‘Economist:’ analysis of Iraq war that leaves out neocons’ Jewishness is ‘deficient’

Israel/Palestine
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John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

Another sign that Walt and Mearsheimer’s analysis of the causes of the Iraq war published 6 years ago is being mainstreamed. An Economist blogger with handle “MS” has jumped into the controversy over allegations of anti-Semitism levelled at writers who had the temerity to point out that Jewish neoconservatives played a central role in the Iraq war planning.

There are, in fact, a lot of Jewish neocons… Those neocons did, in fact, press for the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. The Israeli government also generally supported the American invasion of Iraq, though it was more concerned about Iran and had misgivings about a prolonged American occupation.

Yes, it would be ridiculous, and anti-semitic, to cast the Iraq war as a conspiracy monocausally driven by a cabal of Jewish neocons and the Israeli government. But it’s entirely accurate to count neoconservative policy analyses as among the important causes of the war, to point out that the pro-Israeli sympathies of Jewish neoconservatives played a role in these analyses, and to note the support of the Israeli government and public for the invasion. In fact any analysis of the war’s causes that didn’t take these into account would be deficient.

Claims that the Jews caused the world wars through their financial conspiracies and so forth are pure fantasies with no factual base, motivated by religious bigotry and paranoid worldviews. The claim that Jewish neocons “colluded” with Israel to “cause” the Iraq war is an exaggerated way of making the point that Jewish neocons, and to a much lesser extent the Israeli government, supported the Iraq war and played a substantial role in precipitating it. The words “collude” and “cause” are over the top, but I’m not sure who exactly has used them, outside of this press release. If bloggers refer to the existence of Jewish neocons, their close ties to the Israeli government, and the consequential roles they played in causing the Iraq war, it’s preposterous to accuse them of retailing a modern version of old blood libels.

The writer says that this type of analysis has become more acceptable given the growing diversity within Jewish opinion toward Israel; that is to say, the neocons are on one side of a split.

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