Departing from Chomsky's head-in-the-sand approach, Finkelstein deals with the obvious fact that the neocons instigated the war on Iraq. But he denies that they are ideologically committed to Israel, arguing instead that they "watch over the U.S. 'national' interest, which is the source of their power and privilege." Finkelstein essentially agrees with the neoconservatives regarding their identification with American national interests, but he gives that connection a negative spin. He bases his claim about the neocons' lack of any real ideological support for Israel on the fact that the original neocons of the late 1960s had not previously evinced any strong support for Israel. And he goes so far as to compare them to the Jewish police during the Holocaust who served their Nazi German masters. "As psychological types, these newly-minted Lovers of Zion most resemble the Jewish police in the Warsaw ghetto," Finkelstein asserts.

That is a gratuitous and outrageous calumny for which there would seem to be no real evidence. For all intents and purposes the neocons have expressed and demonstrated support for Israel. Douglas Feith, who pushed the neocon war propaganda as the third-highest figure in the Defense Department during George W. Bush's first administration, has been closely associated with the right-wing Zionist group, the Zionist Organization of America. His father, Dalck Feith, while living in Poland during the 1930s, was active in Betar, the youth organization of the right-wing Revisionist Zionist movement founded by Vladimir (Ze'ev) Jabotinsky.

In 1997, Douglas Feith and his father were the guests of honor at the 100th anniversary dinner of the Zionist Organization of America, in New York City, and both were given significant awards. [3] Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence, was a co-founder of the neocon think tank Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri) along with Israeli-born Meyrav Wurmser, who is the wife of David Wurmser, an important figure in the neocon American Enterprise Institute and the Bush II administration. With the beginning of the Gulf War of 1991, Norman Podhoretz actually went to live with his daughter in her home in Jerusalem in order to show his solidarity with Israel, which Saddam had threatened with a missile attack, actually carrying out his threat to a limited extent. [4]

Neocons have been involved in institutions that promote the interests of Jews and Israel — especially Commentary magazine, which is funded by the American Jewish Committee, and the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs — demonstrating that Finkelstein's claim that neocons are lacking in their support of Israel is unknown to the pro-Israel financial backers of those entities.

Finkelstein's idea that neocons "watch over" American imperial interests makes one wonder why the many other establishment foreign-policy elements mentioned earlier in this essay were cool or opposed to the war on Iraq. Exactly who makes up the nebulous power elite that really determines the American imperial interest and to which the neocons report? If the neocons are responsible for watching over U.S. interests we may wonder why other parts of the neocon World War IV agenda for the Middle East — war on Iran and destabilization of Saudi Arabia — have not yet been adopted and why the neocons have often criticized actual U.S. foreign policy, especially during the Carter, Bush I, and Clinton administrations. What does this have to say for the actual foreign policy of those administrations? If the neocons "watch over" American imperial interests does that mean that those administrations did not pursue American imperial interests? But that would be impossible given Finkelstein's belief that the U.S. government always pursues those imperial interests. Finkelstein turns Occam's razor into a pretzel. A much simpler conclusion to draw is that the neocons' policy agenda differed from that of other dominant foreign-policy elites but that various factors, especially the trauma of 9/11, enabled their agenda to gain dominance, at least temporarily.

Go to www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_mear_walt_2.htm