So here’s a rather strange and ostensibly bland headline for an op-ed in the Washington Times:
“A Linkage for Leadership in Cybersecurity.” The subhed is only a bit more meaningful: “Georgia and Israel collaborate to meet a shared threat.” Hmm, the Republic of Georgia and Israel have created some joint cybersecurity initiative, right? I guess that’s vaguely worth an op-ed on a slow day.

But the byline is the surprise: John R. Bolton and Nathan Deal. Yes, the fiery neocon and would-be presidential candidate, and the hackish party-switching Governor of Georgia. What’s up with that?

Only in the third graph does the op-ed first mention its ostensible topic:

[O]ur states, local institutions and businesses are actually forging ever-closer relations with key Israeli institutions. These rapidly expanding linkages, despite political disagreements between capitals, are mutually beneficial and represent strong testaments to the common sense of both the American and Israeli people.

Here’s the nut graph, such as it is:

Georgia Tech’s Information Security Center and cybersecurity training at Fort Gordon (the longtime headquarters of the Army Signal Corps), working closely with Israel’s new Advanced Technology Park on the campus of Ben Gurion University, are quickly becoming cybersecurity world leaders.

Okay. There’s a lot more blah blah blah on that subject, and I’m personally glad this cooperation is going on and ongoing. But you don’t believe the Washington Times–much less John Bolton–really cares about such wonky stuff, do you? Not any more than I believe Nathan Deal knows any more about cybersecurity than a meadowlark knows about the Feast of the Epiphany (to borrow a Bill James analogy).

Ah, but the real purpose of the op-ed is in the first two graphs:

As an embattled Israel struggles to protect itself against Hamas rocket attacks and terrorist tunnels from the Gaza Strip, political ties between Washington and Jerusalem have reached an all-time low. President Obama has put Israel under unrelenting pressure to accept a nuclear Iran, to make dangerous concessions to Palestinian negotiators, and now to stop Operation Protective Edge before it can cripple the Hamas terrorist threat.

Moreover, many among America’s media, university and even religious elites increasingly condemn Israel’s effort to protect its growing population, calling for sanctions, boycotts and divestitures against U.S. firms doing business with Israel. This “BDS movement” does not merely criticize specific Israeli policies, such as Protective Edge, but instead attacks the very legitimacy of Israel itself. It often masks an ill-concealed anti-Semitism, a stain we had hoped was long ago erased from American political discourse. It is reminiscent of former President Jimmy Carter’s view of Israel as an “apartheid state.”

As you may know, Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason is running against Deal this year, and has in fact led in a couple of recent polls. And so Bolton lent a hand to this indirect smear aimed at the 39th president, presumably to inject this issue into the governor’s race.

Nestled in all the cyber-wonkery of the op-ed is this nugget of validation for Deal’s brave solidarity with the current Israeli government:

On a recent trade mission to Israel, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

And then this:

Americans today, more strongly than ever, support Israel’s inherent right to defend itself against external threats, whether from Hamas terrorism or Iran’s ill-concealed desire to gain nuclear weapons and threaten Israel with a nuclear holocaust. Georgia’s experience is fully reflective of America’s true values and a sure guide to better relations ahead.

So clearly friends of Israel need to support Deal in his battle against the grandson of the un-American Jimmy Carter.


H/T to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Political Insider team for noticing the op-ed).

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.