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Monday, January 07, 2013

Dual Loyalty

The generally nutty Jennifer Rubin goes completely over the top concerning the Chuck Hagel nomination: "Chuck Hagel’s America is a land in which gays would be forced back in the closet and Jews would be accused of dual loyalty."

Let us bracket the gay issue here, while simply noting that Hagel apologized for his fifteen year-old remarks, and look at the other part of her claim: Outside of the neo-Nazi fringe, has anyone ever seen any American political figure claiming "Jews" have dual loyalty? A claim that Rubin and her ilk have dual loyalty is a completely different matter.

Look, I would not like to hear someone claim that Irish-Americans have dual loyalty. But there is no doubt that during the "troubles," some Irish-Americans did have dual loyalty, or worse: they were willing to funnel money to the IRA, despite its terrorist acts, and despite the problems such support created for our relationship with a major ally, Great Britain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with or racist about calling those people out on their position.

And when people like Rubin demand from any politician "unconditional support" for Israel, and smear them as anti-Semitic if they fail to agree, there is nothing wrong or anti-Jewish about noting that what they call for is insane: how can any country sensibly or morally pledge "unconditional" support for any other country? Such a condition means that even if Israel began systematically nuking its neighbors without provocation, we would have to just keep cheering them on. Any sane foreign policy must take a nation's own interests into account first, and any moral foreign policy must evaluate the morality of other nations' actions.

Many, many American Jews (and many, many Israelis) do not at all share Rubin's extremist views on Israel. This is not about "Jews," Jenny: it is about your extremist, warmongering position. I'm not even sure you have "dual" loyalty: given some columns of yours I have read, I would not be surprised to find that you are a paid agent of the Israeli government. Don't go smearing every Jew who opposes your extremism by claiming any objection to it is an attack on them!

13 comments:

  1. Great post, Gene. However, I don't know that it is a question of dual loyalty, but more a question of loyalty. If you instead frame this in, say, the case of marriage, then it's easy to see what I am saying.

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  2. I'm so tired of this unhealthy obsession with Israel by certain warmongering "neoconservatives." The minute someone says something different about Israel, they are branded as being a heretic or an anti-Semite. It's very similar to being called one of the many 'isms when the opponent you're debating doesn't have anything else to offer to the table in terms of reason or can't refute your position. They will resort to ad hominem attacks to try to discredit the person they disagree with. I wonder how much money Israel gives back the United States for our services there and why we can't charge certain countries a fee for our work so we aren't completely wasting time and money. If this woman was president, I guarantee she would be doing everything she can to try to pull the trigger on Iran, a country that I read has not even started a war in centuries.

    No wonder the GOP is having such a hard time winning elections with these extremists infecting the party and taking on uncompromising positions. Maybe they should start listening to people like Pat Buchanan and anyone else who writes for The American Conservative. Oh wait, someone told me this:

    "Oops, I didn't realize that Rob was a Pat Buchanan acolyte....sorry to say Rob, but old Pat isn't well thought of in conservative circles. Yes, those that wish to build a 20 foot wall along all American borders would welcome Pats views but most conservatives think he's the crazy uncle living in the basement."

    So Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Todd Akin, and this Jennifer Rubin woman are suddenly not crazy? The GOP is beyond dead with this kind of thinking prevalent. I was even skeptical about Marco Rubio after he said those remarks about the age of the Earth, because he could have easily said something like this: "I believes in God, but I also believe in respecting scientific consensus and tradition with prudence and that scientific belief and religious belief should be separated, especially in politics. In fact, Georges Lemaître, the man who created the first theory of the expansion of the universe, was a Catholic scientist." That would have shocked a lot of the naive critics who thought the Republican Party was anti-science.

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  3. Your lede quote is misleading. Rubin postulates a windbag gop version of Ted Kennedy's Bork speech. That is far from an endorsement.

    Rubin's case is that Hagel is anti-semitic. She cites his use of the "the Jewish lobby" . The more usual term of art for those appealing to anti-semitism is 'the Israel lobby'. Now you can of course use 'Israel lobby' without being anti-semitic, but if you use it as esoteric speech for Jews you are being anti-semitic. That is the charge, that this is what Hagel has done. It's quite plausible. That unguarded speech has revealed some of his other prejudices just makes it more plausible.

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    1. She says that if the GOP had "nervy firebrands" like Kennedy, someone would say this. Both "nervy" and "firebrand" are positive terms. She does not use "windbag": that is pure invention on your part. She *likes* that speech!

      "Rubin's case is that Hagel is anti-semitic."

      Right. Which is the way people like her smear all critics of current Israeli policy. She offers no evidence whatsoever that the claim is true. She has no "case," just a smear.

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    2. No, I just cited some. The mask dropped and he talked about the Jewish lobby not the Israeli lobby. Now things like this always depend on context and tone, because overtly bigoted speech is avoided. Unless I know more I cannot judge Hagel's comment (I have a prior, and it differs from yours and Fetz's), but Rubin's argument is sound enough, the open question is whether it is *right*.

      As for the Kennedy thing, she sees a germ of truth. That's not the same as endorsing.

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    3. Let's talk about Pat Buchanan for a sec. He's anti-semitic I think. Buckley made that case pretty well. And again PB is a past master of esoteric speech. Rubin may not be right about Hagel, but the line of argument is legit.

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    4. "The mask dropped and he talked about the Jewish lobby not the Israeli lobby."

      Rubbish. If I had talked about "the Irish lobby" supporting the IRA in the 70s, would that have meant I was anti-Hibernian, or that I was just using a shorthand? In fact, it was so called at times: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1964&dat=19721125&id=OYQyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zLcFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3051,6532584

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    5. And Ken, this isn't to say that someone might not be using that term in an anti-Semitic way, just like they might with "Irish lobby" in an anti-Hibernian way: or indeed, the term "African-American," said with the right tone of voice, could evidence racism. But to just say, "Ooh, Gene once said 'African-American,' and so did some racist once, so he is a racist" is no evidence at all!

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    6. Right Gene. It depends on tone and context. You have not approved my comment discussing Buchanan where I make this point. I don't know if Rubin is right; I do know that the question is a legitimate one.

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    7. "Let's talk about Pat Buchanan for a sec."

      Meaning, let's change the subject.

      "Rubin may not be right about Hagel, but the line of argument is legit."

      Let us grant you Buchanan for the sake of argument. So the line of "argument" is" Buchanan was anti-Semitic. Buchanan sometimes said "Jewish lobby." Hagel sometimes says "Jewish lobby." Therefore... Nada. Zilch. There is no "line of argument." There is a smear campaign, for fear someone who someone who might not want to war with Iran could have the presidents ear.

      Ken, do you think for a second that if Hagel was an evangelical who was:

      1) For war with Iran;
      2) Pro-settlement;
      3) Against a Palestinian state

      And he had said, "Boy, Jews sure do a good job advancing Israel's interests, even at the expense of America's at times, and I deeply appreciate that fact," Rubin would be writing more than a mild rebuke: "Of course Senator Claptrap should not have said that, but that one ill-though-out remark hardly disqualifies him as Defense Secretary!"

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    8. Ha! It turns out that in the 1980s, AIPAC used to describe ITSELF as "the Jewish lobby"!

      Game over Ken! Teams have left the field. Referees are at home having a beer. Ground crew has cleaned the field, mowed the grass, and the lights are out.

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    9. Better yet! In ISRAEL, AIPAC is STILL know as "the Jewish lobby"!

      http://www.lobelog.com/chuck-hagel-and-the-ghost-of-aipac-past/

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  4. As I say Gene, I don't know if Rubin is right. But that AIPAC calls itelf one thing does not mean Hagel's use of the term was not a freudian slip kind of thing. As I say, I would need to hear the exchange. Context is all.
    There are people who are anti semites and anti Israel for that reason. I can think of a few.
    As I say, I want to hear it. It's like Obama's didn't build that. Once you see the clip you know for sure he meant 'this great American system' not your business.

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