At Last, Jewish Paper Calls on Jewish Community to Repudiate Neocons, Not ‘Cover Up’ for Them

US Politics
on 6 Comments

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice has published a fine piece by Paul Maltby, an English prof at West Chester University, that calls on the Jewish community to repudiate the neocons as a "betrayal" of Jewish values.

[Jonathan] Tobin [editor of the Jewish Exponent, a defender of neocons to this day] is concerned – and rightly so – to remind us that not all
neocons are Jewish. Yet surely, if he believes so much in the virtues
of neoconservatism, would he not want proudly to proclaim the leading
role of Jews in the movement? The implication is that there is
something embarrassing about the prominence of so many
Jewish neocons.. Their presence in the public domain as intellectuals
and definers of public policy is conspicuous, the names
all-too-familiar: Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Donald Kagan,
Elliott Abrams, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Lewis
Libby …the list goes on. At least 11 of the 25 signatories to the
PNAC’s “Statement of Principles” are Jewish.

Perhaps one way to address the issue of the disproportionately
large Jewish presence among the neoconservative leadership is to sweep
it under the carpet, but that kind of cover-up only abets antisemites
with their theories about Jewish plotting in high places. (Search the
Web under “Jewish neocons” and you’ll find numerous websites devoted to
this theme.) Instead, a more effective way to confront the problem
would be for Jewish community leaders to come forward and publicly
denounce neoconservative thinking as a betrayal of Jewish values.
Indeed, such a denunciation would also serve as an opportunity to
reaffirm the values on which Judaism has long prided itself: compassion
and justice.

Notice that word cover-up? Some day Yivo and the Forward will be holding forums on the blight of the neocons, who gave America the Iraq War. Could be in a year, could be in five years. But it will come. And until that day comes, the body of American Jewishness will stay owned by Israel’s response to its neighbors: militarism and occupation.

6 Responses

  1. Ed
    March 24, 2008, 11:14 pm

    "a more effective way to confront the problem would be for Jewish community leaders to come forward and publicly denounce neoconservative thinking as a betrayal of Jewish values."

    But is it? Here is an article that discusses Neoconservatism as a movement of secularized Judaism:
    A Chosen People without God–The Rise of the Neocons
    link to

    I think we need to start discussing the Jewish values inherent in Neoconservatism, and explore whether they are appropriate to extrapolate out into a movement with universalist pretensions. I think even many Jews in love with their religion might appreciate that it's a fool's errand to try to universalize particularism. This is the internal contradiction of Neoconservatism, and why it will never work. This isn't a judgment on Judaism, merely a judgment on those Jews who, out of egoism, insist upon trying to impose a Jewish construct upon the world. This, to me, demonstrates an ignorance of their own religion.

  2. Glenn Condell
    March 24, 2008, 11:51 pm

    Subtract all the Jews from neoconservatism and what's left?

    Opportunists riding the gravy train; people who don't care where the train is headed, so long as they're all right Jack. People like Gaffney and Woolsey et al are pets really – Dobermans perhaps. Israel is the glue of neoconservatism, and it's hangers-on will fly off to another host if they aren't fed enough.

  3. patrick
    March 25, 2008, 12:46 am

    "I concede that a clash of ideologies is a problem: a small minority of Islamic extremists simply hate Western culture (although this clash largely boils down to Islamic fundamentalism vs. free-market fundamentalism)." -Paul Maltby

    Maltby swings and misses at the actual reasons that Muslims hate the West, I guess Maltby hasn't read Pape or Scheuer. So for the hundreth time … Muslim anger is based on American foreign policy which includes blind support of Israel, occupation of Muslim lands, American support of corrupt dictators (Mubarak, Musharaf), etc…….

    Maltby is trying but he does not have the balls to tell the truth to his people. It's just easier to say that the Muslims hate us because we drink beer and watch Girls Gone Wild videos put out by the mensch that is Joe Francis.

  4. Jim Haygood
    March 25, 2008, 7:40 am


    "Compassion and justice shine out as core values in Jewish ethics." — Dr. Paul Maltby

    Over the long sweep of history, this statement may well be true. But the brief sixty years of Israel's existence have done more to destroy this perception than the preceding millennia of good works.

    Frankly, I had trouble suppressing guffaws of laughter upon reading this fanciful topic sentence. As long as Israel occupies neighboring lands at gunpoint, it appears absurd and counterfactual.

    Israel has been a catastrophe for Judaism. As a non-exclusive, multi-ethnic republic, it could have been the democratic showcase in the region which it claims to be. Instead, Israel's inhuman behavior has tarnished the image of Judaism more effectively than anti-semites ever could have done.

    A religious state, particularly one imposed by force, is a spectacularly bad idea. If the Mormons (who claim the religious heritage of one of the twelve tribes) shot their way into the Middle East to establish a Mormon republic near Jerusalem, would they be admired for their "compassion and justice"?

    CELEBRATE Israel's sixtieth anniversary? A more rational response would be to rend one's clothes and weep.

  5. liberal white boy
    March 25, 2008, 9:23 am

    "repudiate the neocons as a "betrayal" of Jewish values" ???

    Do Jewish values include the theft of property that is not yours? Do they include the endless oppression of people living under your control on the property you have stolen? How about baby killing is that a Jewish value? I think Palestine has given most of us a good whiff of so called Jewish values. Neocons are only part of the stink. Where have all of these progressive Jews with all of these Jewish values been the last forty years. Jewish values are beginning to look like one more fraud. Jews can sit around all day and think about how wonderful they are but in the end they were no different than Hitlers Germans. They let it happen. Ohlmert's Willing Executioners and the Cowardice and Complicity Of America's Liberal Jews
    link to

  6. American
    March 25, 2008, 11:08 am

    "Compassion and justice shine out as core values in Jewish ethics." — Dr. Paul Maltby"

    I hear this frequently.
    It seems that Jews talk about the ethics and values of Jews a great deal.

    Is this like Christians talking about their morality and ethics also? An ideal to be strived for and not necessarily an accomplished way of life?

    Also I have seen it implied that Jews are somehow at the top of the ethics pile. Somehow above all others, similiar to the evangelicals claim to being the most moral and spiritual.

    However I can't find or haven't seen any examples of this ethics and morality in actual action.

    Can anyone give me examples of the superior jewish ethics in "action"…something that shows that they are more moral as a rule or that more Jews cling to their values as compared to other groups?

    It's not something I have studied or know much about but I am leary of any ethnic or religious group that put themselves forward as being more committed to or superior in ethics or morality to other groups.

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