Ron Paul's Dangerous Campaign, and the New Anti-Semitism of Paul, Joe Klein and Tom Friedman
The danger in Iowa is not that if Ron Paul does come in first in the Iowa caucus, he will get the Republican nomination. He won’t. Recall Mike Huckabee’s win four years ago! It means little. But it will give Paul momentum, and his deluded followers will double down in their efforts, and when Mitt Romney becomes the nominee, they won’t take their defeat lying down. The danger, then, is that Paul will do what his followers want and what he originally promised he would not do: run on a third-party ticket for the presidency.
If Ron Paul follows that course, it means that he will take away just enough votes from the eventual nominee to assure Barack Obama’s re-election as president of the United States. Since Paul obviously believes that the positions of the Republican Party are no different than those of the Democrats, it makes sense for him to become the spoiler, thus asserting his own power in politics. For the rest of us, it will mean we have lost our only chance to stop the destruction of the America we have come to know and love by presenting Barack Obama with four more years to achieve his domestic agenda of transforming the United States into a European-style social democracy.
So let us look vividly at everything Ron Paul stands for. Thanks to the research of journalist James Kirchick, that reminder is available for us in the new issue of The Weekly Standard. Building upon his well-known 2008 article on Ron Paul’s now famous newsletters issued by him in the 1980s and 90s, Kirchick updates his earlier findings, revealing “Paul’s lucrative and decades-long promotion of bigotry and conspiracy theories, for which he has yet to account fully, and his continuing espousal of extremist views, that should make him unwelcome at any respectable forum, not only those hosted by Jewish organizations.”
Kirchick’s findings are so important that even the New York Times reported on them in its main news section. Given Paul’s position that Iran is nowhere near to obtaining a nuclear weapon and is not a threat, his views about Israel and the United States are especially relevant.
What the congressman had to say about Jews and Israel would probably be a deal-breaker. No foreign country was mentioned in the newsletters more often than Israel. A 1987 newsletter termed it "an aggressive, national socialist state," and another missive, on the subject of the 1993 World Trade Center attack, concluded, ‘Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.’ In 1990, the newsletter cast aspersions on the "tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise."
As Kirchick points out, Paul’s explanation for the outrageous comments that regularly appeared in his various newsletters borders on parody. Paul expects people to believe that he had nothing to do with what appeared under his own name, and which readers at the time thought he had written. Whether actually penned by Paul or by one of his associates, the fact is that Paul made a nice fortune selling them to subscribers, and readers believed they were reading Paul’s own views.
Moreover, Kirchick goes on to point out that Ed Crane, “the president of the Cato Institute, said Paul told him that ‘his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for the Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto.’” To this reader, that sentence is the most important one in Kirchick’s article. It reveals, for the first time, that a great deal of Paul’s funding for his successful congressional campaigns comes from one of the most notorious anti-Semitic papers in America.
Finally, Kirchick reveals that Paul is a regular guest on the single most extremist far-right radio program hosted by a man named Alex Jones. I first heard of Jones while on a speaking engagement in California, where a man who drove me around insisted I hear tapes of Jones that he had amassed. Jones is so crazed in his support of conspiracy theories about everything that he makes Lyndon LaRouche and Michael Savage appear apostles of sanity. Kirchick quotes Paul as telling Jones in a March 2009 broadcast that “we need to take out the CIA.” Just last week, Paul told Jones that the report of an attempted Iranian assassination in the U.S. of the Saudi ambassador was nothing but a “propaganda stunt.”
Paul’s views about Israel belie his claim that he too is the Jewish state’s real friend. Writing about a 2009 Republican debate, Kirchick notes that Paul said:
“Why do we have this automatic commitment that we’re going to send our kids and send our money endlessly to Israel?" This is an echo of Pat Buchanan’s 1990 claim that if the United States went to war against Saddam Hussein it would be on behalf of Israel, and that "kids with names like McAllister, Murphy, Gonzales, and Leroy Brown" would be the ones doing the fighting and dying. The assertion that American soldiers are risking their lives to protect Israel and not the United States is as false today as it was two decades ago.
Unfortunately, Paul’s anti-Semitic themes are resonating with others. On his own blog, journalist Joe Klein writes the following in a paragraph that echoes the arguments of Paul:
Iowa Republicans are not neoconservatives. Ron Paul has gained ground after a debate in which his refusal to join the Iran warhawks was front and center. Indeed, in my travels around the country, I don’t meet many neoconservatives outside of Washington and New York. It’s one thing to just adore Israel, as the evangelical Christians do; it’s another thing entirely to send American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.
So, reading Joe Klein’s words, it appears that he too wants to join Tom Friedman in the ranks of the self-hating Jews who argue that U.S. support of Israel is part of a neo-conservative plot financed and orchestrated by the all-powerful Israeli lobby. And since he holds such views, he seems sympathetic to Ron Paul’s beliefs.
Soon after his blog post appeared Klein was evidently hit hard by scores of responses. The result was another blog post answering his attackers, in which Klein made his argument even worse than his original comment. The online Jewish magazine Tablet, Klein revealed, asked “(a) if I associated myself with Ron Paul’s foreign policy in general or just with his position on Iran and (b) saying that I was probably going to get hammered as Tom Friedman was last week when he said that the Congress had been bought by the Israel Lobby.” Now read Klein’s answer to the question carefully. He writes: “I don’t associate myself with Paul’s foreign policy, although I sympathize with many of the points he makes, especially about our overreaction to Islamic terrorism since 9/11.”
Which is it? Does he not associate with Paul’s foreign policy, or does he, as he goes on to say as he contradicts himself, “sympathize with many of the points he makes”? If the latter, it is important to recall that Paul believes not that there was an overreaction to Islamic terrorism, but that the truthers who believe 9/11 was a conspiracy are people he takes seriously.
Next, he defends Tom Friedman by calling his colleague’s critics “Israel First/Likudnik bloviators,” ignoring that in fact Friedman was condemned by Democratic legislators like former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, and others who are anything but supporters of Likud. As for the evangelicals, whom Koch correctly praised in his column last week, he admits that he finds them “creepy.” He should consider Koch’s point that “many commentators in our political system denigrate the evangelicals. I honor and respect them. Evangelicals support Israel in larger numbers than the young Jews in the U.S., many of whom have no or little Jewish education or appreciation of the Jewish people’s important contributions to the world, despite our small numbers.”
Or, I might add, they have more appreciation for Israel and its accomplishments than do its purported friends like Tom Friedman and Joe Klein. But of course, as Klein sees things, he is “dismayed by the crazed intolerance of many right-wing Jewish commentators these days,” especially since they consider he and Friedman “anti-Israel.”
Notice again: The liberal critics who have taken on Friedman are “right-wing” and “crazed.” This is what I call nuance and listening seriously to one’s critics. And as for Elliott Abrams, who has penned his own critique of both writers, Klein has a sharp rebuke. He is guilty of “neoconservative thuggery.” Isn’t that a profound thought? What Abrams writes is right on target. What, he asks, got Friedman to take the Walt-Mearsheimer position? Abrams answers: “Perhaps it was jealousy from seeing Walt and Mearsheimer sell all those books with this line, but Friedman here tips right into the swamps.” And he is correct when he points out that “Klein’s thoughts are about as ugly as ever appear outside of Pat Buchanan’s publications.”
Abrams tears apart Klein’s vacuous arguments, especially in this paragraph:
After all, Klein is saying (1) neoconservatives are Jews, and Jews are neoconservatives; (2) Evangelicals like Israel but they are real Americans who put their own country first, unlike Jews; (3) and what those Jews/neoconservatives really want is to send American boys off to fight Israel’s wars, sparing Israeli kids and of course their own kids, who are apparently not “American kids” and anyway do not fight for their country. Of course Klein simply ignores the possibility that concern about the Iranian nuclear program does not make one a warmongering neoconservative, and actually extends even to Christians.
I suspect that Leon Panetta’s 60 Minutes interview, on which I posted earlier today, makes the Defense secretary as well a secret neo-conservative. So Abrams is right. Tom Friedman and Joe Klein, two prominent Jewish journalists, are as Abrams puts it, “spreading the two major themes of contemporary American anti-Semitism.” Evidently, Abrams’ sharp words have offended Klein. Good. What he needs to hear is more of the same, from as many people as possible. Already, Friedman has offered a very weak apology to the Jewish Week, in which he now explains himself this way:
In retrospect I probably should have used a more precise term like "engineered" by the Israel lobby — a term that does not suggest grand conspiracy theories that I don’t subscribe to. It would have helped people focus on my argument, which I stand by 100 percent.
So Friedman wants to have his cake and eat it too. He believes what he says, but only now says Congress was not “bought and paid for” by the Israeli lobby but only had their thoughts “engineered” by them. Some apology, Tom!
Of course, the enthusiasm for Paul is shared by the self-proclaimed conservative acolyte Andrew Sullivan, who writes that “it's so heartening to see a candidate who's been ignored, condescended to and caricatured by both the liberal media and the Fox Propaganda machine emerge as a viable candidate to win the Iowa caucuses.”
Rather than being ignored or caricatured, the media -- until Kirchick’s report -- has all but given Ron Paul one great pass, as supporters like Sullivan praise him as a valid conservative alternative. Sullivan sees “fascistic strains” in Rick Perry, but somehow fails to notice those even more apparent in Ron Paul than in any other candidate now running for president. Sullivan is not Jewish, and his animus towards Israel and its defenders has long been apparent. In his case, his support for Paul does not come as a surprise.
Do Joe Klein and Thomas Friedman really want to end up in the same corner as Sullivan, a writer who few take seriously any longer? Are we about to see a new interview in Jewish Week with Klein, who will conjure up some new words to try and get out of his current columns, joining his friend Friedman in trying to save his argument by rephrasing it?
No wonder they are both running scared. When they foolishly put their own real thoughts in print, they are immediately bombarded with the wisdom of their critics, who cry out: enough already! It is too late for either of them to get out of what they are saying. The next step is to bombard both Time, where Klein appears, and the New York Times, Friedman’s home, with letters telling their editors that the public does not appreciate their pages being used for the new anti-Semitism now becoming so fashionable.
All of Ron Paul's defenders, and actually everyone who has read this column, should read Dorothy Rabinowitz's major op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, titled "What Ron Paul Thinks of America." She gives you chapter and verse about Paul's anti-Americanism, which sounds familiar to anyone on the Left who has read and likes Noam Chomsky. The two are almost indistinguishable in their views. She writes the following about Paul:
It sums up much we have already heard from him. It's the voice of that ideological school whose central doctrine is the proposition that the U.S. is the main cause of misery and terror in the world. The school, for instance, of Barack Obama's former minister famed for his "God d— America" sermons: the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for whom, as for Dr. Paul, the 9/11 terror assault was only a case of victims seeking justice, of "America's chickens coming home to roost."
So, for more detail, it's all in Rabinowitz. Paul's defenders will learn the truth, and can put a stop to their apologia for Paul.