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Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Real Origins of Neocons

Russian Lies: Shadow of Jabotinksy
by Joachim Martillo (
Philip Weiss reviews They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, by Jacob Heilbrunn in The Long Fuse to the Iraq War in The American Conservative.
Phil summarizes Heilbrunn as follows.
Neoconservative ideas might have been confined to small magazines, but the neocons stunned themselves in the 1970s by gaining traction in American political life—through the offices of Washington Sen. Henry Jackson (whom a Saudi ambassador called "more Jewish than the Jews"). With Jackson's support, the neocons staged their first great victory, pressuring the Soviet Union to free Jews. After Daniel Patrick Moynihan won his New York Senate seat with "strong Jewish support" in 1976, the neocons had a second home.
The initial Neocon focus on the Soviet Union is suggestive, for Neoconservatism despite the claim of Schachtmanite origins is just the latest face of American Jabotinskianism, and Neocons naturally returned to Jabotinsky's home base in order to score a theoretically easy victory.
What did they win?
J.J. Goldberg points out the following in Jewish Power, Inside the American Jewish Establishment, p. 173.
Once the Soviets scrapped their deal with Kissinger, they never made any attempt to meet the emigration benchmark and win most-favored-nation rights. In Washington, no one tried to repeal the Stevenson amendment, which might have made a Jackson waiver more enticing to the Soviets. The two laws remained on the books throughout the remainder of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War, symbols of ideological purity turned brittle. They constituted an impossible hurdle to trade between the two superpowers. Soviet Jewish emigration continued to rise and fall over the years, but solely as a matter of Soviet whim, reflecting Kremlin perceptions of U.S.-Soviet relations. Western bargaining power had been eliminated.
Richard Perle and company were learning the art of manipulation and subversion that became so useful later. The actual results were of lesser importance.
The Soviet Refusenik drama showed some interesting gaps in American Zionist control. Russian Jews preferred to come to the USA, and the organized Jewish community helped them. Such assistance created a conflict, which was never fully resolved until the Soviet Union collapsed, and Soviet Jews seized upon Zionist identity as an alternative to the Soviet identity with which they had been reasonably happy despite the claims of Soviet Jewish activists in the USA.
The sudden transmutation of Soviet Jewish identity reverberated in the USA where American Russian Jews suddenly discovered Zionism. Today the David Project and similar organizations have large outreach and education programs targeting Russian American Jews, and many of the most extreme and racist anti-Muslim Israel advocates in the USA have Russian Jewish origins.

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