Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Single-Issue Voter

Martin Peretz, in the L.A. Times, warns against a Kerry presidency because, why, it would be a disaster for Israel.

Which is not exactly true. What Peretz means is that it may not be good for Eretz Israel, an alltogether different matter, and one to which the majority of American Jews do not share Peretz's devotion.

Busy, busy, busy illuminates what Peretz is really afraid of.

Who is Martin Peretz? Well, he's the ruler of The New Republic, a magazine that had had a long and noble liberal history. Mr. Peretz, flush with funds from his wife's Singer Sewing Machine fortune, purchased the grand old mag and promptly turned it into a Reaganite piece of shit, a slightly less constipated version of Commentary, but every bit as vituperative and tribalist. Peretz then went on to hire Andrew Sullivan to run the rag, bringing on its "Town and Country" period while still adhereing to the standard Peretz policy of mendacity (remember The Ruth Shalit Follies?) and super-tribalism.

Yes, tribalism. In 1968, Peretz was heard to say, "I have been in love only three times in my life. I was in love with my college roommate. I am in love with the state of Israel and I love Gene McCarthy." There's something missing from that list, and it's not Peretz's wealthy wife, whom he met after this gushing statement. At any rate, I think it's safe to say only one amour from that list remains in Marty's heart.

But he shouldn't worry about Kerry too much; I seriously doubt that Kerry's policy will be substantively different from Bush's -- or, for that matter, from that of Marty's friend Al Gore, who was so deeply in his, TNR's, and AIPAC's pocket.

On the other hand, Peretz may have something to fear from Bush, if Christopher Hitchens is to be believed:

If you care about the rights of the Palestinians, which I do and I know he does, and you do, there's absolutely no reason whatever to hope for a Democratic victory in November. It's quite obvious to me that the only chance they have is a Bush second term. The possibility that some pressure can be brought in Israel from this quarter, the only quarter that counts, increases if Bush is re-elected. It's an irony, perhaps, but it's not as much of a lousy irony as it would be if the Kerry-Edwards ticket was elected, because that's a more or less straight AIPAC-Likud ticket.

I should note that Hitchens rightly detests Peretz, and (without the rightly part) vice-versa. Anyway, Hitch is sadly, probably, right with regard to Kerry-Edwards but is wrong about Bush-Cheney which is also a "straight AIPAC-Likud ticket", Hitchens's delusions of Paul Wolfowitz's rectitude notwithstanding. While it's not unreasonable to hope for a Carter-like attitude from Kerry on the Israeli issue, we likely won't get it. But then Peretz knows that Bush, like Reagan before him, will continually fan, in a way Kerry will not, the flame of perpetual ideological war, which is exactly the milieu the Likudista tribalist wacko hopes beyond hope to preserve, and what is now status quo.