Kristol’s declaration should force media to acknowledge, Israel is at core of neoconservatism

on 32 Comments

Here are two superb pieces on neoconservatism, its ascension and its central concern, Israel. First, Jim Lobe at lobelog:

For those, particularly in the timid or intimidated U.S. foreign-policy elite, who still pretend or somehow make themselves believe that Israel is not absolutely central to the neo-conservative worldview, I commend this week’s Thanksgiving editorial by Bill Kristol, scion of one of the movement’s two founding families, in The Weekly Standard, entitled “The West Fights Back”. While it deserves to be read — and deconstructed — in full, here’s the meat:

“For what the West stands against is terror—whether the terror of modern secular totalitarianism or the terror of an older, and now revitalized, religious fanaticism. From the Great Terrors of Stalin and Hitler to the attacks on New York and Tel Aviv, and on Madrid, Bali, and Mumbai, terrorists of all stripes know who their enemies are. They attack across the world and kill Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike—but they grasp that the centers of resistance, the nations that stand most squarely in their path, are the United States and Israel.

“And so these two very different nations—Christian and Jewish, large and small, new world and old (though the new world nation is older than its newly reborn old world counterpart)—find themselves allied. More than allied: They find themselves joined at the hip in a brotherhood that is more than a diplomatic or political or military alliance. Everyone senses that the ties are deeper than those of mere allies. Israelis know that if the United States fails, so shall Israel. Americans sense, in the words of Eric Hoffer, ‘as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.’”

This argument has been around for some time, but it’s not something that neo-cons and their allies like to talk about too openly lest they be accused, in a very literal sense, of dual loyalty — that is, both to the U.S. and to Israel.  Of course, Kristol co-founded the thoroughly obnoxious Emergency Committee for Israel two years ago. And it was his Project for a New American Century (which morphed in 1009 into the Foreign Policy Initiative, subsequently becoming Romney’s neo-con brain trust) that pushed precisely the same line back in its post-9/11 heyday: even as U.S. troops were pouring into Iraq for what would be a disastrous adventure, Kristol and his fellow-neo-cons were advising Bush that “Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight.” …

The point here is “Kristol” clear: On foreign policy issues relevant to both countries, the U.S. and Israel should be “joined at the hip”, even in ways that other historic U.S. allies, like Britain or Canada or France are not or never can be.  This is Kristol’s vision; this is his goal. If Bibi Netanyahu wants to expand settlements, invade Gaza, attack Iran, the U.S. should remain, in his words, “loyal and steadfast.”

Again, I will leave it to others (hopefully our own Daniel Luban) to deconstruct Kristol’s latest meditation on Western civilization, modern liberalism, Leo Strauss, Israeli democracy, the restoration by the “Almighty” of the Jewish homeland, and the relationship of Thanksgiving to Hebraicism. But to the degree that the Kristol family, now headed by Bill, has played a leading role in the neo-conservative movement over the last more than 40 years, I think it’s way past time for the centrality of Israel to the movement’s foreign-policy worldview to be openly recognized, acknowledged, and discussed by the foreign-policy elite, as well as a public that is sick and tired of Middle Eastern wars.

Note the reference to dual loyalty. This is what allowed the Democratic Party’s Israel lobby to separate from the Republican Israel lobby in the campaign– over the question of whether attacking Iran was in the US’s interest. It isn’t. And then the election helped to maroon the neoconservatives.

Now here is Scott McConnell at The American Conservative reflecting on the ten year anniversary of the magazine and the triumph of the neoconservatives, which he also links with the Israel lobby:

Realists, including those with Republican leanings, remained influential outside Washington, in the major universities: in the fall of 2002, several dozen prominent international relations scholars published an advertisement decrying the rush towards war. But they lacked Beltway power. Unlike their neocon rivals, they had no network of think tanks and echo-chamber outfits, no Fox News or talk radio to disseminate their views, no columnists to advance their ideas or undermine their opponents’. Rather like the vanished WASP establishment to which many of them were culturally and temperamentally linked, realists seemed ill-suited to the contemporary rules of political conflict. But if the realist retreat was bad for the country, it would help secure TAC [American Consrvative]’s philosophical foundation.

…In 1990, when Buchanan made an off-the-cuff remark on “The McLaughlin Group” that Capitol Hill was “Israeli-occupied territory,” it was seized upon by his foes as evidence of anti-Semitism. To speak in such a way was to break the most serious of taboos. Since then, two of America’s leading political scientists, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, have published The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which systematically explored the phenomenon Buchanan alluded to—and became a national and international bestseller. Tom Friedman, the bellwether centrist New York Times columnist, has written that Benjamin Netanyahu’s ovations in Congress are bought and paid for by the Israel lobby, and while some people complained, there was wider acknowledgment that he was simply stating a fact. That neoconservatism and the Israel lobby are now openly and widely discussed inside and outside the beltway is a major victory.

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32 Responses

  1. Krauss
    November 26, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Ultimately the rise of the neocons must be seen as the victory of money and dedication over what was a haphazard structure of idealists and realists.

    You can’t get away from Israel – and Zionism is a central ambition of modern day establishment Jewry(and by establishment I mean by financial and political status – think right-wing hedge fund guys like Dan Loeb or Julian Singer on Wall St or politically connected insiders like Dave Cohen at Comcast who hosts fundraisers for Obama).

    Simply put, if you buy up all the magazines and stack them with your people, you will win. Artists and intellectuals have always, throughout history, needed patrons. And if the patrons have decided what kind of cultural stream that they wish to see, that will happen.

    I’m also interested, as always, to the(admittedly, increasingly less relevant) WASP-Jewish angle.

    Take Weekly Standard. Murdoch owns it. Now why does he do that?

    Murdoch isn’t ‘conservative’. He’s libertarian. He is libertarian because it is good for business. More profits for him. On all social issues the guy is not very different from a San Francisco liberal. He goes after the nativist right in the states.

    He has a non-white wife, he supports amnesty, as well as increased immigration.

    Yet, there is a single exception. He, a non-Jew, supports an aggressive and racial ethnocentric state far away from his cultural background. Why? That is a very important question.
    Why does Murdoch do it?

    It’s often said on this site, and I think it is true, that if you don’t support Zionism in the élite echelons of American media, your career is finished. It’s one of those unspoken rules. It’s recognized by observation. Of course, those days are slowly, slowly coming to an end now. But the change is glacial.

    Nonetheless, when Murdoch started going into America by the late 70s, early 80s, a shrewd businessman like him probably knew very well what he needed to do to gain influence.

    As always, there must be a sociological discussion here about Jewish achievement and ambition post-WWII America but that discussion has been, on this site at least, been extensively discussed already.

    The other part of the WASP-Jewish angle is the undeniable fact that so many WASP billionaires simply lack political ambition. Take a guy like T Boone Pickens. He’s a natural gas billionaire. He has literally showered his own alma mater(some state college in Middle America) with money for their football teams.

    If you take a guy like Haim Saban and make the calculations you start to understand that it isn’t actually that expensive to make the investments into politics as some people may think. If you focus on the Democratic party and makes sure that they remain Likudnik, you maybe have to spend about $100 million dollars per decade. If your annual return on investment is about 20 million that’s about half your income.

    You pool with a few other rich buddies and you got the base covered for decades.

    There’s plenty of WASPs who could buy a lot of influence but they seem weirdly unable to do so. The liberals are going for noble issues like environmental concerns, gay marriage and other left-wing pet projects. The conservatives are pouring their cash into anti-abortion, pro-creationist as well as tons of lobbying. As we saw in the election, particularly with Rove’s roving disaster, a lot of that money is terribly badly spent.

    The Koch brothers are several dozens of times richer than Saban, yet their political influence is lower. And that is because the more powerful you are, the less the media criticizes you because you have friends in high places. The Koch brothers don’t have a lot of friends in high places.

    Sheldon Adelson was also flying under the radar for a long time, but the election sort of forced the issue.

    Nonetheless, remember how the main Democratic Jewish group backed off from Adelson after the communal leaders lashed out at them? This is another advantage, there’s no such ethnocentrism among the WASPs. You won’t see people run out to defend the Kochs based on culture or ethnicity, just if they’re paid or they think they can get paid in the future.

    So all of this is intertwined; Israel as a central concern is a Jewish concern, ultimately. The blabber about evangelicals don’t matter. If they were powerful, all of the media would be tipping on their toes on issues like abortion. The evangelicals are a fig leaf.

    For all these reasons, I think that if we are to untangle the often uncritical support of Zionismin the U.S. MSM, these topics are inevitably going to be broached if we are honest and serious. But I’m confused. Weren’t these topics banned from this site? Yet I see them returning again(not that I mind!).

    Which way is it?

    • Rusty Pipes
      November 26, 2012, 4:57 pm

      The Koch brothers have plenty of friends in high places — Republican friends. The Koch brothers have been criticized by Democrats, even though the MSM did not cover them much (like when the major networks cut away from the Romney-Koch greeting at the RNC convention floor). Adelson was criticized in the press as a major donor for Republicans, but neither Democrats nor Republicans talked about his main issue being Israel. Adelson was always identified in the MSM as a Casino magnate — the only ethical questions raised about him were about his casino in Macao.

      • Krauss
        November 26, 2012, 11:15 pm

        They have powerful friends in business, but the media is in some ways more powerful than political parties – it sets the parameters of the discussion. What is allowed to talk and what isn’t allowed to talk about.

        The media will never, at least not for the foreseeable future, go after Haim Saban. He has way too many friends in the media for that.

        The Kochs don’t have that, which is why the New Yorker set the tone over two years ago when Jane Mayer wrote her central issue piece back in 2010. Since then you could say anything about the Kochs.

        Second, being influential with Republicans will not get you very far in just about any media outlet, save perhaps for the Wall St Journal.

        And how can you defeat something which you are not allowed to criticize? The Kochs can shower the political process with money, but as long as they’re attacked for it every step of the way(in the national media), they are ultimately set up for failure. They become toxic.

        If you want true influence you must be untouchable, that way you can become bipartisan. Which is what AIPAC understood a long time ago and Saban is the epitome of AIPAC. He can have liberal positions on social issues but, in his own words, become like Avigdor Lieberman on Israel and the Democrats will still accept him. Why?

        Because the national media isn’t going to have that discussion, the way they’ve had about Koch.

        As for Adelson, it was only really until this election that the spotlight came on him and that is because he is unusually clumsy. He almost seeks attention.

        Second, you may not remember this, but initially there was great fear and trepidation about his central cause – Israel. I still remember the first major piece NYT did on him on their front page back this early spring.

        The word ‘Israel’ never even came up once during the story. Instead it was all framed around a discussion on his anti-union activities and his worries about his business.

        And again, add to this the fact that the attacks on Adelson started to die down after the Jewish establishment, led by folks like Alan Dershowitz, attacked anyone on the left (particularly the Jewish left) who went after Adelson. Why? Because Adelson is showered the Jewish community like birthright and other pet projects.

        So Adelson, despite the fact that he is way more clumsy than the Kochs, has two main advantages: he is going after a cause(Israel) which you’re not really supposed to criticize in the MSM in a serious way. Only if you do it J Street-style(a.k.a. AIPAC lite-style).

        Second, he is embraced by an ethnocentric community the way a rootless WASP like Koch isn’t. What kind of liberal WASP which a lot of media clout(Michael Kinsley?) would go out on a limb to defend Koch? And even if someone like that did, the rest of the WASP liberal establishment would never fall into line, they would laugh at him. But that didn’t happen when Dershowitz went after Jewish democrats, they fell into line.(Talking about the establishment players now).
        Even J Street fell silent.

        And again, that was about a guy who basically spent more than the Kochs on the election. The Haim Saban case, on the other hand, a man who takes care to remain out of sight, will never be attacked by the media for the reasons I outlined. Which is why he has more influence than the much richer Kochs. If the media won’t touch you, you’re free to do much more.

    • Mooser
      November 28, 2012, 3:47 pm

      “Weren’t these topics banned from this site?”

      Krauss, are you teasing? (I’m certainly guilty of that) Do you really think “to untangle the often uncritical support of Zionismin the U.S. MSM…” is what the comment rules are trying to proscribe?
      As I understand it, what will be moderated very critically is suggestions that some essential, intrinsic (or even universally [among Jews] inculcated) inherent something-or-other about the Jews is responsible for Zionism, and/or Jewish behavior.
      And if you don’t think there are very good reasons for excluding that stuff, if you think we falsify the discussion by excluding it, we can talk about the Palestinian “culture of death”, and whether or not Arabs are capable of loving their children.

    • Chu
      November 29, 2012, 11:55 am

      “The evangelicals are a fig leaf.” -good summary in all.
      It’s going to be difficult to ban these topics when they are central to the entire conflict.

  2. gingershot
    November 26, 2012, 2:12 pm

    This is a great article by Jim Lobe – the ‘Israelification of America’ by Bacevich exposes the same concepts.

    The gist is that Israel and her Israeli Lobby have used the American military, economy to some extent and diplomatic power for their own needs.

    Another fine article on the Neoconservatives from origin to present is the following:

    War on Iraq – Conceived In Israel.
    by Stephen J. Sniegoski

    • Krauss
      November 26, 2012, 11:21 pm

      Yes, basically, but the discussion on these issues is still very constrained.

      Take Iron Dome for instance. Now it’s all done with the help of Raytheon – part of the military industrial complex. I mean that part of America probably don’t mind. They get to try their systems on a live battlefield in Israel.

      Still, without the $3 billion funding(which is probably an understatement when you factor in the ‘black budget’ too) annually, Israel couldn’t have pulled it off.

      And that’s just the beginning. The real support is military – taking out Iraq’s government for instance – as well as diplomatic. Unstinting support on all issues in all venues. The price for that support in the Middle East is very high.

      Kristol’s fanaticism is particularly illuminating. The fact that any real discussion on it is on blogs on the, if we are honest, slight fringe isn’t helping. But you hope you get to the liberal grassroots. I’m hopeful that a new generation of liberals will be like Chris Hayes.

      I’m afraid the old, more intelligent(and hated by Kristol) conservatism is dead except for the leftovers at places like American Conservative Magazine. He denounced that one as ‘infected’ by ‘WASP Arabists’.

      It also just shows what a lot of critics of the neocons inside the GOP have said for a long time about them – that their committment to the GOP is based purely on militaristic support for Israel.

      If that fails, they’ll all go over to the democratic party.
      It’s sad in a way how easily played the GOP has become, allowed itself to become the warmonger party. It is far away from its roots these days.
      All because of its toxic embrace of a militaristic and racist doctrine called Zionism.

      • Citizen
        November 27, 2012, 5:29 pm

        Kristol is a regular guest on Fox News channel.

      • sardelapasti
        November 29, 2012, 2:07 pm

        “If that fails, they’ll all go over to the democratic party”

        A lot of them already were in that “Democratic” party.

        “the GOP … allowed itself to become the warmonger party”

        No sh*t. While the other dictatorship party is, as certified by a recent Nobel prize, the Peace Party. Oh yeah. Sancta simplicitas…

  3. American
    November 26, 2012, 2:12 pm

    ”Everyone senses that the ties are deeper than those of mere allies. Israelis know that if the United States fails, so shall Israel. Americans sense, in the words of Eric Hoffer, “as it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us. Should Israel perish the holocaust will be upon us.”

    My, my, the delusion has ascended to new heights… they dont just think they are ‘like us’, they think they ‘are us’. Assuming those like Kristol actually believe this I have looked for clinical description of the kind of rapturous orgy of ego that accompanies this insanity. Can’t find one— the closest is probably like the sublime transcendent feeling that heroin induces.

  4. doug
    November 26, 2012, 3:05 pm

    This may be a taboo at some level but the deep overlap of neoconservatism and connection with Israel has long been pretty clear and open. At least in neoconservative circles.

    I’ve long read Commentary which was self described as the center for neoconservative thought. Until the last decade it was operated by the AJC. Looking at the its ads over the past 30 years the majority are focused on Israel and various Israel/Jewish charities.

    While neoconservatism includes some diversity (Moynihan for instance) It’s hard for me to understand why this is controversial though obviously it had been.

    • Donald
      November 26, 2012, 4:04 pm

      “I’ve long read Commentary which was self described as the center for neoconservative thought. ”

      Me too, or rather, I did back in the 80’s and part of the 90’s, when I thought it my civic duty to keep up with what different parts of the political spectrum were saying. I finally got sick of force-feeding lies.

      But anyway, you’re right. They are Neocon Central and when I read them, their view of the world was that it was the US and Israel, side-by-side, facing off against the Soviet/Arab/Third World menace. Some of the old-fashioned non-Jewish conservatives agreed about the Soviet and Third World part, but weren’t convinced by the Israeli/Arab part. Buchanan obviously, but Reagan, for instance, was actually upset by Begin and Sharon’s bombing of Beirut during the 1982 Lebanon War. I can’t imagine any President of either party being openly upset by that today.

      Not that this humanitarianism extended to, say, victims of our US-supported death squads in Latin America (which Israel also supported, though some progressive except for Palestine liberals of the time pretended not to notice.)

  5. Scott
    November 26, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Curiously, Murdoch’s wife Wendi often uses the word “Jewish” in an atonal context – “You Jewish, right? I know you Jewish!” – that makes Murdoch’s minders jump.)

    The above from Michael Wolf’s recent column about Murdoch’s twitters about the press.

    • Scott
      November 26, 2012, 6:16 pm

      The above meant to be in reply to Krauss, who was talking about Rupert and his wife.

    • RoHa
      November 26, 2012, 8:58 pm

      “Murdoch’s wife Wendi … makes Murdoch’s minders jump”

      I thought she was his minder.

      • tear-stained uzi
        November 26, 2012, 10:47 pm


      • RoHa
        November 26, 2012, 11:59 pm

        Exactly. Here she is in action.

  6. Kathleen
    November 26, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Buchanan states the truth in 1990 about the I lobby and is fried, Friedmann states the obvious when it is safe and is referred to as the “bell weather centrist” Appears that Scott McConnell has totally forgotten that Friedman was very much part of the team who pushed for the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq. Since when does that qualify a person to be a “centrist”

    The other thing the lobby has had to run up against is when Generals are willing to come out and say that Israel’s national security is not the same as the U.S.’s national security. That these are not one and the same. And that Israel’s persistent building and expansion of illegal settlements has and continues to be a national security issue. And many former and present CIA agents doing the same. And the 9/11 commission report connecting Israel’s illegal actions as one of the reasons that people in that part of the region have it out for the US as well as our support for dictators and our military bases on their lands to protect our access to their resources. Israel and the neoconservatives have been taking a much deserved beating from the American publics awareness growing about the facts on the ground in that conflict

    • tear-stained uzi
      November 26, 2012, 11:23 pm

      Tom Friedman may be right-of-center to you and many of us on foreign policy, but that places him smack dab in the middle of American Punditocracy. McConnell just means he is a reliable barometer of konvenshunal whizdumb.

      “The other thing the lobby has had to run up against is when Generals are willing to come out and say that Israel’s national security is not the same as the U.S.’s national security.”

      Unfortunately, the ‘biggest’ of these was Petraeus, who privately began scrambling immediately to reestablish his pro-Israel bona fides, remember this Mondoweiss gem? Anthony Zinni was an earlier general who went rogue, and I recall him getting The Treatment; do you remember any others?

  7. Rusty Pipes
    November 26, 2012, 4:48 pm

    Thanks for highlighting the central concern for neocons like Kristol, Phil. The neocons’ plan for re-making the Middle East has been reshaped under the “kinder gentler” neo-lib policies of the Obama administration — especially as carried out in Libya, Syria and Iran. I’m hoping that there will be some opening in the second term, after Clinton’s departure from State.

    • MHughes976
      November 28, 2012, 6:36 pm

      Many are saying that Clinton is already the likeliest Next President. At that rate her shadow will hang heavy over foreign policy even while she is not formally in office.

  8. Nevada Ned
    November 26, 2012, 6:56 pm

    Of course, US policymakers and their Israeli policymakers act as if the US and Israel have interests that are parallel, at least in the long run and for the most part. If this were not the case, US aid to Israel would not have continued at its high level ($3B/year +).

    There are two reasons offered for this common front: the power of the Israel lobby, and the common interest between the two countries.
    The power of the Israel Lobby is well documented. And the two countries have a common interest in opposing Arab nationalism. The US opposes Arab nationalism because the US wants to control the vast oil wealth of the Middle East. US control gives the US power over Europe, China, and Japan, who all need oil.

    Israel opposes Arab nationalism because if the Arabs were united and strong, they could force Israel to stop oppressing the Palestinians. (Notice that in Israel’s most recent massacre of Gaza, Hamas gained in stature and diplomatic recognition by Egypt, Turkey, and a Gulf state. In this sense, Israel lost the political side of the week-long one-sided “war”).

    Many MondoWeiss readers seem to believe that the Israel Lobby is solely responsible for the Persian Gulf War. I disagree. After all, the present Persian Gulf War is part II, which started in 2002. Before the current war, there was Persian Gulf War I, which was started in 1991, by George H. W Bush. Nobody claims that the Israel Lobby started THAT war. In fact, George H. W. Bush had a very frosty relationship with the Israelis and with the organized American Jewish community.

  9. atime forpeace
    November 26, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Alleluyah brother Kristol we’s all awaiting the arrival of meschiah to the holyland of Israel.

    even so come Lord Jeshuah!

    Written by Forward Editorial   
    Friday, 02 February 2007
    “According to Hoenlein, such critics tend not only to delegitimize Israel but also to „intimidate American Jews not to speak out.” He called on American Jews to take action against this phenomenon, saying that Christian Zionists seemed at times more willing than Jews to fight back.”

  10. ToivoS
    November 26, 2012, 8:02 pm

    Andrew Sullivan seems to have made one of his most critical comments yet about Israel

    an excerpt: I’m slowly reaching the conclusion that we cannot stop them [Israel] from committing suicide, if that’s what they want. They’re a sovereign state. And I can’t keep hoping for a two-state solution when it is in fact a shiny object meant to distract from Israel’s determination to occupy one-state on the original Ben-Zion Netanyahu lines. My only caveat (and even that is quixotic) is: not on our dime.

  11. munro
    November 26, 2012, 10:14 pm

    Elites Will Make Gazans of Us All By Chris Hedges
    last paragraph:
    The specter of terrorism, as in Israel, is used by the state to divert gargantuan expenditures to homeland security, the military and internal surveillance. Privacy is abolished. Dissent is treason. The military with its mantra of blind obedience and force characterizes the dark ethic of the wider culture. Beauty and truth are abolished. Culture is degraded into kitsch. The emotional and intellectual life of the citizenry is ravaged by spectacle, the tawdry and salacious, as well as by handfuls of painkillers and narcotics. Blind ambition, a lust for power and a grotesque personal vanity—exemplified by David Petraeus and his former mistress—are the engines of advancement. The concept of the common good is no longer part of the lexicon of power. This, as the novelist J.M. Coetzee writes, is “the black flower of civilization.” It is Rome under Diocletian. It is us. Empires, in the end, decay into despotic, murderous and corrupt regimes that finally consume themselves. And we, like Israel, are now coughing up blood.

  12. American
    November 27, 2012, 9:12 am

    The Israel assault, and the success of it, on America has so many paths and crossroads you need a chart to actually follow it. Start with Jewish emigres to the US like Strauss at the Univ. of Chicago who was one of the most important US ‘Godfathers” of the neos, and all the Strauss students like Kristol, Perle, etc. and their mafia like “Truth Squad” club they formed and still try to enforce today. It’s such a can of worms, Jewish political attitudes, ideology, aims, all tied into the zionism strain of thinking–enemies, eternal enemies everywhere– past Jewish defeats, persecution, magnified by the holocaust–and projected in a pseudo intellectual political theory of ‘how the world should operate, who should dominate, a blood thirsty kind of militancy to implement it all thru the mighty USA.
    For the Jewish Neo Israeli the bottom line is the whole world is made up of *Monsters*, people unlike them…. that must be defeated thru endless war. That was the idea and ideology they sold to the US conserative establishment….that world view is what the US went into overdrive on after 911 and is still operating on now.

  13. HarryLaw
    November 27, 2012, 9:33 am

    “Murdoch,s wife Wendi was asked “what was it that first attracted you to the MULTI BILLIONAIRE newspaper magnate”?

    • seafoid
      November 27, 2012, 10:43 am

      That is a Mrs Merton joke based on a question to Debbie McGee- “what was it that first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels ? “

  14. AmericaFirstforaChange
    November 27, 2012, 8:57 pm

    Neocons push Syrian regime change to weaken Iran!:

    • Rusty Pipes
      November 28, 2012, 2:29 pm

      Even though the linked article is over six months old, it remains relevant, both because Syria has been in violent conflict for over a year and a half and because the Likud formulation that has influenced neocon ideologues is thirty years old:

      The neoconservatives, the vanguard of the Israel lobby, have especially been ardent in their advocacy of a hardline, interventionist position toward Syria. Evidence abounds for this finding, but it is best encapsulated by an August 2011 open letter from the neoconservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (an organization which claims to address any “threat facing America, Israel and the West”) to President Obama, urging him to take stronger measures against Syria. Among the signatories of the letter are such neocon luminaries as: Elliott Abrams (son-in-law of neocon “godfather” Norman Podhoretz and a former National Security adviser to President George W. Bush); the Council on Foreign Relations’ Max Boot; “Weekly Standard” editor Bill Kristol; Douglas Feith (Under Secretary of Defense for Policy under George W. Bush and an author of the “Clean Break” policy paper); Joshua Muravchik (affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute [AEI], the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, and “Commentary”); Frederick W. Kagan (AEI, co-author of the “surge” in Iraq); Robert Kagan (co-founder of the Project for the New American Century PNAC); James Woolsey (head of the CIA under Clinton and chair of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies); Randy Scheunemann (former President of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and foreign affairs adviser to John McCain in his 2008 presidential campaign); Reuel Marc Gerecht (former Director of the Project for the New American Century’s Middle East Initiative and a former resident fellow at AEI); Michael Makovsky (advisor to the propagandistic Office of Special Plans, which was under Douglas Feith); John Hannah ( senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy [WINEP] and a former national security adviser to U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney); and Gary Schmitt (AEI and former President for the Project for a New American Century).

      As Morris notes in his presentation, elimination of the Assad regime in Syria was not an idea conceived by either the neocons or the broader Israel lobby; rather it can be traced back to the Israeli Likudniks, being articulated by Oded Yinon in his 1982 piece, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.” In this article, Yinon called for Israel to use military means to bring about the dissolution of Israel’s neighboring states and their fragmentation into a mosaic of ethnic and sectarian groupings. Yinon believed that this would not be a difficult undertaking because nearly all the Arab states were afflicted with internal ethnic and religious divisions. In essence, the end result would be a Middle East of powerless mini-statelets that could in no way confront Israeli power. Lebanon, then facing divisive chaos, was Yinon’s model for the entire Middle East. Yinon wrote: “Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target.” (Quoted in “The Transparent Cabal,” p. 51)

      As can be seen, the goal of eliminating the Assad Baathist regime has existed among Israeli Likudniks and the neocons for some time. And it currently propels the demand for militant action against the Syrian government. Moreover, action taken against Syria has become viewed as a way of seriously weakening Iran (perceived as a much more dangerous enemy), or even leading to war with it. That Israel might not benefit from regime change in Syria, and that some in Israel might actually fear such a development, does not alter the obvious fact that the neocons and much of the overall Israel lobby support it. And it is they who affect the policy of the United States.

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