Edwards: I was "99% honest"!

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 9 2008 9:42 PM

Edwards: Hey, I Was "99% Honest"

It's all the tabloid's fault!

(Continued from Page 40)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Klein Lives: Have the rules changed? Last Tuesday, Time's Joe Klein wrote:

The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives--people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over at Commentary--plumped for this war, and now for an even more foolish assault on Iran, raised the question of divided loyalties: using U.S. military power, U.S. lives and money, to make the world safe for Israel.

Max Boot, Pete Wehner,   Jennifer Rubin, Paul Mirengoff  and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League  all wrote confidently outraged responses to Klein's raising of the "divided loyalties" possibility--and, indeed, it's not the sort of assertion that has typically gone unpunished in the past. When Klein stubbornly  failed to back down in a second post, Wehner somewhat smugly anticipated his near-certain demise:

It's like watching a movie that you now know is going to end very badly, and very sadly.

Advertisement

But here's the thing: It's now a week later, and as far as I can tell Klein still has his job.  He's still blogging (wondering "why Lieberman is so fixated on Iran"). He hasn't been publically rebuked by his employer. He hasn't been forced to issue a groveling apology.

Can it be that the rules have changed? I suspect they have. And I think this is progress, for reasons outlined here and here. It should be possible to publicly debate whether some "Jewish neoconservatives," among others, too easily convinced themselves that America's and Israel's interests happily coincided in the prosecution of the war. Meanwhile, Foxman's view  that

Neoconservatives have the right to make their case without having their religion brought up.  ... [snip]  Religious beliefs are personal, and matters of faith belong in the heart, in the church and in the home

seems preposterously artificial. Note to Foxman: I worked at The New Republic! The magazine supported the war. I consider its editor, Martin Peretz, to be a friend and mentor. But if you think Marty's views are uninfluenced by his affinity for Israel--and that the views of many of the eminent neocons who visited our offices were uninfluenced by "matters of faith" and/or religious identity--then you don't know Marty and you don't know The New Republic. In fact, you're more than a bit clueless.  But you are not clueless.

This isn't to say that the decision to go to war in Iraq was necessarily wrong or right. It's not to say that "Jewish neoconservatives" were more than what Klein calls a "subsidiary" source of support for the war. It's not to say that anyone is more patriotic than anyone else.  The influence of pro-Israel sympathies (or pro-wherever sympathies) invariably takes the form of encouraging the belief that what you think is right for the United States is also what is right for Israel (or wherever), and vice-versa. But that only begins the discussion of whether this belief is itself distorted by those sympathies. It doesn't end it. At least it doesn't seem to any more. ...

Update: M.J. Rosenberg at TPM on Klein's "chutzpah." ...1:52 A.M. link

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 21 2014 1:38 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? See if you can keep pace with the copy desk, Slate’s most comprehensive reading team.