The Other McCain

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Boehlert vs. ‘Neocons’? (Nudge, Nudge)

Posted on | April 19, 2012 | 17 Comments

Ed Schultz and Eric Boehlert on MSNBC

Two weeks ago, Jeff Dunetz took note of M.J. Rosenberg’s departure from Media Matters (which I blogged about April 8 and April 10), and it’s kind of funny how sometimes when you pull a dangling thread, the whole sweater starts to unravel.

Was Dunetz onto something? Was Rosenberg merely the thread dangling from a Media Matters sweater knitted of unsavory views? Ben Shapiro decided to keep tugging at that shoddy fabric:

Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert, one of the faces of the organization, has a dicey record when it comes to Israel and the Jews. . . .
In 2002, he wrote a piece for Salon.com in which he lamented the fate of Professor Sami Al-Arian, former North American head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This is the same Al-Arian who proclaimed, “God cursed those who are sons of Israel … Those people, God made monkeys and pigs … Let us damn America, let us damn Israel, let us damn them and their allies until death.” When Al-Arian was suspended from his teaching post at Florida Atlantic University, Boehlert defended Al-Arian as an “innocent professor.”
As for mainstream media coverage of Israel – which is almost universally skewed against Israel – Boehlert thinks that the media coverage isn’t anti-Israel enough. “I don’t think it’s a surprise to suggest the Middle East conflict is essentially told through the eyes of Israel,” Boehlert said in 2006. . . .

Read the whole thing, and permit me to take the unusual (for me) step of counseling caution here. Anti-Semitism is quite nearly the most deadly accusation one can level in American politics, and ought not be applied haphazardly to every critic of Israel or every critic of U.S. Mideast policy. My own views being sufficiently ultra-Zionist to have earned me second place in Sully’s 2009 “Malkin Awards” competition, I do not insist that everyone of good faith must share my opinions.

Bibi Netanyahu? A squishy moderate!

Both coalition politics and successful governance require us to tolerate a range of opinions on any given issue. If we denounced as Jew-haters every critic of Bush-era foreign policy, we would be required to condemn, inter alia, the late Robert Novak.

Our precocious friend Ben Shapiro correctly says that Boehlert once offered a ”drumbeat” of commentary that “the press was too favorable to the Jewish State.” In this, Boehlert echoed a common theme of the anti-war Left during the Bush 43 era.

Was this actual evidence of anti-Semitism? Or was it merely evidence of the amoral opportunism of the Left, which will not hesitate to employ any vile weapon by which to achieve its aims?

Over the years, self-styled “progressives” have often played footsie with fascism, as Jonah Goldberg has amply demonstrated.

The associations of progressive heroes like Margaret Sanger with eugenics, and of Woodrow Wilson with the Ku Klux Klan, are among but a few such examples. The Left plays by its own secret rulebook, which it amends at will and without notice, so that the Left’s enemies can be denounced on Thursday for saying what the Left itself was saying on Wednesday. As I’ve often said, if it weren’t for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all.

Anyone who paid attention to the Left’s rhetoric during the Bush years could see that they were routinely guilty of transgressions that no right-winger could commit without risking the kind of ostracism visited upon Joe Sobran and Pat Buchanan, among others. Russell Kirk was once able to make a sharp jab at neoconservatives (who at times, it seemed “mistook Tel Aviv for the capital of the United States,” he said) and survive, but Kirk was then an icon of long tenure so that he was arguably bulletproof. And Kirk did not make a habit of such remarks.

When we we think we detect a “dog whistle” of anti-Semitism in someone’s rhetoric, we can confirm our suspicion by reference to their previous rhetoric. And we can monitor their future public utterances for further such code-talk. But are we trying to correct a vicious tendency, or are we merely taking scalps in a game of political payback?

Having spent the past decade with a bounty on my head — a man marked for destruction by the Left — it behooves me to urge caution on my allies in their choice of tactics. If you’re going to accuse Boehlert (or anyone else) of anti-Semitism, you had damned well better be able to make the accusation stick. Otherwise you risk undermining your credibility by “crying wolf,” and thus bolster the Left’s ability to get away with it.

Shapiro promises to follow up: “Media Matters is choc-a-bloc with MJ Rosenberg ideological clones. And that’s no coincidence.” This suggests that Shapiro’s item is but the opening salvo in one of those trademark Breitbart barrages, where as soon as the target denies the initial accusation — bam! — some previously unknown bit of evidence reinforces the original charge.

Let’s hope Team Breitbart has its targets zeroed in, and plenty of ammunition in reserve, so that we witness amazing shock-and-awe devastation when the lethal order is given: “Fire for effect.”

(Via Memeorandum, with further commentary by PJ Tatler, Israel Matzav and Jawa Report.)

 

 

RELATED: Rusty at Jawa Report observes:

[Occupy Wall Street] is premised on a conspiracy theory. That theory is that a small cabal of people — those behind the “corporations” — secretly manipulate the government and major institutions to their own advantage.
Sound familiar? Just add the word “Jews” to the mix and that, my friends, is the core belief of modern antisemitism.

“Neocons.” Nudge, nudge.

UPDATE: One of our frequent commenters expressed mystification at the significance of my “nudge, nudge” gesture. I replied in the comments but, just to clarify any possible confusion, I’ll repeat the whole thing up here:

During the Bush years, liberals began to use “neocon” in a dishonestly tendentious way, so as to contextualize the War on Terror as a sort of “Jewish thing,” as if the 9/11 attacks were somehow the fault of Israel or (nuance alert) a U.S. foreign policy that had been captured by certain “interests.”
The more sophisticated liberal spokesmen dropping these “neocon” jabs knew how to insinuate meaning without coming right out and screaming, “JOOOOZZ!”
Thus, such people reminded me of a certain type whom one occasionally meets: You’re talking about economics, politics or the culture wars, and one of these characters sidles up to the periphery of your conversation then starts intruding comments intended as bait, to see if you share his views of “those people.”
This is the nudge, nudge effect that some (not all) lefties intend when they start slinging around the term “neocon” in discussing foreign policy. “Neoconservatism,” properly understood, is something far more complex than foreign policy hawkishness, and is certainly NOT an acceptable synonym for “Republican Jews.”

It’s not my habit to throw people under the bus or to set myself up as an arbiter of “correct” opinion, and I am in favor of a conservative movement that resists the “urge to purge.” But neither can I be expected to stick around and talk with someone who starts blabbering about ”international bankers” and the “Israel lobby,” etc.

It’s a free country and I reckon no one can be compelled to like Jews, but one can dislike people without scapegoating them as a sinister force to be blamed for all the world’s woes.

 


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Comments

  • Pingback: Killing Christians: Big Meh

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    What’s this nudge nudge business? Is it okay to dislike Neocons without having to fight charges of antisemitism? Just like Obama happens to be a hard core leftist in addition to being black, Neocons tend to be liberals in addition to a great many of them though not all of them, being Jewish. Some of them were even former Trotskyists, according to what I’ve heard.

    By the way, if you look into it I think you’ll find Neocons tend to dislike the poor put-upon SoCons more than the evil “Libertarians” ever did.

  • robertstacymccain

    What’s this nudge nudge business? Is it okay to dislike Neocons without having to fight charges of antisemitism?

    During the Bush years, liberals began to use “neocon” in a dishonestly tendentious way, so as to contextualize the War on Terror as a sort of “Jewish thing,” as if the 9/11  attacks were somehow the fault of Israel or (nuance alert) a U.S. foreign policy that had been captured by certain “interests.”

    The more sophisticated liberal spokesmen dropping these “neocon” jabs knew how to insinuate meaning without coming right out and screaming, “JOOOOZZ!”

    Thus, such people reminded me of a certain type whom one occasionally meets: You’re talking about economics, politics or the culture wars, and one of these characters sidles up to the periphery of your conversation then starts intruding comments intended as bait, to see if you share his views of “those people.”

    This is the nudge, nudge effect that some (not all) lefties intend when they start slinging around the term “neocon” in discussing foreign policy. “Neonconservatism,” properly understood, is something far more complex than foreign policy hawkishness, and is certainly NOT an acceptable synonym for “Republican Jews.”

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     I guess my point is one should use caution when dropping charges of antisemitism, because there are many valid reasons to be opposed to Neocons, reasons that have nothing to do with so many of them being Jewish. I see your point as well, and agree with you, but I have also seen times when your point, legitimate though it is when used in the proper context, was nevertheless used as a hammer to hit anybody that opposed Neocon policies for any reason.

  • http://twitter.com/DaTechGuyblog Peter Ingemi

    I think that if one is going to make a “nudge nudge” case one should embed the Monty Python skit of said title.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Say no more….

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Some Neocons do abuse the charge, but most I have encountered in the Rightosphere do not.  When I’ve found one that does, I give it to the prickly bastards, good and hard. 

    One thing that makes me laugh about the implications made by the Left about Neocons is so many who proudly wear the label are not Jewish, like Donald Douglas and Bill Bennett.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Mr. Shapiro is still wet behind the ears.

  • Finrod Felagund

    A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat.
     

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

     When he’s old enough to grow hair on his testicles, I bet he will wax them.  Hard to take a lad seriously when he believes the Beatles and Stones were overrated.  Next he’ll say Sinatra wasn’t scary.

    And it’s “chockablock,” not “choc-a-bloc.”

  • http://the-classic-liberal.com/ theCL

    I got hit with charges of antisemitism for opposing both neocon ideology and the “Immanentize the Middle East Eschaton” schemes. So contrary to what my friend Bob says below, the right does indeed too often throw antisemitism charges at people they disagree with every bit as loosely as the left throws raaaaacism. It’s a cheap, convenient way to avoid much needed debate and/or uncomfortable truths. Screaming antisemite is much easier than engaging in a logical/philosophical discussion.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    OT: The great Levon Helm has gone to play The Great Gig In The Sky.

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/obit/story/2012-04-19/levon-helm-the-band-dies/54416386/1

  • Quartermaster

    The Beatles and Strolling Bones were overrated. Badly, in fact.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

     Have you ever listened to a Beatles album all the way through on a good stereo system? They were the real deal, a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. And the Stones practically redefined rock and roll.

  • Wombat_socho

     You’re right about the Beatles and wrong about the Stones, though The Who were better than both of them.

  • Pingback: Strange Bedfellows: Eric Boehleert Defends Sami Al-Arian? | Jake Finnegan

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    The Beatles were a great pop rock group.  The Stones are Rock ‘N’ Roll.

    But Led Zeppelin towers over them all as gods.