Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review March 13, 2003 / 9 Adar II, 5763

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Scapegoats anyone?

Push to blame the Iraq war on "Jewish influence" sounds a familiar theme | A few months ago, a great deal of tut-tutting and dignified outrage emanated from much of the civilized world over the broadcast of a series on Egyptian television which sought to dramatize the "truth" of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

But, as the debate over President Bush's rightful determination to pursue war against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein heats up, it looks like the dimwitted propagandists who write scripts for Egyptian potboilers have been sharing sources with prominent Washington pundits, leftist anti-war demonstrators and at least one member of Congress.

Critics of administration policy aren't satisfied with putting out lies about oil interests driving the war policy, ignoring Iraqi illegal arms and atrocities, justifying French appeasement or even evoking the anachronistic anti-American tone of Vietnam-era protests.

Though these arguments have failed to move the majority of Americans, they always had one more slander held in reserve, and now they have begun to use it.

That's right. It's not really the oil interests, Bush family pride or good old American "imperialism" behind the drive for war. According to some increasingly prominent anti-war mouthpieces, the real fault lies with the Jews.

U.S. Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) made the front page of The Washington Post on March 11 when the newspaper reported remarks he made on March 3 at a town meeting in Reston, Va.


According to Moran, who is a well-known foe of Israel, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this."

When he was condemned by local Jewish leaders, Moran did a backflip and claimed he didn't mean it.

Moran, who accepted contributions from pro-Hamas Muslim groups and is a vocal supporter of the Palestinians, now says, "I made some insensitive remarks that I deeply regret."

It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party will punish him the way the Republicans did former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) when he endorsed segregation last year. But even though Moran is trying to weasel his way out of this mess, other Washingtonians aren't such cowards when it comes to standing by their slurs.

Recently, University of Illinois professor Paul Schroeder made a similar point in The American Conservative, the magazine run by far-right blowhard Pat Buchanan. Schroeder claims the war would be fought solely for Israel's benefit.

That was no coincidence since Buchanan tried - and failed - to popularize the same slander during the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 when he accused Congress of being Israel's "amen corner," and alleged that non-Jewish American boys would die at the behest of pro-Israel Jewish commentators. Even more prominently, syndicated columnist Robert Novak, another longtime foe of Israel, put forward the notion last week in The Washington Post that not only was Israel behind the push for war, but that the whole campaign against Saddam Hussein could be traced back to a paper written in 1996 for then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu by, among others, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser. Perle, Feith and Wurmser are all now prominently associated with the Bush administration.

In that paper, the authors urged Israel to join forces with Jordan and Turkey to do something about Saddam Hussein. It also urged the United States to stop focusing on appeasing the Palestinians and advised Israel to start weaning itself from American economic aid. That sounds like sensible advice, but, to the anti-Israel crowd, the presence of these Jewish supporters of Israel in the administration is enough to convince them that the war on Iraq is a Jewish conspiracy.

Even an old liberal Democrat like former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart wasn't above monkeying around with this topic. Hart raised some hackles last month when he made some dark comments claiming that American foreign policy was being unduly influenced by groups whose loyalty was not solely to the United States. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

You know who he and the others raising this subject are talking about: The Jews in the administration and on Capitol Hill.


Let's pretend for a minute that all of these questions are being raised in good faith. Is it fair to say that the war against Iraq is being fought for Israel's sake?

The truth is, the charge holds no water. Israel has not advocated this war and has no guarantee it will benefit from it. Israel may be better off if Bush's plan for a democratic new Iraq revolutionizes the Arab world. But then again, so would the Arab world.

Nor has the organized Jewish community mobilized behind the war. Jewish opinion on the war isn't much different from that of the rest of the American public. Most are for it but, sadly, Jews are well represented in the anti-war movement. At least one of the despicable "human shields" who went to Iraq to protect the butcher of Baghdad is Jewish.

But let's be honest. These questions about Israel's role and the influence of American Jewish staffers in the Bush administration are not being asked in good faith.

The only reason anyone mentions the religious identity of men like Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz or National Security Council staffer Elliot Abrams is to attempt to discredit them. The anti-war crowd knows that Wolfowitz, Abrams and others helped guide administration policy to reject the foolish policies of Bill Clinton and the first George Bush, and eschew a strategy of forcing Israel to make concessions to terrorists.

That is what enrages the critics.

Needless to say, the anti-Israel conspiracy theory mavens never mention the fact that the most prominent advocates of war with Iraq such as Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice are not Jewish. Nor is the president. Bush's impending offensive against Iraq is a just war. Its prime beneficiaries will be the Iraqi people (despite the crocodile tears shed for them by leftist demonstrators). The region will be better off and so will Israel.

And, of course, it is this last point that really bothers many people. They don't care whether the Iraqis rot in poverty and tyranny for eternity. They just don't want a Middle East where democracies like Israel can live in peace and security. What else could unite paleoconservative anti-Semites and the lunatic left except their common hatred for Israel?

It is this troubling re-emergence of anti-Semitism and not the fact that some of the patriotic men and women who work for George W. Bush are both Jewish and proudly pro-Israel that we should be talking about.

After all, who needs Egyptian Jew-haters when you've got James Moran and Pat Buchanan?

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

Jonathan Tobin Archives


© 2000, Jonathan Tobin