Maureen Dowd: Good for the Jews?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 17 2012 1:32 PM

Maureen Dowd: Good for the Jews?

Maureen Dowd writes that the "neocons" have "slithered back" into the Republican mainstream by allying with Mitt Romney. Dylan Byers casts his net and reels in all sorts of quotes hammering Dowd for -- no foolin' -- "anti-Semitism."

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews," Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic columnist and leading journalist on Israeli issues, wrote.
"[A]mazing that apparently nobody sat her down and said, this is not OK," Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted.
On the right, The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper called it "outrageous," while Commentary's Jonathan Tobin described it as "particularly creepy."

This is an old smear, one that started right next to Dowd's space in the op-ed pages. In 2004, as his "Iraq proved leftists wrong forever" columns started to read less than prescient, David Brooks argued that "neoconservative" -- a description that had never been controversial -- had become anti-Semitic. In the hands of critics, wrote Brooks, "con is short for ''conservative' and neo is short for ''Jewish.'"

It was claptrap then and it's claptrap now. Were there anti-Semites who distrusted the Jewish neocons? Yes, just as there are anti-Semites who now mistrust Ben Bernanke. That doesn't make the anti-Fed crowd anti-Semitic. Dowd isn't bashing the Jews, either. Start with the hated "slither" line in the hed. Where does it come from?

Paul Wolfowitz, an Iraq war architect, weighed in on Fox News, slimily asserting that President Obama should not be allowed to “slither through” without a clear position on Libya.

Dowd was using a verb that Wolfowitz used, and somehow, this proves that she's trafficking in anti-Semitism. Read on, though -- look who she fingers as "neo-cons." She writes that Dan Senor (who's Jewish) is advising Paul Ryan, which is true. She writes that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld "abetted" the neocons. Neither of those guys is Jewish.

In 2000, George W. Bush was a one-and-a-half term governor with no foreign policy experience. He put his advisers out front of the campaign, promising that they would run a smart FP shop. Romney's doing the same thing. How to stop people from pointing it out? Accuse them of being anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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