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

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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.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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5 Responses

  1. Dan Crowther on December 28, 2011, 12:34 pm

    Well, let me first thank “the jewish community” for “allowing” people to finally state what is true. So kind, thanks!

    For those of us who could give a rat’s ass what the “jewish community” will or will not allow to be discussed articles like this from the economist are both at once welcome and completely unnecessary and honestly, somewhat infuriating.

    It takes a whole lot of cajones to dictate terms of discussion on topics like war and foreign policy when you are part of a community that is at once obsessed with itself and protecting its foreign colony, while also being the least represented ethnic- religious group in the military of the country you want to have fight on behalf of your groups interests.

  2. vered on December 28, 2011, 1:55 pm

    One could point out the same issues in the current act of war the USA is committing against Iran, in regard to its oil transport in the Strait of Hormuz and financial transactions from its central bank (where is our fungible boy…lol) . Of course, it has caused oil to jump 2% in price so far, and this should not be brushed off as a mitigating factor –

    OIL JUMPS 2%

    Is anyone going to address this current issue, it is like watching a movie re-run of the precursor to the massacre in Iraq. Same players, same playbook.

    • Keith on December 28, 2011, 6:46 pm

      VR- Speaking of the strategic importance of control of the hydrocarbon fuel reserves, Pepe Escobar has a fine article discussing the maneuvering over control of the natural gas and pipeline routes titled “Playing Chess in Eurasia” linked below and an interesting read.

    • blg432 on December 29, 2011, 7:22 am

      This is directly about the AIPAC crafted sanctions. Wheres the news pointing this out for context during this recent coverage?

      Here’s Phil on Dec 08, 2011

      If you want to understand the pressure that Obama is under from the Israel lobby, consider this greasy story: Last week three high Obama officials urged Senators not to pass an amendment to the huge Defense Authorization Act that would apply far stiffer sanctions to Iran’s central bank than the Obama administration wanted. Two of the officials went to the Hill, and said the amendment would send oil prices higher, among other damaging effects.

      But the Senate rebuffed the administration and voted unanimously, 100-0, for the sanctions.

      Why did the Senate put aside appeals from Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, under secretary of the Treasury David Cohen, and Wendy Sherman, #3 at the State Department, all saying that the bill would be bad for business and bad for the U.S.’s efforts to build a coalition on Iran? Why did John Kerry, chairman of Senate Foreign Relations, acknowledge Tim Geithner’s letter against the legislation, and then vote against his president?

      The clear evidence is: because the lobby wanted this amendment and these guys feared for their political lives. AIPAC led the charge. AIPAC rolled the amendment out 3 weeks ago, and then led a letter-writing campaign to US Senators on the amendment, known as Kirk-Menendez (in part for the Senator from AIPAC, Mark Kirk of Illinois). Here’s the AIPAC memo from last month:

      [More in article]

      What about before this?

      2007 Israel, U.S. Jews Intensify Efforts To Isolate Iran
      A renewed push from Jewish organizations for tougher sanctions against Iran is facing tough obstacles in Washington and capitals throughout the world.

      American Jewish groups are aggressively attempting to rally support for isolating Iran until it ends its suspected nuclear weapons program. They are lobbying Congress, reaching out to friendly nations overseas and seeking allies in the United States.

      Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, is warning that Iran is close to acquiring the knowledge it needs to build nuclear weapons.

      Officials at the Anti-Defamation League have launched a campaign in support of tougher sanctions, and recently pressed the issue in a meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Also, the American Jewish Committee has been meeting with foreign leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

      In the latest manifestation of the renewed push, delegates to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities in Nashville are expected to be asked Monday to vote on a resolution calling on federations and Jewish community relations councils to move on the Iran issue by initiating, coordinating and funding “expanded efforts aimed at both educating and mobilizing the Jewish community as well as partnering with other respected members in the broader community.”

      In the 1990’s Bronfman and AIPAC in 1995 passed their research to the US government demonstrating how U.S. oil companies were Iran’s biggest customers by far. AIPAC worked with Sen D’Amato (Seymour Reich, Chair of of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called D’Amato “one of the best, if not the very best senator for Israel”) in passing the bill through the Senate.

      AIPAC passed the bill, again, through the senate during the wake of confusion of the 2000 election. Bush, who was still siding with Powell and had not yet kicked him out for the neoconservatives, was furious. Oil companies lost big here and were lobbying to have the sanctions dropped.

      Even during the Iraq war, one of the arguments that was used against the lobby was that the target was, all the while, really was Iran. Now the drums are beat against Iran, and its going to be hard to cover up this 800 lb elephant.

  3. annie on December 28, 2011, 6:53 pm

    good catch phil

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