Daniel Levy directs both the New America Foundation Middle East Program and the Century Foundation’s Prospects for Peace Initiative. He was a policy adviser in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and head of the Jerusalem Affairs Unit during the Barak Government. He was a member of the Israeli delegation to the Taba negotiations with the Palestinians in January 2001, and of the negotiating team for the ‘Oslo B’ Agreement from May to September 1995, under Prime Minister Rabin. He served as senior policy adviser to former Israeli Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin. He was the lead Israeli drafter of the Geneva Initiative (a jointly drafted Israeli-Palestinian peace plan). He has a Masters Degree from Cambridge University. Here is what Daniel Levy wrote today in The Huffington Post:
You may have missed it, but renowned Time columnist Joe Klein and the Jewish neoconservative blogosphere are at war with one another. The reason this is more important than an argument on who sits where in shul is that Klein has refused to cower, and as a respected member of the mainstream media is pushing back against one of the uglier and more debate-restricting phenomena of recent years. Here is what Joe (photo below) had to say on ‘Swampland’, his blog on the Time website:
“There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003… Happily, these people represent a very small sliver of the Jewish population in this country…I remain proud of my Jewish heritage, a strong supporter of Israel…But I am not willing to grant these ideologues the anonymity they seek…I believe there are a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who are pushing for war with Iran because they believe it is in America’s long-term interests and because they believe Israel’s existence is at stake. They are wrong and recent history tells us they are dangerous. They are also bullies and I’m not going to be intimidated by them.”
Levy suggests that this is “not just Klein’s private kerfuffle: it matters to Jewish America, to America and Israel too, and to being able to have a more serious conversation about anti-Semitism in the future.”
According to Levy’s article, “Bush administration policies in the Middle East have had disastrous consequences for the U.S.; Israel, too, is in a less secure and worse place as a result of these policies; ultimate responsibility for all this lies with the president himself and his hawkish and close group of senior aides – principal among them Veep Cheney; the neoconservatives played an important role in providing an ideological framing for these policies; within that neoconservative world there operates a prominent and tight-knit group of Jewish neocons who are ideologically driven in part by an old school Likudist view of Israeli interests.”
Levy makes the point (as I did) that all Jews are not neoconservatives and all neoconservatives are not Jews, and he insists that the Jews or Israel are not to blame for the Bush Middle East debacle. But he says “there was a failure within the mainstream, Jewish and non-Jewish, to identify the existence of a particular Jewish neoconservative narrative and then to challenge that narrative as being fundamentally flawed in its reading of both American and Israeli interests.”
Levy identifies far-right Christian Evangelical Zionists and TV evangelist John Hagee as being part of that hawkish Mideast movement.
Levy goes on to explain that the reason this debate is so important right now “is the issue raised by Joe Klein – their (the neocons’) aggressive advocacy of a military strike against Iran, a position that again places them out of step with the majority of American Jews.”
In view of Levy’s article, I feel less over-the-top when I wonder about the attacks against Barack Obama that are coming from writers with Jewish names employed by publications with Jewish owners. I don’t know whether the writers are neocons, or whether they are following an agenda set by neocon media executives. That’s impossible for me to determine. But I ask you: Given that Obama’s stand on the Mideast is so much less hawkish than McCain’s, is it really that crazy to suspect he is under attack from the neocons that Levy and Klein are warning us about?