Robert Locke, The American Conservative, and the Israel question
I was surprised to get an e-mail from The American Conservative’s
executive editor Scott McConnell, a long-time acquaintance with whom I hadn’t had any correspondence for a couple of years, for reasons that will be evident to anyone familiar with VFR. The e-mail, which apparently had been sent out to a large number of persons, concerned the relationship between TAC and the conservative writer Robert Locke. In response, I wrote an e-mail to Locke with a cc to McConnell. Locke also circulated his own reply to McConnell. Below are the three e-mails.
From: Scott McConnell firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, January 30, 2004 2:35 p.m.
Subject: Correction to Robert Locke
It has come to my attention that Robert Locke has been circulating a letter which refers to his being “fired by Paddy Buchanan for writing a pro-Israel article.” I think it desirable to set the record straight.
Robert Locke was never employed by The American Conservative. He has written one freelance article for us and was working on another one. He posted a piece on VDARE advocating Israeli ethnic cleansing of the West Bank, written with a glee and specificity in its glorification of power and violence that I, frankly, found rather creepy. I wrote him a letter telling him that whatever our editorial boundaries were, this piece had transgressed them, and that I was no longer comfortable working with him as a writer. I offered him a kill fee for the research he had already done for his article in progress. “Paddy Buchanan” (I assume he means our editor Pat Buchanan) almost certainly has no idea who Robert Locke is.
That really is all there is to the story. I could add that we have published (and will publish again) passionate pro-Israel pieces—as well as pieces sharply critical of the Sharon/Likud government. But it is highly unlikely we will publish pieces calling for ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.
The American Conservative
From: Lawrence Auster
To: Robert Locke
cc: Scott McConnell
Dear Robert Locke,
After receiving Scott McConnell’s e-mail about you, I re-read your article from July 2003 at vdare on population transfer of Arabs from the West Bank. As you know, I support population transfer, as the only way Israel can live and survive.
The main point of McConnell’s note is to correct you for saying that you were “fired” at TAC. It’s true that to say you were “fired” falsely suggests you had a job at TAC. But since McConnell told you that because of your article on transfer published at a different website, you would no longer be invited to publish at TAC, thus permanently ending any possible future relationship between TAC and you, “fired,” though not accurate, is not wholly inaccurate either, though a different choice of words would have been better. As for whether it was “Paddy” Buchanan or “Scotty” McConnell who personally called off TAC’s relationship with you, that’s a triviality.
What is truly significant about McConnell’s e-mail is his notion, as editor of TAC, of what he regards as acceptable and unacceptable. TAC will publish any hate-filled, ranting, bent-out-of-shape, anti-American, anti-Israel fruitcake, such as Justin Raimondo or that British America-hater Neil Clark who said that our belief in the existence of Moslem terrorists is simply a false image manufactured by “neocons” (see an article I wrote on Clark here), but it regards a logically argued article published by you at a different website on what Israel needs to do to survive as so far out and extreme that it will no longer publish any article by you on any subject, even in areas where it agrees with you.
Of course, a publication can associate with whom it wants to associate. That is not political correctness, but the legitimate right of association. But how TAC has chosen to exercise that right in this case, as well as its entire editorial content since it began publishing two years ago, has shown it to be a friend to Moslem terrorists and an enemy to Israel.
P.S. Also, I do not agree with Scott McConnell that your article is “written with a glee and specificity in its glorification of power and violence.” You were laying out in clear, logical, unadorned terms a specific set of graduated steps to get the Arabs to remove themselves from west of the Jordan. I doubt very much that it was the graphic nature of your proposals that offended Scott; it was the fact that you made the proposal at all, and were serious about it.
Since I wrote this, it has come to my attention that I was easier on McConnell that I should have been. It seems that McConnell has been complaining about the fact that Doug Bandow, a libertarian from the Cato Institute who has been regularly writing wacky antiwar articles for TAC, has been closed out of some conservative publications because of his antiwar stance. So it turns out that McConnell feels that other publications do not have the right to reject writers whose views offend them, but TAC does.
Finally, here is Robert Locke’s response to Scott McConnell.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 31, 2004 12:18 AM | Send
Thank you for confirming the essentials of my story. In answer to your apparent imputation of dishonesty on my part:
I have never represented myself as a former permanent employee of The American Conservative. I did, however, write for you, twice in partnership with another author and once as myself, under an informal but real expectation that this would be a continuing relationship. The best evidence of this is the fact that you sent me an e-mail terminating this relationship, which would not have made any sense had there been no existing expectation of a relationship in the first place. Therefore my use of the term “fired,” though imprecise, is not inappropriate.
I have never represented myself as having had any personal relations with Mr. Buchanan. But since he is the editor of your magazine, any authority you enjoy as his subordinate to terminate a relationship with a writer is presumptively delegated from him. I only used his name, rather than yours, because people know who he is and where he stands on the issue in question. I have used your name when I am discussing this situation with people who know who you are.
By the way, the descendants of the Mannahatta Indians who were ethnically cleansed to make way for your co-op apartment on the Upper East Side are still around. Perhaps you could clarify your opposition to ethnic cleansing by giving it back to them?
I’ve been wondering what was going on with Locke and TAC. I really miss his column at Frontpage, and I’ve seen very few new writings from him since he quit (was fired?) from Frontpage. Somebody please pay that man to write more (Auster and Kalb too).
Robert left Frontpage Magazine over a contractual dispute regarding his serializing of Eamon Fingleton’s works.
I do not believe that it would be proper for Mr. Auster or myself to comment further on that matter.
FWIW/ I agree with Lawrence Auster’s letter to Robert Locke. Much of what Pat Buchannan has to say is fine with me, such as immigration and “free trade”, but not his anti Israel stance.
While reading Mr. Auster’s entry, I kept thinking “Indians.” I was therefore quite pleased to see Mr. Locke mention this at the end of his letter. The double standard among the Israel-haters perplexes me on this one.
William Pierce for instance constantly harped on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. In one piece he stated: “Whenever Abu Nidal’s troops would strike, machine-gunning Israeli tourists at an airport or bombing some Jewish facility in another country … I always cheered. Abu Nidal is not some crazed murderer who likes to kill people. He is a Palestinian patriot fighting for his people and for his country …” He felt that Nidal was justified because Israel had stolen his family’s orange groves.
Yet in his video presentation, “America Is A Changing Country,” he proudly remarks that in America, “We killed our native population,” as a picture of an Indian is displayed.
What am I missing here? Why is Israel attacked for actions on a far lesser scale than what we did? Why is our treatment of the Indians in turn glorified, when in too many cases our actions lacked any of the justification Israel has for hers? What makes the Arabs so much more worthy in the eyes of some than the American Indian?
Because the Arabs are fighting the Jews. Once again, it’s one standard for Israel, and another for the whole rest of the world.
And by the way, does this mean that TAC would oppose deporting illegal immigrants out of our country?
The “What about the Indians?” question is a litmus test that can applied with great effectiveness to paleocon or far-right anti-Israelites, who by their response to the question, or by their lack of response to it, consistently reveal themselves to be, not principled critics of Israel, but unprincipled bigoted enemies of Israel.
I suppose one could say that killing the Indians was largely unjust and wrong, but that we are the beneficiaries of it, it was a long time ago, and we’ve made some efforts to make amends with the existing Indian populations.
A proposal to ethnically cleanse Palis now, at this late stage in the game, where there has actually been some (dare I say it) progress in certain notions of human rights would be wrong and we’d be capable of stopping it. I think it would also be fair to say that the 1948 refugees just need to suck it up, but to propose continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians without some kind of compensation would not be fair, nor would it be stable. It’s not a question of double standards; it’s a question of what is acceptable today versus 150 years ago.
I don’t think that it’s beyond the pale to propose this sort of thing. I always thought that was the point of the fence and the give the Palestinians the rump pre-67 state with settlers moving out. The best analogy is probably the exchange of Greeks and Turks in the 1920s. So long as it was orderly, it would probably be the best and most stable solution. The bigger problems are the irredentists who don’t accept Israel in the 1948 borders. Those freaks should all be exterminated obviously.
In other words the principle of what Burke calls prescription trumps absolute justice in the case of long-settled matters whether it’s the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians or the 1848 destruction of various Indian tribes. (I don’t accept all the pro-Indian propaganda; in many cases we were helping friendly Indians deal with aggressive and genocidal tribes like the Commanche. They had there fair share of treaties broken first as well).
Just to be specific as to what I’m talking about here, I’ve asked right-wingers who were very hostile to Israel over Israel’s pushing out the Arabs and insisted that Israel give in to all the Arab demands, “If American Indians demanded that the U.S. give back to them all the land that was taken, while using suicide bombings to underscore the demand, would you agree to it?” And they would say things like, “No, I wouldn’t give into the Indian demands, but that has no effect on my views of Israel, because I don’t believe in a universal morality.”
But of course, if they don’t believe in a universal morality, by what standard do they condemn Israel? The answer, of course, is that they simply hate Israel.
I don’t disagree with your last point, but I think there can be other more legitiamte reasons for having some sympathy for the Palestinians. I think one could not hate Israel, and not want to give into Indian terrorists in the US, and still recognize that justice and Isreal’s best interst might require some sort of negotiated, political solution. One could also recognize some injustice in the 1948 expulsions of Palestinians. I can’t say I lose much sleep over amnestities in Brazil in the Seventies for leftist terrorists, for example. Sometimes social peace and stability trumps justice. And it’s certainly legitimate (or at least a sensible distinction) to say that new injustices matter more than 150 year old ones, and may require more dramatic solutions than older more settled offenses.
I think another distinction is that today, in America, we’re the Indians. Our way of life is threatned by newcomers that have no interest in understanding our society, but instead have an ineterst in displacing it. And we see ourselves in the Palestinians whose way of life has been wildly disrupted by massive immigration and the creation of an au courant state, esp. in 1948 when the Jewish population probably tripled in several months if not more. Newcomers that hate us, and make no effort to understand and appreciate our culture, want to displace us and set up a new type of multicultural/hispanicized America. We rightly are rankled by this turn of events and can have some sympathy with Palestinians who see half their country taken away by a massive wave of illegal Jewish immigration just as Palestinian national consciousness was getting off the ground in 1948.
The Jews are more like the Indians in thise respect insofar as the 2000 year old crime of the Romans and a more recent crime of the Indian swas being avenged by taking over land from Arabs that had nothing to do with either event, just as modern-day Americans are not responsible for the 150 year old crimes committed against the Indians.
that should be “more recent crime of the Europeans, i.e., the Holocaust” in the last paragraph above.
I have obviously not been talking here about people who have “some sympathy for the Palestinians.” I’ve been talking about people who speak with great resentment of Israel as a monstrous oppressor, as a uniquely blameworthy and hateful state in the modern world.
As for my own view of the Palestinnians, as I’ve said before, if they ever had a right to their own polity west of the Jordan, they’ve long since abrogated it through their own behavior. Any other country in the history of the world who had faced what Israel faces with the Palestinians, would have expelled them long ago, and no one would have gainsaid it. It is the combination of European anti-Semitism, Arab oil power, modern liberalism, Israel’s own liberalism, and Israel’s dependence on the U.S., that have all helped create this unending nightmare.
I guess I was rising to defend the honor of conservatives that are balanced on this issue and are willing to entertain the question of the justice of the Palestinians and the injustices of the Israelis. I specifically wanted to show that this affinity almost certainly has something to do with certain parallels between our own situation involving massive politicized immigration.
Mr. Auster nails it as usual. How comes it that American conservatives should wring their hands with such melting sympathy for a people who kill Americans for being Americans, and capered for joy on 9/11/01? Are there any other bloodthirsty foes of the United States with whom their sentiments are in such accord?
For the sake of clarity, put the word “any” in front of “American conservatives” in my post above.
Mr. Auster writes:
“As for my own view of the Palestinnians, as I’ve said before, if they ever had a right to their own polity west of the Jordan, they’ve long since abrogated it through their own behavior. Any other country in the history of the world who had faced what Israel faces with the Palestinians, would have expelled them long ago, and no one would have gainsaid it. It is the combination of European anti-Semitism, Arab oil power, modern liberalism, Israel’s own liberalism, and Israel’s dependence on the U.S., that have all helped create this unending nightmare.”
At the risk of sounding redundant all I can say is Brilliant.
I guess I run in circles where charges of anti-semitism are thrown around more liberally than the “there is no objective morality” of the nihilist right. I think that’s why I quit subscribing to Chronicles about 4 years ago. It became repetitive and too clever by half.
roach’s dismissal of the Indian/Palestinian comparison is not well-taken. I chose my words carefully in that there were indeed occassions where American military action was justified, and there were indeed occassions where one or another Indian nation broke a treaty provision. But in too many other cases we did what we did simply out of greed for land and resources, and for no other reason.
Now we have a vast continent, much of it illegally obtained and _technically_ occupied, (if our word had meant anything above spit,) while Israel holds a land base smaller than New Jersey — and further territorial concessions are demanded that would effectively make her borders indefensible.
roach says we’ve tried to make amends to the Indians. Windowdressing! Israel has offered far more concessions than we ever made in disputes with the Indians, which were nearly always settled, finally, with our bullets. The U.S. respects their national sovereignty in only a token manner, billions in promised funds have been misappropriated by the BIA, while many Indians live in Third World poverty, with the highest rates of unemployment and the worst educational facilities in the country. The only economic means we have ‘permitted’ them are gambling casinos, while in the past several years we’ve invaded their territories to confiscate their industrial hemp crops, always reminding them who has the power.
The Palestinians have 250,000,000 Arab brethren, who advocate for them, (albeit as their political pawns,) who enjoy representation in the U.N. No Indian nation has any such representation. The Iroquois Confederacy almost became a member of the League of Nations until Britain shut that down in a hurry, but that’s as far as they ever got.
There remain issues of legitimate grievance, such as the forced relocation of Indians at Big Mountain, which are as likely to make the news as the incursions of Mexican paramilitary units across our borders. Nobody considers that many Indians wish to remain who they are, with what little they have left. With the exception of Ganienkeh in upstate N.Y., we’ve given them back nothing to which they have a moral and legal claim. And we just dismiss it all as, “Oh, well that was soooo long ago.”
Great. Then maybe if Israel expels the Palestinians tomorrow, it’ll be in OK, in retrospect, in about 150 years! Meanwhile, there are Indian nations who have a far greater — and current — grievance than any Palestinian. European man had no historical claim to or continuing presence on this continent. The Jews have such a claim, and have been continuously present in the Holy Land for 4,000 years.
Clearly, by any measure of rational analysis, Israel is justified in her positions and actions, only at times not doing enough or offering too much, while we stand, yesterday and today, in no position to be pointing the finger, especially when at the end of the day, it’s all about our hunger for another resource — o-i-l.
To Mssrs. Shrewsbury, Auster, and Le Fevre:
Brilliantly stated - Touche! On another thread, mention was made of Paul Gottfried’s comment pertaining to the hypocrisy of some Jewish neocons and liberals over the national question and how it has driven some Paleoconservatives into an irrational hatred of Israel. I think Mr. Gottfired is onto something here. PJB and other Paleos have departed the world of rational discourse when it comes to Israel - even to the point that one of them (was it McConnell?) wrote a Christmas message describing the Virgin Mary (a member of the Israeli royal line) as a Palestinian woman! I sincerely wish that these Paleos would “snap out of it”! Supporting Israel’s absolute right to nationhood is the only rational position there is from a conservative point of view - the only one consistent with the idea that nations are worth preserving at all.
I’ve never seen a right-winger make such an impassioned case for the white man’s guilt vis à vis the Indians as Mr. LeFevre has done here, but in the current context it makes complete sense. :-)
To build this country, whites had to take it. Of course, it wasn’t simply an outright military conquest, it was a gradual process, sometimes military, sometimes involving settlers moving slowly or rapidly into Indian lands, including lands that had earlier been promised to the Indians, sometimes necessary as an immediate matter of survival. But whatever the rights and wrongs of each particular chapter in this saga, the underlying reality was that the two peoples were not compatible. To make a land for the white man’s civilization, the Indians had to be moved aside. White Americans, even when they felt for the tragedy of what happened to the Indians, never regretted this process or felt that it would have been better, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, to have left this vast continent as a game preserve.
But some of the same Americans who today take for granted the white takeover of this continent, see the creation of modern Israel—involving at first the legal Jewish purchase of lands and building of farms and cities in a God-forsaken corner of the Ottoman empire, followed by a total and violent Arab rejectionism which, if the Jews were to survive it, could only be met by pushing the Arabs back and dispossessing from some parts of that land, followed by the continued “brutal” “Nazi-like” “occupation” of today, which, if the Israelis were not doing it, they’d be mass-murdered and blown up left and right until their state was in ruins—as a horrible shocking crime by the Jews about which these American rightists never get tired expressing their sense of moral horror.
As I’ve said many times, the only plausible explanation for this spectacular double standard is bigotry. Whether you want to call it bigotry against Jews or bigotry against Israel, it’s still bigotry.
The comparison between the Israeli-Palestinian and Indian situation is rather imprecise.
1. The Arabs are not indigenous to 1921 Palestine.
They invaded in 628. The oldest continuous inhabitants are the Jews and Samaritans, not the Ishmaelites.
2. There is not state for Amerindians. There is a state comprised of 75% of 1921 Palestine, set aside for the Arabs: the Kigdom of Jordan.
Of course, none of this mean much to the left.
As for the nationalist right, selling out Israel will endanger everyone else. Every arguement for the “Palestinian” Arabs can be made for Mexicans.
It is no coincidence that Aztlanistas support the PLO.
The Indian/Palestinian issue is also a “pre/post Geneva Convention” issue.
Until the Geneva convention was signed by, basically all, countries in the world, there was only moral condemnation for settling one’s citizens in conquered land. There was, on the other side, the moral blessing of “manifest destiny” etc.
Israel herself was brought into being, basically West of the 1967 line, by the vote of the UN in 1948. Her legality is basically beyond doubt as far as almost all nations are concerned. Soon after independence, Israel signed the Geneva Convention which forbids settling one’s citizens in conquered land.
There is no proscription against occupying conquered land… Israel is perfectly justified in occupying Jeruselem and the West Bank so long as terrorism continues, or, indeed indefinately for any reason; but she is not justified in settling her citizens in land conquered by force… until a treaty has been negotiated with the representatives of the conquered land.
The justification for the settlements is religious; a justification which is not accepted these days by any nation… probably even, legally, by Israel.
It seems clear to me that if Israel withdrew the settlers, built the wall on the 1967 borders, and continued the occupation until satisfactory arrangements had been codified in a treaty… that there would be a fruitful peace very quickly.
But those Israelis who have a religious belief in a greater Israel stand in the way.
We should cease justifying Israel’s modern behavior by behaviors practiced before WWII.
Today, the chief offences, besides Israels, are China’s settlements in Tibet. Fortunately for us, the Tibetans are pacifists and not terrorists, so we are able to ignore that injustice.
Well, no comparison is ever “precise.” ;-) But I don’t think Ron is drawing the most useful analogy here either. To respond to both points:
1. “The Arabs are not indigenous to 1921 Palestine.”
That’s part of the very point I was making. The Jews have a history in the Land, (and the Arabs do not,) which the white man did not have in America, therefore the Jews have a justification for their claim to the land which the white man did not have here.
2. “There is not state for Amerindians. There is a state … set aside for the Arabs … Jordan.”
A more expanded point to make is that there was NEVER a NATION of “Palestine.” Since the ancient conquest of Canaan, and prior to Trans-Jordan, there was never a non-Jewish national sovereignty within the boundaries of the old Mandate; it was always under the control of a larger, imperial power or caliphate. Thus, when the Palestinians talk of how their ‘nation’ was stolen, this is pure and utter fallacy.
The Indians most assuredly DID have sovereignties here, of which the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy is to me the most impressive. It was, and is, a constitutional republic, and had, and has still, a defined national land base — though there really is only one such national territory (as opposed to ‘reservation’) in the U.S., which is Ganienkeh.
But this, again, is part of the larger point I’m making here. The fact is, WE ACKNOWLEDGED the national, territorial boundaries of numerous Indian nations in treaties, which were made NATION TO NATION, and treaties are supposed to fall under our definition of the Supreme Law of the Land. It is in this context that our subsequent acts of invasion and conquest of lands to which we had no historical claim must be understood.
Nothing that Israel has done can be likened to this in any moral or legal framework. That is my point. I am making a comparison of background, context and circumstances with the conclusion that anyone who accepts the legitimacy of the United States, including what we like to consider their territoriality proper, has no business questioning the legitimacy of Israel and no moral authority to criticize her actions for the defense of her nation and people.
This is a good and original argument that Mr. LeFevre is presenting. He’s not just saying that America’s actions vis à vis the Indians were morally equivalent to Israel’s actions vis à vis the Arabs, and therefore that people who accept America’s nationhood while demonizing Israel’s are engaged in a double standard. He’s saying that America’s actions were significantly MORE objectionable than Israel’s. So, what we’re seeing from the anti-Israelites is worse than a mere double standard. Perhaps we need a new term for this phenomenon.
Mr. Hume ignores a few key points. First, regarding the so-called “Occupied Territories” — to whom did they ever really belong in the first place? After the British exited and Israel declared independence, followed by massive Arab invasion, Jordan occupied the West Bank and Egypt Occupied the Gaza Strip. Both such occupations were illegal in the first place.
Since Mr. Hume does not question the occupation of the territories under the circumstances, who then should be be considered their true representatives, and why? And why is it that Jews should not be allowed to settle there, in the lands of their fathers? Arab ‘settlements’ remain in Israel, known commonly as ‘cities.’ But there should be no Jews in the West Bank of Gaza?
Most of the Arab nations are already _Judenrein_, having driven them out after 1948. But there should be no Jews in the West Bank and Gaza?
It is equally absurd to suggest that only religious considerations are in play in the Jewish Settlements. Prior to ‘67, Israel had to defend a boundary line that narrowed to within 11 miles, which is just impossible. There are certainly valid strategic reasons for tiny Israel to retain control of those territories.
On the other hand, Mr. Hume ignores the religious component to the Mohammedan claims to the Holy Land, as if that is of no consequence when it is in fact the driving force behind it. The Arabs seek a foothold in that land only as a prerequisite to pushing the Jews into the sea.
Lastly, I’m glad Mr. Hume recognized the injustice of China’s invasion and occupation of Tibet, a nation that had not threatened China, or invaded China, or posed even a remote strategic threat to China. But that’s not why we ignore it. It’s because China is big, and a big trading partner, and Tibet doesn’t have 250,000,000 brethren sitting on a sea of oil that we need.
I’m coming to this thread late, but wanted to add a short note to Mr. LeFevre’s first comment. William Pierce, a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi and author of the Turner Diaries, a celebration of genocide, is not hypocritical in praising the murder of both Jews and Indians. Like the original Nazis, he favored the mass murder of Jews and indigenes, and is (temporarily, perhaps) allied with the Arabs. But surely there exist better examples of hypocritical paleoconservatives than Pierce.
To Agricola: It was the comparative rationale to which I was referring, about people defending their homeland, etc. etc. The fact that Dr. Pierce was an extremist, neo-Nazi, is partly why I chose him as my first example. I think it’s appropriate to show how this uberdouble-standard of so many Paleos echoes such men as Dr. Pierce, the point being that in BOTH cases there is no sense of logic or consistency to it; it’s entirely about anti-Jewish hatred and bigotry — and it’s only in that sense that it could be called ‘not hypocritical.’
Mr. Hume should look up the definition of “occupied territory.”
For a territory to be occupied by a country, it must first have been under the control of a sovereign nation that had legal title to it. The West Bank was under the control of Jordan, which did not have legal title to it. The same is true for Egypt and Gaza.
The only territory technically occupied by Israel is the Golan Heights, which were given to Syria in 1923. Of course the same League of Nations agreements also set aside ALL of Palestine west of the Jordan river as a Jewish state.
If Syrian ownership of the Golan Heights is legitimate, then Israel has full title to the West Bank and Gaza.
you may argue that this arraingement eneded with the 1947 UN plan for Palestine. However, the Arab states rejected that agreement, making it void.
Israel’s borders were defined by war in 1949 and in 1967. There is no difference.
I did want to add one more thing. Most “settlers” live on land owned by Jews prior to 1947. This includes the JEWISH QUARTER of the Old City in Jerusalem, the Etzion block around Jerusalem, the communities in Hebron, Schechem, and Beit El.
The religious fanatics are simply retaking land taken by conquest by the Arab armies. If the Arab conquest is legitimate, why not the Israeli one?
Excellent addenda by Ron.
As a primer on the so-called “Occupied” Territories, here is the classic article by Dore Gold: http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp470.htm Mr. Gold explains persuasively why these should really be referred as “Disputed” Territories — though I think that is still being much too kind.
It is obvious that the West Bank was in the possession of someone in 1967. A battle had to be fought in order for Israel to occupy it.
That entity was Jordan. Israel defeated Jordan and took over the land. The Geneva convention asserts that land may not be annexed by war. It really does not matter how a nation came into possession of the land. Jordan would still be in possession of that land had Israel not fought the war. After the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, Jordan ceded its rights in the West Bank to the PLO.
The questions of who occupied the land first in ancient history cannot be settled, too many groups have a reasonable claim. A line has to be drawn somewhere. The signing of the Geneva Convention is a useful such line. By all of us agreeing to this we don’t have to worry about Mexico invading the US, or the Indians threatening to take back the US.
So long as Israel’s settlers are in the West Bank, so long will Al Qaeda have an extremely high percentage of passive and active supporters among all Muslims. If the US supports Israel, Al Qaeda will come after us.
Fortunately, we do not support China to the degree that we support Israel, and, as I noted, the Tibetans, nor any allied group are not inclined to terrorism toward either China or overseas Chinese, or supporters of overseas Chinese.
It would be one thing, which I would support, to support Israel if her existence were threatened. But it is another thing to support her settlements, illegal under the Geneva Convention.
Israel’s existence is fully assured by her ability to occupy the West Bank. The settlements are unnecessary.
I may note that after WWII Russia, France, England and the US occupied Germany but did not settle there. The US is occupying Iraq, but will not settle there.
Also, Mr LeFevre asks why Jews should not be allowed to settle in the West Bank.
I don’t think that there would be any problem if they were willing to be Palestinian citizens. Historically, Palestine has been very secular with a very significant Christian component. And there are a few Palestinian Jews. For example, Arafat’s wife is Christian as are many of the well-known Palestinian international figures.
The problem is when Jews want to live in Palestine and be governed by Israel.
“The Geneva convention asserts that land may not be annexed by war. It really does not matter how a nation came into possession of the land.”
And this is why there continues to be the same worldwide outcry against Vietnam, Turkish Cyprus, the creation of Bangladesh, and postwar Polish annexation of parts of Germany and Russian annexation of parts of Poland?
Paul C.s examples all occured before the respective nations signed the (Fourth, Fifth) part of the Geneva Convention… except for Vietnam.
Both S. and N. Vietnam agreed that they should comprise one nation. They just disagreed on the form of government.
I think that Tibet is the best example for Paul C’s case and it is clear that the Geneva convention is not upheld unless there is pressure from the oppressed… and perhaps not even then. But that does not mean that upholding the Geneva Convention is not the right thing to do if it is possible; and if it is also very much in the US’s advantage that it be upheld.
Perhaps Robert Hume is lodged on the word “signed”. I don’t know. I do know that the Turkish invasion of Cyprus took place in the summer of 1974. And the creation of Bangladesh took place in 1971, because India, in concert with the Soviet Union, ousted the Pakistanis from East Pakistan. Meanwhile, of course, Israel gained control of the “West Bank” in 1967.
I proved Mr Hume wrong on the point of international law vis-a-vis the disputed territories.
Jordan did not legally contol the West Bank, although it did settle it. Israel captured the West Bank after Jordan attacked Israel. The territory remains disputed. That the UN is being hypocritical does not mean that we should rewrite international law.
As far as the claim that the “occupation” is the cause of the violence, I wonder when Mr. Hume started to payy attention. The PLO was founded in 1964, 3 years before the Six Day War. The goal was and remains the destruction of Israel.
Of course, Arab violence against Jews began in the 1920’s and was focused not on new communities, but on three-thousand year old ones, like Hebron.
There used to be a large number of Arabized Christians but their numbers have steadily fallen since the advent of Arab nationalism and the spread of the Islamic Brotherhood.
If you will note, Arafat’s wife WAS Christian. Suha converted to Islam.
It seems to me that Mr. Hume’s perspective has been written by the NY Times and other liberal internationalist pr organs.
There is no true analogy to the Israeli-Arab situation.
I was hoping Ron would respond to Mr. Hume’s outrageous nonsense before I had to.
As far as the Disputed Territories are concerned, (though I still think that’s allowing too much), I will rest my case on the arguments made by Mr. Gold in the link I offered above.
But since the topic of this thread really concerns the prospect of transfer, and the obvious double standard that is applied to Israel, let me follow up by reminding (or informing) Mr. Hume of this fact: that following the liberation of Kuwait, over 400,000 Palestinians were effectively _expelled_ from that country:
Now question: Where’s the outcry?
Where’s the outrage?
Where’s the constant reminder? Where are the demands for the “right of return”?
Where are the advocates of these displaced Arabs?
When was the last time anyone even HEARD about it? Probably the same time we heard about Black September, or the machine-gunning of the Palestinians in Raffiah by the Egyptian military during the first uprising.
It’s only because Israel is a JEWISH nation that there is any controversy here at all!
My thoughts on Israel:
I don’t see why people keep discussing transfer to Jordan. We don’t want Jordan taken over by Palestinians.
It seems to me that Iraq is a much more logical place to transfer them, now that Iraq is occupied by a country that is relatively friendly to Israel.
When I emailed this to Robert Locke, he emailed me back that it wouldn’t work, because we needed the moral weight of the idea that “Jordan is Palestine.” He did not, however, address the issue of whether they would take over Jordan.
I can even see a method by which we can cause a lot of Palestinians to self-transfer. The Palestinians are mostly, I think, allies of the Sunni in Iraq. We can inform the Sunnis of Iraq that we are going to give in to Al-Sistani on some level, and allow demographics to rule Iraq. The Sunnis will be allowed, however, to import as many people from other countries as they desire.
It seems to me that under this scenario, the Sunnis would take in a lot of Palestinians from Jordan as well as from Israel. (I think a lot of Palestinians would just as soon leave Israel if anyone would take them). They would even work at constructing new homes for the 90,000 or so Palestinians in Iraq displaced by returning Iraqi exiles to keep them there. It’s either that or welcome to “Shiites-get-revenge-
If the Sunnis would only take in Sunni Palestinians, well, that would still get rid of a lot of Palestinians, who I think are mostly Sunni. In any case, any remaining Palestinians in Israel would be a much smaller number, who could be gotten rid of more easily (especially if Jordan cleared out its Palestinians, that would take the pressure off it so it could accept more).
This would also have the benefit of irony, as the method of Palestinians relocation would be similar to the method Israel used to get its population (import as many people as possible so you will have enough to keep control of your area!)
I am a subscriber to the American Conservative, and in general I find it to be a good magazine, although I disagree with it on the issue of Israel.
A few thoughts, though:
It is possible that Scott McConnell dumped Robert Locke mainly as a sop to those who were upset that TAC refuses to publish work by Joseph Sobran (who, unlike Pat Buchanan, I do find to be antisemitic, which is especially sad because so much of what he writes is very insightful when he isn’t discussing Israel, and he could be a powerhouse if he gave up his hang-up).
Otehr than the hypocrisy of some neocons that Carl mentioned, I think that two other reasons so many paleoconservatives dislike Israel are:
(a) It is, or is perceived to be, a major cause for American intervention, we give Israel a lot of aid (comparatively) and to some extent our aid to Egypt is to pacify it vis-a-vis Israel.
(b) The fact that they perceive our entire Middle East policy as relating to Israel’s security needs, including our recent war in Iraq and proposed future regime changes throughout the Middle East.
On the latter point, I don’t think that this is the actual case in regards to our policy, but I think that it is the perception. And that is, I hate to say, to a great extent the fauly of a lot of pro-war, pro-Israel writers (more on that below).
I personally take an Ilana-Mercer-like stance on the Middle East: Pro-Israel and anti-intervention. I think that if the neocons realize their goal of conquering the Middle East, we will eventually get around to turning Israel into a subservient satellite state.
However (and I think Paul Gottfried mentioned this), there are a large number of pro-war columnists who quite obviously see one of the major argumetns for the war being that Israel would be made more secure. Joseph Farah’s statement that we should conquer (not just spark revolution in) Syria partly because it houses HizbAllah, or David Frum’s statement that HizbAllah is the greatest terror threat, rather than Al Qaeda, or any statements that the war was justified because of Saddam’s payments to suicide bombers, do very little to dispel the myth that we went to war on Israel’s behalf. It also doesn’t help when Ariel Sharon publicly states which nations (specifically Iran) should be next on America’s list for regime change.
To some extent, I suppose, many paleocons dislike Israel simply because the neocons like it.
“To some extent, I suppose, many paleocons dislike Israel simply because the neocons like it.”
It think that’s true. It’s a relativistic position based on resentment, not on truth. The friend of my enemy is my enemy. When a significant number of paleos and Buchananites embraced this attitude, they ceased being moral political men, and consigned themselves to political irrelevancy.
“So, what we’re seeing from the anti-Israelites is worse than a mere double standard. Perhaps we need a new term for this phenomenon.”
Help me out here.
From what I’ve read in TAC and on sites like antiwar.com, there are myriad examples of unfair deference to the Israeli government and to AIPAC. Examples that I’ve read include:
-the pardoning of Jewish fugitive criminal Marc Rich purportedly after lobbying by the Israelis
-the assault (w/ many deaths) on the USS Liberty in the ‘67 Arab-Israeli war. the site usslibertyinquiry.com lays out alot of data which deserves a thorough reply. Apparently, the Israeli gov’t regard perpetrators of the attack as heroes
-the massive spy operation & theft of US National security secrets by Jonathan Pollard. Apparently the Israeli gov’t continue to regard him as a hero and have sought his release. It is probable that if he were of a different ethnicity that he’d have been executed by now
-the dual role played by the likes of Richard Perle in providing defence dossiers to the Israeli gov’t then turning around and heading the US Defence Policy board. Surely, there is a dual loyalty here that shouldn’t be winked at.
Anyway Lawrence I leave it to you. Please shed a little light for me.
The nature of Chris’s questions, and the mentality they reveal, are such that they are not worth replying to. Someone who offers something like this, “the pardoning of Jewish fugitive criminal Marc Rich purportedly after lobbying by the Israelis,” as a supposed proof of an “unfair deference” to Jews—an “unfair deference” which somehow disproves or cancels out the vicious anti-Israelism that is rife on today’s right and left, as discussed earlier in this thread, is very close to anti-Semitism.
Chris’s complaints about Jonathan Pollard make that charge just about definitive. It seems to have escaped Chris’s attention that Pollard has been in a U.S. federal prison for many many years and the U.S. government has rejected all pleas by Israel to release him. But Chris says that if it weren’t for the “unfair deference” that the U.S. shows to Jews, Pollard would have been executed. Absurd. No spy has been executed in this country since the Rosenbergs—Jews, by the way, who were sentenced by a Jewish judge.
So now we know the real gripes of the anti-Israelites: they fantasize that but for Pollard’s Jewishness, he would have been executed. Yes, this really is an injustice, outrage, and “double standard.” It should certainly make any fair minded person very angry at those Jews. In fact, it’s so horrible that it justifies people taking the side of the Moslem mass murderers who are seeking to destroy Israel.
Calm down. I am merely airing out stuff I’ve read here & there. I was assuming you’d be far more knowledgeable than I about the items I posted. Your point about Pollard seems reasonable enough - I didn’t know that Rosenburgs were the last spies to be sentenced to death on US soil.
However, I am still searching for more information on the USS Liberty & the other stuff. If you simply regard these things as unworthy of discussion, then fine, I’ll go elsewhere for answers.
When you say “apparently” and “reportedly” but provide no substantiation, yet speak as if you believe the statements to be true, you come across as someone willing to believe any charge against the Israelis and the Jews. If you don’t actually believe the things you are posting, perhaps you should communicate that more clearly.
As for Pollard, just search around on the web for “Walker family spy scandal” and “Aldrich Ames”. I think that any sane person will conclude that their espionage was far worse than Jonathan Pollard’s, and none of them were executed.
The evidence that the pilots who bombed the USS Liberty are regarded as heroes is exactly what?
What defense dossiers did Richard Perle provide to the Israeli government, and when?
Marc Rich was pardoned after significant donations from his wife and himself. Where is the evidence that the Israeli government was involved?
Chris wrote: “However, I am still searching for more information on the USS Liberty & the other stuff.”
Here are a few resources on that:
The first, in particular, concerns recently released documents by the NSA.
Exactly why Israel, at such a critical time in her history, in need of support and friendship more than ever, would deliberately attack and destroy a ship of the United States, who were and are her best and strongest friend, is something I haven’t figured out anyway. At best, it’s extremely unlikely; at worst, slandorous; in between, trite nonsense.
To answer Chris - at least partially:
No person has been tried and executed for treason in recent decades, despite more than sufficient evidence to convict. As Mr. Auster mentioned, there’s Aldrich Ames (whose treason resulted in the deaths of a number of US operatives), the Walkers, Jane Fonda, and most recently John Walker Lindh. Treason is viewed by the ruling oligarchs as an arcane idea that has no meaning. Pollard is nothing special. In fact, his crime is less severe (though still serious) than many of the others mentioned (who aren’t Jewish).
The Marc Rich charge has no validity either. Though it is true that the Israeli government lobbied for a pardon, it is much more likely that Clinton was influenced by the large sums of campaign cash donated by Rich’s ex-wife Denise. At the time, there were several Jewish commentators who expressed utter disgust with both Rich and Clinton for this lurid episode.
The USS Liberty incident is very troubling, mainly because of the considerable effort expended by our own government to sweep the affair under the rug. The testimony of the actual survivors directly contradicts claims made by both the Israeli and American governments. The survivors are far more credible than the sorry parade of so-called experts put forth by the government. The attack was carried out for a full 90 minutes without a break by Israeli aircraft and naval forces. The only explanation I’ve seen that makes some sense is that a faction of the Israeli military decided to carry out the attack because the Liberty (an intelligence vessel) was aware of some activity - perhaps something to do with nuclear weapons - that they wished to remain secret, even at the cost of endangering US/Israeli relations. It is almost impossible that the attack was an accident, a simple case of mistaken identity .
The behavior of the Johnston adminsitration was nothing short of utterly disgraceful, and suggests a level of corruption comparable to that of the Clinton administration. At any rate, the most recent government report (from the 90s, authored by a Federal judge whose name was Kristol) was yet another attempt to spin the problem away. I’ve also read that the Liberty discovered Israeli army units were carrying out atrocities against Egyptian prisoners in violation of the Geneva convention (having POWs dig their own graves and summarily executing them), though it’s not clear why this would rise to the level of state secrets to be guarded at all costs. It would probably be best if both governments came clean about what happened - and why, as it really is a festering sore. However, to be fair, it is the behavior of American gentiles (Johnston, Rusk, et al) which is really the worst. There are undoubtedly other instances in which our government officials old out the very lives of their own people for cash. That’s why John Adams warned that our system of government would work only for a people with moral character.
As bad as the Liberty incident was, I don’t see how it alters the general fact that Israel is the only reliable ally we have in the region. There was also no response apart from dilpomatic protests from the US when an Iraqi fighter attacked a US destroyer with an Exocet missile back in the 1980s when Saddam was our ostensible ally against Iran. The Reagan administration at least didn’t completely lie about that incident, by contrast.
Thank you Clark, Joel & Carl. I am persuaded that I was wrong on the issues of Marc Rich & Jonathan Pollard. The USS Liberty issue will require alot more reading on my part. WRT the “hero” issue…this was from an antiwar.com column citing the UK Guardian as its source, i.e. after the incident,
“No one was ever court-martialed, reduced in rank or even reprimanded. Israel chose instead to honor motor torpedo boat 203, which fired the deadly torpedo at the Liberty. The ship’s wheel and bell were placed on prominent display at the naval museum, among the maritime artifacts of which the Israeli navy was most proud.”
Mea culpa. In retrospect, they may just be memorializing the torpedo boat, and the naval museum display is simply neutral wrt the actions of the sailors on that day. I don’t know.
WRT the status of Pollard within Israeli gov’t circles, my use of the word “hero” here stems from another article (I will attempt to find that tonight).
WRT the defense strategy that Perle gave to Prime Minister Netanyahu, it was a 1996 action plan entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”, coauthored w/ D Feith & D Wurmser. By contrast, do you know of any Americans involved w/ the executive branch that have authored reports for the Brits on how to deal with the IRA? If so, maybe Perle’s actions are beyond reproach, and in this new world order, questions of dual loyalty are passe.
Overall though, I would have thought that Lawrence would be more measured in his tone. I think VFR is one of the best websites available to conservatives, and certainly one of the few where open discussion is possible on delicate issues.
Lastly, for all the faults of Buchanan, it is worth remembering that he did say this,
“The Israeli people are America’s friends and have a right to peace and secure borders. We should help them secure these rights. As a nation, we have made a moral commitment, endorsed by half a dozen presidents, which Americans wish to honor, not to permit these people who have suffered much to see their country overrun and destroyed. And we must honor this commitment”
With regard to the advice that Richard Perle purportedly gave the Israeli government in 1996 on how to defend Israel, Myles, formerly known as Chris, writes: “By contrast, do you know of any Americans involved w/ the executive branch that have authored reports for the Brits on how to deal with the IRA? If so, maybe Perle’s actions are beyond reproach, and in this new world order, questions of dual loyalty are passe.”
I wonder if Chris/Myles ever heard of the Marquis de Lafayette? He was a French aristocrat who gave important financial, military, and poltical assistance to the Americans in the War of Independence. Many other notable foreigners helped America at that time. The notion that there is something objectionable in a citizen of one country helping the government or people of another country, especially during a war or emergency, is perverse; or, rather, it is a further instance of the double standard that is continually directed against Israel and Jews by people who claim not to be anti-Jewish.
Also, at the time Perle gave this purported advice to the Israeli government, he had not been working for the U.S. government since the end of the Reagan administration eight years earlier. However, if, as a U.S. official, he had given defense advice to Israel, that would be in no way out of the ordinary, as (this will shock Myles/Chris to hear) Israel and the U.S. happen to be allies, and the U.S. is committed to the survival of Israel which is continually threatened.
As far as my stern tone toward Chris or Myles is concerned, I don’t see any reason yet to retract it.
Perhaps part of the reason the west gives Israel so many double standards is that western countries had a large role in the re-creation of Israel, and so they feel that it is their creature and they can dictate to it.
I will say that it would not surprise me if Israeli spies are spying on the US, but US spies are probably also spying on Israel. How can allies spy on each other? Simple. I doubt that any two countries on the globe that are ostensibly allies actually trust each other.
I also remember hearing someplace that France supplied Israel with some material or knowledge they needed to make nuclear weapons (I have nothing against Israel having nuclear arms, btw). If true, this does IMO reduce the supposed blight of French antisemitism.
Finally, I disagree with P Murgos that it is the US’s responsibility to defeat Israel’s enemies (does he mean that we need to conquer the entie Muslim world and run it?) and furthermore believe that less American involvement in the Israeli/Palestinian and other Israeli/Arab conflicts would benefit both Israel and the US. US aid to Israel, IMO, tends to hold Israel back and to empower Israeli socialists to keep Israel from progressing to a free-market economy. A loss of aid might force the Israelis to divert some of their subsidies to military spending instead.
Thanks for the reply. Pardon the confusion on my using two names - both are middle names & I used Myles on another discussion board. The perception of Pollard that I noted is from a piece I first read on michaelsavage.com. Found it again at: www.mideastfacts.com/mrgls_pollard.html
Granted my used of the word hero is unwarranted. More accurate to say that he had “good intentions” in the view of some in the Israeli gov’t. You note the example of of French assistance to the American colonies in 1776 - can’t you find a more recent example, say within the last 100 years? Sure, people officially acting on behalf of the US gov’t can give assistance to an ally. Perle was essentially acting under the auspices of a think tank (I assume) in 1996 when assisting Netanyahu. Can you imagine the outcry if someone like John O’Sullivan, who apparently was a Margaret Thatcher advisor in the early 80s, was appointed by Bush to the cabinet?
Two other thoughts -
1) Others have noted that Buchanan was not critical of Israel until 1990 or so. Might he have had a bitter quarrel with someone (Abrams or Perle ?) in the Reagan White Hs that festered - maybe in resentment he blamed that persons ethnicity for blocking his influence with Reagan
2) You have noted before that a common grievance of anti-Isael paleocons is that is that the media forbids criticism of Israel or criticism of AIPAC, etc. But, you contend this is bogus since John McLaughlin, Bob Novak & Pat Buchanan often speak critically of Israel and are not censored.
While this is true, it is only 3 examples out of a media pool of hundreds. It could be argued that these guys are left as “token critics” whose very existence can be used to conceal a greater effort towards censorship & conformity.
“Perle was essentially acting under the auspices of a think tank (I assume) in 1996 when assisting Netanyahu. Can you imagine the outcry if someone like John O’Sullivan, who apparently was a Margaret Thatcher advisor in the early 80s, was appointed by Bush to the cabinet?”
The problem of influence is a general one. For example, a person may work in a certain industry, and then he is appointed to the cabinet, or he may have represented a certain business interest, and then he is appointed to the cabinet. It is up to common sense and the political process to determine if there is improper influence in any given case. Yet Chris jumps on the fact that Perle purportedly gave advice to the Israeli government in ‘96, and then five years later served in a non-governmental advisory capacity to the Defense Department (NOT in an official government position, let alone the cabinet), as something presumptively objectionable and even sinister. I don’t know whether it is objectionable or not. When two countries are allies and have many connections between them, it is not surprising that such a thing would happen. Maybe it is improper, maybe it isn’t, I don’t know. But it seems to me that Chris M. only notices the problem of possible improper influence, and then jumps to huge conclusions about it, when it involves Jews and Israel.
Also, I must say that the way Richard Perle has been made a demon figure by the anti-war right is bizarre and reeks of anti-Semitism. Perle played an enormous role as assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan fighting the last stages of the Cold War. In every Cold War controversy in the ’80s, he was the intellectual heart and soul of the administration, making the best arguments against the left in defense of administration policy. Frankly he has a lot of credit in my book for the great contributions he made then. That his name along with the name of Wolfowitz has now been turned into a symbol of evil in the mouth of the anti-war right discredits the anti-war right, not Perle.
In the interest of clear communication, let me say that when someone writes that Richard Perle provided defense dossiers to the Israeli government, it seems that the claim is that he took dossiers from the U.S. Department of Defense and gave them to Israel, which would be a crime. Hence, I challenged the statement. If you want to say that he was a consultant to the Israeli government on its defense matters, say it. If I write a computer program for someone, I don’t say I “provided” them with a program, which makes it sound like the program already existed and I just gave it to them, perhaps for money; I say I “created” or “wrote” the program for them.
As to the request for more recent examples than the Marquis de Lafayette, many Americans have gone so far as to go fight on behalf of other countries in wars that did not involve the USA. For example, Americans fought on both sides of the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and the Flying Tigers were Americans who were encouraged by our government to volunteer for service in China before Pearl Harbor. Other Americans were upset that we were neutral in the early years of World War II and enlisted in the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, taking the flying skills that had been developed at U.S. military expense in the 1930s with them. Other Americans joined the Canadian armed forces in 1939-1941, when Canada (as part of the British Commonwealth) was fighting against Hitler and Mussolini. Even more controversially, Charles Lindbergh was free to travel to Nazi Germany and openly admire their wonderful system of government, as the USA was officially neutral at that time. I know of no government objection that was raised to any of this.
I was under the impression that it was Gulf War I that soured Buchanan on Israel.
“Also, I must say that the way Richard Perle has been made a demon figure by the anti-war right is bizarre and reeks of anti-Semitism.”
How is it bizarre for anti-interventionists to demonize someone who thinks we should intervene to topple nearly every government in the Middle East? They don’t look anymore highly at James Woolsey or Victor Davis Hanson, both of whom are Gentiles (at least I assume so by their anglican-sounding names).
Michael Ledeen is also one of the most frequently demonized neocons, (for his excessive utopianism, which Mr. Auster hascommented on), although I do not know if he is Jewish or not.
The reason that the antiwar crowd has so much vituperation for Perle, or for that matter for Norman “World War IV” Podhoretz is because of their grand interventionist visions.
Mr. Jose writes: “How is it bizarre for anti-interventionists to demonize someone who thinks we should intervene to topple nearly every government in the Middle East?”
I don’t think Mr. Jose realizes what he’s confessing about the anti-war right when he says this. Is it normal and desirable in the United States of America to DEMONIZE people with whom we have policy disagreements?
I’ve seen Podhoretz propose the most ambitious scheme of having the U.S. military topple several Mideast regimes. I’ve criticized him strongly for that, in an article in FrontPage and elsewhere. I didn’t DEMONIZE him for it.
I’m not aware of Perle having proposed anything like what Podhoretz proposed, though I haven’t seen his new book co-written with David Frum.
The fact that so many people on the anti-war right, one, demonize people with whom they disagree, and two, don’t see anything objectionable about that, is precisely what’s wrong with the anti-war right.
Also, Michael Ledeen is Jewish.
True, it is not a good idea not to demonize people (other than the obvious exceptions such as Pol Pot and Hitler), and although I may have done so occasionally, I do try not to do so.
I do agree that the way that Perle has been made such a demon figure is lamentable and shows how political discourse has deteriorated in this country.
However, I do not see it as antisemitic, nor do I find the demonization of Richard Perle especially bizarre. He has a reputation for being very hawkish, as I understand it his vision is not dissimilar to Mr. Podhoretz’s (although I could be wrong). If things are going to deteriorate into vituperation, Perle, dubbed “the Prince of Darkness” by, I think, Henry Kissinger, would not exactly be a surprising target for anti-war people.
I read antiwar.com a lot, and I do think that Justin Raimondo is very acerbic and catty toward people with whom he disagrees. Of course, to be fair, I see a lot of that with some FrontPageMag writers, including a tendency to brand anyone against the Iraq war as a traitor.
[side note: Perhaps the fact that you (Mr. Auster) and antiwar.com’s Alan Bock tend to avoid demonization is why I respect you so much more than some other writers on your respective sites.]
[2nd side note: although this doesn’t relate to the tendencies of the writers, the tendency of many of the posters to the FPM comment board to demonize all disagreement is why I stopped posting there].
Other prominent members of the pro-war right have also tended to demonize, as with David Frum’s castigation of antiwar conservatives as “unpatriotic,” or Jack Wheeler’s NewsMax column where he calls Bob Barr “a paid whore for the ACLU.”
I think the problem with lack of civility is not confined to the anti-war right, it is a general malaise in current political writing in general.
Mr. Jose writes:
“I do agree that the way that Perle has been made such a demon figure is lamentable and shows how political discourse has deteriorated in this country.”
But then he writes:
” … nor do I find the demonization of Richard Perle especially bizarre. He has a reputation for being very hawkish, as I understand it his vision is not dissimilar to Mr. Podhoretz’s (although I could be wrong). If things are going to deteriorate into vituperation, Perle, dubbed the Prince of Darkness by, I think, Henry Kissinger, would not exactly be a surprising target for anti-war people.”
So, Mr. Jose finds the demonization of Perle lamentable and a sign of deterioration, but then he turns around and finds it understandable, or at least not bizarre or surprising. This does not scan. When a person finds something understandable, that means he finds it _reasonable_. People do not ordinarily denounce things that they find reasonable. Mr. Jose has to figure out what he thinks on this subject.
Furthermore, the reasons he finds the demonization of Perle not bizarre or surprising is that
- “He has a reputation for being very hawkish, as I understand it”
- “his vision is not dissimilar to Mr. Podhoretz’s (although I could be wrong).”
- “Perle, dubbed the Prince of Darkness by, I think, Henry Kissinger, would not exactly be a surprising target for anti-war people.”
Each one of these “reasons” is based on no facts at all, but only on a reputation for hawkishness, a reputation for having similar views to Podhoretz, and a reputation for being the Prince of Darkness, though he’s not sure who originally called him that or why. Not a single fact.
I’m not sure where Mr. Jose is coming from exactly, but at the very least I think we’re seeing here an example of what happens when people participate in a mental atmosphere or a political circle where certain notions are simply taken for granted as being true, and everyone in that circle just repeats them. Since there is no objective basis, the justification must be circular. Thus Mr. Jose argues that someone has called Perle a prince of darkness, and therefore, he concludes, it’s not surprising that people demonize him.
Mr. Jose has got to be a little more rigorous in his thinking.
Dear Mr. Auster:
Could you please explain to me how Mr. Perle’s demonization is “bizarre.”
Most antiwar writers that I have read consider him ultra-hawkish and so I assumed that they demonized him because they found his views objectionable, even immoral. They also believed that his ideas had an audience in the Bush administration, which presumably led to resentment.
I don’t know enough about Perle to say whether either impression is true. It is very clear, however, that most antiwar writers whom I have read who dislike Perle cite these as the reasons.
Do you feel that the demonization of Perle is bizarre because he is not hawkish, because his ideas are not influential, because none of the antiwar writers who criticize him actually know anything about him, or because demonizing an opponent is bizarre per se?
I feel that you’re sincere but I’m somewhat boggled by your question. Do you really not know that demonizing people with whom one disagrees about foreign or domestic policy is not the normal way of politics in this country? … Or at least it didn’t used to be. Maybe the politics of Terry McCauliffe and Justin Raimondo are the norm now, and I’m the one who’s out of step.
“So, Mr. Jose finds the demonization of Perle lamentable and a sign of deterioration, but then he turns around and finds it understandable, or at least not bizarre or surprising. This does not scan. When a person finds something understandable, that means he finds it _reasonable_. People do not ordinarily denounce things that they find reasonable. Mr. Jose has to figure out what he thinks on this subject.”
I know what I think. I find the demonization of Richard Perle to be objectionable, but not bizarre. Unless bizarre and objectionable are synonyms, I do not see the contradiction.
With all due respect, I think that Mr. Auster’s line of reasoning is weak because words such as understandable have different connotations, and in translating “not bizarre” to “understandable” to “reasonable” to, in essence, unobjectionable (“People do not ordinarily denounce things that they find reasonable” suggests to me that “reasonable” is taken to mean “unobjectionable” in this context), Auster uses two different connotations of “understandable” (namely, “comprehensible,” and “logical”) and two different connotations of reasonable (“logical” and “condonable”), thus shifting the meaning.
To say that the demonization of Richard Perle is unsurprising or not bizarre (i.e. it is comprehensible) is different than saying that I do not find it objectionable (i.e. that I agree with the premises and find the logic to be flawless and therefore agree with the conclusion).
I would like to correct a statement I made about the reasons for Mr. Locke leaving FPM.
The contractual dispute was about the serialization of Srdja Trifkovic’s Sword of the Prophet.
Hey, RonL, there may be a reason that it’s hard to keep it straight about why Locke left FPM. Many people would assume it was because of the article at the following URL:
At the very least, Horowitz had to publicly distance himself from Locke after the article ran.
Hey, RonL, there may be good reason why it’s hard to keep the story straight about Locke leaving FPM. Many people would think it was because of the article at the following URL:
At the very least, Horowitz had to publicly distance himself from Locke after the article ran.
In fact, the departure of Locke from Front Page was initiated by Locke himself over disagreements he was having with Horowitz.
The posted link to the nypress.com article is pretty amazing. Some liberal nitwit seems to think that he is a conservative, even though he occasionally gets a clue that he is sounding just like a liberal. And he repeatedly misinterprets Locke’s replies.
With “conservatives” like that, who needs liberals?
Hey, RonL, there may be good reason why it’s hard to keep the story straight about Locke leaving FPM. Many people would think it was because of the article at the following URL:
At the very least, Horowitz had to publicly distance himself from Locke after the article ran.