Glenn Greenwald, Matt Hill and Pat Buchanan’s ideological convergence on ‘Jewish control’

CiF Watch engaged in a series of Twitter conversations yesterday – based on our post earlier in the day about ‘Guardian Left’ antisemitism – which, in addition to a few interesting Tweets by Rosanne Barr over her endorsement of Gilad Atzmon, included an exchange with Liberal Conspiracy blogger (and Indy contributor) Matt Hill.


Hill – who we posted about last month when CiF Watch prompted Indy editors to remove his wild and completely false accusation, in an April 16 essay about Israel’s 65th anniversary, that Israel engaged in “forced sterilisation” of Ethiopian women – engaged with us over our Tweets last night challenging him to acknowledge the antisemitism of, among other Guardian contributors who we cited, Glenn Greenwald.

Here is his reply:

The link which Hill opened was a Times of Israel piece I wrote which included several examples of Greenwald advancing antisemitic narratives.

As I noted in my CW post yesterday, being a Guardian Left anti-Semite is partially defined by the belief you are a champion of progressive politics  and yet often use (or at least defend) terms and tropes indistinguishable from classic right wing Judeophobia – such as the argument that Jews are too powerful, use their money to control politics, and are not loyal citizens.

Before we get to Greenwald’s quotes, which, again, Hill claimed were free of antisemitism, here are a few quotes from a right-wing paleoconservative racist by the name of Pat Buchanan.

  • Israel and its Fifth Column in this city [Washington, D.C.] seek to stampede us into war with Iran. Bush should rebuff them, and the American people should tell their congressmen: You vote for 362, we don’t vote for you.”
  • They charge us with anti-Semitism…The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a ‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”
  • “Who would benefit from these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America-save oil…Who would benefit from a ‘war of civilizations’ with Islam? Who other than these neoconservatives and Ariel Sharon? Indeed, Sharon was everywhere the echo of his American auxiliary….”
  • “We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.”“A list of the Middle East regimes that Podhoretz, Bennett, Ledeen, Netanyahu, and the Wall Street Journal regard as targets for destruction includes Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and ‘militant Islam.’ “Cui bono? For whose benefit these endless wars in a region that holds nothing vital to America save oil, which the Arabs must sell us to survive? Who would benefit from a war of civilizations between the West and Islam? Answer: one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.” What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel
  • There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in The Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.”
  • Capitol Hill is Israeli occupied territory.”

Now here is Greenwald:

  • “So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the US Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations.”
  • “Not even our Constitution’s First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources [by the Israel lobby] to target and punish Israel’s enemies.”
  • The real goal [of the Israel lobby], as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America’s indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. [Charles] Freeman’s critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.”
  • “The point is that the power the [Israel lobby] exercises [is] harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they insure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.”
  • “Anyone who has argued that a desire to protect Israeli interests plays too large of a role in our foreign policy has been subjected to some of the most vicious and relentless smears. Ask Juan Cole about that, or John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Those tactics have, as intended, prevented a substantive debate on this question, as most people have feared even approaching the topic.”
  • If you don’t…pledge your loyalty to our policies toward Israel and to Israel, what will happen to you is what just happened to Charles Freeman. You’ll be demonized and have your career ended.
  • Large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups are the ones agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel’s interests.”
  • “Those [American Jews] who favor the attack on Gaza are certainly guilty…of such overwhelming emotional and cultural attachment to Israel and Israelis that they long ago ceased viewing this conflict with any remnant of objectivity.”
  • “The dominant narrative among neocons and the media is that, deep down in his heart, [Obama] may be insufficiently devoted to Israel to be president of the United States. Has there ever been another country to which American politicians were required to pledge their uncritical, absolute loyalty the way they are, now, with Israel?
  • “[Charles] Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.).”

And, finally, (though not included in my ToI essay), here’s a case of Greenwald using the term “Israel-Firster” to characterize a Jewish American politician, a term which ignited a row last year involving MJ Rosenberg and other bloggers associated with the Center for American Progress. 

  • “Meanwhile, one of the many Israel-Firsters in the U.S. Congress — Rep. Anthony Weiner, last seen lambasting President Obama for daring to publicly mention a difference between the U.S. and Israel — today not only defended Israel’s attack

Matt Hill evidently sees nothing morally problematic about such attacks on American Jews. 

As I’ve argued elsewhere, Even before the birth of the modern state of Israel, Jews have stood accused of not possessing sufficient loyalty to the nations where they reside.  Its contemporary manifestation however almost always centers around the notion of dual loyalty – a charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own nation.  Often, such charges of dual loyalty are infused with a narrative imputing enormous power to Jewish communities which typically represent a tiny fraction of the population. 

Such a synthesis of disloyalty and exaggerated power allows the accuser to charge the Jewish community of working to undermine the nation – often alleging that such Jews are dangerous aliens who represent nothing short of a Fifth Column.

It’s remarkable that, while in much of the 20th century such tropes about Jewish power and dual loyalty were associated with the xenophobic and nativist far right, there’s been an ideological evolution such that these toxic ideas have gained popularity among self-styled ‘progressives’ – some of whom believe as a matter of faith that Jews exercise too much power in the US, put “Israel first” over their own country and even control US foreign policy.

This blog devotes a good deal of space to monitoring Glenn Greenwald because he, perhaps more than any other columnist at the site, represents the most egregious example of a popular and putatively liberal commentator who advances Judeophobic narratives seemingly without the least bit of concern about the racist ideological tradition which inspires his prose.

Our efforts to combat antisemitism at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ is premised on the understanding that there is nothing even remotely liberal (yet alone “brave”) about engaging in ad hominem, scurrilous and bigoted attacks against Jews.

Genuine liberals, it certainly seems, would intuitively understand this.

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