The word has gone out that Donald Trump’s foreign policy is up for grabs, and the neoconservatives are humming with pleasure over this news, and lobbying quietly and not so quietly. You can hardly blame them for sucking up to Trump: neoconservatives are hawks who care about Israel more than anything, and it is vital to them to secure Israel’s interests in the next administration.
Last night Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin– between railing against evangelical Christians for giving us Trump — was on Hardball pushing the hawkish John Bolton to be the next Secretary of State. Bolton is closely associated with the neocon camp; he served in the Bush war administration and was a fixture at the American Enterprise Institute and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
Neoconservative Eliot Cohen– who said “Trump may be better than we think. He does not have strong principles about much, which means he can shift” — is also pushing for Bolton:
Bolton would be a capable Secretary of State – experienced & tough. Don't worry Trumpkins: we barely know each other. https://t.co/LXU8wg2mlC
— Eliot A Cohen (@EliotACohen) November 16, 2016
Even a leader of the Never Trump crew, Bill Kristol, is changing his tune on Trump: “Trump may become Truman or Reagan. But he could also be a low-class Hoover. And GOP ascendancy may last as long as it did in ’28.”
Alan Dershowitz the rightwing Israel supporter has of course made bold steps to embrace the incoming Trump administration. Dershowitz has exonerated alt-right Trump strategist Steve Bannon of charges of anti-Semitism.
Bannon will be a guest at the annual Zionist Organization of America gala, at which Dershowitz will appear, along with Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon and Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus.
Bear in mind that Dershowitz worked with Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, at Harvard 13 years ago, starting the Jewish Chabad House there.
The Republican Jewish Coalition is also defending Bannon. “He doesn’t sound anti-Semitic to me,” writes Ari Fleischer, the former Bush press secretary who is devoted to Israel.
Bernard Marcus issued a statement saying he has known Bannon for years and he is a devoted Zionist!
“I have been shocked and saddened to see the recent personal attacks on Steve. Nothing could be further from the truth. The person that is being demonized in the media is not the person I know… I have known Steve to be a passionate Zionist and supporter of Israel who felt so strongly about this that he opened a Breitbart office in Israel to ensure that the true pro-Israel story would get out. What is being done to Steve Bannon is a shonda…” [That means shame.]
Another rightwing Israel supporter who is sucking up to Trump: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the consigliere for the Israel lobby who helped Samantha Power get her job, has also leaped to Bannon’s defense, saying he is not anti-Semitic.
I am aware that in a contentious divorce proceeding he is said to have uttered something about his daughter not being with Jewish students.
I have no idea about the veracity of the statement and as a marriage counselor, I know that in a divorce, harsh things are often alleged. Aside from that, I don’t think even the most hostile media can point to a single reason to consider him anti-Semitic.
PS I have no doubt Bannon has made anti-Jewish cracks, but what do we make of Jennifer Rubin broadbrushing Christians? “Evangelical Christians owe their fellow Americans something better.”