Jewbuster Kalle Lasn responds
Here, then, is Kalle's response, and the ongoing debate:
The list of Jewish neocons we came up with is a provocation, I?ll admit. And if it were a list of dentists or firefighters or stockbrokers, then that would indeed be very offensive. However, the neocons are no ordinary group -- they are the most influencial political/intellectual force in the world right now. They have the power to start wars and to stop them. They are the prime architects of America's foreign policy since 9/11 -- a policy that is heavily weighed in favor of Israel and a key source of anti-Americanism around the world. So I think it is not only appropriate, but necessary to put them under a microscope. And if we see maleness, whiteness, Jewishness, Zionism or intellectual thuggery there, then let us not look the other way.
On the ethnic question: Is it not just as valid to comment on the Jewishness of the neocons as it is to point out that the majority of them are male or white or wealthy or from the Western world or have studied at a particular university? If half the neocons were Palestinians, would the US have invaded Iraq?
Of course, if half the Palestinians were neocons America wouldn't have to invade Iraq.
Lasn seems to think that the Jewishness of some, but hardly all, of a list of alledged neo-cons, is relevant to an ongoing policy debate. This makes as much sense as saying the blackness of Condi Rice and Colin Powell was a factor in the removal of Aristide.
"And if it were a list of dentists or firefighters or stockbrokers, then that would indeed be very offensive." says Lasn who then goes on to try to explain why a list of policy intellectuals is somehow different. His argument, to be charitable, is that because the neo-cons are just so darn powerful they have to be subject to different rules. And those different rules mean that a general ad hominum
attack is. on Lasn's logic, fair ball.
Lasn and his ilk seem to want to justify their anti-Semitism on the following basis:
1. America has been an ally and friend of Israel since the founding of that state.
2. American policy has preferred Israel to the surrounding Arab states.
3. There is no possible explanation for this policy except to ascribe it to Jewish influence.
4. The importance of exposing this Jewish influence justifies behaviour which would otherwise be "very offensive".
You can see Kalle slipping in his suppressed premise at point 3.
I mean why else would America support the single democratic state in the Middle East? Why else would it support a nation so devoted to the rule of law that the current Prime Minister may be forced from office over a bribery scandal. And why, in the aftermath of 9/11 as the Palestinians danced in the streets, would America continue to support Israel? Well, of course, it must be the Jews.
Lasn's scrutiny of the neo-cons, his microscope, also assumes that the ethnicity, religion, education, financial status and, for all I know, sexual preference or sock colour will determine their policy positions.
His implicit racism is underscored when he asks his devastating question: "If half the neocons were Palestinians, would the US have invaded Iraq?" He assumes that Palestinians would be incapable of recognizing the evil embodied in Saddam and his regime or the need for radical change in the Middle East. While I have little time for the Palestinian leadership, I am unconvinced that Palestinians are inherently capable of recognizing evil when they see it.
The neo-con agenda, in so far as it is even sensible to say there is one, is about making systemic changes in the Middle East to break the cycle of tyranny and corruption which has kept the Arab and Islamic world a backward, humiliated and hopeless place pretty much since the Ottomans were driven out. If it succeeds, virtually the entire, shaky, oppressive, structure of Middle Eastern politics will be transformed.
No doubt this will be good for Israel. But it will be better for the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Egyptians, Saudis, Iranians and all of the other Middle Eastern people who have had to endure a century of grinding tyranny.
If the Palestinians were allowed by their Trollish leadership to understand that what is indirectly at stake in Iraq is their own freedom I have no doubt at all they would support the removal of Saddam and the creation of a democratic government.