‘Comment is Free’, “Neocons” and attacks against a much maligned Abrahamic faith

There have been countless reader comments about Jews at ‘Comment is Free’ far more hateful than the following, which appeared  beneath Glenn Greenwald’s latest post, ‘Who paid the Log Cabin Republican anti-Hagel NTY Ad?’, but the language used is quite instructive in several respects.

This reader comment hasn’t been deleted by CiF moderators at the time this post was published.


The interesting thing about this comment is that, despite its risible rhetorical excesses, much of it is in almost complete alignment with the dominant leftist narrative about the injurious effect of the Israel lobby on American politics.  In fact, the passage concerning the Israel lobby’s power, money and purchase of US politicians pretty much represents conventional wisdom within a segment of the American left, as well as at the Guardian.

Further, the word neocon – which refers to new conservatives who moved right due to a disenchantment with liberalism’s ideological excesses and what was perceived as its domestic policy failures, and now support conservative social policy and a US foreign policy which promotes freedom abroad –  has become one of the more popular forms of polemical abuse.  

Often it is a euphemism for Zionists (and sometimes Jews), and anyone who believe that the US should aggressively oppose the rise Islamism around the world, and (even when not used in a bigoted context) commentators such as Greenwald often use the term to paint a broad brush over all who believe the US should continue to support Israel. 

His characterization of opponents of Chuck Hagel’s possible nomination for Defense Secretary as neocons represents classic Greenwald.  

Typical is this passage from his CiF commentary:  

“…a favorite tactic of neocons – who have led the smear campaign against Hagel – is to cynically exploit liberal causes to generate progressive support for their militaristic agenda.”

As is the case with most bigoted and simplistic commentators who impute ill motives to their political opponents, Greenwald is unburdened by political nuance and thus employs the word neocon to attack Hagel’s opponents even though some of the most prominent groups who opposed the possible nomination are clearly not of the neocon persuasion.

For instance, there was significant opposition to Hagel’s nomination by decidedly liberal Jewish groups such as the American Jewish Committee and Anti-Defamation League.  

Similarly, liberal US political leaders such as Congressman Barney Frank (one of the most prominent openly gay members of the House of Representatives) and Senator Chuck Schumer have expressed strong opposition to Hagel.

In addition to Frank, some gay advocacy organizations – which are very liberal on most issues – have similarly expressed opposition to Hagel (or at least have expressed serious reservations).

Fierce opposition to Hagel has also come from the influential liberal activist, and founder of Daily Kos, Markos Moulitsas – who has launched a campaign against the nomination.

While much of the Jewish opposition to Hagel has indeed been motivated by concerns over comments he has made thought by some to be antisemitic, and his opposition to aggressively confronting Iran, gay advocates have expressed concern over homophobic comments Hagel has made, while liberal activists like Moulitsas oppose Hagel for the simple reason that he is a staunch conservative whose views are fundamentally at odds with those of liberal Democrats.

Despite the fact that much of the opposition to Hagel’s nomination has come from those who would never identify with the values of neo-conservationism, decrying an alleged “neocon smear campaign” is an easy way of imputing sinister motivations to such opponents – by suggesting that they’re motivated not by what’s best for the US, but, rather what’s best for Israel, and that such “Israel-firsters” are willing to defame anyone who stands in their way.

Finally, the following passage in Greenwald’s essay is especially illustrative of the anti-neocon persuasion. 

“As it so often does, the [neocon] tactic has worked magically…as numerous progressives who do actually care about gay issues – from Rachel Maddow to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force – dutifully popped up to attack the neocons‘ number one public enemy. Andrew Sullivan is right that this is a classic technique of the neocon smear campaign – recruit progressives to their cause with exploitation of unrelated issues.” 

To commentators such as Greenwald, even those opposing Hagel who clearly aren’t neocons simply could not have reached their conclusions independently but, rather, as the result of being cynically manipulated by neocon trickery.    

Guardian-Left anti-neocons such as Greenwald – and their army of supporters below the line – are increasingly identified as much by their intellectual laziness, convoluted casuistry and a remarkably facile understanding of the world as they are by a willingness to trade in antisemitic calumnies. 

21 replies »

      • “he said the only reason that Congress cheered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s defiance of President Obama was because they were “bought and paid for by the Israel Lobby””

        As a matter of fact, many US congressmen receive subsidies from organizations seeking to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Israel – the Israel lobby. Direct or indirect financial contributions to political campaign through organizations such as AIPAC are considered an important means of influence.

        • Which is the more “important means of influence”, so-called Israel lobby or the oil-rich Arab nations?

  1. As a Jewish American liberal, I like to tell people that I am an ethnic neocon. Because yes, it’s a euphemism for ‘Jew’.

    BTW, Mossad’s actual motto is “Where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

    The one she cites is Duvdevan’s, except that if you look up the actual quote from Proverbs, it’s not ‘deception’, it’s ‘wise counsel’.

    I hope no one ever tells this person about the Armored Corps motto: “Where the tread stops, there the border is established.”

    BTW, the CIA’s motto is “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

    • The comment also falls into that oh-so-‘liberal’ trap of justifying anti-semitism then blaming it all on the Jews. MonaHol (in his/her own eyes) clearly only has our best interests at heart. His message is – if only we’d stop being so uppity, people would stop hating us.

      Yeah, right.

      • I think it was Golda Meir who said that Israeli Jews refuse to die so that people would think well of them. I am with her.

      • What ’liberal’ trap of justifying anti-semitism then blaming it all on the Jews? The nasty MonaHol speaks only for themself.

    • I believe that the ‘By way of deception …’ misquote comes courtesy of Victor Ostrovsky, the Mossad trainee failure whose memoirs of his services stretch credibility, to put it quite mildly.

      It’s a quite a common quote amongst neo-Nazi types who keep claiming that Israel (rather than al-Qaeda) was responsible for 9/11. The fact that such a statement made it onto CIF tells you all you need to know about how far down the sewer the ‘Guardian’ has gone.

      • When a person is neck deep in sewage he soon fails to notice the stench, but that is not to excuse al-Groan’s abandonment of even a pretence of ethical journalism.

        Neo-Nazis, Islamists, lunatic leftists and other extremists of the same stripe tend towards the authoritarian personality typology, and one of its core presentations at the passive polarity is magical/superstitious, emotional “thinking” rather than critical thinking. These fools tend to make conspiracy theories out of thin air and, lacking the capability to think critically rather than emotionally, fall for their own fairy stories.

      • The fact that such a statement made it onto CIF tells you all you need to know about how far down the sewer the ‘Guardian’ has gone.

        Would you therefore also say that vicious anti-Arab posts BTL here show how far down the sewer CiFWatch has gone?

  2. It’s hilarious seeing the Guardianistas supporting a politician like Hagel who is opposed to gay marriage and has a long anti-gay voting record.

    Their desperate attempts to smear and discredit Israel at every opportunity are tying their little brains in knots, to the extent they are forced to argue against their own principles. They are contemptible.

  3. The definition of Neocon includes support for “a US foreign policy which promotes freedom abroad”?? You must be kidding.

    And this website claims to be poltiically neutral?

  4. Pretz – I was just about to say the same thing. I mean, if we’re talking about “intellectual laziness”, then to blandly state – post-Iraq and Afghanistan – that neoconservative foreign policy is motivated simply by “promoting freedom abroad” is the intellectual equivalent of laying face-down on the sofa in a pile of soggy nachos.

    Also, just to point out another double-standard: complaining about over-heated prose style by using the phrase “risible rhetorical excesses” seems like the pot calling the kettle black, as does the phrase “convoluted casuistry”. What would the Guardian style guide say… 🙂

  5. Are you Chris James Cox, perchance?

    The one who writes for al-Groan and works for EAPPI?

    Bet you daren’t lecture al-Groan about its double standards in the way you presume to lecture this site on what you think are its.

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