The usual would-be policeman of Washington's discourse on all things to do with Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg, takes a break from the Jewish holidays to consign yet another member of the thinking classes to the ranks of "something much darker." Dowd wrote a column in which she noted how Greater Israel fanatics run the Romney campaign's foreign policy (which they do), and their neoconservative bubble is part of what explains Romney's nasty and divisive attempt last week to politicize the recent flare-up of violent anti-Americanism in the Middle East.
You are not allowed to say this in Washington without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let me repeat: you can not write this. If you are a columnist and blogger, like, say, Tom Friedman or yours truly, the consequences are an immediate accusation that you are another Hitler:
On the right, The Weekly Standard's Daniel Halper called it "outrageous," while Commentary's Jonathan Tobin described it as "particularly creepy." "Dowd’s column marks yet another step down into the pit of hate-mongering that has become all too common at the Times," Tobin wrote.
Even if it is the obvious truth. Greater Israel neoconservatives dominate the Romney foreign policy and Senor is chief among them. As Kevin Drum notes:
There's nothing anti-Semitic in Dowd's column. She just doesn't like neocons, and she doesn't like the fact that so many of the neocons responsible for the Iraq debacle are now advisors to Mitt Romney's campaign. Pretending that this makes her guilty of hate-mongering toward Jews is reprehensible.
Goldblog decides to give Maureen just a warning this time:
Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews.
Next time: she's David Duke. This was a drive-by warning shot,
a silly diversion from the fact that Bibi Netanyahu tried to interfere in our election last week, was slapped down for it and tried to cover his tracks on television this morning.
But, on the broader point, does anyone believe that Paul Ryan's adoption of Netanyahu's position on the Middle East has nothing to do with longtime Greater Israel fanatic, Dan Senor, who has been described by the NYT as Romney's chief foreign adviser, organizer of his Israel trip, and channel to the tight neocon circle in Jersualem? Goldblog tries to downplay Senor's neocon connections by saying many neoconservative Jews criticized him when he was working for Paul Bremer. Ira Stoll tries the same tack:
First of all, at least by neoconservative standards, Dan Senor isn't much of a neoconservative. He rose to prominence on the foreign policy side as a spokesman for Paul Bremer. Bremer was a longtime colleague and associate of Henry Kissinger and is thought of as a Kissingerian realist, not a neoconservative.
This is how Senor got his start:
As an ambitious college intern on the Hill, he caught the attention of William Kristol, the editor-in-chief of the Weekly Standard, who gave him entree into the neoconservative circle surrounding George W. Bush.
To quote the NYT:
His presence in the tight orbit of advisers around the Republican candidate foreshadows a Romney foreign policy that could take a harder line against Iran, embrace Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move away from being the honest broker in the conflict with Palestinians.
Here's an example of how the neocons's daily obsession with Israel "educates" and "informs" GOP foreign policy, reported in that anti-Semitic rag, The Tablet:
In September 2009, after Romney’s first run for the Republican nomination, he joined Senor onstage at a conference hosted by the Foreign Policy Initiative, an organization Senor launched with Kristol and Robert Kagan. Romney made passing reference to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, prompting Senor to note it had been written by Bret Stephens, a columnist well known in conservative circles. “Brad Stephens’ piece?” Romney asked, blankly. “Bret Stephens,” Senor corrected. “Bret Stephens,” Romney repeated, and looked out at the audience. “Sorry, Bret.”
This protege of Kristol, Kagan and Stephens has a sister who runs "the Jerusalem office of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, [and] has the ear, and the direct phone number, of just about everyone in the Israeli government." So, obviously, as Goldberg and Stoll claim, Senor's a Kissingerian realist, coldly advancing America's interests with respect to Israel and her neighbors. And Maureen joins the growing ranks of alleged Jew-haters.
(Photo-illustration from photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic via Getty, with Hitler mustache photo-shopped on.)