NEOCONS AND ANTI-SEMITISM….Several people have replied to my question about how to criticize neocons without falling into the trap of anti-semitism:

For what it’s worth, I should mention that my original comment was prompted by a Matt Yglesias post in which he said this about neoconservatism:

The issue is also confused by the fact that “neoconservative” carries heavy connotations of “Jewish,” as evidenced by the fact that Bill Kristol and Paul Wolfowitz are constantly cited as leading neocons while goyische Senator John McCain who seems to share their foreign policy views is not.

At the time, my feeling was that Kristol and Wolfowitz were simply the highest profile neocons around, so it was perfectly reasonable to use them as examples. Still, who knows? Maybe this kind of thing is well known in more plugged-in circles as an example of thinly veiled anti-semitism? So I asked about it.

Anyway, the answer to my question ? in theory ? seems to be simply to maintain normal standards of civil discourse and not to mention anyone’s ethnic background when discussing neocons ? although this strikes me as slightly disingenuous, especially since George Bush’s brand of Christianity seems to be fair game for critics who question his motives in the Middle East. In practice, I suppose the best bet is to make sure to mention someone like Bill Bennett or Michael Novak whenever Kristol, Wolfowitz, Perle, etc. are brought up.

By the way, a few of the commenters above seem to think that simply raising the question showed some kind of vague ill will on my part, a point of view I find disheartening. It’s simply not possible to take into account every possible connotation of every word you write, and insisting on superhuman precision of language is just not reasonable. These kinds of issues become impossible to even discuss if this is the kind of reaction it generates.

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