Jews vs. Israelis vs. Wesley Clark vs. Some More Jews

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Stephen Bainbridge has looked into Gen. Wesley Clark's soul and found—what else?—a bottomless pit of anti-semitism.

If we are to believe Arianna Huffington, ex-General and possible 2008 Democratic presidential primary candidate Wes Clark worries that the Bush administration will bomb Iran and blames pressure from "New York money people" on "office seekers." Specifically, or so it would seem, "Jewish" money people.

Wow! That's not actually what he said.

When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."

It's now anti-semitic to suggest that American Jews have some influence on Israeli politics. So you know.

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  1. Well, as usual it’s far from easy to make much sense of the sweet little nothings posted by fawning nonentities at the Puffington Host (forwarded to her BlackBerry from his Trio, no less!), so it would come as a big surprise to noone if a blogging tax law prof (with way too much time at his hands) might be unable to unscramble it.

  2. Bravo for this post. I’ve always thought the overkill reaction aimed at anyone that suggests that Jewish people, like any ethnic lobby, have some influence on things in government (or media or whatever) always gives nuts more fodder for anti-Semitism than just letting it out in the open for discussion. Yes there are some Jewish groups that push for favorable treatment of Likudian policy in regards to Israel. Yes many of these groups are zealotic well organized, well funded and influential. These are just facts. But the Cuban lobby is a very zealous, organized and influential lobby as well. Americans should be wary of such lobbies then they suggest policy that may be unsound for the nations foriegn policy, but there strikes me as nothing sinister about it.

  3. Who knows whether Huffington is quoting Clark accurately. Assuming that she is, “the New York money people” is at best a poor choice of words when discussing the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.

    E.g.,

    “[Henry] Ford came to believe in a Jewish world conspiracy. He blamed Jewish financiers for fomenting World War I so that they could profit from supplying both sides.”

    http://www.ajhs.org/publications/chapters/chapter.cfm?documentID=275

  4. I see absolutely nothing wrong with what General Sugar-Tits said.

  5. No, the problem is the blacks, I tell you!

  6. “have some influence on things in government (or media or whatever)”

    The media remark is usualy pretty anti-semitic, because it usually muttered in the shape of the ‘jews control the media’. The implication there is that the jews are pushing some Jew agenda on the unsuspecting public, because they are pretty unproportionaly represented with respect to TV/Film.

    Its the same as saying blacks live in the ghettoes, that may be true, african american may be unproportionately represented in poorer neighbourhoods, but WTF is your point.

    Luckily, the control of the media thing is taken pretty lightly and often satirized by jewish comedians

  7. Throw the politicians down the well.

  8. Clark is pretty clear in saying that the Jewish community is divided, and that he’s talking about a politically influential faction.

    We’re not allowed to say that there is a politically active, influential faction of Jewish-Americans who are highly enthusiastic about having the US take a hawkish stance towards Israel’s enemies?

    Why not? Is that untrue?

  9. Actually, it is anti-semitic because the ex General wants Israel to be pushed into the sea and anything Jewish burned to the ground.

    Otherwise, no bias at all should be assigned to Gen. (Ret) Clark.

  10. Oh, ok, just as long as no one’s saying anything loonie, or using charges of racism as a proxy for partisanship.

  11. I’m not really suprised that the Huffington Post has come up with this bit of PC nonsense. Like Joe said, the Jewish community is divided, with some groups supporting a hawkish US foreign policy and other groups not. Why can’t a politician recognize this fact?

  12. It just goes to show just how much the Jewish political lobbies have been, not just in government, but in society as a whole. Almost any mention of Jews that is either negitive, or at least not wholy positive is labled as anti-semetic. They have been sucessfuly able to convince just about everyone that the only Semites in the world are Jews, if you ask most anyone on the streets what it means to be anti-semetic, you will most likely hear that it means anti-jew, what most people dont realize is Semite includes the Arab people as well.

    So Palistinian/Israeli violence is Semite vs. Semite violence. I have an Israeli friend who I
    love dearly, but we have a large difference of opinion on US/Israeli policy regarding the Palistinian people. When I brought up the fact that they were both of Semetic origins, she threw a complete fit and would not talk to me for weeks untill i ‘corrected’ myself. (which i never did and she eventually got over it)

    So I would say, there is a concentrated effort by the Jewish community to define what it means to be anti-semetic.

  13. Who’s “they”, kanabiis? The elders of Zion?

  14. The so-called ‘palestenian people’ are Syrians, Lebenese, Egyptians, Jordanians and Israelis.

    Well, unless you are talking about the ones in Gaza that destroyed the place as soon as the IDF pulled out.

  15. Why can’t a politician recognize this fact?

    Because it’s anti-semitic…don’t you know that?

    All kidding aside, it helps to note also that Clark’s remarks singled out U.S. (specifically New York) money.

    It’s a pattern for certain groups to get stirred up over here and pour money into misguided efforts that contribute to the misery of their own kind still stuck in the war zone.

    Consider expat Cubans in Miami pushing futile policies that do nothing to change life for people actually living in Cuba. Or the Boston businessmen who used to send money and weapons to the I.R.A.

  16. Who’s “they”, kanabiis? The elders of Zion?

    David,

    You can make a perfectly sound argument against what kanabiis wrote without making such a ridiculous comment. The word “they” plainly refers to the Jewish lobby (AIPAC, etc.) — the subject of the entire post. That’s so plain from the context of his post that you would have to be illeterate not to understand his point.

  17. Uh, I misspelled “illiterate.” Yes, I deserve ridicule for that one.

  18. Chris,

    I wasn’t wasn’t making an argument. I was throwing a sarcastic silly comment into the thread.

  19. kanabiis:

    THEY did not convince anyone, anti-semitism as it is being currenly used by the vast majority refers to anti-jewish views. The fact that Palestinians and others share semitic origins does not change the meaning of the word.

  20. Aww geez. You see, this is why you can’t bring Jews on away missions! They don’t play along!

    Screw you guys. I’m going home.

  21. kanabiis — If you call a fox a “chicken,” it doesn’t change the fact that those red-furred canine animals that most people call “foxes” want to kill and eat those domestic fowl that most people call “chickens.”

  22. Just for the record, Clark didn’t say anything about Jewish money. In fact, he specifically distinguishes between the US Jewish community, calling it “split,” and the NY money people who are pressuring the Bush administration.

    AIPAC is not solely a Jewish organization. It’s a pro-Israel (and more specifically, pro-Likud) lobby. Most of them are far-right Republican evangelical Christians. And they have LOTS of money, and LOTS of access to the White House.

    Real Jews vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, and BushCo generally doesn’t give us the time of day.

    There are also Sunni/Saudi interests with big money who would love to see the US take Iran down a peg or two.

    Might be worth noting that Clark’s father was Jewish, and his father’s family has strongly backed his politics to date, as did a number of high-profile Jewish leaders. Anyone (like Guy above) who thinks Clark wants Israel destroyed is just ignorant or lying. He’s just realistic about nature of war and the state of the US military, and maybe a little idealistic about what America stands for.

  23. It’s interesting to note that the arguments against my post have made my point for me. The Jews began using anti-semite to describe hostility twords jews. The word antisemite was coined in around 1860 by a JEWISH scholer to describe anti-jewish sentiment. The word then fell into common usage as anti-jew.

    Im not a antisemite by any means, i was mearly pointing out the fact that anytime something is said about jews that is not wholy positive the person speaking is imediately pounced on… it appears that the trend exisits even in this forum, just look at how quickly i was ridculed for my statement.

  24. kanabiis,

    I have some news for you:

    “Native American” doesn’t refer to white guys born in Michigan, even though they are native to America.

    If you nuke your Hershey’s bar for two minutes, it won’t be “hot chocolate,” even though it is both hot, and chocolate.

  25. The point of Clark’s comment is that diplomacy should precede military action – why is that so outrageous?

    Let’s also not forget Wesley Kanne (a derivation of Kohen or “Cohen”, Hebrew word for priest) Clark’s father and grandfather had “A descendant of the Kohen tribe” inscribed on their gravestones, and he proudly embraces his Jewish heritage (see page 11 of his biography).

    Finally, anyone who’s been around the general anytime during the last 4-5 years knows he’s annoyingly loyal to the BlackBerry, not the trio.

    Proof: He’s a t-mobile user (see: http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/americablog-just-bought-general-wesley.html), and t-mobile doesn’t even carry trio (see:
    http://t-mobile.com/shop/phones/Default.aspx?pgrShowAll=true)

  26. Uh, I misspelled “illiterate.” Yes, I deserve ridicule for that one.

    That is my favorite funny misspelling/typo thing I ever do. And I do it by accident often. Thank G_d for spell check.

  27. Samuel Faubus,

    You’re a Wesley Clark stalker, aren’t you?

  28. Joe,

    If the Navajo nation decided to use the word anti-native american to describe views negitive twords the Navajo while excluding all other native american tribes, would you also defend the practice? Thats akin to what happened with the word anti-semite… again, im just mearly pointing out how intellectually dishonest it is, regardless of ‘common usage’.

  29. I often misspell “embarrassed” which is, of course, embarrassing.

    The Firefox 2 spell checking feature is very cool.

  30. it appears that the trend exisits even in this forum, just look at how quickly i was ridculed for my statement.

    We did not pounce on you because you were an anti-semite….pardon me, anti-jewish. We pounced because you decided to redefine a commonly used word into a meaning in never had. Ya know language is not static, it evolves and changes. But it evolves through common usage not because one person decides to redefine a word.

  31. Val,

    Funny you say that, since ONE PERSON did define the word, Moritz Steinschneider to be exact, in 1860, and its worth pointing out the bias Mr. Steinschneider had, considering he was a Jew.

    So, in effect, one person decided to add a prefix , anti, to a word Semite, that was used to describe an entire race of peoples, to push a specific agenda, specificly anti-jewish hostilities.

    Its also worth pointing out that he could have just as easily just used the word anti-jewish, to describe the sentiment, and the it would have been just as effective. So why include the word semite if not to redefine who the semetic people were?

  32. highnumber, I’ll admit the trio thing is a minor point, but it does call the credibility of Huffington’s account into question. If she has a blackberry, she obviously knows what one looks like. If she can’t get that blatantly obvious detail right, is it at least plausible a Rhodes scholar and polished/tactful public figure didn’t use the words “New York money people” and “Jewish” in the same breath?

  33. kanabiis,

    Nobody is accusing you of being immoral. They just want you to stop pretending your pedantism validates your outrage.

    Once upon a time, teh Joos were right sneaky bastards for co-opting the word ‘antisemitic’. And it worked. Now everybody thinks ‘antisemitic’ means ‘antijewish’. And if that’s what everybody thinks it means, then thats what it means.

    Still you’re perfectly correct to point out the Orwellian implications of this term. But it’s not a vast ongoing conspiracy, just the unfortunate state of the language at the present time.

  34. eegad man I dont care wether anti-semitism originaly meant ‘to fuck vacariously’, NOW it means anti-jewish, not because I decided, but because everyone else did

    p.s. I dont know the guy that coined the word so I dont know what was going through his head? Do you? Were the 1860’s rife with Palestinian on Jewish violence, so the man decided to redefine semite?

  35. BTW:

    Since we no longer have a word for ‘FUCKING VICARIOUSLY’, (damn those sneaky joos) I declare that from now on ‘EEGAD’ can and should be used in its place.

    My will be done!

  36. Wes Clark, the “Conqueror of Kosovo*”, is an unreliable megalomaniac. Hence, nothing he says should be taken very seriously. He’s probably just angry that the “New York money people” aren’t supporting his delusional presidential ambitions.

    *Imagine that your sole claim to fame – other than making four star flag rank and there’re 40 other dudes who hold that rank – is conquering a small part of Serbia. Imagine, also, that you know you should be president but fear you never will be. You’d be lucky to be only as crazy as Wes is.

  37. What struck me about Wes Clark’s comments was his assumption that the content of Israeli newspapers is an accurate indicator of near-term US actions. Given that even the NYT and WaPo are unreliable on this front, what crazy Jewish magic makes the Israeli press so much better?

  38. *Imagine that your sole claim to fame – other than making four star flag rank and there’re 40 other dudes who hold that rank – is conquering a small part of Serbia. Imagine, also, that you know you should be president but fear you never will be. You’d be lucky to be only as crazy as Wes is.

    And get fired by your President for being a fool.

  39. Shelby,

    The press in Israel is much more partisan than ours is today. It’s more like the way ours was back when they named newspapers “The Democrat.”

    So the comparison isn’t between Ha’aretz and the WaPo, but between Ha’aretz and National Review.

    I first read about the unfortunate Ms. Schiavo in National Review in 2001. Ahmed Chalabi was first called “The George Washington of Iraq” in those pages sometime in the mid-90s.

  40. Apostate Jew – you must have actually met the guy. I’d guess (having not had the “pleasure” of meeting him that yours is a blisteringly accurate depiction. Everyone I know who actually served with/under the guy says nearly the same thing:

    “Wes Clark, the “Conqueror of Kosovo*”, is an unreliable megalomaniac. Hence, nothing he says should be taken very seriously. He’s probably just angry that the ‘New York money people’ aren’t supporting his delusional presidential ambitions.”

    *Imagine that your sole claim to fame – other than making four star flag rank and there’re 40 other dudes who hold that rank – is conquering a small part of Serbia. Imagine, also, that you know you should be president but fear you never will be. You’d be lucky to be only as crazy as Wes is.”

  41. I think Guy Montag’s hysterical comments illustrate well the kind of mentality one has to deal with when one tries to criticize the more fanatical zionist view (I often call this the Likudian view) of Israel. I’m gonna have to call him on his comment that Wesley Clark wants to see Israel destroyed. This is the kind of thing, equating ANY criticism of Israeli policy with saying ‘death to Israel,’ that makes one doubt real anti-Semitism and knee-jerk anti-Israel sentiment. It’s of no help to Israel ultimately and many if not all Jews here in the US sensibly reject such nonsense…
    I’m not sure what to make of the ‘so-called Palestinian’ comment…Even Sharon wanted a two state solution and one of those nations was going to be called “Palestine.” The zealotic zionists still put this mythology out there, that there really are no Palestinian people, so everything Israel is doing is fine and dandy…If that land that is full of “so-called Palestinians” is really Syrias, Jordan’s, etc., then why doesn’t Israel turn that land over to said nations or turn these people into full fledged Israeli citizens?

  42. Ken,

    Because the Israeils don’t want to be rocketed and shelled into the sea like you apparently want them to be.

    Guess you missed what happened as soon as Gaza was turned back over to the Egyptian ‘palestinians’ a few months ago.

  43. I’m not a praying man, but if God could keep Guy Montag from ever being on my side of a political issue, I’ll start going to church.

  44. So, in effect, one person decided to add a prefix , anti, to a word Semite, that was used to describe an entire race of peoples, to push a specific agenda, specificly anti-jewish hostilities.

    Per the always delightful and invaluable Wikipedia: Steinschneider used this phrase to characterize Ernest Renan’s ideas about how “Semitic races” were inferior to “Aryan races.”

    So it appears that he was responding to a comparison of Aryan and Semitic races and calling the conclusions of that comparison “anti-semitic.” Very different from your characterization.

    That others over the next 150 years decided to co-opt the use of this phrase can hardly be blamed on Steinschneider.

  45. I hope whoever called Wes a megmegalomaniac was being facetious. I’ve met him over a dozen times and he’s the most down-to-earth, caring, open-minded person I’ve ever known. The people I’ve talked to who work for him now seem to feel free to disagree with him. I’ve also worked very closely with his 4-year-long-military-aide, Eric Massa, who ran for Congress in 06, and have had heard Eric say nothing but good things about what Wes was like as a boss. Granted, Wes isn’t perfect, but those who prefer to denigrate his character seem mostly to be hard-nosed types who don’t want any part of Wes’s open-minded approach. Wes lives by Eisenhower’s leadership axiom: The art of leadership is convincing the other fellow to want to do what you want him to do.

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