New Powell Biography Criticizes Neocons as Israel-Centric

Soldier, the new bio of Colin Powell by Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post, includes some incisive comments about the neoconservatives’ concern for Israel’s interests. Per the LA Times review:

According to the author, the then-secretary went out of his way to identify the pro-war neoconservatives as affiliates of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a think-tank with decidedly hard-line views on Israel’s security. “Powell referred to Rumsfeld’s team as the ‘JINSA crowd.’ ” Later in “Soldier,” readers are told that the neoconservatives in the Defense Department — nearly all of them Jews — supported war against Iraq as the first step to replacing Arab despots with democratic governments that would sever their ties to the Palestinians, thereby enhancing Israel’s security. In explaining why he did not resign over his profound differences with the White House, Powell cited the example of Gen. George C. Marshall, who refused to quit as secretary of State even though he opposed President Truman’s recognition of Israel as a quest for “Jewish votes.”

The LAT’s reviewer, Tim Rutten, dismisses this thinking as a “blot,” the old “dual-loyalty” charge. Yes, this is how we are chided again and again, that it’s wrong and antisemitic to even raise the question. Yet the evidence won’t go away: that the Iraq war plans were pushed by people who opposed the Oslo peace process and dismissed the Palestinians’ grievances as baseless, who saw the way to peace in Jerusalem going through Baghdad. These delusions need to be exposed, and as Tony Judt has said, just because bigots and antisemites have made similar types of charges about neoconservative influence should not stop serious people from reckoning with facts.