Roger L. Simon

Joe Klein's rage against the "neocons" transfers to Abe Foxman

Call it “the psychopathology of every day mainstream media lives”…. Joe Klein can barely contain himself in his reply to a letter by Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League:

I find your “outrage” particularly galling because the people you defend are constantly spewing canards against those who favor talking to the Palestinians, or who don’t favor witless bellicosity when it comes to Iran. Their campaign of defamation has cost people jobs, damaged reputations and careers. I am very tired of having reasonable people accused of being “soft on terrorism” or “unpatriotic” or favoring “surrender”–Joe Lieberman’s favorite—by Jewish neoconservatives who seem to have a neurotic need to prove their toughness. They, and you, should know that most Jews disagree with their politics and many Jews are disgusted with their behavior. They, and you, should know that the tendency to “cry wolf” about antisemitism does real harm to the Jewish community—indeed, in this case, it is laughable.

Whoa… Somebody’s ox has clearly been gored.  I theorized earlier that Klein’s ugly reaction to “Jewish neoconservatives” was projection. Now I think it’s a classic case of the phenomenon, particularly “neurotic” in response to Foxman’s much more considered words.

What’s interesting in Klein’s letter – and in the original article –  is that the journalist names no names, other than Joe Lieberman who seems the subject of special opprobrium. (It would be interesting to explore the etiology of that one.) To lump all “Jewish neoconservatives” together is an ancient technique and is intended to make us think they are all alike, whoever they are. Of course Klein is well aware of the history and uses of such a smear, yet still employs it with an alacrity that seems driven by private demons.

In reality, many Jews who supported (and continue to support) the war have wildly disparate views. Some completely support talking with the Palestinians.  I am one of those. I am probably more of social liberal than Klein himself too, but he would more than likely lump me with the ubiquitous neocons who are out to get him, not to mention get people fired, as he indicates in the letter.

What appears to be going on here is a kind of deep confusion.  The surge is working.  History may regard the Iraq War as a success.  People like Klein are beginning to suspect (fear?) they may have been wrong. He doesn’t want to face the possibility.   So in his  defense he brings forth  shopworn nonsense like the cliche about Iraq distracting us from our real battle against “those who attacked us,” even though no view could be more simplistic. The battle against Islamofacism is highly complex and takes place on many fronts.  Finally he brings forth that canard of canards, blaming everything on the unidentified neocons’ “neurotic need to prove their toughness.” [Why did he miss out on calling them “chicken hawks?-ed. Undoubtedly because he doesn’t read enough blogs.]

If Klein’s really  talking about Richard Perle here (always a possibility), he might want to view this video I shot, in which the supposed neocon mastermind does demonstrate a neurotic need…. to brew a perfect cup of espresso. (He also talks with far more sophistication and grace than Klein about Iraq.)