Censorship in America

  1. Michael Scheuer:
    The word ‘Israel’ seems to spark fear in America....
    Israel and its American supporters have made
    discussing the issue of Israel
    difficult and politically dangerous
    in the United States.

  2. Ray McGovern:
    Israel is
    not allowed to be brought up
    in polite conversation.
    The last time I did this,
    [a] previous director of Central Intelligence
    called me anti-Semitic.

  3. John Derbyshire:
    [Emphasis in original]
    One evening early on in my career as an opinion journalist in the USA, I found myself in a roomful of mainstream conservative types standing around in groups and gossiping. Because I was new to the scene, many of the names they were tossing about were unknown to me, so I could not take much part in the conversation. Then I caught one name that I recognized. I had just recently read and admired a piece published in Chronicles under that name. I gathered from the conversation that the owner of the name had once been a regular contributor to much more widely read conservative publications, the kind that have salaried congressional correspondents and full-service LexisNexis accounts, but that he was welcome at those august portals no longer. In all innocence, I asked why this was so. “Oh,” explained one of my companions, “he got the Jew thing.” The others in our group all nodded their understanding. Apparently no further explanation was required. The Jew thing. It was said in the kind of tone you might use of an automobile with a cracked engine block, or a house with subsiding foundations. Nothing to be done with him, poor fellow. No use to anybody now. Got the Jew thing. They shoot horses, don’t they?

    Plainly, getting the Jew thing was a sort of occupational hazard of conservative journalism in the United States, an exceptionally lethal one, which the career-wise writer
    should strive to avoid.

  4. Kevin MacDonald:
    Joe Sobran was fired from National Review because he had the temerity to suppose that U.S. foreign policy should not
    be dictated by what’s best for Israel --
    an event that was accompanied by charges
    by Norman Podhoretz that Sobran was an ‘anti-Semite’.

  5. John Derbyshire:
    In October of [1994], the London Spectator — a literary and political magazine of impeccable gentility — published an article titled “Kings of the Deal,” analyzing, in a thoughtful and entirely unthreatening way, the dominance of Jews like Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg in Hollywood. To the amazement of the Spectator’s editor (who was Dominic Lawson — a Jew!) this innocuous article caused a storm of outrage in the U.S.A. The young author, William Cash, was denounced from the pulpits of political correctness — that is, from the Op-Ed pages of the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Prominent American Jews like Leon Wieseltier went into high-hysterical mode, denouncing Cash as the new Julius Streicher and so on. The storm went on for weeks, led by a howling mob of buffoons — Barbra Streisand, for example — who had certainly never read, nor probably even heard of the Spectator up to that point. (I have been reading it for 30 years, and have also written for it.) It was a display of arrogance, cruelty, ignorance, stupidity, and sheer bad manners by rich and powerful people towards a harmless, helpless young writer, and the Jews who whipped up this preposterous storm should all be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

    To summarize the situation:

  6. Kevin MacDonald:
    [T]he organized Jewish community
    has played a critical role ... in
    preventing public discussion
    of [neoconservatism’s] Jewish roots and Jewish agendas.

    The entry of the neoconservatives into the conservative mainstream did not proceed without a struggle.
    Samuel Francis witnessed much of the early infighting among conservatives, won eventually by the neocons.
    Francis recounts the
    “catalog of neoconservative efforts not merely to
    debate, criticize, and refute
    the ideas of traditional conservatism
    but to
    denounce, vilify, and
    harm the careers
    of those Old Right figures and institutions
    they have targeted.”

    [Francis further writes:]
    There are countless stories of how
    neoconservatives have succeeded in
    entering conservative institutions,
    forcing out or demoting traditional conservatives, and
    changing the positions and philosophy
    of such institutions in neoconservative directions….

What’s going on here?
Are these men who are
being silenced or singled out for opprobrium
fools, losers, malcontents, lunatics?
Racists, bigots, haters, anti-Semites?

There is something going on in the United States
which is preventing open discussion
of a topic which would seem to be quite critical at this time,
namely, to be blunt,
the extent to which affinity for Israel
has determined our foreign policy.

And, if anyone, perchance,
should claim, as George “Slam Dunk” Tenet or
R. James “We are in World War IVWoolsey
evidently did,
that discussion of this issue is “anti-Semitic,”
I would respond that those attempting to address this issue
have fully as much right
to question the motivations of other Americans
as anyone does
to question the motivations of the original questioners.
Precisely why should the motivations of the neocons,
whose predictions with regard to the Iraq invasion
have been proved so wrong,
go unquestioned?
If their predictions had been accurate,
the necessity for this would be nonexistent.
But as it is,
we must attempt, as best we can,
to form the best possible answer to the question:
“Were their errors deliberate or accidental?”

Or did I miss something,
and did America become at some (recent) point in time
an aristocracy,
whose aristocrats must never
have their motivations questioned?

The attack on Scheuer

In the excerpt from Kevin MacDonald above,
Sam Francis observed that the neocons would
“denounce, vilify, and harm the careers
of those Old Right figures and institutions
they targeted.”
That is the general pattern of neocon treatment
of anyone or anything that gets in their way,
whatever his or its nature.
Consider, e.g., their treatment of Michael Scheuer,
e.g., the mocking and insulting March 2005 review
[available on the web here]
by Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary,
of Imperial Hubris by Scheuer.
Here is an excerpt from Schoenfeld’s review
(with emphasis added):
Sentiments like these
mark the author of Imperial Hubris
as something of a political hybrid—
a cross, not to put too fine a point on it,
between an overwrought Buchananite
and a raving Chomskyite.
This alone, one might think,
should have unfitted him
for a high position of trust within the CIA.
How did a person of such demonstrable
mediocrity of mind and
unhinged views
achieve the rank he did in the CIA,
and how could so manifestly wayward and damaging a work
have been published by someone in the agency’s employ?

Schoenfeld further,
responding in the June 2005 Commentary
to various letters, one of them from Scheuer himself,
responding to his review
added to his condemnation of Scheuer:
In short, Michael Scheuer
is in the grip of a conspiratorial world view
in which Jews, operating through the Jewish state,
are clandestinely attempting to run American policy
from behind the scenes.
[Has Schoenfeld never heard of AIPAC?]
He believes, as he writes in Imperial Hubris,
that in pursuit of this nefarious aim
the government of Israel
makes use not only of
“wealthy Jewish-American organizations”
but of
“diplomats, politicians, intelligence services,
[and] U.S. citizen spies”
in order to
“lac[e] tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver
to the Jewish state.”...

Speaking before the Council of Foreign Relations ...
Mr. Scheuer elaborated on this grotesque theory....
For anyone who doubts that Mr. Scheuer
could actually give voice to such lunatic ideas,
a checkable transcript is available.

So: Scheuer’s ideas are “grotesque,” “lunatic,” “unhinged,”
and indicate “mediocrity of mind,”
while those holding similar views are
“overwrought” or “raving,”
according to the senior editor of Commentary.

I wish to add a very personal comment at this point.
While I happen to think most of Scheuer’s views,
as described by Schoenfeld, are valid,
I can well understand how others could think otherwise.
In my opinion,
it is Schoenfeld’s characterizations that are overwrought.
In no way can Scheuer’s views
be as unacceptable as Schoenfeld claims.
It is attacks such as Schoenfeld’s,
coming from the senior editor
of the publication of the American Jewish Committee,
that justify and support comments
such as those of MacDonald quoted above.

A further example of criticism of Scheuer
(“[I]f an idiot like Scheuer could be entrusted with U.S. intelligence,
then maybe the people running the CIA
weren't as smart as we were led to believe.”)

for his views on Israel as a cause of anti-U.S. hostility and terrorism
is an article by Jonathan S. Tobin.