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Media Watch
Exchange of Letters with Time Magazine’s Joe Klein
ADL received the following in response to its letter to Joe Klein, Senior Writer at Time Magazine.
 
June 25, 2008


Dear Mr. Foxman,


I respectfully disagree with your assessment of my position. First of all, I have never said that Jewish neocons were the primary reason we went to war in Iraq. The reason we went to war was that George Bush was foolish and uninformed, and his primary advisors were even more foolishly bellicose. But Jewish neoconservatives certainly played a subsidiary role in providing an intellectual rationale for the war. In a 2003 column, I called their arguments "the casus belli that dare not speak its name." The notion of a "benign domino theory"--benign, that is, for the interests of Israel—was certainly abroad in the community during that time. I had several off the record conversations with prominent Jewish conservatives who cited it. And there is now, in my opinion, an even more dangerous tendency among Jewish neoconservatives to encourage a pre-emptive attack on Iran's nuclear program. Their gleeful, intellectual warmongering—given the vast dangers and complexities of an attack on Iran--is nauseating.

You write: "There can be no question that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, legitimate and serious American security and foreign policy interests played a critical role in President Bush's decision to attack Iraq." Well, I question it. And so do a fairly thick slice of the diplomatic, intelligence and military communities, who believe that Iraq was a tragic, costly and, above all, bloody diversion from the battle against those who actually attacked us on September 11.

I am disappointed, but not surprised, by your claim of antisemitism. But that's what you do for a living, isn't it? I find your "outrage" particularly galling because the people you defend are constantly spewing canards against those who favor talking to the Palestinians, or who don't favor witless bellicosity when it comes to Iran. Their campaign of defamation has cost people jobs, damaged reputations and careers. I am very tired of having reasonable people accused of being "soft on terrorism" or "unpatriotic" or favoring "surrender"--Joe Lieberman's favorite—by Jewish neoconservatives who seem to have a neurotic need to prove their toughness. They, and you, should know that most Jews disagree with their politics and many Jews are disgusted with their behavior. They, and you, should know that the tendency to "cry wolf" about antisemitism does real harm to the Jewish community—indeed, in this case, it is laughable.


  Best Wishes,
Joe Klein

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