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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Zbig goes after the Jews

Zbigniew Brzezinski, a foreign policy adviser to the Presidential campaign of Barack Hussein Obama, has attacked the American Jewish leadership for 'McCarthyism' in their treatment of his candidate (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says that the pro-Israel lobby in the US is too powerful, while the slur of anti-Semitism is too readily used whenever its power is called into question.

Presenting a solution for the Middle East, he listed historical compromises that had to be made by Israelis and Palestinians but accused the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- the largest and most influential lobby group -- of obstructing peace efforts.

He said: "AIPAC has consistently opposed a two-state solution and a lot of members of Congress have been intimidated and I don't think that's healthy."
That sounds like something out of Walt and Mearsheimer's book on the 'all-powerful' Israel lobby, doesn't it? Then again, that shouldn't really surprise anyone, because Brzezinski defended Walt and Mearsheimer last year. But this time, Brzezinski went even further, and it will be interesting to see whether it will be enough for Obama to throw him under the bus or whether Obama will claim that Brzezinski has 'no formal role' with the campaign anyway.
"It's not unique to the Jewish community -- but there is a McCarthy-ite tendency among some people in the Jewish community," he said, referring to the Republican senator who led the anti-Communist witch hunt in the 1950s.

"They operate not by arguing but by slandering, vilifying, demonising.

They very promptly wheel out anti-Semitism. There is an element of paranoia in this inclination to view any serious attempt at a compromised peace as somehow directed against Israel."
If a 'compromised peace' were even under discussion, there might be something to talk about. But that's not what's under discussion. The 'Palestinians' have never yielded on anything in any negotiation, while people like Brzezinski and his candidate continue to expect Israel to give up everything and endanger its very existence. Here's Mr. Change on his foreign policy adviser.
Although Mr Brzezinski is not a formal day-to-day adviser to Obama campaign, he said that he talks to Mr Obama.

He wholeheartedly endorses the Illinois senator, lauding him as "head and shoulders" above his opponents. And he says he is the only candidate who understands "what is new and distinctive about our age".

In turn, Mr Obama has praised Mr Brzezinski as "someone I have learned an immense amount from", and "one of our most outstanding scholars and thinkers". They share very similar views on the folly of the Iraq war.
Over at American Thinker, Ed Lasky points out that Brzezinski's assertions about AIPAC are factually incorrect.
In fact, AIPAC does indeed support a two state solution. Congressmen Artur Davis (a Democrat) and Eric Cantor ( a Republican) are just two critics who have refuted the allegation that Congress is intimidated or pressured by the "Israel Lobby" .
Lasky also points to an op-ed by Brzezinski in Tuesday's Washington Post in which he suggests treating Iran with all carrots and no sticks.
The seemingly clever combination of the use of "sticks" and "carrots," including the frequent official hints of an American military option "remaining on the table," simply intensifies Iran's desire to have its own nuclear arsenal. Alas, such a heavy-handed "sticks" and "carrots" policy may work with donkeys but not with serious countries. The United States would have a better chance of success if the White House abandoned its threats of military action and its calls for regime change.
But Iran has been as uninterested in the carrots as it has been in the sticks, and time is running out for such a 'nuanced' approach.

At Powerline, Paul Mirengoff points out that Brzezinski does not cite a single example in which an American Jewish leader accused a critic of Israel of anti-Semitism.
Brzezinski does not appear to have cited examples of American Jews accusing Israel's critics of anti-Semitism. In my readings, I find that this charge is typically reserved for critics who actually have attacked the Jewish religion, such as Louis Farrakhan and their admirers, such as Jeremiah Wright. Brzezinski, then, appears to be engaging in the familiar dodge of responding to the charge of being anti-Israel by falsely complaining of being accused of being anti-Jewish. His intellectual dishonesty does not come as a surprise.


Normally, it is only the anti-Israel charge that I see leveled (and level myself) against strident critics of Israel such as Brzezinski. Nor is this charge made lightly. More is required than mere criticism of Israel or calls on the Israeli government to make new concessions to its enemies. That "more" is supplied when, for example, Samantha Power blames deference to Israel at least in part for the U.S. invasion of Iraq; calls for the U.S. to send a "mammoth" military force into Israeli held territory for the purpose of imposing a Palestinian state; calls, in addition, for a cut-off in U.S. aid to Israel with the money to be given to the Palestinians; and criticizes the New York Times for not sufficiently emphasizing "Israeli war crimes" in an article that had tried to correct false reports that Israel committed a massacre in Jenin.

It is improper, however, to conflate even this virulent kind of Israel bashing with anti-Semitism. One can view Israel as a very bad actor without disliking Jews. Again, I don't know of instances where the conflation has occurred and Brzezinski does not appear to have pointed to any.

When criticism of Israel is accompanied by criticism of American Jews who strongly support Israel, one arguably enters a gray area. But even harsh criticism of these Jewish Americans should not be viewed as necessarily indicating anti-Jewish animus, as opposed to animus against Jews who strongly support Israel.
The question in my mind is where to draw the line between criticism of Israel and criticism that is so virulent (as in Power's case) that it cannot but be called anti-Semitism. In my mind, when the person making the critical remarks keeps making them over and over again out of context, there's anti-Semitism underlying those remarks and not just criticism of Israel. In that regard, the definition of anti-Semitism given by Eliot Cohen when the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis first came out (also cited by Paul) is instructive:
If by anti-Semitism one means obsessive and irrationally hostile beliefs about Jews; if one accuses them of disloyalty, subversion or treachery, of having occult powers and of participating in secret combinations that manipulate institutions and governments; if one systematically selects everything unfair, ugly or wrong about Jews as individuals or a group and equally systematically suppresses any exculpatory information -- why, yes, this paper is anti-Semitic.
Does Brzezinski meet that standard? I would argue that he does. He doesn't say, "you're wrong about Obama; he's not anti-Israel. That would be a fair argument and would be supportable if we ignore everything that came before Obama's campaign and all of his foreign policy advisers. But instead, Brzezinski accuses the American Jewish leadership of McCarthyism.
Originally coined to criticize the actions of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism" later took on a more general meaning, not necessarily referring to the conduct of Joseph McCarthy alone.

During this time many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that would be declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable, or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.
In other words, Brzezinski is accusing the American Jewish community of labeling all critics of Israel as anti-Semites based on their associations (with each other?). In that, he's painting with far too broad a brush.

Gateway Pundit finds it curious that the British press broke this story and not the American press. I suspect it's because Brzezinski was in England with his old friend and boss Jimmy Carter over the weekend.

I decided to look at one lefty blog on this story because it was the first time I had seen it mentioned in a while. Unfortunately, the reaction was as disgustingly anti-Semitic as Brzezinski's original remarks without a shred of substance.

Jennifer Rubin hit the bottom line on this one.
But the question remains why Obama has had a retinue of advisors (both formal and not) like Brzezinski, McPeak, and Malley who hold views so antithetical to Obama’s supposedly unassailable record and views on Israel. You can understand how rational voters, Jewish or not, would conclude that something is amiss and wonder why Obama does not disassociate himself entirely from these people. But no, those Jews are just hung up on Obama’s name and the phony emails about Obama’s Muslim upbringing. That must be it.
Obama is swimming in so much sewerage in his campaign, I don't think he could remove it all if he tried.


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember in the good old days when people who grew older grew wiser?

Maybe there's a distinct difference between old people and old dogs.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If you liked Jimmy Carter's first term, you'll love his second term under Obama. Americans have to ask themselves if they want to relive the Carter years all over again.


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