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"The Jews started the war"  - Again

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The Jews started the war  - Again

Ami Isseroff

June 26, 2005

More and more, we hear that the "Zionists" are responsible for the Iraq war. The germ of the idea was always there, especially  since it was convenient for Saddam apologists to blame the war on Israel and the Jews. However,  it was probably given respectability by  Jason Vest's article in the Nation which asserted, with no evidence whatever, that all the war hysteria against Iraq was being generated by an obscure pro-Zionist thinktank, with the unfortunate name of Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, Vest's notions were soon parroted in the Guardian by Brian Whitaker.  The coming Iraq war, according to Whitaker and Vest, would enthrone Israel and the US in the Middle East, and eliminate the need for Israel to come to terms with the Palestinians. It was a very convenient accusation, since "the Jews" or "the Zionists" have been blamed for every war since the French Revolution. "Scientific" justifications for racism are always popular because they make it possible to cloak old vile ideas with new respectability. It is much more "enlightened"  and "progressive" to say that intelligence tests or brain measurements prove that a certain race is mentally inferior, then to assert that God meant them to be slaves. So it is much better to find "objective proof" that the Jews are poisoning the wells or starting the next war.

It didn't matter that there was not a shred of anything but conjecture to back it up. Some Israelis and some Jews supported the war in Iraq, while others opposed it. Neither Meyrav Wurmser, who was for the war, nor Rabbi Michael Lerner, who was against it, command the vast resources of the mythical Elders of Zion and neither one of them, nor their followers, have much influence with the Bush administration, which had not a single Jew in the cabinet that decided on the war. Notwithstanding the fact that Israel has gained nothing whatever from the Iraq war and that pressure on Israel to make peace with the Palestinians is as strong as ever, the myth of the Jews and the Iraq war persists, aided by an environment that tolerates racism as long as it is racism of the "right sort."

 It is an accusation with an ominous pedigree.

In World War II,  it was common for workers in US defense plants to sing "Onward Christian soldiers, fighting the Jewish war." This belief had been carefully disseminated by America First advocates, apparently with the blessing of the Nazi Reich. In his Reichstag speech of January 30, 1939, Adolph Hitler said:

If international finance Jewry within Europe and abroad should succeed once more in plunging the peoples into a world war, then the consequence will be not the Bolshevization of the world and therewith a victory of Jewry, but on the contrary, the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.

This same baseless accusation keeps surfacing, applied now not only to World War II at certain Web sites, but more popularly to the Iraq war. The lie is no longer spread by evil reactionary Fascists in the name of Aryan supremacy. It is spread by wolves in sheep's clothing, people who claim to identify themselves with all the ideals we respect. Most recently, it surfaced at a meeting of Democrats against the war in Iraq. The Washington Post reported:

The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. "The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."

Well no kidding. If you make the sort of remarks about Jews that Hitler made, you just might be considered an anti-Semite. Waddayaknow about that? 

Even more interesting is what and who prompted McGovern's brilliant analysis:

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."

Moran should be familiar to you from his previous comments. The last time he expressed his opinions about the the Jewish people, Moran said:

"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this...The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."

There is really not much to chose between the stereotype of the Jewish (or Zionist) "neocons" who support the Iraq war, and the stereotype of the Jewish (or Zionist) Bolsheviks. Neither assertion is supported by the facts. The overwhelming majority of US Jews (75- 80%) voted for Al Gore and John Kerry and are not Republicans.  Moran's remarks were adopted by anti-Semites as well as anti-Zionists as "proof" that "the Jews" are behind the Iraq war. Moran later apologized and said:

"I should not have singled out the Jewish community and regret giving any impression that its members are somehow responsible for the course of action being pursued by the administration, or are somehow behind an impending war,"

Obviously, Moran was insincere, since he has now repeated essentially the same accusation. Of course, at the time nobody noticed the absurd assertion that "the leaders of the Jewish Community" were so all powerful that they could somehow stop the war in Iraq or start it. . Facts do not matter to such people. There is no evidence that Israel or "the Jews" had any influence on the US decision to go to war in Iraq, and US Jews did not and do not support the war in larger numbers than anyone else. They are among its harshest critics.

The Democratic hate fest didn't end with the remarks of McGovern and Moran, since enthusiastic "Democrats" distributed anti-Semitic literature as well.

Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean issued this statement:

"Yesterday members of the Judiciary Committee held an important hearing on the so-called Downing Street Memo and its implications. Unfortunately, some members of the audience took it upon themselves to distribute anti-Semitic literature at the Wasserman Conference room where an overflow crowd observed the proceedings on television. We disavow the anti-Semitic literature, and the Democratic National Committee stands in absolute disagreement with and condemns the allegations.

"As Americans we believe in the right to free speech, and as Democrats we open our doors to a variety of opinions and perspectives from our fellow Americans. Unlike the current administration, we do not believe that closed hearings, restricted audiences, and carefully scripted meetings are good for our democracy. But anti-Semitism and bigotry are unacceptable and un-American, and they have no place in civil political discourse. As for any inferences that the United States went to war so Israel could 'dominate' the Middle East or that Israel was in any way behind the horrific September 11th attacks on America, let me say unequivocally that such statements are nothing but vile, anti-Semitic rhetoric. The inferences are destructive and counter productive, and have taken away from the true purpose of the Judiciary Committee Members' meeting. The entire Democratic Party remains committed to fighting against such bigotry."

That sounds really fine, but the "entire Democratic Party" that is ostensibly committed to fighting bigotry,  necessarily includes Ray McGovern and James Moran. Moran is still in the Democratic party, and still invited to functions like this mock committee session. Dean's concern regarding racism in the Democratic party obviously didn't extend to actually doing something about the problem. If any other Democrats were outraged, they certainly kept their silence.

America has finally gotten around to condemning lynching, but anti-Semitism is coming in again through the back door. The "progressive" friends whom US Jews always supported in such large numbers have abandoned the good fight. Jews and "Zionists" now find themselves on the wrong side of the divide everywhere.

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