Gottfried on paleocons and Israel

In an odd piece at Alt-Right, Paul Gottfried criticizes the paleo right’s war on Israel. I’ve never seen him speak so strongly on that point before. In fact, I’ve never seen him speak strongly on that point at all.

In the current piece, after making his usual denunciations of the neocons and the pro-Israel Christians, he writes:

The Old Right, which FOX and the neoconservatives successfully shoved out of their movement, is at least equally extreme on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Whether one reads Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, Paul Craig Roberts, or any issue of The American Conservative, the pro-Palestinian stance expressed by these advocates is over the top.

Here the Israelis are to blame for any violence that erupts in their country or on the West Bank, because they are racists and imperialists. The Israelis are imagined to be exclusively at fault whenever a peace initiative fails; and by giving Palestinian organizations what they want, we can supposedly defuse the terrorist threat to the U.S. And, oh yes, our state department only acts with Israeli approval.

Now over the years Gottfried’s usual approach on paleocon anti-Israelism—usually in comments and e-mails, not in articles—has been to make some pro forma remark to the effect that “I support Israel, I don’t agree with my fellow paleocons on Israel,” and then not say anything more about the subject. I do not off-hand remember seeing him take an actual, forceful stand in print against the anti-Israel paleocons with whom he always tells his correspondents he disagrees.

But here he criticizes the anti-Israel paleocons in a by-lined article, and, even more amazing, he suggests that they are as bad as the neocons, declaring that the paleo right “is at least equally extreme on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” as the neocons. Since the neocons are the devil in Gottfried’s world, for him to imply an equivalent badness of neocons and paleocons is just wild.

How do we make sense of this? We make sense of it by realizing that everything Gottfried writes is wild, since his writing consists in his veering from article to article, indulging his emotions of the moment. The one rock in his universe, his sole unchanging conviction,

constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament

is his belief in his horrible primal victimhood at the hands of the neocons. Thus he recently said that his support for anti-Semites was justified because what the neocons had done to him personally, destroying his career blah blah blah, was so much worse than anything the anti-Semites have done. So he supports anti-Semites, and he also supports Israel. This is where an intellectual ends up when raw personal emotion is his guide, and when no one in his world ever criticizes him for it or holds him to minimal intellectual standards.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 02, 2010 12:04 PM | Send

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