February 23, 2004

Outing the Jewish “Cabal”

Yesterday I took aim at Kalle Lasn, the editor of Adbusters magazine, for cheerleading the mayhem of World War IV.

I’m not finished with him yet.

His newest editorial is even worse than the last one. The title says it all: Why won't anyone say they are Jewish?

Let’s just pause a moment before wading into it.

It hardly matters who he means by “they” in the title. “They” are a group of people who, for whatever reason, Mr. Lasn thinks need to be “outed.” Here he is posing as the brave writer bucking the tyranny of political correctness to tell the truth that others dare not say. “They” are Jews. As if this means something important. Aha! he expects his readers to think. They’re Jews. That explains it.

“They,” by the way, are neoconservative intellectuals. Or, I should say, “they” are half the people on his list of neoconservatives. He has a tidy list of 50 people he labels as neocons. He penciled in a little dot next to all the Jewish names. At least he didn’t use a yellow star.

He admits it’s difficult to categorize neoconservatives because some of them, as he says, deny the label. Still, he doesn’t list his criteria. He just names names. Some of those on his list are not at all neoconservative. Gary Bauer? He’s a staunch religious rightist. Jonah Goldberg? He’s just a plain old conservative.

The fact that he doesn’t know a neocon from any other kind of conservative isn’t surprising. Few people do, and this vagueness is perhaps the biggest enabler of the lurid conspiracy theories out there. (If you’re unsure what neoconservatism is and if you genuinely want to know, you can read about it in the Weekly Standard from the godfather of the movement himself, Irving Kristol. The word “Jew” does not appear in his essay.)

Anyway, Mr. Lasn thinks it’s important that half the people on his list of neoconservatives are Jewish. And why does he think this is important? They “do not distinguish enough between American and Israeli interests,” he says. “For example, whose interests were they protecting in pushing for war in Iraq?”

This is one of the world’s oldest anti-Semitic slurs. For centuries Europeans suspected Jews of placing their loyalty to their ethnic “tribe” above whichever community they happened to be living in.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Mr. Lasn’s loyalty charge does not have an anti-Semitic pedigree, that he’s the first person in history to make this accusation.

It’s still awfully peculiar. Anyone who bothers to trace the ancestry of my last name will learn that my family came to America from England. Yet no one has ever accused me of disloyalty to my country because I support Britain and think of the British as allies. There are two obvious reasons for that. First of all, there isn’t much of a stigma attached to having English ancestry. More important, it’s simply a fact that Britain is an ally of the United States. So it’s perfectly normal that I personally recognize Britain as an ally and care about her interests and well-being.

But it’s also simply a fact that Israel is an ally of the United States. Most Americans, and not just Jewish Americans, sympathize with Israel. There’s nothing odd or mysterious about that. Israel is a Western democracy. And Americans naturally sympathize with Israel because she is also a victim of the Islamofascist jihad. So of course neoconservatives, Jewish or otherwise, sympathize with Israel. It would be downright bizarre if they didn’t.

All this is outside the fact that regime-change in Iraq had nothing whatever to do with advancing Israel’s foreign policy. Saddam Hussein was nowhere near the top of Israel’s list of problems. The PLO, Hamas, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, Hezbollah, the Iranian mullahcracy, and the Baathist regime in Syria are and have been far bigger problems for Israel than Iraq is or has ever been. If Israel called the shots in American foreign policy, or if our own defense team were acting out some “ethnic solidarity” adventure in the Middle East, the US would have invaded Syria, Lebanon, Iran, or the West Bank. Saddam would still be in power, and Yasser Arafat, Bashir Assad or some other tin pot jerk would be awaiting his trial instead.

Kalle Lasn isn’t left with much of an excuse for his list of Jews. He says he’s not anti-Semitic, and he very well may not be, at least not consciously. The thing is, he doesn’t need to be. Whether or not he’s the type of guy who lays awake in the middle of the night fretting about Joooooooos, or whether he’s just a left-wing hack with a kooky axe to grind, the fact remains that he’s repeating the ZOG propaganda of white supremacists. And he’s doing it in a left-wing magazine with the expectation that his readers will eat it up.

(Thanks to my old friend Karrie Higgins for pointing this out to me.)

Posted by Michael J. Totten at February 23, 2004 9:07 PM
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Winner, The 2008 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

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