Joe Klein and the Loyalties of the Neocons

In a post to his blog for Time Magazine, Joe Klein made a point that has been obvious to many for quite some time: “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives—people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over atCommentary—plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.”

Needless to say, he was lambasted for this indiscretion. John Podhoretz, writing in the Commentary blog, labeled him “manifestly intellectually unstable”; others labeled him an anti-Semite and called for his firing from Time.

And the ADL went into its usual hysteria whenever such comments surface:

The notion that Jews with “divided loyalties” were behind the decision to go to war is reminiscent of age-old anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government, which has unfortunately gained new currency of late with public figures such as Jimmy Carter and professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt suggesting that American Jews are disloyal and that pro-Israel groups have undue influence over American foreign policy.

As Klein has noted, these attempts at silencing, character assassination, and intimidation are “happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society.”

It is not in the least surprising that there are conflicts between Jewish interests and the  interests of the wider society. The theme of Jewish disloyalty has a very long history and there are great many plausible examples where indeed Jews have been disloyal to the societies in which they reside. Nor should this be surprising given what we know about evolutionary psychology.

It seems only yesterday that Jacob Heilbrunn’s book They Knew They Were Right announced in the mainstream media that yes indeed neoconservatism is a Jewish movement. However, Heilbrunn took pains to deny that the neocons were disloyal.

The good news, then, is that even though Heilbrunn pushed the envelope a bit, he is already well behind the curve in terms of frank discussion of Jewish identities and influence in the mainstream media.

Issues that were formerly only discussed in places like The Occidental Quarterlyor The Occidental Observer are now discussed in Time Magazine,Commentary, and the Huffington Post.

The times they are indeed a-changin.