Neocon Flap Highlights Jewish Divide, that was the headline over a splendid piece of reporting for IPS (Inter Press Service) published on 30 July by Daniel Luban and Jim Lobe. They concluded that new political space is being created for the public airing of more moderate views on Middle East policy. If they are right, and I think they are, there is reason, at last, to be less than totally pessimistic about the prospects of finding a cure for the cancer at the heart of international affairs, the Palestine problem, before it consumes us all.
In the quotation above more moderate views is a euphemism for views other than those of the Zionist (not Jewish!) lobby, of which AIPAC is the most prominent public face. It was described by Luban and Lobe as the powerful lobbying group whose hawkish right-wing leadership has often defied both the views of the broader U.S. .Jewish community and the policies of Israeli governments. (In my two-volume book, Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, I quote Shimon Peres telling me way back in 1980, when he was the leader of the opposition Labour Party, that the lobby in America is not an Israel lobby. Its a Likud lobby and thats my problem.)
The excellent IPS article by Luban and Lobe is primarily a review of the controversy sparked by TIME columnist Joe Kleins blogged statement that by pushing for war on Iraq and now for a foolish assault on Iran, Jewish neo-conversatives had caused the question of divided loyalties to be asked – because what Jewish neo-conservatives pushed and are pushing for is not in Americas own best interests. (As Mearsheimer and Walt argued in great detail).
Klein was accused by the usual cast of those who support Israel right or wrong of being anti-Semitic; but he refused to back down, accusing his accusers of using charges of anti-Semitism to silence his and other criticism of neo-conservative policies. Klein said those who called him anti-Semitic were wrong. What then was he? I am anti neo-conversative, he told Luban and Lobe.
In the same article they quote MJ. Rosenberg, a former AIPAC staffer now associated with the moderate Israel Policy Forum, as saying, Although most neocons are Jews, few Jews are neocons. That is undoubtedly so, which is a tribute to the effectiveness of the few who are. Luban and Lobe also quote Rosenburg as expressing the hope that commentators would stop equating neo-conservatism with Judaism.
Indeed they should, but there is a much bigger and related imperative. As I never tire of writing and saying, commentators should stop equating Zionism with Judaism. The difference between the two, why they are total opposites, is THE key to understanding who must do what and why for justice and peace in the Middle East…