It's amazing the way liberal anti-Semitism has becomes so blatant in our day. Once upon a time these bigots used to just whisper it amongst their confidants. Now, they proclaim it in the pages of the New York Times, as in Maureen Dowd's "Neocons Slither Back."
For those not up on such things:
...criticism of neoconservatism is often a euphemism for criticism of Jews, and that the term has been adopted by the political left to stigmatize support for Israel. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Robert J. Lieber warned that criticism of the 2003 Iraq War had spawned "a conspiracy theory purporting to explain how [American] foreign policy... has been captured by a sinister and hitherto little-known cabal. A small band of neoconservative (read, Jewish) defense intellectuals... has taken advantage of 9/11 to put their ideas over on [Bush]... Thus empowered, this neoconservative conspiracy, "a product of the influential Jewish-American faction of the Trotskyist movement of the '30s and '40s" ([Michael] Lind)... has fomented war with Iraq... in the service of Israel's Likud government (Patrick J. Buchanan and [Eric Alterman)."And, in case you were not aware of the history of anti-Semites comparing Jews with snakes:
Like the cuckcoo, Jews are depicted as stealing other people's homes. They are the foreigners who threaten to displace the Germans from Germany. As hyeanas strike disabled animals, Jews are portrayed as preying upon disadvantaged Germans/Christians. Other animals included in these comparisons are the chameleon (the great deceiver), the locust (the scourge of God), the bedbug (the blood sucker), the sparrow (good-for-nothings), the poodle-mops-dachshund-pincher (an inferior race created by cross-breeding various types of races), the poisonous snake (the viper of humanity, and the tapeworm (the parasite of humanity).If you are writing on politics for the New York Times you have to be aware of the currents of public discourse AND have a rudimentary understanding of history. Maureen Dowd either, A) Was completely unaware of these historical precedents, or B) Knew all about them and decided to show her assent to them by comparing neocons to snakes. Either way, be she incompetent or downright evil, she should not be writing for a respectable publication.
Amazingly (or, sadly, not-so-amazingly) there are those who can find nothing wrong with taking a group routinely depicted as American Jews more interested in the well-being of Israel than the United States and calling them sneaky snakes controlling U.S. policy from behind the scenes. In fact, they are saying such depictions are true:
The biggest mistake you can make is getting caught telling the truth on Israeli politics.Wow.
Of course some people do have a moral conscience, like Jeffery Goldberg in The Atlantic:
Oy" is right. 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. (Later, Hounshell wrote, "(A)mazing that apparently nobody sat her down and said, this is not OK.")Maybe Dowd doesn't know this. But, c'mon. Just how blithering an idiot would one have to be to not know this already?
This sinister stereotype became a major theme in the discussion of the Iraq war, when critics charged that Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, among other Jewish neoconservatives, were actually in charge of Bush Administration foreign policy. This charge relegated George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Stephen Hadley and the other Christians who actually set policy to the status of puppets.