The Lobby

THE LOBBY….Is New Republic editor-in-chief Marty Peretz one of the most grating writers on the planet? You bet. Is he a grating racist writer as well? It sure seems like it, but since I do my best to avoid reading anything he writes I’m not in the best position to say. However, if you’re interested in further opinions on this subject check out Chait, Yglesias, Greenwald, and Klein. And Ogged, who says:

Yglesias deserves a ton of credit for taking on Peretz and people who are quick to charge anti-semitism. Only a smart, tough Jew could have done it, and Yglesias has been up to the task.

Right. But this is kid stuff. Discussing Marty Peretz’s personal demons is certainly entertaining for us onlookers, but what started this whole fracas was Matt’s original column, which defended Wesley Clark’s belief that war with Iran is becoming increasingly inevitable because, even though the broad Jewish community is divided on the issue, “there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers.” Matt concurs that the Jewish community is divided, and goes on to back Clark on the issue of rich money men as well:

It’s also true that most major American Jewish organizations cater to the views of extremely wealthy major donors whose political views are well to the right of the bulk of American Jews, one of the most liberal ethnic groups in the country. Furthermore, it’s true that major Jewish organizations are trying to push the country into war.

But is it? It sure seems like a topic that deserves more than some casual drive-by character assassination (e.g., “no offense, but you remind me of Charles Lindbergh,” which is very close to a Godwin’s Law violation from Jonah Goldberg). If this is really the topic at hand, then let’s hear the arguments from all sides. 5,000 words from all contestants by Monday, please.

POSTSCRIPT: I also have a related question. When Clark talked about pressure being channeled to “office seekers,” I assume he was making a claim about pressure on Democratic office seekers, who might otherwise be expected to form a stronger counterweight to hawkish Republican policy. Is this everyone else’s assumption too?