I despise the term “paleocon,” as though that wing of the movement were tapped into some older, more intellectually pure form of Conservatism (I suppose combining the economic protectionism of Ronald Reagan with the non-interventionism of Teddy Roosevelt or some such garbage.)

One of the criticisms the paleos have to counter quite often is that they are anti-Semites because of their distrust of our pro-Israel foreign policy in the Middle East. They think (rather naively) that, if we didn’t support Israel, we wouldn’t have all this trouble with the Arab states. Their critics might ask the obvious question, “Why shouldn’t the U.S. lend support the only stable democracy in a region where the world finds over 50% of its fossil fuel?” And that is where the Paleos get hung up.

You see, there is no realistic way to answer that question that doesn’t involve some version of the same anti-Semitic presupposition, that is, that somehow the Jews in the United States are (a) so loyal to Israel, even in opposition to the interests of their native land, (a position called “Zionism”) and (b) such a fearsome lobby/force/power in American politics that they can make Zionism the official foreign policy of the United States.

“Oh, but Will!” you say, “Zionism is real! It’s not anti-Semitic to call out the Zionists!” The problem with your objection, then, is that you are engaging in semantics. It is manifestly anti-Semitic to claim, without support, that our country is in the hands of a plot or conspiracy perpetrated by Jews to support the interests of world-wide Jewry in opposition to our own. So, no matter how many times you insist your position is not anti-Semitic, it doesn’t change the fact that your position constitutes the heart and soul of anti-Semitism, or any form of racism, to wit: The ascribing of a negative or dangerous quality to the (insert racial moniker here) people at large.

While most main-stream paleos don’t go as far as to say so, they leave themselves in a position where this is the only answer to the questions begged by their anti-Israel platforms. And they do spend an awful lot of time arguing that they are not anti-Semites or, at least, not real anti-Semites.

Take, for instance, Paul Gottfired in the paleocon blog Taki’s Top Drawer. He reviews a poll commissioned by the ADL that, among other things, supposedly shows that 35% of Americans think that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States:

[ADL Chairman Abe] Foxman states his concern that “this is very sinister. It is a classic anti-Semitic canard. They used it on Dreyfus in France, and Hitler used it. It is very serious.” The neoconservative New York Post also found these poll results to be quite scary, and so the editors decided to treat it as an important story with lots of bold type and prominently featured statistics.

Let me count the ways that this supposedly shocking information is pure nonsense. The quotation from Foxman about Hitler, Dreyfus, and the “classic anti-Semitic canard” makes no sense whatever, since neither Hitler nor Dreyfus’s military superiors accused the Jews in their countries of being more loyal to Israel than the country in which they resided. Israel did not even exist as a country until 1948. Nor are those unidentified Americans who agreed to respond to this poll necessarily expressing anti-Jewish sentiments. They were simply registering a perception that many Jews have in relation to other Jews—and which Zionist fundraisers consciously appeal to. In every synagogue I have ever entered in the last sixty years, an Israeli flag can be seen on one side of the ark and an American flag on the other. When politicians campaign in Jewish neighborhoods, does Mr. Foxman have any idea what they talk about, when they’re not beating up on “anti-Semitic” Christian Fundamentalists? I won’t even bring up the statement made last year by “conservative” journalist and supposed American patriot Jonah Goldberg on NRO (March 13, 2003), explaining that Israel has better claims to its territory than Americans do to their land. Apparently our treatment of the Indians was far more unjust than what the Israeli army did to Palestinians in 1948. Although I have never hidden my own sympathy for the Israeli side, I can’t imagine how even the most brain-dead gentile could fail to notice such Israeli nationalism among Americans. Apparently, daring to register this fact is, for Foxman and his neoconservative pals, a peculiarly anti-Semitic tic. For me it is entirely understandable that those who observe how Jews talk about politics here and in Europe should arrive at the conclusion that offends Foxman and the New York Post. I am only surprised that the figure in the poll is as low as 35%. Many gentiles may be even duller than I thought.

Gottfried, no historian he, plays semantics with the fact that Jew have, for hundreds of years, been accused of placing tribal loyalty over loyalty to their native countries. Foxman may have been imprecise, but the corollary with the modern State of Israel is obvious. Then, he goes on to do what many paleos do in these articles: excuse Antisemitism by pretending that his views are not really anti-Semitic, just anti-Neoconservative.

Of course, the term “neoconservative” was coined to slight the authenticity of the conservatism of Jewish former Marxists, a fact which itself seems to mean that the very term is, its origins, racially or ethnically exclusive.

You find paleos in the strangest places defending themselves against the charge of Antisemitism. From lewrockwell.com (a “Libertarian” who never met a war he couldn’t blame on Israel) to the pages of the funny little “Racial Identity” newspaper sold near the Metro stations here in Norther Virginia (which, incidentally, ran Ron Paul’s weekly column for years.) It seems to me that such associations tend to force the paleos to protest a little too much to be believed.

So, my recommendations to the paleoconservatives, if they sincerely want to separate themselves from their Antisemitic image:

  1. Admit that the U.S. policy of support for Israel may be motivated by something other than neocon or Zionist plotting.
  2. Disassociate yourselves from “Anti-Zionist” allies, White Identity publications, Libertarians (who are NOT, NOT, NOT Conservatives of any kind whatsoever) and any other fascist or anarchist movements.
  3. Stop trying to parse Antisemitism down to irrelevance. It’s intellectually disingenuous and you will never succeed, anyway.

Heed my advice or risk being cast off into the outer darkness with the rest of the loons.