I had read this NY Times review by Timothy Noah of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons, but, until maha revisited it, I hadn’t realized that I missed the importance of one part of the review (italics mine):
Just about the only place the neoconservative movement can’t locate Hitler is Nazi Germany. As late as 1944, the founding-neocon-to-be, Irving Kristol, publicly dismissed the “near hysterical insistence upon the pressing military danger,” Jacob Heilbrunn reports in his new book, “They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons.” While the Nazis herded Jews into the gas chambers, Kristol, then a 24-year-old Trotskyist, held fast to his conviction that the Allies were no different from the Axis in their imperialism. Kristol took this view because he was “indulging in an abstract crusade for a better world.”
I wonder if that’s why a large part of why Kristol and his offspring, both literal and figurative, have veered sharply to the right regarding Israel. After all, there are plenty of conservatives who are not the U.S. wing of the Likud Party; likewise, many American Jews, who are committed Zionists, disagree with various Israeli policies. There’s no a priori reason why neocons would necessarily be staunch Likudniks.
I can’t imagine the amount of guilt Kristol must have experienced as a result of this decision*. Intelligent Designer knows, we’ve all probably made some bad decisions, but the annihilation of one’s co-religionists, that’s FUMTU**. I don’t care how ‘secular’ one is, if you are Jewish (particularly in 1944), that kind of error has to be humiliating. If through some horrible lapse in judgment, I were to have equated the two, that would haunt me for a very long time. As a (fellow) Jew, I find it astonishing that any Jew in 1944 could equate the Allies with the Axis (particularly Nazi Germany).
Just how badly does one’s judgment have to be before one is not taken seriously? And yet he is considered to be the father of a legitimate political movement. Incredible.
*Those damn self-hating conservative Jews…
**Fucked up more than usual.