Like Melanie Phillips, I, too, gave a talk at Limmud on the subject of American neo-conservatives, and I would like to ask her the following questions:
What is "extremely moral" about the neo-cons' support for right-wing dictatorships in central and South America during the 1970s and 1980s for the illegal Iran-Contra affair, and for apartheid in South Africa?
What is "Jewish" about their alliance with the religious right and its project to Christianise America? And, from what Jewish sources do they derive their uncritical and unequivocal backing for the abolition of abortion?
(DR) NATHAN ABRAMS
LECTURER IN HISTORY, SCHOOL OF DIVINITY, HISTORY & PHILOSOPHY, COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES, ABERDEEN.
So, according to Melanie Phillips, "neo-conservatism is a quintessentially Jewish project".
Funnily enough, I had never realised that redistributing wealth form the poor to the rich, energetically destroying the environment and refusing to accept the rule of law both at home and abroad were so integral to Judaism.
I'd always thought that rabbinic hostility to violence and oppression should lead Jews to oppose empire rather than celebrate it, and that the notion of tzedakah as justice should lead us to give to those in need rather than cut their benefits on the grounds of "encouraging enterprise".
Does Melanie Phillips really think that intelligent people can accept that the neo-cons are the "front-line" in the defence of Jewish and western values?
The novelist Sara Paretsky, writing this week in the Guardian, relates how her late grandmother escaped from the pogroms of Eastern Europe in in 1911 to settle in the USA to "come home" to freedom.
Now, as Sara Paretsky observes, opinion, in the once so-admired land of freedom, views such practices as imprisonment without trial as a necessary price to pay for protection against terrorism. This echoes the view that teh torture of Jews, Communists and others was a "necessary price" to pay for moving Germany in a better direction.
Unfortunately, none of the published letters addressed her point that secular humanism is essentially anti-Zionist, which, of course, it is. Here's Melanie:
How much worse is the situation today now that secular humanism - along with its offshoot, post-modernism - has shown that its vision of the kingdon of heaven on earth unfortunately does not include the existence of a Jewish national home.
No takers on that one.