Sent to you by Sean McBride via Google Reader: Defeating McCain:
ending not only neocon policies, but also tactics via Salon: Glenn
Greenwald by Glenn Greenwald on 10/31/08
(updated below)

Numerous commentators have condemned the McCain campaign's despicable
-- and patently false -- attack on Professor Rashid Khalidi as
an "anti-Semite," deployed in order, yet again, to insinuate that
Barack Obama is an American-hating, Muslim/Arab radical. Even Fred
Hiatt's Washington Post Editorial Page this morning called McCain's
comments about Rashidi "a vile smear," "simply ludicrous," and "itself
condemnable," and favorably cited Rashidi's response when asked by The
Post if he wanted to address the controversy: "I will stick to my
policy of letting this idiot wind blow over."

It's true, as those commentators point out, that this episode is just
the latest in the McCain campaign's increasingly desperate (and
laughably inept) attempt to win by sinking lower and lower into
McCarthyite muck. But it goes far beyond just the McCain campaign. The
neoconservative Right has been doing exactly this for a long time --
playing frivolous games with the "anti-semitism" accusation, casually
tossing it at anyone who utters any criticism of Israel or who
advocates some even-handed approach to Israel's conflicts with its
various enemies. As Joe Klein said yesterday:

Here we have the McCain campaign's execrable Michael Goldfarb slinging
around accusations of anti-semitism--a favorite pastime, as we've seen
this year, among Jewish neoconservatives. . . . I'd say that if we have
a bigot here, it's Mr. Goldfarb who, if he's intent on calling people
antisemitic--or any other epithet--should be required to provide
chapter and verse, which he does not do on CNN. (I'd also like to know
on what basis CNN's Rick Sanchez can stipulate that Khalidi is

To put it mildly, there are many profound flaws with Joe Klein as a
pundit and, unlike others, I'm not impressed by his vocal support for
Obama this year. There are many former Beltway Bush enablers with their
wet fingers in the air who have undergone similar transformations, who
will, I fully expect, return to form once circumstances change.
Needless to say, I take a backseat to nobody in criticizing Klein, but
on this topic, I am impressed with what Klein has done and he deserves
a lot of credit.

Although he began doing so a bit later than one might argue he should
have, Klein really became the first person in a venue as
establishment-serving as Time Magazine to explicitly criticize neocons
for their Israel-centric fixations and, much more importantly, for
their disgusting exploitation of "anti-semitism" accusations against
anyone and everyone who disagrees with their views on the
Israel-Palestinian conflict and, more generally, on the Middle East.

Having someone like Klein, in a place like Time, make those arguments
without punishment is highly threatening to the neocons' ability to
continue to intimidate people away from expressing divergent views by
wielding "anti-semitism" accusations. And they know that it is
threatening, which is why, once Klein began doing it, they engaged in a
full-court swarm to attack and demonize Klein and even insinuate that
he should and would be fired for his transgressions on the topic of
neocons and Israel. The ADL formally condemned Klein, and National
Review's Peter Wehner predicted/hoped/threatened:

For those who have been watching Joe Klein v. well, lots of people,
here's the latest. It’s like watching a movie that you now know is
going to end very badly, and very sadly.

Had it been 2003, Wehner probably would have been right. But it didn't
end "badly" or "sadly" for Klein. Quite the contrary, he continued
criticizing neocons at least as aggressively and unapologetically --
actually, even more so -- and not only was he undeterred by the
standard neocon "anti-semitism" rants, he became increasingly defiant
in his refusal to suppress his critiques.

Herein lies the great irony of the neocons' reckless and manipulative
politicization of the "anti-semitism" accusation. It was once cliché
that "anti-semitism" was the most radioactive accusation that could be
made against someone, the Nuclear Bomb of political discourse. A
central purpose of the ADL was to prevent the accusation and related
issues from becoming "trivialized."

But the anti-semitism accusation has now become so overused, so
blatantly exploited, and so recklessly tossed about that it has largely
lost its sting. And nobody has done more to trivialize actual
anti-semitism than the neocons and other assorted right-wing
polemicists who indiscriminately use it as a club to beat anyone over
the head who deviates from their dictates when it comes to Israel and
other Middle Eastern policy issues -- from Jimmy Carter when he
published his book on the Israel-Palestinian conflict to Jim Baker when
the Iraq Study Group report was released. And it's perfectly natural
that one of the most transparent abuses of the charge -- the McCain
camp's attack on Khalidi -- came on CNN yesterday from McCain campaign
spokesman Michael Goldfarb, a protegeé of Bill Kristol on loan from The
Weekly Standard.

The serious pushback against the attacks on Rashid Khalidi is a
welcomed sight. In Khalidi's case, the charges of "anti-semitism" are
even more disgusting than the normal neocon exploitation, since it's
occurring in the last week of a presidential campaign and, as Scott
Horton pointed out, is so plainly grounded primarily in the politically
useful fact that Khalidi is a Palestinian-American. The anti-semitism
accusation is not just manipulative; it itself is bigotry of the
highest order.

But this episode illustrates what neocons have been doing for years
and, more significantly, signals that the efficacy of this tactic is
finally coming to an end. Open debates about U.S. policy towards Israel
and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are vital, and people should be
able to engage in those debates and be able to take legitimate
positions, as Professor Khalidi has plainly done, without hordes of
right-wing manipulators swarming on them with anti-semitism accusations.

Scott McConnell, editor of The American Conservative, this week wrote
that he was voting for Barack Obama, principally because "John McCain
wants to bring [neoconservatives] back, in triumph, on horseback."
That's exactly right. The McCain campaign's repulsive McCarthyite
tactics of the last several weeks are the hallmark of neoconservatives.
That is who will be empowered in a McCain administration. Regardless of
one's views of Obama, no other reason is necessary for strongly
preferring McCain's defeat. It will be an important step not only to
ending the neocons' policies (as McConnell says, "Unlike John McCain,
[Obama] won’t try to bomb his way out of the mess"), but at least as
importantly, also their lowly, toxic political tactics, so nauseatingly
on display by the McCain campaign over the past several weeks.

UPDATE: Juan Cole, who knows first-hand about blatantly unjust
anti-semitism smears from neocons, has much more on Khalidi here.

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