By Vic Rosenthal
As everyone knows by now, Ariana Huffington talked to sometime presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark recently.
“How can you talk about bombing a country when you won’t even talk to them?” said Clark. “It’s outrageous. We’re the United States of America; we don’t do that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the military option is off the table — but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It’s not, What will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq? It’s sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships.”
When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: “You just have to read what’s in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.”
I don’t know which paragraph makes Clark look worse, the first in which he indicates that he understands diplomacy as well as I do Martian, or the second in which he appears to display an appallingly offhand antisemitism. Or something. I would like to know for sure what he thought he meant.
Luckily, Gen. Clark is not dead like many authors of inscrutable remarks, so it’s possible to ask him what he meant. Apparently, Abe Foxman of the ADL did. Here’s an excerpt from his reply:
It has been my experience that diplomacy has always been America’s most effective tool and that force should be used only as a last resort.
My position on Iran should not be misinterpreted, defined out of context or used to create conspiracy theories about one group’s influence on U.S. foreign policy. There is no place in these critical policy debates for Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that blame the Jewish community for the war in Iraq and for action against Iran.
No, there certainly isn’t, but what the hell was he thinking?
Unfortunately, the view that Israel, Zionists, Jews or some combination are responsible for the debacle of recent US foreign policy is becoming more and more prevalent. “Jewish neo-cons” are a convenient target. “New York money people” sounds even more sinister to me, especially in context (yes, I know Clark’s biological father was Jewish. So what?).
As I’ve written before, Jews in the US have been experiencing a golden age unprecedented in Jewish history since the end of WW2. Nevertheless (or perhaps just because of this), there’s plenty of resentment seething under the politically correct surface of our society. A serious military setback in the Middle East or an economic upset — both almost certain to occur soon — could be the trigger to put an ugly end to the golden age.