA, a resident scholar at the AEI, and an adjunct scholar at WINEP. His book Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of
Socialism69 views socialism critically, but advocates a reformist social democracy that falls short of socialism; he views socialism
as a failed religion that is relatively poor at creating wealth and is incompatible with very powerful human desires for
Another prominent member of SD/USA is Max Kampelman, whose article, posted on
the SD/USA website, makes the standard neoconservative complaints about the UN dating from the 1970s, especially regarding
its treatment of Israel:
Since 1964,…the U.N. Security Council has passed 88 resolutions against Israel—the
only democracy in the area—and the General Assembly has passed more than 400 such resolutions, including one in 1975
declaring “Zionism as a form of racism.” When the terrorist leader of the Palestinians, Arafat, spoke in
1974 to the General Assembly, he did so wearing a pistol on his hip and received a standing ovation. While totalitarian
and repressive regimes are eligible and do serve on the U.N. Security Council, democratic Israel is barred by U.N. rules
from serving in that senior body.70
Neoconservatives as a Continuation of
Cold War Liberalism’s “Vital Center”
strand that merged into neoconservatism stems from Cold War liberalism, which became dominant within the Democratic Party
during the Truman administration. It remained dominant until the rise of the New Politics influence in the party during
the 1960s, culminating in the presidential nomination of George McGovern in 1972.71 In the late 1940s, a key organization was Americans for Democratic Action, associated with such figures as Reinhold Niebuhr,
Hubert Humphrey, and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., whose book, The Vital Center (1947), distilled a liberal anticommunist
perspective which combined vigorous containment of communism with “the struggle within our country against oppression
and stagnation.”72 This general perspective was also evident in the Congress for Cultural Freedom, whose central figure was Sidney Hook.73 The CCF was a group of anticommunist intellectuals organized in 1950 and funded by the CIA, and included a number of prominent
liberals, such as Schlesinger.
A new wrinkle, in comparison to earlier Jewish intellectual and
political movements discussed in Culture of Critique, has been that the central figures, Norman Podhoretz and Irving
Kristol, have operated not so much as intellectual gurus in the manner of Freud or Boas or even Shachtman, but more as promoters
and publicists of views which they saw as advancing Jewish interests. Podhoretz’s Commentary (published by
the American Jewish Committee) and Kristol’s The Public Interest became clearinghouses for neoconservative
ideas, but many of the articles were written by people with strong academic credentials. For example, in the area of foreign
policy Robert W. Tucker and Walter Laqueur appeared in these journals as critics of liberal foreign policy.74 Their work updated the anticommunist tradition of the “vital center” by taking account of Western weakness apparent
in the New Politics liberalism of the Democratic Party and the American left, as well as the anti-Western posturing of the
This “vital center” intellectual framework typified key neoconservatives at the origin of the movement
in the late 1960s, including the two most pivotal figures, Irving Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. In the area of foreign policy,
a primary concern of Jewish neoconservatives from the 1960s–1980s was the safety and prosperity of Israel, at a time
when the Soviet Union was seen as hostile to Jews within its borders and was making alliances with Arab regimes against
As they saw it, the world was gravely threatened by a totalitarian Soviet Union with aggressive
outposts around the world and a Third World corrupted by vicious anti-Semitism…A major project of Moynihan, Kirkpatrick,
and other neoconservatives in and out of government was the defense of Israel…. By the mid-1970s, Israel was
also under fire from the Soviet Union and the Third World and much of the West. The United States was the one exception,
and the neoconservatives—stressing that Israel was a just, democratic state constantly threatened by vicious and
aggressive neighbors—sought to deepen and strengthen this support.76
Kristol is quite frank in his view that the U.S. should support Israel even if it is not in its national interest to do so:
Large nations, whose identity is ideological, like the Soviet Union of yesteryear and the United States of today,
inevitably have ideological interests in addition to more material concerns…. That is why we feel it necessary to
defend Israel today, when its survival is threatened. No complicated geopolitical calculations of national interest are
A watershed event in neoconservatism was the statement of November 1975 by UN Ambassador Daniel P. Moynihan in response
to the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism. Moynihan, whose work in the UN made him a neocon icon and soon a senator
from New York,78 argued against the “discredited” notion that “there are significant biological differences among clearly
identifiable groups, and that these differences establish, in effect, different levels of humanity.”79 (In this regard Moynihan may not have been entirely candid, since he appears to have been much impressed by Arthur Jensen’s
research on race differences in intelligence. As an advisor to President Nixon on domestic affairs, one of Moynihan’s
jobs was to keep Nixon abreast of Jensen’s research.80) In his UN speech, Moynihan ascribed the idea that Jews are a race to theorists like Houston Stewart Chamberlain,
whose motivation was to find “new justifications…for excluding and persecuting Jews” in an era in which
religious ideology was losing its power to do so. Moynihan describes Zionism as a “National Liberation Movement,”
but one with no genetic basis: “Zionists defined themselves merely as Jews, and declared to be Jewish anyone born
of a Jewish mother or—and this is the absolutely crucial fact—anyone who converted to Judaism.”81 Moynihan describes the Zionist movement as composed of a wide range of “racial stocks” (quotation marks in original)—“black
Jews, brown Jews, white Jews, Jews from the Orient and Jews from the West.”
Obviously, there is much to disagree
with in these ideas. Jewish racial theorists, among them Zionists like Arthur Ruppin and Vladimir Jabotinsky (the hero of
the Likud Party throughout its history), were in the forefront of racial theorizing about Jews from the late nineteenth century
onwards.82 And there is a great deal of evidence that Jews, including most notably Orthodox and Conservative Jews and much of the
settler movement that constitutes the vanguard of Zionism today, have been and continue to be vitally interested in maintaining
their ethnic integrity.83 (Indeed, as discussed below, Elliott Abrams has been a prominent neoconservative voice in favor of Jews marrying Jews and
retaining their ethnic cohesion.)
Nevertheless, Moynihan’s speech is revealing in its depiction
of Judaism as unconcerned about its ethnic cohesion, and for its denial of the biological reality of race. In general, neoconservatives
have been staunch promoters of the racial zeitgeist of post-WWII liberal America. Indeed, as typical Cold War liberals up
to the end of the 1960s, many of the older neocons were in the forefront of the racial revolution in the United States. It
is also noteworthy that Moynihan’s UN speech is typical of the large apologetic literature by Jewish activists and
intellectuals in response to the “Zionism is racism” resolution, of which The Myth of the Jewish Race by
Raphael Patai and Jennifer Patai is perhaps the best-known example.84
The flagship neoconservative magazine Commentary, under the editorship of Norman Podhoretz, has published
many articles defending Israel. Ruth Wisse’s 1981 Commentary article “The Delegitimation of Israel”
is described by Mark Gerson as “perhaps the best expression” of the neoconservative view that Israel “was
a just, democratic state constantly threatened by vicious and aggressive neighbors.”85 Wisse views hostility toward Israel as another example of the long history of anti-Jewish rhetoric that seeks to delegitimize
Judaism.86 This tradition is said to have begun with the Christian beliefs that Jews ought to be relegated to an inferior position
because they had rejected Christ. This tradition culminated in twentieth century Europe in hatred directed at secular Jews
because of their failure to assimilate completely to European culture. The result was the Holocaust, which was “from
the standpoint of its perpetrators and collaborators successful beyond belief.”87 Israel, then, is an attempt at normalization in which Jews would be just another country fending for itself and seeking
stability; it “should [also] have been the end of anti-Semitism, and the Jews may in any case be pardoned for feeling
that they had earned a moment of rest in history.”88 But the Arab countries never accepted the legitimacy of Israel, not only with their wars against the Jewish state, but
also by the “Zionism as racism” UN resolution, which “institutionalized anti-Semitism in international
politics.”89 Wisse criticizes New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis for criticizing Israeli policies while failing to similarly
criticize Arab states that fail to embody Western ideals of freedom of expression and respect for minority rights. Wisse
also faults certain American Jewish organizations and liberal Jews for criticizing the policies of the government of Menachem
The article stands out for its cartoonish view that the history of anti-Jewish attitudes can be explained with broad
generalizations according to which the behavior and attitudes of Jews are completely irrelevant for understanding the history
of anti-Semitism. The message of the article is that Jews as innocent victims of the irrational hatred of Europeans have
a claim for “a respite” from history that Arabs are bound to honor by allowing the dispossession of the Palestinians.
The article is also a testimony to the sea change among American Jews in their support for the Likud Party and its expansionist
policies in Israel. Since Wisse’s article appeared in 1981, the positive attitudes toward the Likud Party characteristic
of the neoconservatives have become the mainstream view of the organized American Jewish community, and the liberal Jewish
critics attacked by Wisse have been relegated to the fringe of the American Jewish community.91
In the area of domestic policy, Jewish neoconservatives were motivated by concerns that the radicalism of the New
Left (many of whom were Jews) compromised Jewish interests as a highly intelligent, upwardly mobile group. Although Jews
were major allies of blacks in the civil rights movement, by the late 1960s many Jews bitterly opposed black efforts at community
control of schools in New York, because they threatened Jewish hegemony in the educational system, including the teachers’
union.92 Black-Jewish interests also diverged when affirmative action and quotas for black college admission became a divisive issue
in the 1970s.93 It was not only neoconservatives who worried about affirmative action: The main Jewish activist groups—the AJCommittee,
the AJCongress, and the ADL—sided with Bakke in a landmark case on racial quota systems in the University of California–Davis
medical school, thereby promoting their own interests as a highly intelligent minority living in a meritocracy.94
Indeed, some neoconservatives, despite their record of youthful radicalism and support for the civil rights movement,
began to see Jewish interests as bound up with those of the middle class. As Nathan Glazer noted in 1969, commenting on
black anti-Semitism and the murderous urges of the New Left toward the middle class:
Anti-Semitism is only part of this whole syndrome, for if
the members of the middle class do not deserve to hold on to their property, their positions, or even their lives, then
certainly the Jews, the most middle-class of all, are going to be placed at the head of the column marked for liquidation.95
New Left also tended to have negative attitudes toward Israel, with the result that many Jewish radicals eventually abandoned
the left. In the late 1960s, the black Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee described Zionism as “racist colonialism”96 which massacred and oppressed Arabs. In Jewish eyes, a great many black leaders, including Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Touré),
Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Andrew Young, were seen as entirely too pro-Palestinian. (Young lost his position as
UN ambassador because he engaged in secret negotiations with the Palestinians.) During the 1960s, expressions of solidarity
with the Palestinians by radical blacks, some of whom had adopted the Muslim religion, became a focus of neoconservative
ire and resulted in many Jewish New Leftists leaving the movement.97 Besides radical blacks, other New Left figures, such as I. F. Stone and Noam Chomsky (both Jews), also criticized Israel
and were perceived by neocons as taking a pro-Soviet line.98 The origins of neoconservatism as a Jewish movement are thus linked to the fact that the left, including the Soviet Union
and leftist radicals in the United States, had become anti-Zionist.
In 1970 Podhoretz transformed
Commentary into a weapon against the New Left.99 In December of that year National Review began, warily at first, to welcome neocons into the conservative tent,
stating in 1971, “We will be delighted when the new realism manifested in these articles is applied by Commentary
to the full range of national and international issues.”100 Irving Kristol supported Nixon in 1972 and became a Republican about ten years before most neocons made the switch. Nevertheless,
even in the 1990s the neocons “continued to be distinct from traditional Midwestern and southern conservatives for
their northeastern roots, combative style, and secularism”101—all ways of saying that neoconservatism retained its fundamentally Jewish milieu.
The fault lines between
neoconservatives and paleoconservatives were apparent during the Reagan administration in the battle over the appointment
of the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, eventually won by the neoconservative Bill Bennett. The campaign
featured smear tactics and innuendo aimed at M. E. Bradford, an academic literary critic and defender of Southern agrarian
culture who was favored by traditional conservatives. After neocons accused him of being a “virulent racist”
and an admirer of Hitler, Bradford was eventually rejected as a potential liability to the administration.102
The entry of the neoconservatives into the conservative mainstream did not, therefore, proceed without a struggle.
Samuel Francis witnessed much of the early infighting among conservatives, won eventually by the neocons. Francis recounts
the “catalog of neoconservative efforts not merely to debate, criticize, and refute the ideas of traditional conservatism
but to denounce, vilify, and harm the careers of those Old Right figures and institutions they have targeted.”103
There are countless stories of how neoconservatives have succeeded in entering conservative institutions, forcing
out or demoting traditional conservatives, and changing the positions and philosophy of such institutions in neoconservative
directions…. Writers like M. E. Bradford, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan, and Russell Kirk, and institutions like Chronicles,
the Rockford Institute, the Philadelphia Society, and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute have been among the most
respected and distinguished names in American conservatism. The dedication of their neoconservative enemies to driving
them out of the movement they have taken over and demonizing them as marginal and dangerous figures has no legitimate basis
in reality. It is clear evidence of the ulterior aspirations of those behind neoconservatism to dominate and subvert
American conservatism from its original purposes and agenda and turn it to other purposes…. What neoconservatives
really dislike about their “allies” among traditional conservatives is simply the fact that the conservatives
are conservatives at all—that they support “this notion of a Christian civilization,” as Midge Decter
put it, that they oppose mass immigration, that they criticize Martin Luther King and reject the racial dispossession
of white Western culture, that they support or approve of Joe McCarthy, that they entertain doubts or strong disagreement
over American foreign policy in the Middle East, that they oppose reckless involvement in foreign wars and foreign entanglements,
and that, in company with the Founding Fathers of the United States, they reject the concept of a pure democracy and
the belief that the United States is or should evolve toward it.104
notably, neoconservatives have been staunch supporters of arguably the most destructive force associated with the left in
the twentieth century—massive non-European immigration. Support for massive non-European immigration has spanned the
Jewish political spectrum throughout the twentieth century to the present. A principal motivation of the organized Jewish
community for encouraging such immigration has involved a deeply felt animosity toward the people and culture responsible
for the immigration restriction of 1924–1965—“this notion of a Christian civilization.”105 As neoconservative Ben Wattenberg has famously written, “The non-Europeanization of America is heartening news of
an almost transcendental quality.”106 The only exception—thus far without any influence—is that since 9/11 some Jewish activists, including neoconservative
Daniel Pipes, head of the MEF, and Stephen Steinlight, senior fellow of the American Jewish Committee, have opposed Muslim—and
only Muslim—immigration because of possible effects on pro-Israel sentiment in the U.S.107
In general, neoconservatives have been far more attached to Jewish interests, and especially the interests of Israel,
than to any other identifiable interest. It is revealing that as the war in Iraq has become an expensive quagmire in both
lives and money, Bill Kristol has become willing to abandon the neoconservatives’ alliance with traditional conservatives
by allying with John Kerry and the Democratic Party. This is because Kerry has promised to increase troop strength and retain
the commitment to Iraq, and because Kerry has declared that he has “a 100 percent record—not a 99, a 100 percent
record—of sustaining the special relationship and friendship that we have with Israel.”108 As Pat Buchanan notes, the fact that John Kerry “backs partial birth abortion, quotas, raising taxes, homosexual unions,
liberals on the Supreme Court and has a voting record to the left of Teddy Kennedy” is less important than his stand
on the fundamental issue of a foreign policy that is in the interest of Israel.109
The Fall of Henry Jackson and the Rise
of Neoconservatism in the Republican Party
takeover of the Republican Party and of American conservatism in general would have been unnecessary had not the Democratic
Party shifted markedly to the left in the late 1960s. Henry Jackson is the pivotal figure in the defection of the neocons
from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party—the person whose political fortunes most determined the later trajectory
of neoconservatism. Jackson embodied the political attitudes and ambitions of a Jewish political network that saw Jewish
interests as combining traditionally liberal social policies of the civil rights and Great Society era (but stopping short
of advocating quota-type affirmative action policies or minority ethnic nationalism) with a Cold War posture that was at
once aggressively pro-Israel and anticommunist at a time when the Soviet Union was perceived as the most powerful enemy
of Israel. This “Cold War liberal” faction was dominant in the Democratic Party until 1972 and the nomination
of George McGovern. After the defeat of McGovern, the neoconservatives founded the Committee for a Democratic Majority,
whose attempt to resuscitate the Cold War coalition of the Democratic Party had a strong representation of Shachtmanite
labor leaders as well as people centered around Podhoretz’s Commentary: Podhoretz; Ben Wattenberg (who wrote
speeches for Hubert Humphrey and was an aide to Jackson); Midge Decter; Max Kampelman (see above); Penn Kemble of the SD/USA;
Jeane Kirkpatrick (who began writing for Commentary during this period); sociologists Daniel Bell, Nathan Glazer,
and Seymour Martin Lipset; Michael Novak; Soviet expert Richard Pipes; and Albert Shanker, president of the American Federation
of Teachers. Nevertheless, “by the end of 1974, the neoconservatives appeared to have reached a political dead end.
As guardians of vital center liberalism, they had become a minority faction within the Democratic Party, unable to do more
than protest the party’s leftward drift.”110
The basic story line is that after failing again in 1976 and 1980 to gain the presidential
nomination for a candidate who represented their views, this largely Jewish segment of political activists—now known
as neoconservatives—switched allegiance to the Republican Party. The neocons had considerable influence in the Reagan
years but less in the George H. W. Bush administration, only to become a critically important force in the foreign policy
of the George W. Bush administration where, in the absence of a threat from the Soviet Union, neoconservatives have attempted
to use the power of the United States to fundamentally alter the political landscape of the Middle East.
Jackson was an ideal vehicle for this role as champion of Jewish interests. He was a very conscious philosemite: “My
mother was a Christian who believed in a strong Judaism. She taught me to respect the Jews, help the Jews! It was a lesson
I never forgot.”111 Jackson also had very positive personal experiences with Jews during his youth. During his college years he was the beneficiary
of generosity from a Jew who allowed him to use a car to commute to college, and he developed lifelong friendships with two
Jews, Stan Golub and Paul Friedlander. He was also horrified after seeing Buchenwald, the WWII German concentration camp,
an experience that made him more determined to help Israel and Jews.
Entering Congress in 1940, Jackson
was a strong supporter of Israel from its beginnings in 1948. By the 1970s he was widely viewed as Israel’s best friend
in Congress: “Jackson’s devotion to Israel made Nixon and Kissinger’s look tepid.”112 The Jackson-Vanik Amendment linking U.S.-Soviet trade to the ability of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union was passed
over strenuous opposition from the Nixon administration. And despite developing a reputation as the “Senator from Boeing,”
Jackson opposed the sale of Boeing-made AWACS to Saudi Arabia because of the possibility that they might harm the interests
Jackson’s experience of the Depression made him a liberal, deeply empathetic toward the
suffering that was so common during the period. He defined himself as “vigilantly internationalist and anticommunist
abroad but statist at home, committed to realizing the New Deal–Fair Deal vision of a strong, active federal government
presiding over the economy, preserving and enhancing welfare protection, and extending civil rights.”113 These attitudes of Jackson, and particularly his attitudes on foreign policy, brought him into the orbit of Jewish neoconservatives
who held similar attitudes on domestic issues and whose attitudes on foreign policy stemmed fundamentally from their devotion
to the cause of Israel:
Jackson’s visceral anticommunism and antitotalitarianism…brought him into
the orbit of Jewish neoconservatives despite the subtle but important distinction in their outlook. The senator viewed
the threat to Israel as a manifestation of the totalitarian threat he considered paramount. Some neoconservatives viewed
Soviet totalitarianism as the threat to Israel they considered paramount.114
had developed close ties with a number of neocons who would later become important. Richard Perle was Jackson’s most
important national security advisor between 1969 and 1979, and Jackson maintained close relations with Paul Wolfowitz, who
began his career in Washington working with Perle in Jackson’s office. Jackson employed Perle even after credible evidence
surfaced that he had spied for Israel: An FBI wiretap on the Israeli Embassy revealed Perle discussing classified information
that had been supplied to him by someone on the National Security Council staff, presumably Helmut (“Hal”) Sonnenfeldt.
(Sonnenfeldt, who was Jewish, “was known from previous wiretaps to have close ties to the Israelis as well as to Perle….
[He] had been repeatedly investigated by the FBI for other suspected leaks early in his career.”115) As indicated below, several prominent neocons have been investigated on credible charges of spying for Israel: Perle,
Wolfowitz, Stephen Bryen, Douglas Feith, and Michael Ledeen. Neocon Frank Gaffney, the non-Jewish president of the CSP, a
neocon thinktank, was also a Jackson aide. Jackson was also close to Bernard Lewis of Princeton University; Lewis is a Jewish
expert on the Middle East who has had an important influence on the neocons in the George W. Bush administration as well
as close ties to Israel.116
In the 1970s Jackson was involved with two of the most important neocon groups of the period. In 1976 he convened
Team B, headed by Richard Pipes (a Harvard University Soviet expert), and including Paul Nitze, Wolfowitz, and Seymour Weiss
(former director of the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs). Albert Wohlstetter, who was Wolfowitz’s
Ph.D. advisor at the University of Chicago, was a major catalyst for Team B. Jackson was also close to the Committee on
the Present Danger. Formed in November 1976, the committee was a Who’s Who of Jackson supporters, advisors, confidants,
and admirers from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and included several members associated with the SD/USA: Paul
Nitze, Eugene Rostow, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Max Kampelman, Lane Kirkland, Richard Pipes, Seymour Martin
Lipset, Bayard Rustin, and Norman Podhoretz. CPD was a sort of halfway house for Democratic neocons sliding toward the Republican
The result was that all the important neocons backed Jackson for president in 1972 and 1976.
Jackson commanded a great deal of financial support from the Jewish community in Hollywood and elsewhere because of his strong
support for Israel, but he failed to win the 1976 Democratic nomination, despite having more money than his rivals. After
Jackson’s defeat and the ascendance of the leftist tendencies of the Carter administration, many of Jackson’s
allies went to work for Reagan with Jackson’s tacit approval, with the result that they were frozen out of the Democratic
Party once Carter was defeated.117 A large part of the disillusionment of Jackson and his followers stemmed from the Carter administration’s attitude
toward Israel. Carter alienated American Jews by his proposals for a more evenhanded policy toward Israel, in which Israel
would return to its 1967 borders in exchange for peace with the Arabs. Jews were also concerned because of the Andrew Young
incident. (Young, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN and an African American, had been fired after failing to disclose to the
State Department details of his unauthorized meeting with representatives of the Palestinians. Blacks charged that Jews
were responsible for Young’s firing.)
In October 1977 the Carter administration, in a joint
communiqué with the Soviet Union, suggested Israel pull back to the 1967 borders: “Jackson joined the ferocious
attack on the administration that ensued from devotees of Kissinger’s incremental approach and from Israel’s
supporters in the United States. He continued to regard unswerving U.S. support for Israel as not only a moral but a strategic
imperative, and to insist that the maintenance of a strong, secure, militarily powerful Israel impeded rather than facilitated
Soviet penetration of the Middle East.”118 Jackson was particularly fond of pointing to maps of Israel showing how narrow Israel’s borders had been before its
1967 conquests. For his part, Carter threatened to ask the American people “to choose between those who supported
the national interest and those who supported a foreign interest such as Israel.”119
There was one last attempt to mend the fences between the neocons and the Democrats, a 1980 White House meeting
between Carter and major neocons, including Jeane Kirkpatrick, Norman Podhoretz, Midge Decter, Ben Wattenberg, Elliott
Abrams (aide to neocon favorite Patrick Moynihan120), Max Kampelman, and Penn Kemble. The meeting, which discussed attitudes toward the USSR, did not go well, and “henceforth,
their disdain for Carter and dislike of Kennedy would impel the neoconservatives to turn away from the Democratic Party and
vote for Reagan.”121 “They had hoped to find a new Truman to rally around, a Democrat to promote their liberal ideas at home while fighting
the cold war abroad. Not finding one, they embraced the Republican party and Ronald Reagan as the best alternative.”122
Perle left Jackson’s office in March 1980 to go into business with John F. Lehman (Secretary of the Navy during
the Reagan administration and, as of this writing  a member of the panel investigating the events of 9/11). Quite a
few neocons assumed positions in the Reagan administration in the area of defense and foreign policy: Kirkpatrick as UN
ambassador (Kirkpatrick hired Joshua Muravchik, Kenneth Adelman, and Carl Gershman as deputies); Perle as Assistant Secretary
of Defense for International Security Policy (Perle hired Frank Gaffney and Douglas Feith); Elliott Abrams as Assistant Secretary
of State for Human Rights Affairs; Max Kampelman as U.S. ambassador to the Helsinki human rights conference and later as
chief U.S. arms negotiator); Wolfowitz as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian affairs. Another Jewish neocon, Richard
Pipes, was influential in putting together a paper on grand strategy toward the USSR. Nevertheless, Reagan kept the neocons
at arm’s length and ceased heeding their advice. He favored developing trust and confidence with Soviet leaders rather
than escalating tensions by threats of aggressive action.123
Bill Clinton courted neocons who had defected to Reagan. Perle, Kirkpatrick, and Abrams remained Republicans, but
thirty-three “moderate and neoconservative foreign policy experts” endorsed Clinton in 1992, including
Nitze, Kemble, and Muravchik, although Muravchik and several others later repudiated their endorsement, saying that Clinton
had returned to the left liberal foreign policy of the Democrats since McGovern.124 Ben Wattenberg and Robert Strauss remained Democrats “who have not written off the Jackson tradition in their own
party.”125 Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Democrat’s 2000 vice presidential nominee, is the heir to this tradition.
Responding to the Fall of the Soviet Union
With the end of the Cold War, neoconservatives at first
advocated a reduced role for the U.S., but this stance switched gradually to the view that U.S. interests required the vigorous
promotion of democracy in the rest of the world.126 This aggressively pro-democracy theme, which appears first in the writings of Charles Krauthammer and then those of Elliot
Abrams,127 eventually became an incessant drumbeat in the campaign for the war in Iraq. Krauthammer also broached the now familiar
themes of unilateral intervention and he emphasized the danger that smaller states could develop weapons of mass destruction
which could be used to threaten world security.128
A cynic would argue that this newfound interest in democracy was tailor-made as a program for
advancing the interests of Israel. After all, Israel is advertised as the only democracy in the Middle East, and democracy
has a certain emotional appeal for the United States, which has at times engaged in an idealistic foreign policy aimed at
furthering the cause of human rights in other countries. It is ironic that during the Cold War the standard neocon criticism
of President Carter’s foreign policy was that it was overly sensitive to human rights in countries that were opposed
to the Soviet Union and insufficiently condemnatory of the human rights policies of the Soviet Union. The classic expression
of this view was Jeane Kirkpatrick’s 1979 Commentary article, “Dictatorships and Double Standards.”
In an essay that would have been excellent reading prior to the invasion of Iraq, Kirkpatrick noted that in many countries
political power is tied to complex family and kinship networks resistant to modernization. Nevertheless, “no idea
holds greater sway in the mind of educated Americans than the belief that it is possible to democratize governments, anytime,
anywhere, under any circumstances.”129 Democracies are said to make heavy demands on citizens in terms of participation and restraint, and developing democracies
is the work of “decades, if not centuries.”130 My view is that democracy is a component of the uniquely Western suite of traits deriving from the evolution of Western
peoples and their cultural history: monogamy, simple family structure, individual rights against the state, representative
government, moral universalism, and science.131 This social structure cannot easily be exported to other societies, and particularly to Middle Eastern societies whose
traditional cultures exhibit traits opposite to these.
It is revealing that, while neocons generally
lost interest in Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe after these areas were no longer points of contention in the
Cold War, there was no lessening of interest in the Middle East.132 Indeed, neoconservatives and Jews in general failed to support President George H. W. Bush when, in the aftermath of the
1991 Gulf War, his administration pressured Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians and resisted a proposal for $10
billion in loan guarantees for Israel. This occurred in the context of Secretary of State James A. Baker’s famous
comment, “Fuck the Jews. They didn’t vote for us.”133
As with the other Jewish intellectual movements I have studied,
neoconservatives have a history of mutual admiration, close, mutually supportive personal, professional, and familial relationships,
and focused cooperation in pursuit of common goals. For example, Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary,
is the father of John Podhoretz, a neoconservative editor and columnist. Norman Podhoretz is also the father-in-law of Elliott
Abrams, the former head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (a neoconservative think tank) and the director of Near Eastern
affairs at the National Security Council. Norman’s wife, Midge Decter, recently published a hagiographic biography
of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, whose number-two and number-three deputies at the Pentagon, respectively, are Wolfowitz
and Feith. Perle is a fellow at the AEI.134 He originally helped Wolfowitz obtain a job with the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in 1973. In 1982, Perle, as Deputy
Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, hired Feith for a position as his Special Counsel, and then as Deputy
Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy. In 2001, Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz helped Feith obtain an appointment
as Undersecretary for Policy. Feith then appointed Perle as chairman of the Defense Policy Board. This is only the tip of
a very large iceberg.
Leo Strauss is an important influence
on several important neoconservatives, particularly Irving and Bill Kristol. Strauss was a classicist and political philosopher
at the University of Chicago. He had a very strong Jewish identity and viewed his philosophy as a means of ensuring Jewish
survival in the Diaspora.135 As Strauss himself noted, “I believe I can say, without any exaggeration, that since a very, very early time the main
theme of my reflections has been what is called the ‘Jewish Question.’ ”136
Strauss’s early writing was on Jewish issues, and a constant theme in his writing was the idea that Western civilization
was the product of the “energizing tension” between Athens and Jerusalem—Greek rationalism and the Jewish
emphasis on faith, revelation, and religious intensity.137 Although Strauss believed that religion had effects on non-Jews that benefited Jews, there is little doubt that Strauss
viewed religious fervor as an indispensable element of Jewish commitment and group loyalty—ethnocentrism by any other
Some great love and loyalty to the Jewish people are in evidence in the life and works of Strauss…. Strauss
was a good Jew. He knew the dignity and worth of love of one’s own. Love of the good, which is the same
as love of the truth, is higher than love of one’s own, but there is only one road to the truth, and it leads
through love of one’s own. Strauss showed his loyalty to things Jewish in a way he was uniquely qualified to do,
by showing generations of students how to treat Jewish texts with the utmost care and devotion. In this way he turned
a number of his Jewish students in the direction of becoming better Jews.138
believed that liberal, individualistic modern Western societies were best for Judaism because the illiberal alternatives
of both the left (communism) and right (Nazism) were anti-Jewish. (By the 1950s, anti-Semitism had become an important force
in the Soviet Union.) However, Strauss believed that liberal societies were not ideal because they tended to break down group
loyalties and group distinctiveness—both qualities essential to the survival of Judaism. And he thought that there
is a danger that, like the Weimar Republic, liberal societies could give way to fascism, especially if traditional religious
and cultural forms were overturned; hence the neoconservative attitude that traditional religious forms among non-Jews are
good for Jews.139 (Although Strauss believed in the importance of Israel for Jewish survival, his philosophy is not a defense of Israel
but a blueprint for Jewish survival in a Diaspora in Western societies.)
The fate of the Weimar Republic,
combined with the emergence of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union, had a formative influence on his thinking. As Stephen
Holmes writes, “Strauss made his young Jewish-American students gulp by informing them that toleration [secular humanism]
was dangerous and that the Enlightenment—rather than the failure of the Enlightenment—led directly to Adolph
Hitler.”140 Hitler was also at the center of Strauss’s admiration for Churchill—hence the roots of the neocon cult of Churchill:
“The tyrant stood at the pinnacle of his power. The contrast between the indomitable and magnanimous statesman and
the insane tyrant—this spectacle in its clear simplicity was one of the greatest lessons which men can learn, at any
time.”141 I suspect that, given Strauss’s strong Jewish identity, a very large part of his admiration of Churchill was
not that Churchill opposed tyrants, but that he went to war against an anti-Jewish tyrant at enormous cost to his own people
and nation while allied with another tyrant, Joseph Stalin, who had by 1939 already murdered far more people than Hitler
Strauss has become a cult figure—the quintessential rabbinical guru, with devoted disciples
such as Allan Bloom.142 Strauss relished his role as a guru to worshiping disciples, once writing of “the love of the mature philosopher
for the puppies of his race, by whom he wants to be loved in turn.”143 In turn, Strauss was a disciple of Hermann Cohen, a philosopher at the University of Marburg, who ended his career teaching
in a rabbinical school; Cohen was a central figure in a school of neo-Kantian intellectuals whose main concern was to rationalize
Jewish nonassimilation into German society.
Strauss understood that inequalities among humans were
inevitable and advocated rule by an aristocratic elite of philosopher kings forced to pay lip service to the traditional
religious and political beliefs of the masses while not believing them.144 This elite should pursue its vision of the common good but must reach out to others using deception and manipulation to
achieve its goals. As Bill Kristol has described it, elites have the duty to guide public opinion, but “one of the
main teachings [of Strauss] is that all politics are limited and none of them is really based on the truth.”145 A more cynical characterization is provided by Stephen Holmes: “The good society, on this model, consists of
the sedated masses, the gentlemen rulers, the promising puppies, and the philosophers who pursue knowledge, manipulate the
gentlemen, anesthetize the people, and housebreak the most talented young”146—a comment that sounds to me like an alarmingly accurate description of the present situation in the United States
and elsewhere in the Western world. Given Strauss’s central concern that an acceptable political order be compatible
with Jewish survival, it is reasonable to assume that Strauss believed that the aristocracy would serve Jewish interests.
Strauss’s philosophy is not really conservative. The rule by an aristocratic elite would require a complete
political transformation in order to create a society that was “as just as possible”:
short of a total transformation of imbedded custom must be undertaken. To secure this inversion of the traditional
hierarchies, the political, social and educational system must be subjected to a radical reformation. For justice to
be possible the founders have to “wipe clean the dispositions of men,” that is, justice is possible only if
the city and its citizens are not what they are: the weakest [i.e., the philosophic elite] is supposed
to rule the strongest [the masses], the irrational is supposed to submit to the rule of the rational.147 [emphasis in original]
Strauss described the need for an external exoteric language directed at outsiders,
and an internal esoteric language directed at ingroup members.148 A general feature of the movements I have studied is that this Straussian prescription has been followed: Issues are framed
in language that appeals to non-Jews rather than explicitly in terms of Jewish interests, although Jewish interests always
remain in the background if one cares to look a little deeper. The most common rhetoric used by Jewish intellectual and
political movements has been the language of moral universalism and the language of science—languages that appeal to
the educated elites of the modern Western world.149 But beneath the rhetoric it is easy to find statements describing the Jewish agendas of the principal actors. And the language
of moral universalism (e.g., advocating democracy as a universal moral imperative) goes hand in hand with a narrow Jewish
moral particularism (altering governments that represent a danger to Israel).
It is noteworthy in this respect that the split between the leftist critics of Strauss like Shadia Drury and Stephen
Holmes versus Strauss’s disciples like Allan Bloom and Harry V. Jaffa comes down to whether Strauss is properly seen
as a universalist. The leftist critics claim that the moral universalism espoused by Strauss’s disciples is nothing
more than a veneer for his vision of a hierarchical society based on manipulation of the masses. As noted, the use of a
universalist rhetoric to mask particularist causes has a long history among Jewish intellectual and political movements,
and it fits well with Strauss’s famous emphasis on esoteric messages embedded in the texts of great thinkers. Moreover,
there is at least some textual support for the leftist critique, although there can never be certainty because of the intentionally
enigmatic nature of Strauss’s writings.
I am merely adding to the leftist critique the idea
that Strauss crafted his vision of an aristocratic elite manipulating the masses as a Jewish survival strategy. In doing
so, I am taking seriously Strauss’s own characterization of his work as centrally motivated by “the Jewish question”
and by the excellent evidence for his strong commitment to the continuity of the Jewish people. At a fundamental level,
based on my scholarship on Jewish intellectual and political movements, one cannot understand Strauss’s well-attested
standing as a Jewish guru—as an exemplar of the familiar pattern of an intellectual leader in the manner of Boas or
Freud surrounded by devoted Jewish disciples—unless he had a specifically Jewish message.
simple logic is as follows: Based on the data presented here, it is quite clear that Strauss understood that neither communism
nor fascism was good for Jews in the long run. But democracy cannot be trusted given that Weimar ended with Hitler. A solution
is to advocate democracy and the trappings of traditional religious culture, but managed by an elite able to manipulate the
masses via control of the media and academic discourse. Jews have a long history as an elite in Western societies, so it
is not in the least surprising that Strauss would advocate an ideal society in which Jews would be a central component of
the elite. In my view, this is Strauss’s esoteric message. The exoteric message is the universalist veneer promulgated
by Strauss’s disciples—a common enough pattern among Jewish intellectual and political movements.
On the other hand, if one accepts at face value the view of Strauss’s disciples that he should be understood
as a theorist of egalitarianism and democracy, then Strauss’s legacy becomes just another form of leftism, and a rather
undistinguished one at that. In this version, the United States is seen as a “proposition nation” committed only
to the ideals of democracy and egalitarianism—an ideology that originated with Jewish leftist intellectuals like Horace
Kallen.150 Such an ideology not only fails to protect the ethnic interests of European Americans in maintaining their culture and
demographic dominance, it fails as an adequate survival strategy for Jews because of the possibility that, like Weimar Germany,
the U.S. could be democratically transformed into a state that self-consciously opposes the ethnic interests of Jews.
The most reasonable interpretation is that neocons see Strauss’s moral universalism as a powerful exoteric
ideology. The ideology is powerful among non-Jews because of the strong roots of democracy and egalitarianism in American
history and in the history of the West; it is attractive to Jews because it has no ethnic content and is therefore useful
in combating the ethnic interests of European Americans—its function for the Jewish left throughout the 20th
century.151 But without the esoteric message that the proposition nation must be managed and manipulated by a covert, Jewish-dominated
elite, such an ideology is inherently unstable and cannot be guaranteed to meet the long-term interests of Jews.
And one must remember that the neocons’ public commitment to egalitarianism belies their own status as an
elite who were educated at elite academic institutions and created an elite network at the highest levels of the government.
They form an elite that is deeply involved in deception, manipulation and espionage on issues related to Israel and the war
in Iraq. They also established the massive neocon infrastructure in the elite media and think tanks. And they have often
become wealthy in the process. Their public pronouncements advocating a democratic, egalitarian ideology have not prevented
them from having strong ethnic identities and a strong sense of their own ethnic interests; nor have their public pronouncements
supporting the Enlightenment ideals of egalitarianism and democracy prevented them from having a thoroughly anti-Enlightenment
ethnic particularist commitment to the most nationalistic, aggressive, racialist elements within Israel—the Likud Party,
the settler movement, and the religious fanatics. At the end of the day, the only alternative to the existence of an esoteric
Straussian message along the lines described here is massive self-deception.
Born in 1902, Sidney Hook was an important leader of the anti-Stalinist, non-Trotskyist left. Hook’s career
is interesting because he illustrates an evolution toward neoconservatism that was in many ways parallel to the Shachtmanites.
Indeed, Hook ended up as honorary chairman of the SD/USA during the 1980s.152 Hook became a socialist at a time when virtually all socialists supported the Bolshevik revolution as the only alternative
to the anti-Jewish government of the tsar.153 As a professional philosopher, he saw his role as an attempt to develop an intellectually respectable Marxism strengthened
with Dewey’s ideas. But until the Moscow Trials of the 1930s he was blind to the violence and oppression in the USSR.
During a visit to the USSR in 1929, “I was completely oblivious at the time to the systematic repressions that were
then going on against noncommunist elements and altogether ignorant of the liquidation of the so-called kulaks that had
already begun that summer. I was not even curious enough to probe and pry, possibly for fear of what I would discover.”154 During the 1930s, when the Communist Party exercised a dominant cultural influence in the United States, “the fear
of fascism helped to blur our vision and blunt our hearing to the reports that kept trickling out of the Soviet Union.”155 Even the Moscow Trials were dismissed by large sectors of liberal opinion. It was the time of the Popular Front, where
the fundamental principle was the defense of the Soviet Union. Liberal journals like the New Republic did not support
inquiries into the trials, citing New York Times reporter Walter Duranty as an authority who believed in the truth
of the confessions.
Unlike the Shachtmanites, Hook never accepted Trotsky because of his record
of defending “every act of the Soviet regime, until he himself lost power.”156 “To the very end Trotsky remained a blind, pitiless (even when pitiable) giant, defending the right of the minority
vanguard of the proletariat—the Party—to exercise its dictatorship over ‘the backward layers of the proletariat’—i.e.,
those who disagreed with the self-designated vanguard.”157
Hook became a leader of the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s and during the Cold War, usually with John Dewey as
the most visible public persona in various organizations dedicated to opposing intellectual thought control. His main issue
came to be openness versus totalitarianism rather than capitalism versus socialism. Like other neoconservatives, from the
1960s on he opposed the excesses of the New Left, including affirmative action. Sidney Hook received the Presidential Medal
of Freedom from Ronald Reagan. Like many neoconservatives, he never abandoned many of his leftist views: In his acceptance
speech, Hook stated that he was “an unreconstructed believer in the welfare state, steeply progressive income tax,
a secular humanist,” and pro-choice on abortion.158 Sounding much like SD/USA stalwart Joshua Muravchik,159 Hook noted that socialists like himself “never took the problem of incentives seriously enough.”160
Like Strauss, Hook’s advocacy of the open society stemmed from his belief that such societies were far better
for Judaism than either the totalitarian left or right. Hook had a strong Jewish identification: He was a Zionist, a strong
supporter of Israel, and an advocate of Jewish education for Jewish children.161 Hook developed an elaborate apologia for Judaism and against anti-Semitism in the modern world,162 and he was deeply concerned about the emergence of anti-Semitism in the USSR.163 The ideal society is thus culturally diverse and democratic:No philosophy of Jewish life is required except one—identical
with the democratic way of life—which enables Jews who for any reason at all accept their existence as Jews to lead
a dignified and significant life, a life in which together with their fellowmen they strive collectively to improve the quality
of democratic, secular cultures and thus encourage a maximum of cultural diversity, both Jewish and non-Jewish.164
Despite his low profile in the George W. Bush administration, Stephen Bryen
is an important neocon. Bryen served as executive director of JINSA from 1979 to 1981 and remains on its advisory board.
He is also affiliated with the AEI and the CSP. Richard Perle hired Bryen as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense during
the Reagan administration. At the Pentagon, Perle and Bryen led an effort to extend and strengthen the Export Administration
Act to grant the Pentagon a major role in technology transfer policy. This policy worked to the benefit of Israel at the
expense of Europe, as Israel alone had access to the most secret technology designs.165 In 1988 Bryen and Perle temporarily received permission to export sensitive klystron technology, used in antiballistic
missiles, to Israel. “Two senior colleagues in [the Department of Defense] who wish to remain anonymous have confirmed
that this attempt by Bryen to obtain klystrons for his friends was not unusual, and was in fact ‘standard operating
procedure’ for him, recalling numerous instances when U.S. companies were denied licenses to export sensitive technology,
only to learn later that Israeli companies subsequently exported similar (U.S. derived) weapons and technology to the intended
It is surprising that Perle was able to hire Bryen at all given that, beginning in 1978, Bryen was investigated
for offering classified documents to the Mossad station chief of the Israeli embassy in the presence of an AIPAC representative.167 Bryen’s fingerprints were found on the documents in question despite his denials that he had ever had the documents
in his possession. (Bryen refused to take a polygraph test.) The Bryen investigation was ultimately shut down because of
the failure of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to grant access to the Justice Department to files important to the
investigation, and because of the decision by Philip Heymann, the chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division
and later Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration, to drop the case.
Heymann is Jewish and had a close
relationship with Bryen’s lawyer, Nathan Lewin. Heymann’s Jewish consciousness can be seen from the fact that
he participated in the campaign to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and expunge his record —a major effort by a great
many Jewish organizations and Jewish activists such as Alan Dershowitz. There were reports that Heymann was attempting to
bypass Attorney General Janet Reno by preparing a Justice Department recommendation for presidential clemency, and that Heymann’s
behavior may have been a factor in his resignation shortly thereafter.168
Despite this history of covert pro-Israeli activism, in 2001 Bryen was appointed, at the urging of Paul Wolfowitz,
to the China Commission, which monitors illicit technology transfers to China, a position that requires top secret security
clearance.169 Many of the illicit technology transfers investigated by the commission are thought to have occurred via Israel.
In his 1995 book, John Ehrman regards Charles Krauthammer as
a key neoconservative foreign policy analyst because Krauthammer was on the cutting edge of neocon thinking on how to respond
to the unipolar world created by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Krauthammer has consistently urged that the U.S. pursue
a policy to remake the entire Arab world—a view that represents the “party line” among neoconservatives
(e.g., Michael Ledeen, Norman Podhoretz, Bill Kristol, David Frum, and Richard Perle170). In a speech at the AEI in February 2004, Krauthammer argued for a unilateral confrontation with the entire Arab-Muslim
world (and nowhere else) in the interests of “democratic globalism.” He advocated a U.S. foreign policy that
is not “tied down” by “multilateralism”: “the whole point of the multilateral enterprise: To
reduce American freedom of action by making it subservient to, dependent on, constricted by the will—and interests—of
other nations. To tie down Gulliver with a thousand strings. To domesticate the most undomesticated, most outsized, national
interest on the planet—ours.”171 Democratic globalism is aimed at winning the struggle with the Arab-Islamic world:
Beyond power. Beyond interest. Beyond
interest defined as power. That is the credo of democratic globalism. Which explains its political appeal: America is
a nation uniquely built not on blood, race or consanguinity, but on a proposition—to which its sacred honor has been
pledged for two centuries…. Today, post-9/11, we find ourselves in an…existential struggle but with a
different enemy: not Soviet communism, but Arab-Islamic totalitarianism, both secular and religious…[D]emocratic
globalism is an improvement over realism. What it can teach realism is that the spread of democracy is not just an end
but a means, an indispensable means for securing American interests. The reason is simple. Democracies are inherently more
friendly to the United States, less belligerent to their neighbors, and generally more inclined to peace. Realists are
right that to protect your interests you often have to go around the world bashing bad guys over the head. But that
technique, no matter how satisfying, has its limits. At some point, you have to implant something, something organic and
self-developing. And that something is democracy. But where? The danger of democratic globalism is its universalism,
its open-ended commitment to human freedom, its temptation to plant the flag of democracy everywhere. It must learn to
say no. And indeed, it does say no. But when it says no to Liberia, or Congo, or Burma, or countenances alliances with
authoritarian rulers in places like Pakistan or, for that matter, Russia, it stands accused of hypocrisy. Which is why
we must articulate criteria for saying yes…. I propose a single criterion: where it counts…. And this is
its axiom: We will support democracy everywhere, but we will commit blood and treasure only in places where there
is a strategic necessity—meaning, places central to the larger war against the existential enemy, the enemy that
poses a global mortal threat to freedom.
Where does it count today? Where the overthrow of radicalism and the beginnings of democracy
can have a decisive effect in the war against the new global threat to freedom, the new existential enemy, the Arab-Islamic
totalitarianism that has threatened us in both its secular and religious forms for the quarter-century since the Khomeini
revolution of 1979 … There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster
behind 9/11. It’s not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social
ruin in the Arab-Islamic world—oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent,
murderous anti-Americanism. It’s not one man; it is a condition.172
is a Jew and his Jewish identification and pro-Israel motivation is typical of Jewish neoconservatives, as is his obeisance
to the idea that America is a proposition nation, rather than a nation founded by a particular ethnic group—an ethnocultural
creation of Western Europe that should attempt to preserve this heritage. The same attitude can be seen in Irving
Kristol’s comment that the U.S. is an “ideological nation” committed to defend Israel independent of national
interest (see above). This ideology was the creation of leftist Jewish intellectuals attempting to rationalize a multicultural
America in which European-Americans were just one of many cultural/ethnic groups.173
He is a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post and has written extensively in support of hard-line policies
in Israel and on what he interprets as a rise in age-old anti-Jewish attitudes in Europe. In 2002 Krauthammer was presented
with Bar-Ilan University’s annual Guardian of Zion Award at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. His acceptance speech
reveals an observant Jew who is steeped in Jewish history and the Hebrew tradition. The 1993 Oslo Accords are termed “the
most catastrophic and self- inflicted wound by any state in modern history”; this disastrous policy was based on “an
extreme expression of post-Zionistic messianism.”174 Krauthammer rejected the “secular messianism” of Shimon Peres as more dangerous than the religious messianism
of Gush Emunim (a prominent settler group with a message of Jewish racialism and a vision of a “Greater Israel”
encompassing the lands promised to Abraham in Genesis—from the Nile to the Euphrates175) or of certain followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe because of its impact on shaping contemporary Jewish history.
Krauthammer is also deeply concerned with anti-Semitism:
What is odd is not the anti-Semitism
of today [in Europe], but its relative absence during the last half-century. That was the historical anomaly. Holocaust
shame kept the demon corked for that half-century. But now the atonement is passed. The genie is out again. This time,
however, it is more sophisticated. It is not a blanket hatred of Jews. Jews can be tolerated, even accepted, but they
must know their place. Jews are fine so long as they are powerless, passive and picturesque. What is intolerable is Jewish
assertiveness, the Jewish refusal to accept victimhood. And nothing so embodies that as the Jewish state.176
barometer of Jewish identification is Krauthammer’s take on Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.
In sentiments similar to those of many other Jewish activists and writers, he terms ita “blood libel,” “a
singular act of interreligious aggression,” a “spectacularly vicious” personal interpretation.177 Gibson’s interpretations “point overwhelmingly in a single direction — to the villainy and culpability
of the Jews.” The crucifixion is “a history of centuries of relentless, and at times savage, persecution of
Jews in Christian lands.” One gets the impression of a writer searching as best he can to find the most extreme terms
possible to express his loathing of Gibson’s account of the Christian gospel.
Paul Wolfowitz’s background indicates a strong Jewish identity. His father
Jacob was a committed Zionist throughout his life and in his later years organized protests against Soviet treatment of
Jews.178 Jacob was deeply concerned about the Holocaust,179 and, in his own reminiscences of his teenage years, Paul recalls reading books about the Holocaust and traveling to Israel
when his father was a visiting professor at an Israeli university. Wolfowitz reads Hebrew, and his sister married an Israeli
and lives in Israel.180 At the University of Chicago the professors mentioned in his account of the period are all Jewish:181 Albert Wohlstetter, his Ph.D. advisor; Leo Strauss (Wolfowitz’s original intent when enrolling at the University of
Chicago was to study with Strauss, and he ended up taking two courses from him); Strauss’s disciple Alan Bloom, whose
Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s
Students (1987) is a neocon classic; and Saul Bellow, the novelist.
Also indicative of a strong Jewish
identity is a conversation Wolfowitz had with Natan Sharansky, Israeli Cabinet Minister and leader of a right wing, pro-settlement
political party, at a conference on Middle East policy in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002. The conference was arranged by Richard
Perle under the auspices of the AEI. Wolfowitz and Sharansky walked to a reception, because the latter, as an observant
Jew, could not drive on the Sabbath. Sharansky noted that the walk “gave us a chance to talk about everything —
Arafat, international terrorism, Iraq and Iran and, of course, Jewish history, our roots and so on.”182 Wolfowitz is married to Clare Selgin, and they have three children, Sara, David, and Rachel.183
Ravelstein is Bellow’s fictionalized but essentially accurate description of Alan Bloom and his circle
at the University of Chicago.184 It is of some interest because it recreates the Jewish atmosphere of Wolfowitz’s academic environment. Wolfowitz was
a member of Bloom’s circle at Cornell University and chose the University of Chicago for his graduate training because
of the presence there of Leo Strauss, most likely at the urging of Bloom. Wolfowitz and Bloom maintained a close relationship
after Bloom moved to the University of Chicago and during Wolfowitz’s later career in the government. Wolfowitz was
one of the “favored students” of Bloom described in Robert Locke’s comment that “Favored students
of the usually haughty Bloom were gradually introduced to greater and greater intimacies with the master, culminating in
exclusive dinner parties with him and Saul [Bellow] in Bloom’s lavishly furnished million-dollar apartment.”185
As depicted by Bellow, Bloom emerges as the quintessential guru, surrounded by disciples—a
“father” who attempts not only to direct his disciples’ careers but their personal lives as well.186 His disciples are described as “clones who dressed as he did, smoked the same Marlboros”; they were heading
toward “the Promised Land of the intellect toward which Ravelstein, their Moses and their Socrates, led them.”187 “To be cut off from his informants in Washington and Paris, from his students, the people he had trained, the band
of brothers, the initiates, the happy few made him extremely uncomfortable.”188 Bloom in turn is depicted as a “disciple” of the Strauss character, Felix Davarr: “Ravelstein talked so
much about him that in the end I was obliged to read some of his books. It had to be done if I was to understand what [Ravelstein]
was all about.”189
Bloom’s Ravelstein is depicted as very self-consciously Jewish. A theme is the contrast between “crude”
Jewish behavior and genteel WASP behavior—a theme described beautifully and authoritatively in the writings of John
Murray Cuddihy.190 And there is the acute consciousness of who is a Jew and who isn’t; all of Ravelstein’s close friends are Jews.
There is an intense interest in whether non-Jews dislike Jews or have connections to fascism. And there is a fixation on
the Holocaust and when it will happen again: “They kill more than half of the European Jews…There’s no
telling which corner it will come from next.”191 Ravelstein thought of Jews as displacing WASPs: He “liked to think of living in one of the tony flat buildings formerly
occupied by the exclusively WASP faculty.”192
Following Strauss, Bloom thought of Western civilization as the product of Athens and Jerusalem, and is said to
have preferred the former, at least until the end of his life, when Jerusalem loomed large: Bellow’s narrator writes,
“I could see [Ravelstein/Bloom] was following a trail of Jewish ideas or Jewish essences. It was unusual for him these
days, in any conversation, to mention even Plato or Thucydides. He was full of Scripture now”—all connected to
“the great evil,” the belief during the World War II era “that almost everybody agreed that the Jews had
no right to live…a vast collective agreement that the world would be improved by their disappearance and their extinction.”193 Ravelstein’s conclusion is that “it is impossible to get rid of one’s origins, it is impossible not to
remain a Jew. The Jews, Ravelstein…thought, following the line laid down by [his] teacher Davarr [Strauss], were
historically witnesses to the absence of redemption.”194
Ravelstein recounts a conversation with the Wolfowitz character, Philip Gorman, which reflects Wolfowitz’s
well-known desire to invade Iraq in 1991:
Colin Powell and Baker have advised the President not to send
the troops all the way to Baghdad. Bush will announce it tomorrow. They’re afraid of a few casualties. They send
out a terrific army and give a demonstration of up-to-date high-tech warfare that flesh and blood can’t stand up
to. But then they leave the dictatorship in place and steal away….195
has had a close relationship with Richard Perle beginning with their service in the office of Sen. Henry Jackson.196 He also has a long record of pro-Israel advocacy. In 1973 he was appointed to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA);
Mark Green notes that “Wolfowitz…brought to ACDA a strong attachment to Israel’s security, and a certain
confusion about his obligation to U.S. national security.”197 In 1978, he was investigated for providing a classified document to the Israeli government through an AIPAC intermediary,
but the investigation ended without indictment. (As Paul Findley shows, leakage of classified information to Israel by American
Jews is routine within the Departments of State and Defense—so routine that it is accepted as a part of life in these
departments, and investigations of the source of leaks are seldom performed.198) Later, in 1992, the Department of Defense discovered that Wolfowitz, as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, was
promoting the export to Israel of advanced AIM-9M air-to-air missiles. The sale was canceled because Israel had been caught
selling the previous version to the Chinese. Until his appointment as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Bush administration,
Wolfowitz was on the Advisory Board of WINEP, and was a patron of Dennis Ross, who was Ambassador to Israel in the Clinton
Administration before becoming director of Policy and Strategic Planning at WINEP.
Wolfowitz wrote a 1997 Weekly
Standard article advocating removal of Saddam Hussein, and signed the public letter to President Clinton organized by
Bill Kristol’s Project for the New American Century urging a regime change in Iraq. Within the George H. W. Bush administration,
Wolfowitz was “the intellectual godfather and fiercest advocate for toppling Saddam.”199 Wolfowitz has become famous as a key advocate for war with Iraq rather than Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of September
11.200 Richard Clarke recounts an incident on September 12, 2001, in which President Bush asked a group at the White House for
any information that Saddam Hussein was involved in the September 11 attacks. After Bush left, a staffer “stared at
[Bush] with her mouth open. ‘Wolfowitz got to him.’”201
Former CIA political analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison note that “One source inside the administration
has described [Wolfowitz] frankly as ‘over-the-top crazy when it comes to Israel.’”202 Although they find such an assessment insufficiently nuanced, they acknowledge that zealotry for Israel is a prime motivator
for Wolfowitz. Journalist Bill Keller is much more cautious:
You hear from some of Wolfowitz’s critics, always off
the record, that Israel exercises a powerful gravitational pull on the man. They may not know that as a teenager he
spent his father’s sabbatical semester in Israel or that his sister is married to an Israeli, but they certainly
know that he is friendly with Israel’s generals and diplomats and that he is something of a hero to the heavily
Jewish neoconservative movement. Those who know him well say this—leaving aside the offensive suggestion of dual
loyalty—is looking at Wolfowitz through the wrong end of the telescope. As the Sadat story illustrates, he has
generally been less excited by the security of Israel than by the promise of a more moderate Islam.203
is a remarkable statement. “The Sadat story” refers to Wolfowitz’s very positive reaction to Egypt’s
President Anwar Sadat’s speech to the Knesset as part of the peace process between Israel and Egypt. Obviously, it
is silly to suppose that this event shows Wolfowitz’s relative disinterest in Israel’s security. Moreover, statements
linking Wolfowitz to Israel are always off the record, presumably because people fear retaliation for stating the obvious.
Thus Bill Keller coyly manages to document the associations between Wolfowitz and Israel while finding assertions of dual
loyalty “offensive” rather than a well-grounded probability.
One of Joshua Muravchik’s
apologetic claims is that “in fact the careers of leading neoconservatives have rarely involved work on Middle East
issues."204 This is false. For example, Wolfowitz wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. During the
Carter administration, he prepared the Limited Contingency Study, which emphasized the “Iraqi threat” to the
region, and during the Reagan administration he lobbied against selling AWACS to Saudi Arabia and against negotiating with
the Palestinians; during the George H. W. Bush administration he was Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, a position where
he “would once again have responsibility for arms control, the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, the areas to which
he had devoted the early years of his career.”205
Like Wolfowitz and the Strauss-Bloom
nexus at the University of Chicago, for Perle
the defining moment in our history was certainly the Holocaust…. It was the destruction, the genocide of
a whole people, and it was the failure to respond in a timely fashion to a threat that was clearly gathering…We
don't want that to happen again…when we have the ability to stop totalitarian regimes we should do so, because
when we fail to do so, the results are catastrophic.206
Perle first came into prominence in Washington as Senator Henry Jackson’s chief aide on foreign policy. He organized
Congressional support for the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which angered Russia by linking bilateral trade issues to freedom
of emigration, primarily of Jews from the Soviet Union to Israel and the United States. In 1970 Perle was recorded by the
FBI discussing classified information with the Israeli embassy. In 1981 he was on the payroll of an Israeli defense contractor
shortly before being appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, a position responsible
for monitoring U.S. defense technology exports.207 During his tenure in the Reagan administration Perle recommended purchase of an artillery shell made by Soltan, an Israeli
munitions manufacturer. After leaving his position in the Defense Department in 1987, he assumed a position with Soltan.
Like many other former government officials, he has also used his reputation and contacts in the government to develop a
highly lucrative business career. For example, although he did not personally register as a lobbyist, he became a paid consultant
to a firm headed by Douglas Feith that was established to lobby on behalf of Turkey.208 At the present time, Perle is on the board of directors of Onset Technology, a technology company founded by Israelis Gadi
Mazor and Ron Maor with R&D in Israel. Onset Technology has close ties to Israeli companies and investment funds.209 He is a close personal friend of Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.210
Perle was the “Study Group Leader” of a 1996 report titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for
Securing the Realm” published by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), an Israeli think
tank. The membership of the study group illustrates the overlap between Israeli think tanks close to the Israeli government,
American policy makers and government officials, and pro-Israel activists working in the United States. Other members of
this group who accepted positions in the George W. Bush administration or in pro-Israel activist organizations in the U.S.
include Douglas Feith (Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy), David Wurmser (member of IASPS, a protégé
of Perle at AEI, and senior advisor in the State Department), Mayrev Wurmser (head of the Hudson Institute [a neocon thinktank]),
James Colbert of JINSA,and Jonathan Torop (WINEP).
Despite Joshua Muravchik’s apologetic claims,211 the “Clean Break” report was clearly intended as advice for another of Perle’s personal friends,212 Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then the new prime minister of Israel; there is no indication that it was an effort to further
U.S. interests in the region. The purpose was to “forge a peace process and strategy based on an entirely new intellectual
foundation, one that restores strategic initiative and provides the nation the room to engage every possible energy
on rebuilding Zionism.” Indeed, the report advises the United States to avoid pressure on the Israelis to give land
for peace, a strategy “which required funneling American money to repressive and aggressive regimes, was risky, expensive,
and very costly for both the U.S. and Israel, and placed the United States in roles it should neither have nor want.”
The authors of the report speak as Jews and Israelis, not as U.S. citizens: “Our claim to the land—to which
we have clung for hope for 2000 years—is legitimate and noble.”Much of the focus is on removing the threat of
Syria, and it is in this context that the report notes, “This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power
in Iraq—an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right—as a means of foiling Syria’s regional
Proposals for regime change, such as found in “A Clean Break,” have a long history in Israeli thought.
For example, in 1982 Israeli strategist Oded Yinon echoed a long line of Israeli strategists who argued that Israel should
attempt to dissolve all the existing Arab states into smaller, less potentially powerful states. These states would then
become clients of Israel as a regional imperial power. Neocons have advertised the war in Iraq as a crusade for a democratic,
secular, Western-oriented, pro-Israel Iraq—a dream that has a great deal of appeal in the West, for obvious reasons.
However, it is quite possible that the long-term result is that Iraq would fracture along ethnic and religious lines (Sunnis,
Shiites, Kurds). This would also be in Israel’s interests, because the resulting states would pose less of a threat
than the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. As Yinon noted, “Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on
the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than
that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to
Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson has suggested that the dissolution of Iraq may well have been a motive for the
A more cynical reading of the agenda of certain Bush advisers could conclude that the Balkanization of Iraq was
always an acceptable outcome, because Israel would then find itself surrounded by small Arab countries worried about
each other instead of forming a solid block against Israel. After all, Iraq was an artificial country that had always had
a troublesome history.215
as the Iraqi insurgency has achieved momentum, there is evidence that Israeli military and intelligence units are operating
in Kurdish regions of Iraq and that Israel is indeed encouraging the Kurds to form their own state.216 There is little doubt that an independent Kurdish state would have major repercussions for Syria and Iran, as well as for
Israel’s ally Turkey, and would lead to continuing instability in the Middle East. A senior Turkish official noted,
“If you end up with a divided Iraq, it will bring more blood, tears, and pain to the Middle East, and [the U.S.] will
be blamed…From Mexico to Russia, everybody will claim that the United States had a secret agenda in Iraq: you came
there to break up Iraq. If Iraq is divided, America cannot explain this to the world.”
Some of Elliott Abrams’ neoconservative family and professional associations have been
described above. In December 2002 Abrams became President Bush’s top Middle East advisor. He is closely associated
with the Likud Party in Israel and with prominent neocons (Richard Perle, Bill Kristol, Marc Paul Gerecht, Michael Ledeen,
Jeane Kirkpatrick, Paul Wolfowitz) and neocon think tanks (PNAC, AEI, CSP, JINSA).217 Because of his reputation as a strongly identified Jew, Abrams was tapped for the role of rallying Jews in support of Reagan
in the 1980 campaign.218
Abrams is also an activist on behalf of Jewish continuity. The purpose of his book Faith and Fear: How Jews
Can Survive in Christian America is to shore up Jewish religious identification, avoid intermarriage, and avoid secularization
in order to assure Jewish continuity. In this regard it is interesting that other prominent neocons have advocated interracial
marriage between whites and blacks in the U.S. For example, Douglas J. Besharov, a resident scholar at the AEI, has written
that the offspring of interracial marriages “are the best hope for the future of American race relations.”219
In Faith and Fear, Abrams notes his own deep immersion in the Yiddish-speaking culture of his parents and
grandparents. In the grandparents’ generation, “all their children married Jews, and [they] kept Kosher homes.”220 Abrams acknowledges that the mainstream Jewish community “clings to what is at bottom a dark vision of America, as
a land permeated with anti-Semitism and always on the verge of anti-Semitic outbursts.” The result is that Jews have
taken the lead in secularizing America, but that has not been a good strategy for Jews because Jews themselves have become
less religious and therefore less inclined to marry other Jews. (This “dark vision of America” is a critical
source of the “Culture of Critique” produced by Jewish intellectual movements; it is also a major reason why
the Jewish community has been united in favor of large-scale nonwhite immigration to America: Diluting the white majority
and lessening their power is seen as preventing an anti-Jewish outburst.221) Following Strauss, therefore, Abrams thinks that a strong role for Christianity in America is good for Jews:
this century we have seen two gigantic experiments at postreligious societies where the traditional restraints of religion
and morality were entirely removed: Communism and Nazism. In both cases Jews became the special targets, but there was
evil enough even without the scourge of anti-Semitism. For when the transcendental inhibition against evil is removed,
when society becomes so purely secular that the restraints imposed by God on man are truly eradicated, minorities are but
the earliest victims.”222
Like most of his cronies, Feith
has been suspected of spying for Israel. In 1972 Feith was fired from a position with the National Security Council because
of an investigation into whether he had provided documents to the Israeli embassy. Nevertheless, Perle, who was Assistant
Secretary for International Security Policy, hired him as his “special counsel,” and then as his deputy. Feith
worked for Perle until 1986, when he left government service to form a law firm, Feith and Zell, which was originally based
in Israel and best known for obtaining a pardon for the notorious Marc Rich during the final days of the Clinton administration.
In 2001, Douglas Feith returned to the Department of Defense as Donald Rumsfeld’s Undersecretary for Policy, and it
was in his office that Abraham Shulsky’s Office of Special Plans (OSP) was created. It was OSP that originated much
of the fraudulent intelligence that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld have used to justify the attack on Iraq. A key member of OSP
was David Wurmser who, as indicated above, is a protégé of Richard Perle.223
Retired army officer Karen Kwiatkowski describes Feith as knowing little about the Pentagon and paying little attention
to any issues except those relating to Israel and Iraq.224 Feith is deferential to the Israeli military. As Kwiatkowski escorted a group of Israeli generals into the Pentagon:
leader of the pack surged ahead, his colleagues in close formation, leaving us to double-time behind the group as they
sped to Undersecretary Feith’s office on the fourth floor…. Once in Feith’s waiting room, the leader
continued at speed to Feith’s closed door. An alert secretary saw this coming and had leapt from her desk to block
the door. “Mr. Feith has a visitor. It will only be a few more minutes.” The leader craned his neck to look
around the secretary’s head as he demanded, “Who is in there with him?”
Unlike the usual practice, the Israeli
generals did not have to sign in, so there are no official records of their visits.225 Kwiatkowski describes the anti-Arab, pro-Israel sentiment that pervaded the neocon network at the Department of Defense.
Career military officers who failed to go along with these attitudes were simply replaced.
Feith has a strong Jewish identity
and is an activist on behalf of Israel. While in law school he collaborated with Joseph Churba, an associate and friend
of Meir Kahane, founder of the racialist and anti-Western Jewish Defense League. During the late 1980s to early 1990s he
wrote pro-Likud op-ed pieces in Israeli newspapers, arguing that the West Bank is part of Israel, that the Palestinians
belong in Jordan, and that there should be regime change in Iraq. He also headed the CSP and was a founding member of One
Jerusalem, an Israeli organization “determined to prevent any compromise with the Palestinians over the fate of any
part of Jerusalem.226
He is an officer of the Foundation for Jewish Studies, which is “dedicated to fostering Jewish learning and
building communities of educated and committed Jews who are conscious of and faithful to the high ideals of Judaism.”227 In 1997 Feith and his father (a member of Betar, the Zionist youth movement founded by Vladimir Jabotinsky) were given
awards from the ZOA because of their work as pro-Israel activists. The ZOA is a staunch supporter of the most extreme elements
within Israel. Feith’s law partner, L. Marc Zell of the firm’s Tel Aviv office, is a spokesman for the settler
movement in Israel, and the firm itself is deeply involved in legal issues related to the reconstruction of Iraq, a situation
that has raised eyebrows because Feith is head of reconstruction in Iraq.228
Zell was one of many neocons close to Ahmed Chalabi but abandoned his support because Chalabi had not come through
on his prewar pledges regarding Israel—further evidence that aiding Israel was an important motive for the neocons.
According to Zell, Chalabi “said he would end Iraq’s boycott of trade with Israel, and would allow Israeli companies
to do business there. He said [the new Iraqi government] would agree to rebuild the pipeline from Mosul [in the northern
Iraqi oil fields] to Haifa [the Israeli port, and the location of a major refinery].”229 Another partner in the law firm of Feith and Zell is Salem Chalabi, Ahmed Chalabi’s nephew. Salem Chalabi is in charge
of the trial of Saddam Hussein.230
Abram Shulsky is a student of Leo Strauss, a close friend of
Paul Wolfowitz both at Cornell and the University of Chicago,231 and yet another protégé of Richard Perle. He was an aide to neocon Senators Henry Jackson (along with Perle
and Elliot Abrams) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and worked in the Department of Defense in the Reagan administration. During
the George W. Bush administration, he was appointed head of the Office of Special Plans under Feith and Wolfowitz. The OSP
became more influential on Iraq policy than the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency,232 but is widely viewed by retired intelligence operatives as manipulating intelligence data on Iraq in order to influence
policy.233 Reports suggest that the OSP worked closely with Israeli intelligence to paint an exaggerated picture of Iraqi capabilities
in unconventional weapons.234 It is tempting to link the actions of the OSP under Shulsky with Strauss’s idea of a “noble lie” carried
out by the elite to manipulate the masses, but I suppose that one doesn’t really need Strauss to understand the importance
of lying in order to manipulate public opinion on behalf of Israel.
The OSP included other neocons
with no professional qualifications in intelligence but long records of service in neoconservative think tanks and
pro-Israel activist organizations, especially the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Examples include Michael Rubin,
who is affiliated with AEI and is an adjunct scholar at WINEP, David Schenker, who has written books and articles on Middle
East issues published by WINEP and the Middle East Quarterly (published by Daniel Pipes’ MEF, another pro-Israel
activist organization), Elliott Abrams, David Wurmser, and Michael Ledeen. The OSP relied heavily on Iraqi defectors associated
with Ahmed Chalabi, who, as indicated above, had a close personal relationship with Wolfowitz, Perle, and other neocons.235
Michael Ledeen’s career illustrates the interconnectedness
of the neoconservative network. Ledeen was the first executive director of JINSA (1977–1979) and remains on its board
of advisors. He was hired by Richard Perle in the Defense Department during the Reagan years, and during the same period
he was hired as special advisor by Wolfowitz in his role as head of the State Department Policy Planning Staff. Along with
Stephen Bryen, Ledeen became a member of the China Commission during the George W. Bush administration. He was also a consultant
to Abraham Shulsky’s OSP, the Defense Department organization most closely linked with the manufacture of fraudulent
intelligence leading up to the Iraq War. The OSP was created by Douglas Feith, who in turn reports to Paul Wolfowitz. As
noted above, he is resident scholar in the Freedom Chair at AEI.
Ledeen has been suspected of spying
for Israel.236 During the Reagan years, he was regarded by the CIA as “an agent of influence of a foreign government: Israel,”
and was suspected of spying for Israel by his immediate superior at the Department of Defense, Noel Koch.237 While working for the White House in 1984, Ledeen was also accused by National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane of
participating in an unauthorized meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres that led to the proposal to funnel arms
through Israel to Iran in order to free U.S. hostages being held in Lebanon—the origins of the Irangate scandal.238
Ledeen has been a major propagandist for forcing change on the entire Arab world. Ledeen’s revolutionary ideology
stems not from Trotsky or Marx, but from his favorable view of Italian fascism as a universalist (nonracial) revolutionary
movement.239 His book, War on the Terror Masters, is a program for complete restructuring of the Middle East by the U. S. couched
in the rhetoric of universalism and moral concern, not for Israel, but for the Arab peoples who would benefit from regime
change. Ledeen is a revolutionary of the right, committed to “creative destruction” of the old social order:
Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every
day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always
hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for
their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone.
They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens
their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission….
Behind all the
anti-American venom from the secular radicals in Baghdad, the religious fanatics in Tehran, the minority regime in Damascus,
and the multicultural kleptomaniacs in the Palestinian Authority is the knowledge that they are hated by their own people.
Their power rests on terror, recently directed against us, but always, first and foremost, against their own citizens.
Given the chance to express themselves freely, the Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian people would oust
their current oppressors. Properly waged, our revolutionary war will give them a chance.240
The main intellectual source for imposing democracy on the Arab world is Bernard
Lewis, the Princeton historian who argues that Muslim cultures have an inferiority complex stemming from their relative decline
compared to the West over the last three hundred years. (Such arguments minimize the role of Israel and U.S. support for
Israel as a sourse of Arab malaise. However, there is good evidence that the motives of Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 conspirators
derive much more from U.S. support for Israel than a general anti-Western animus.241) He contends that Arab societies with their antiquated, kinship-based structure can only be changed by forcing democracy
on them.242 Wolfowitz has used Lewis as the intellectual underpinning of the invasion of Iraq: “Bernard has taught how to understand
the complex and important history of the Middle East, and use it to guide us where we will go next to build a better world
for generations to come.”243 During the 1970s Lewis was invited by Richard Perle to give a talk to Henry Jackson’s group, and, as Perle notes,
“Lewis became Jackson’s guru, more or less.” Lewis also established ties with Daniel Patrick Moynihan
and with Jackson’s other aides, including Wolfowitz, Abrams, and Gaffney. One of Lewis’s main arguments is that
the Palestinians have no historical claim to a state because they were not a state before the British Mandate in 1918.
Lewis also argues that Arabs have a long history of consensus government, if not democracy, and that a modicum of
outside force should be sufficient to democratize the area—a view that runs counter to the huge cultural differences
between the Middle East and the West that stem ultimately from very different evolutionary pressures.244 Lewis, as a cultural historian, is in a poor position to understand the deep structure of the cultural differences between
Europe and the Middle East. He seems completely unaware of the differences in family and kinship structure between Europe
and the Middle East, and he regards the difference in attitudes toward women as a mere cultural difference rather than as
a marker for an entirely different social structure.245
Lewis’s flawed beliefs about the Middle East have nevertheless been quite useful to Israel—reflecting
the theme that Jewish intellectual movements have often used available intellectual resources to advance a political cause.
Not only did he provide an important intellectual rationale for the war against Iraq, he is very close to governmental and
academic circles in Israel—the confidant of successive Israeli Prime Ministers from Golda Meir to Ariel Sharon.246
By several accounts, Vice President Cheney had a “fever” to invade
Iraq and transform the politics of the Middle East and was the leading force within the administration convincing President
Bush of the need to do so.247 As with the other Jewish intellectual and political movements I have reviewed, non-Jews have been welcomed into the movement
and often given highly visible roles as the movement’s public face. Among the current crop in this intellectual lineage,
the most important non-Jews are Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom have close professional and personal relationships
with neoconservatives that long pre-date their present power and visibility. Both Cheney and Rumsfeld have been associated
with Bill Kristol’s PNAC (which advocated a unilateral war for regime change in Iraq at least as early as 1998)248 and the CSP, two neocon think tanks; Cheney was presented with the ADL’s Distinguished Statesman Award in 1993 and
was described by Abraham Foxman as “sensitive to Jewish concerns.”249 When Cheney was a Congressman during the early 1980s, he attended lunches hosted for Republican Jewish leaders by the House
leadership. Cheney was described by Marshall Breger, a senior official in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administration
as “very interested in outreach and engaging the Jewish community.”250 He was also a member of JINSA, a major pro-Israel activist organization, until assuming his office as vice president.
Cheney has also had a close involvement with leading Israeli politicians, especially Natan Sharansky, Secretary
of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs in the Likud government and the prime architect of the ideology that the key to peace
between Israel and the Arab world, including the Palestinians, is Arab acceptance of democracy. When President Bush articulated
the importance of Palestinian democracy for the Middle East peace “roadmap” in his June 2002 policy speech,
could have written the speech himself, and, for that matter, may have had a direct hand in its drafting. The weekend prior
to the speech, he spent long hours at a conference [organized by Richard Perle and] sponsored by the AEI in Aspen secluded
together with Vice President Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. The Bush speech clearly represented
a triumph for the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz axis in the administration over the State Department, which was eager to offer
the Palestinians a provisional state immediately.”251
Cheney and Rumsfeld have close personal relationships with Kenneth Adelman, a former Ford and Reagan administration official.252 Adelman wrote op-ed pieces in the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal in the period leading
up to the war, and he, along with Wolfowitz and Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff),
were guests of Cheney for a victory celebration in the immediate aftermath of the war (April 13, 2003).253 Adelman has excellent neocon credentials. He was a member of the Committee on the Present Danger in the 1970s and UN Ambassador
during the Reagan Administration, and worked under Donald Rumsfeld on three different occasions. He was a signatory to the
April 3, 2002, letter of the Project for a New American Century to President Bush calling for Saddam Hussein’s ouster
and increased support for Israel. The letter stated, “Israel is targeted in part because it is our friend, and in part
because it is an island of liberal, democratic principles—American principles—in a sea of tyranny, intolerance,
and hatred.” The advocacy of war with Iraq was linked to advancing Israeli interests: “If we do not move
against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear
but a prelude to much greater horrors…. Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight. Israel’s victory
is an important part of our victory. For reasons both moral and strategic, we need to stand with Israel in its fight against
terrorism.”254 Adelman’s wife, Carol, is affiliated with the Hudson Institute, a neoconservative think tank.
role in the ascendancy of the neocons in the Bush administration is particularly important: As head of the transition team,
he and Libby were able to staff the subcabinet levels of the State Department (John Bolton) and the Defense Department (Wolfowitz,
Feith) with key supporters of the neocon agenda. Libby is a close personal friend of Cheney whose views “echo many
of Wolfowitz’s policies”; he “is considered a hawk among hawks and was an early supporter of military
action against terrorism and particularly against Iraq.”255 He is Jewish and has a long history of involvement in Zionist causes and as the attorney for the notorious Marc Rich. Libby
and Cheney were involved in pressuring the CIA to color intelligence reports to fit with their desire for a war with Iraq.256 Libby entered the neocon orbit when he was “captivated” while taking a political science course from Wolfowitz
at Yale, and he worked under Wolfowitz in the Reagan and the Bush I administrations.257 He was the coauthor (with Wolfowitz) of the ill-fated draft of the Defense Planning Guidance document of 1992, which advocated
U.S. dominance over all of Eurasia and urged preventing any other country from even contemplating challenging U.S. hegemony.258 (Cheney was Secretary of Defense at that time.) After an uproar, the document was radically altered, but this blueprint
for U.S. hegemony remains central to neocon attitudes since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
As noted above, Rumsfeld has deep links with neoconservative think tanks and
individual Jews such as Ken Adelman, who began his career working for Rumsfeld when he headed the Office of Economic Opportunity
in the Nixon administration. Another close associate is Robert A. Goldwin, a student of Leo Strauss and Rumsfeld’s
deputy both at NATO and at the Gerald Ford White House; Goldwin is now resident scholar at the AEI.
also has a long history of appealing to Jewish and Israeli causes. In his 1964 campaign for reelection to Congress as representative
from a district on the North Shore of Chicago with an important Jewish constituency, he emphasized Soviet persecution of
Jews and introduced a bill on this topic in the House. After the 1967 war, he urged the U.S. not to demand that Israel withdraw
to its previous borders and he criticized delays in sending U.S. military hardware to Israel.259 More recently, as Secretary of Defense in the Bush II administration, Rumsfeld was praised by the ZOA for distancing himself
from the phrase “occupied territories,” referring to them as the “so-called occupied territories.”260
Despite these links with neoconservatives and Jewish causes, Rumsfeld emerges as less an ideologue and less a passionate
advocate for war with Iraq than Cheney. Robert Woodward describes him as lacking the feverish intensity of Cheney, as a
dispassionate “defense technocrat” who, unlike Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Feith, would have been content if the U.S.
had not gone to war with Iraq.261
Many neoconservatives work mainly
as lobbyists and propagandists. Rather than attempt to describe this massive infrastructure in its entirety, I profile Daniel
Pipes as a prototypical example of the highly competent Jewish lobbyist. Pipes is the son of Richard Pipes, the Harvard professor
who, as noted above, was an early neocon and an expert on the Soviet Union. He is the director of the MEF and a columnist
at the New York Post and the Jerusalem Post, and appears on the Fox News Channel. Pipes is described as
“An authoritative commentator on the Middle East” by the Wall Street Journal, according to the masthead
of his website.262 A former official in the Departments of State and Defense, he has taught at the University of Chicago, Harvard University,
and the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of twelve books on the Middle East, Islam, and other political topics;
his most recent book is Militant Islam Reaches America (published by W.W. Norton, 2002), a polemic against political
Islam which argues that militant Islam is the greatest threat to the West since the Cold War. He serves on the “Special
Task Force on Terrorism and Technology” at the Department of Defense, has testified before many congressional committees,
and served on four presidential campaigns.
Martin Kramer is the editor of the Forum’s journal.
Kramer is also affiliated with Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. His
book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America, has been a major impetus behind the
recent effort to prevent criticism of Israel on college campuses. The book was warmly reviewed in the Weekly Standard,
whose editor, Bill Kristol, is a member of the MEF along with Kramer. Kristol wrote that “Kramer has performed
a crucial service by exposing intellectual rot in a scholarly field of capital importance to national wellbeing.”
The MEF issues two regular quasi-academic publications, the Middle East Quarterly and the Middle East
Intelligence Bulletin, the latter published jointly with the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon. The
Middle East Quarterly describes itself as “a bold, insightful, and controversial publication.” A recent
article on weapons of mass destruction claims that Syria “has more destructive capabilities” than Iraq or Iran.
The Middle East Intelligence Bulletin “specializes in covering the seamy side of Lebanese and Syrian politics,”263 an effort aimed at depicting these regimes as worthy of forcible change by the U.S. or Israeli military. The MEF also targets
universities through its campus speakers bureau, seeking to correct “inaccurate Middle Eastern curricula in American
education,” by addressing “biases” and “basic errors” and providing “better information”
than students can get from the many “irresponsible” professors that it believes lurk in U.S. universities.
The MEF is behind Campus Watch, an organization responsible for repressing academic discussion of Middle East issues
at U.S. universities. Campus Watch compiles profiles on professors who criticize Israel: A major purpose is to “identify
key faculty who teach and write about contemporary affairs at university Middle East Studies departments in order to analyze
and critique the work of these specialists for errors or biases.” The MEF also develops “a network of concerned
students and faculty members interested in promoting American interests on campus.”264
Again we see the rhetoric of universalism and a concern with “American interests” produced by people
who are ethnically Jewish and vitally concerned with the welfare of Israel. Recently Campus Watch has decided to discontinue
its dossiers because over one hundred professors asked to be included in their directory of suspicious people. Nevertheless,
Campus Watch continues to print names of people whose views on the Middle East differ from theirs. The MEF, along with major
Jewish activist organizations (the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, and the Anti-Defamation League),
has succeeded in getting the U.S. House of Representatives to overwhelmingly approve a bill that would authorize federal
monitoring of government-funded Middle East studies programs throughout U.S. universities. The bill would establish a federal
tribunal to investigate and monitor criticism of Israel on American college campuses.
Jewish Institute for National
Security Affairs (JINSA)
Rather than profile all of the many neoconservative think tanks
and lobbying groups, I will describe JINSA as a prototypical example. JINSA attempts to “educate the American public
about the importance of an effective U.S. defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded
[and to] inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in
bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”265 Typical of Jewish intellectual movements is that Jewish interests are submerged in a rhetoric of American interests
and ethical universalism—in this case, the idea that Israel is a beacon of democracy.
In addition to a core of prominent
neoconservative Jews (Stephen D. Bryen, Douglas Feith, Max Kampelman, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Richard Perle, Stephen
Solarz), JINSA’s advisory board includes a bevy of non-Jewish retired U.S. military officers and a variety of non-Jewish
political figures (e.g., Dick Cheney) and foreign policy analysts with access to the media (e.g., Jeane Kirkpatrick) who
are staunch supporters of Israel. As is typical of Jewish intellectual movements, JINSA is well funded and has succeeded
in bringing in high-profile non-Jews who often act as spokesmen for its policies. For example, the former head of the Iraq
occupation government, General Jay Garner, signed a JINSA letter stating that “the Israel Defense Forces have exercised
remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of [the] Palestinian Authority.”
JINSA reflects the recent trend of American Jewish activist groups not simply to support Israeli policies but to
support the Israeli right wing. For JINSA, “‘regime change’ by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria,
Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents—be it Colin Powell’s
State Department, the CIA or career military officers—is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively
hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued
safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East—a hegemony achieved with the traditional
Cold War recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.”266 Note the exclusionary, us versus them attitude typical of the Jewish intellectual and political movements covered in The
Culture of Critique.
Part of JINSA’s effectiveness comes from recruiting non-Jews who gain by
increased defense spending or are willing to be spokesmen in return for fees and travel to Israel. The bulk of JINSA’s
budget is spent on taking a host of retired U.S. generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between
Israeli officials and retired but still-influential U.S. flag officers. These officers then write op-ed pieces and sign letters
and advertisements championing the Likudnik line. In one such statement, issued soon after the outbreak of the latest intifada,
twenty-six JINSAns of retired flag rank, including many from the advisory board, struck a moralizing tone, characterizing
Palestinian violence as a “perversion of military ethics” and holding that “America’s role as facilitator
in this process should never yield to America’s responsibility as a friend to Israel,” because “friends
don’t leave friends on the battlefield.”267 Sowing seeds for the future, JINSA also takes U.S. service academy cadets to Israel each summer and sponsors a lecture series
at the Army, Navy, and Air Force academies.
JINSA also patronizes companies in the defense industry
that stand to gain by the drive for total war. “Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA’s board of advisers
or has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has worked with military contractors who do business
with the Pentagon and Israel.”268 For example, JINSA advisory board members Adm. Leon Edney, Adm. David Jeremiah, and Lieut. Gen. Charles May, all
retired, have served Northrop Grumman or its subsidiaries as either consultants or board members. Northrop Grumman has built
ships for the Israeli Navy and sold F-16 avionics and E-2C Hawkeye planes to the Israeli Air Force, as well as the Longbow
radar system to the Israeli Army for use in its attack helicopters. It also works with Tamam, a subsidiary of Israeli Aircraft
Industries, to produce an unmanned aerial vehicle.
JINSA is supported not only by defense contractor money
but also by deeply committed Zionists, notably Irving Moscowitz, the California bingo magnate who also provides financial
support to the AEI. Moscowitz not only sends millions of dollars a year to far-right Israeli West Bank settler groups like
Ateret Cohanim, he has also funded land purchases in key Arab areas around Jerusalem. Moscowitz provided the money that
enabled the 1996 reopening of a tunnel under the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which resulted in seventy deaths due to rioting.
Also involved in funding JINSA is New York investment banker Lawrence Kadish, who also contributes to Republican causes.
Again, we see the effects of the most committed Jews. People like Moscowitz have an enormous effect because
they use their wealth to advance their people’s interests, a very common pattern among wealthy Jews.269
The integration of JINSA with the U.S. defense establishment can be seen in the program for its 2001 Jackson Award
Dinner, an annual event named after Senator Henry Jackson that draws an “A-list” group of politicians and defense
celebrities. At the dinner were representatives of U.S. defense industries (the dinner was sponsored by Boeing), as well
as the following Defense Department personnel: Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; Under Secretary of Defense Dov
Zakheim (an ordained rabbi); Assistant Secretary of the Navy John Young; Dr. Bill Synder, the Chairman of the Defense Science
Board; the Honorable Mark Rosenker, Senior Military Advisor to the President; Admiral William Fallon, Vice Chief of Naval
Operations; General John Keane, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army; General Michael Williams, Vice Commandant of the Marines;
Lieutenant General Lance Lord, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Also present were a large number of U.S.
flag and general officers who were alumni of JINSA trips to Israel, as well as assorted Congressmen, a U.S. Senator, and
a variety of Israeli military and political figures. The 2002 Jackson Award Dinner, sponsored by Northrup Grumman, honored
Paul Wolfowitz. Dick Cheney was a previous recipient of the award.
JINSA is a good illustration of
the point that whatever the deeply held beliefs of the non-Jews who are involved in the neoconservative movement, financial
motives and military careerism are also of considerable importance—a testimony to the extent to which neoconservatism
has permeated the political and military establishments of the United States. A similar statement could be made about the
deep influence of neoconservatism among intellectuals generally.
situation in the United States is really an awesome display of Jewish power and influence. People who are very strongly identified
as Jews maintain close ties to Israeli politicians and military figures and to Jewish activist organizations and pro-Israeli
lobbying groups while occupying influential policy-making positions in the defense and foreign policy establishment. These
same people, as well as a chorus of other prominent Jews, have routine access to the most prestigious media outlets in the
United States. People who criticize Israel are routinely vilified and subjected to professional abuse.270
Perhaps the most telling feature of this entire state of affairs is the surreal fact that in
this entire discourse Jewish identity is not mentioned. When Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Michael Rubin, William Safire,
Robert Satloff, or the legions of other prominent media figures write their reflexively pro-Israel pieces in the New
York Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the Los Angeles Times, or opine on the Fox News Network, there
is never any mention that they are Jewish Americans who have an intense ethnic interest in Israel. When Richard Perle authors
a report for an Israeli think tank; is on the board of directors of an Israeli newspaper; maintains close personal ties
with prominent Israelis, especially those associated with the Likud Party; has worked for an Israeli defense company; and,
according to credible reports, was discovered by the FBI passing classified information to Israel—when, despite all
of this, he is a central figure in the network of those pushing for wars to rearrange the entire politics of the Middle East
in Israel’s favor, and with nary a soul having the courage to mention the obvious overriding Jewish loyalty apparent
in Perle’s actions, that is indeed a breathtaking display of power.
One must contemplate the fact
that American Jews have managed to maintain unquestioned support for Israel over the last thirty-seven years, despite Israel’s
seizing land and engaging in a brutal suppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories—an occupation that
will most likely end with expulsion or complete subjugation, degradation, and apartheid. During the same period Jewish organizations
in America have been a principal force—in my view the main force—for transforming America into a state dedicated
to suppressing ethnic identification among Europeans, for encouraging massive multiethnic immigration into the U.S., and
for erecting a legal system and cultural ideology that is obsessively sensitive to the complaints and interests of non-European
ethnic minorities—the culture of the Holocaust.271 All this is done without a whisper of double standards in the aboveground media.
I have also provided a small glimpse
of the incredible array of Jewish pro-Israel activist organizations, their funding, their access to the media, and their
power over the political process. Taken as a whole, neoconservatism is an excellent illustration of the key traits behind
the success of Jewish activism: ethnocentrism, intelligence and wealth, psychological intensity, and aggressiveness.272 Now imagine a similar level of organization, commitment, and funding directed toward changing the U.S. immigration system
put into law in 1924 and 1952, or inaugurating the revolution in civil rights, or the post-1965 countercultural revolution:
In the case of the immigration laws we see the same use of prominent non-Jews to attain Jewish goals, the same access to
the major media, and the same ability to have a decisive influence on the political process by establishing lobbying organizations,
recruiting non-Jews as important players, funneling financial and media support to political candidates who agree with their
point of view, and providing effective leadership in government.273 Given this state of affairs, one can easily see how Jews, despite being a tiny minority of the U.S. population, have been
able to transform the country to serve their interests. It’s a story that has been played out many times in Western
history, but the possible effects now seem enormous, not only for Europeans but literally for everyone on the planet, as
Israel and its hegemonic ally restructure the politics of the world.
History also suggests that anti-Jewish
reactions develop as Jews increase their control over other peoples.274 As always, it will be fascinating to observe the dénouement.
I thank Samuel
Francis for very helpful comments on the paper. I am also grateful to an expert on Leo Strauss for his comments—many
of which were incorporated in the section on Leo Strauss. Unfortunately, at his request, he must remain anonymous. Finally,
thanks to Theodore O’Keefe for his meticulous editorial work and his monumental patience.
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4. Muravchik (2003) describes and critiques the idea of Trotsky’s influence among neoconservatives.
8. Horrigan, “Bush increases margins with AIPAC.” United Press International, May 18, 2004.
11. B. Wattenberg interview with Richard Perle, PBS, November 14, 2002 (www.pbs.org/thinktank/transcript1017.html). The entire relevant passage from the interview follows. Note Perle’s odd argument that it was not in Israel’s
interest that the U.S. invade Iraq because Saddam Hussein posed a much greater threat to Israel than the U.S.
Ben Wattenberg: As this argument has gotten
rancorous, there is also an undertone that says that these neoconservative hawks, that so many of them are Jewish. Is that
valid and how do you handle that?
Richard Perle: Well, a number are. I see Trent Lott there and maybe that’s Newt Gingrich, I’m not sure, but
by no means uniformly.
Ben Wattenberg: Well, and of course the people who are executing policy, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Don Rumsfeld,
Colin Powell, Connie Rice, they are not Jewish at last report.
Richard Perle: No, they’re not.
Well, you’re going to find a disproportionate number of Jews in any sort of intellectual undertaking.
Ben Wattenberg: On both sides.
Richard Perle: On both sides. Jews gravitate
toward that and I’ll tell you if you balance out the hawkish Jews against the dovish ones, then we are badly outnumbered,
badly outnumbered. But look, there’s clearly an undertone of anti-Semitism about it. There’s no doubt.
Wattenberg: Well, and the linkage is that this war on Iraq if it comes about would help Israel and that that’s
the hidden agenda, and that’s sort of the way that works.
Richard Perle: Well, sometimes there’s
an out and out accusation that if you take the view that I take and some others take towards Saddam Hussein, we are somehow
motivated not by the best interest of the United States but by Israel’s best interest. There’s not a logical
argument underpinning that. In fact, Israel is probably more exposed and vulnerable in the context of a war with Saddam
than we are because they’re right next door. Weapons that Saddam cannot today deliver against us could potentially
be delivered against Israel. And for a long time the Israelis themselves were very reluctant to take on Saddam Hussein.
I’ve argued this issue with Israelis. But it’s a nasty line of argument to suggest that somehow we’re confused
about where our loyalties are.
Ben Wattenberg: It’s the old dual loyalty argument.
12. Chalabi’s status with the neocons is in flux because of doubts about his true allegiances. See Dizard 2004.
13. MacDonald 1998/2002, Chs. 3, 7; Klehr 1978, 40; Liebman 1979, 527ff; Neuringer 1980, 92; Rothman & Lichter 1982, 99;
Svonkin 1997, 45, 51, 65, 71–72.
16. MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 7; Hollinger 1996, 158.
23. The Times and Iraq. New York Times, May 26, 2004, A10. Okrent (2004) notes that the story was effectively buried
by printing it on p. A10.
25. See examples in MacDonald 1998/2002, Preface to the first paperback edition.
26. Tifft & Jones 1999, 38.
27. MacDonald 2003b; Massing 2002.
33.ADL Urges Senator Hollings to Disavow Statements on Jews and the Iraq War. ADL press release, May 14, 2004;
www.adl.org/PresRele/ASUS_12/4496_12.htm. These sentiments were shortly followed by a similar assessment by the American Board of Rabbis which “drafted
a resolution demanding that Senator Hollings immediately resign his position in the Senate, and further demanded that the
Democratic Party condemn Hollings’ blatant and overt anti-Semitism, as well” (USA Today, May 24, 2004)
www.capwiz.com/usatoday/bio/userletter/?letter_id=92235631&content_dir=congressorg; the American Board of Rabbis is an Orthodox Jewish group that regards Sharon’s policies as too lenient and advocates
assassination of all PLO leaders: see www.angelfire.com/ny2/abor/ An article of mine on this issue (MacDonald 2003c), published by Vdare.com, was also said to be “anti-Semitic”
by the Southern Poverty Law Center: “Civil rights group condemns work of CSULB professor”; Daily Forty-Niner
(California State University–Long Beach) 54(119), May 16, 2004. www.csulb.edu/~d49er/archives/2004/spring/news/volLIVno119-civil.shtml
34. Daily Google-News searches from May 6, 2004 to May 29, 2004. During this period, several articles on the topic appeared
in the Forward, and there were articles in the Baltimore Jewish Times and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Summary
articles written in the Jerusalem Post and Ha'aretz more than three weeks after the incident focused on
anxiety among American Jews that Jews would be blamed for the Iraq war. (J. Zacharia, “Jews fear being blamed for Iraq
war,” Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2004; N. Guttman, Prominent U.S. Jews, Israel blamed for start of Iraq War,”
Ha'aretzMay 31, 2004).There were no articles on this topic in Hollinger-owned media in the United States.
37. Goldberg 2003; Kaplan 2003; Lind 2003; Wald 2003.
42. See MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 4.
45. Cannon was not Jewish but lived his life in a very Jewish milieu. He was married to Rose Karsner.
46. Drucker 1994, 43; “A younger, Jewish Trotskyist milieu began to form around him in New York” (35).
55. A short history of the Socialist Party USA. http://sp-usa.org/spri/sp_usa_history.htm As with everything else, there was an evolution of their views on Zionism. The Shachtmanite journal, the New International,
published two articles by Hal Draper (1956, 1957) that were quite critical of Israel; this journal ceased publication in
1958 when the Shachtmanites merged with the Socialist Party USA.
58. This led to the resignations of many and the eventual reconstruction of the Socialist Party USA with the left wing of the
59. Sims 1992, 46ff.; Massing 1987.
61. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, AEI biography: www.aei.org/scholars/filter.all,scholarID.32/scholar2.asp
63. Forward, August 20, 1999.
68. For democracy in Iraq and the Middle East. Resolution of January 2003. http://www.socialdemocrats.org/Iraq.html.
70. M. Kampelman. Trust the United Nations? Undated; available at www.socialdemocrats.org/kampelmanhtml.html as of May 2004. The article has the following description of Kampelman: Max M. Kampelman was counselor of the State Department;
U.S. ambassador to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; and ambassador and U.S. negotiator with the Soviet
Union on Nuclear and Space Arms. He is now chairman emeritus of Freedom House; the American Academy of Diplomacy; and the
Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.
72. Schlesinger 1947, 256.
73. Hook 1987, 432–460; Ehrman, 47.
75. Tucker (1999) later argued that the United States should avoid the temptations of dominion in a unipolar world. It should
attempt to spread democracy by example rather than force, and should achieve broad coalitions for its foreign policy endeavors.
76. Gerson 1996, 161–162.
78. See Ehrman 1995, 63–96. Moynihan was especially close to Norman Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, who was
Moynihan’s “unofficial advisor and writer” during his stint as UN ambassador (Ehrman 1995, 84).
81. Moynihan 1975/1996, 96.
82. See MacDonald 1998/2004, Ch. 5; MacDonald 2003.
83. See MacDonald 1998/2004, Ch. 5; MacDonald 2003.
84. Patai & Patai 1989. See discussion in MacDonald 1998/2004, Ch. 7.
87. Wisse 1981/1996, 192.
88. Wisse 1981/1996, 193.
89. Wisse 1981/1996, 193.
90. Wisse singles out Arthur Hertzberg as an example of an American Jew critical of Begin’s government. Hertzberg continues
to be a critic of Israeli policies, especially of the settlement movement. In a New York Times op-ed piece “The
price of not keeping peace” of August, 27, 2003, Hertzberg urges the United States to cease funding the expansion of
Jewish settlements while also preventing the Palestinians' access to foreign funds used for violence against Israel:
The United States must act now to disarm each side of the nasty things that
they can do to each other. We must end the threat of the settlements to a Palestinian state of the future. The Palestinian
militants must be forced to stop threatening the lives of Israelis, wherever they may be. A grand settlement is not
in sight, but the United States can lead both parties to a more livable, untidy accommodation.
91. Reviewed in MacDonald 2003.
92. See Friedman 1995, 257ff.
94. MacDonald, in press. In recent years mainstream Jewish groups such as the AJCommittee have supported some forms of affirmative
action, as in the recent University of Michigan of 2003 case.
97. Liebman 1979, 561; MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 3.
104. Francis 2004, 11–12.
105. MacDonald 1998/2002, preface to the paperback edition and Ch. 7.
106. Wattenberg 1984, 84.
111. In Kaufman 2000, 13.
114. Kaufman 2000, 295. Kaufman footnotes the last assertion with a reference to an interview with Daniel Patrick Moynihan,
July 28, 1996.
116. Kaufman 2000, 172; Waldman 2004.
117. Z. Brzezinski, in Kaufman 2000, 351.
118. Kaufman 2000, 374. Despite his strong support for Israel, Jackson drew the line at support for the Likud Party, which came
into power in 1977 with the election of Menachem Begin. Whereas the Likud policy has been to seize as much of the West Bank
as possible and relegate the Palestinians to isolated, impotent Bantustan-like enclaves, Jackson favored full sovereignty
for the Palestinians on the West Bank, except for national security and foreign policy.
120. Moynihan was expelled from the movement in 1984 because he softened his foreign policy line (Ehrman 1995, 170).
126. It’s interesting that Commentary continued to write of a Soviet threat even after the fall of the Soviet
Union, presumably because they feared a unipolar world in which Israel could not be portrayed as a vital ally of the United
States (Ehrman 1995, 175–176).
129. Kirkpatrick 1979/1996.
137. Dannhauser 1996, 160.
138. Dannhauser 1996, 169–170; italics in text. Dannhauser concludes the passage by noting, “I know for I am one
of them.” Dannhauser poses the Athens/Jerusalem dichotomy as a choice between “the flatland of modern science,
especially social science, and the fanaticism in the Mea Shaarim section of Jerusalem (incidentally, I would prefer the latter)”
139. Strauss 1962/1994;Tarcov & Pangle 1987; Holmes 1993, 61–87.
142. Himmelfarb (1974, 61): “There are many excellent teachers. They have students. Strauss had disciples.” Levine
1994, 354: “This group has the trappings of a cult. After all, there is a secret teaching and the extreme seriousness
of those who are ‘initiates.’” See also Easton 2000, 38; Drury 1997, 2.
144. Drury 1997; Holmes 1993; Tarcov & Pangle 1987, 915. Holmes summarizes this thesis as follows (74): “The good
society, on this model, consists of the sedated masses, the gentlemen rulers, the promising puppies, and the philosophers
who pursue knowledge, manipulate the gentlemen, anesthetize the people, and housebreak the most talented young.”
145. Easton 2000, 45, 183.
148. Strauss 1952, Ch. 2.
149. MacDonald 1998/2002.
150. See MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 7.
151. MacDonald 1998/2002, passim.
162. MacDonald 1998/2002, Ch. 6.
163. Hook 1987, 420: Anti-Semitism in the USSR “had a sobering effect upon intellectuals of Jewish extraction, who had
been disproportionately represented among dissidents and radicals.”
167. Saba 1984; Green 2004.
168. Dershowitz 1994; Jones 1996.
171. Krauthammer. Democratic realism: An American foreign policy for a unipolar world. Irving Kristol lecture at the
American Enterprise Institute, Feb. 10, 2004.
173. See MacDonald 1998/2002, Chaps. 7, 8.
175. See MacDonald 2003a, 2003b.
181. Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz interview with Sam Tannenhaus of Vanity Fair, May 9, 2003. United States Department
of Defense News Transcript.
182. Ephron & Lipper 2002.
190. Cuddihy 1974. See Bellow 2000, 57–58.
193. Bellow 2000, 178–179.
202. Christison & Christison 2003.
205. Mann 2004, 170; see also 79–81; 113.
206. Perle interview on BBC’s Panorama, in Lobe 2003c.
207. Findley 1989, 160; Green 2004.
215. Wilson 2004, 484; Wilson suggests that Scooter Libby or Elliott Abrams revealed that his wife, Valerie Plame was a CIA
agent in retaliation for Wilson’s failure to find evidence supporting purchase of material for nuclear weapons by
219. Besharov & Sullivan 1996, 21; Besharov apparently did not take a position as moderator of a debate between Elliott
Abrams and Seymour Martin Lipset on whether the American Jewish community could survive only as a religious community (the
Diamondback, student newspaper at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, Dec. 9, 1997; www.inform.umd.edu/News/Diamondback/1997-editions/12-December-editions/971209-Tuesday/NWS-Flagship).
Another prominent neocon, Ben Wattenberg, who is a senior fellow at AEI, is very upbeat about interracial marriage and immigration
generally—the better to create a “universal nation” (Wattenberg 2001). Wattenberg’s article notes,
with no apparent concern, that Jews have high rates of intermarriage as well.
221. See MacDonald 1998/2002, preface to the First Paperback Edition and chap. 7.
229. Dizard 2004. Dizard notes:
Why did the neocons put such enormous faith in Ahmed
Chalabi, an exile with a shady past and no standing with Iraqis? One word: Israel. They saw the invasion of Iraq as the
precondition for a reorganization of the Middle East that would solve Israel’s strategic problems, without the need
for an accommodation with either the Palestinians or the existing Arab states. Chalabi assured them that the Iraqi democracy
he would build would develop diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, and eschew Arab nationalism. Now some influential allies
believe those assurances were part of an elaborate con, and that Chalabi has betrayed his promises on Israel while cozying
up to Iranian Shia leaders.
230. Friends of Israel are turning up in the strangest places. American Conservative, May 24, 2004, 19.
232. Kwiatkowski 2004b. Hersh 2003: “‘They [the CIA] see themselves as outsiders,’ a former C.I.A. expert
who spent the past decade immersed in Iraqi-exile affairs said of the Special Plans people.”
234. Marshall 2004: “Shlomo Brom, a former Israeli intelligence officer now at the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies
at Tel Aviv University, has confirmed that Israeli intelligence played a major role in bolstering the administration’s
case for attacking Iraq. The problem, Brom maintains, is that the information was not reliable.”
235. E.g., Hersh 2003; Bamford 2004.
241. See Bamford 2004, 96–101, 138–145.
251. Rosenblum 2002. See also Milbank 2002. In a later column, Rosenblum (2003) noted,
Now [Sharansky] delivered the same message to Cheney: No matter how many conditions Bush placed on the creation
of a Palestinian state under Arafat, any such announcement would constitute a reward for two years of non-stop terror
against Israeli civilians. The normally laconic Cheney shot to attention when he heard these words. ‘But your own
government has already signed off on this,’ he told Sharansky, confirming the latter’s worst suspicions.
Sharansky nevertheless repeated, as Cheney scribbled notes, that without the removal of Arafat and the entire junta from
Tunis, the creation of an atmosphere in which Palestinians could express themselves without fear of reprisal, and the
cessation of incitement against Israel in the Palestinian schools and media peace is impossible. President Bush’s
upcoming speech had already undergone 30 drafts at that point. It was about to undergo another crucial shift based on
Sharansky’s conversation with Cheney. Two days later, on June 24, 2002, President Bush announced at the outset, ‘Peace
requires a new and different Palestinian leadership.’ He did not mention Yasir Arafat once.
253. Woodward 2004, 409–412.
254. www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter-040302.htm; other signatories include William Kristol, Gary Bauer, Jeffrey Bell, William J. Bennett, Ellen Bork, Linda Chavez, Eliot
Cohen, Midge Decter, Thomas Donnelly, Nicholas Eberstadt, Hillel Fradkin, Frank Gaffney, Jeffrey Gedmin, Reuel Marc Gerecht,
Charles Hill, Bruce P. Jackson, Donald Kagan, Robert Kagan, John Lehman, Tod Lindberg, Rich Lowry, Clifford May, Joshua Muravchik,
Martin Peretz, Richard Perle, Daniel Pipes, Norman Podhoretz, Stephen P. Rosen, Randy Scheunemann, Gary Schmitt, William
Schneider, Jr., Marshall Wittmann, R. James Woolsey.
256. Pincus & Priest 2003; Bamford 2004, 368–370.
257. Keller 2002; see also Woodward 2004, 48.
258. Lobe 2002a; Mann 2004, 208–210.
260. ZOA news release, Aug. 7, 2002. ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Israel has the greater historical,
legal, and moral right to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. At the very least, those areas should be called disputed territories,
not occupied territories, since the term ‘occupied’ clearly suggests that the ‘occupier’ has no right
to be there. We strongly applaud Secretary Rumsfeld's courageous and principled stance in distancing himself from
the ‘occupied territory’ fallacy.” www.zoa.org/pressrel2002/20020807a.htm.
269. See MacDonald 2003a.
270. Findley 1989; MacDonald 2003a.
271. See MacDonald 1998/2002, preface.
273. MacDonald, 1998/2002, chap. 7.
274. MacDonald 1998/2004.
OF THE WORD "JEW"
people suffer under the misapprehension that Jesus was a "Jew," moreover,
that he was "King of the Jews." Thus, by inference,
that the "Jews" were the
People" of the Holy Bible and so ancient possessors and modern inheritors
of the Bible Covenants gifted by Yahweh to
their forebears Abraham, Jacob and Judah.
However, this is not the case. In fact, during Christ's Mission and Passion no such
people existed called "Jews" nor indeed did the
word "Jew." In short: Jesus was NOT a
"Jew" nor was he "King of the Jews."
In fact, Jesus is referred as a "Jew" for the
first time in the New Testament in the
century; in the revised 18th century English language editions of the 14th century
first English translations of the New Testament. The etymology
of the word "Jew" is
quit clear. Although "Jew" is a modern conception its roots lie in the 3rd and 4th
centuries AD. That is, the modern English word "Jew"
is the 18th century contraction
corruption of the 4th century Latin "Iudaeus" found in St. Jerome's Vulgate Edition
and derived from the Greek word "Ioudaios."
The evolution of this can easily be seen in
the extant manuscripts from the 4th century to the 18th century, which illustrate not
the origin of the word "Jew"
found in the Latin word "Iudaeus" but also its current use in
the English language. Littered throughout these manuscripts
are the many earlier
used by various chroniclers between the 4th and the 18th century.
Thus, from the Latin "Iudaeus" to the English "Jew"
the evolution of these English forms is:
"Gyu," "Giu," "Iu," "Iuu," "Iuw," "Ieuu,"
"Ieuy," "Iwe," "Iow," "Iewe," "Ieue," "Iue,"
and then, finally, the 18th century, "Jew." Similarly, the evolution of the English
equivalents for "Jews" is:
"Giwis," "Giws," "Gyues," "Gywes," "Giwes," "Geus,"
"Iuys," "Iows," "Iouis,"
"Iews," and then, finally, in the 18th century, "Jews."