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Tom Campbell & Libertarian Anti-Semitism

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:47 pm - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics,Random Thoughts

A reader recently e-mailed me a fact sheet about former Congressman Tom Campbell’s “Troublesome Record on Israel.”  As I review it and start confirming some of the points on the list, I can’t help thinking of the occasional anti-Semitic tracts (or tracts with thinly veiled anti-Semitism) I have come across in encountering some people in, (but mostly on the fringes of) libertarian pockets of the conservative movement.

It always seemed a bizarre thing that libertarians could harbor such conspiracy theories against followers of a certain faith, but a noticeable number do.  Indeed, most of the libertarians (and libertarian-inclined conservatives) I meet are not only the most tolerant individuals, but also the most independent-minded as well, less disposed to judging someone by his “external” characteristics (race, girth, religion, ethnicity) and more likely to judge him by his capacity for independent thought and his ability to engage in spirited discourse.

But, there are some nuts.  And Campbell, a very principled libertarian when discussing matters of domestic policy, with his record on Israel, comes to resemble many of them.  Indeed, Ron Paul, considering a folk hero, in many libertarian circles, also has a troubling past.  Studying newsletters that 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul once penned and edited, James Kirchick found:

The rhetoric when it came to Jews was little better. The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw, or with more vitriol. A 1987 issue of Paul’s Investment Letter called Israel “an aggressive, national socialist state,” and a 1990 newsletter discussed the “tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise.” Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”

While I highly doubt Campbell himself is anti-Semitic, he has a very troublesome record on Israel and associates with many Jew-hating individuals.  Campbell can show that he is not a member of this crowd by putting forward a platform on Israel more consistent with a conservative national security policy in the wake of 9/11 and popular support for the Jewish State.

I still need review all the items on the list I have received, but those points I have confirmed trouble me to no end.

All that said, there is a broader issue here, one that has puzzled me at least since I was an undergraduate and one which is probably not related to Mr. Campbell’s personal attitudes toward Jews, yet is related to some of the company he has kept: why do some libertarians have some pretty nutty, conspiratorial ideas about Jews and other minority groups?



  1. The Campaign for Liberty is rife with out and out Jew-hatred. I often get emails from CfA types that are screeds against AIPAC, Israel, the Rothschilds (not only Jews but Satanists too they claim) and the “Jewish lobby”. I read them to see what they are thinking. If it weren’t so serious some of the screeds would be hilarious.

    Comment by Andrew Ian Dodge — April 9, 2010 @ 6:09 pm - April 9, 2010

  2. What a complete pile of shit, Dan.

    The only link you provide is over 2 years old. This was an issue during the campaign when it was found some of what was written in the newsletters 20 years ago was homophobic. Ron Paul even went on Larry King and completely refuted all the links and associations you’re now making 2 years after the campaign/election.

    Could you please point to some actual proof that “Ron Paul once penned and edited” these anti-Semitic tracts? In the same breath you write entries saying we can’t categorize all of the Tea Partiers by the nuts who come to the rallies, you similarly can’t paint all libertarians or their supporters by some off stuff written Paul has disavowed and probably never knew about.

    @AID, the only anti-Semitic thing I could find on that site was proposing repealing the AntiSemitic Act of 2004, which made it illegal to criticize the country of Israel. I don’t equate that with “out and out Jew-hatred.”

    Some people do link the Jews heavily with the banking industry, and as proponents of deregulation of banking laws, I could see the link for some. But to paint so broad a brush of libertarians on such loose associations which you can’t prove, but only paint broad, loose associations is really sick and low. If the random posts of nuts on a website is your sudden basis for direct association, I shudder to think what the GayPatriot blog stands for, considering some of the comments I’ve seen here in the past…

    Comment by Tim — April 9, 2010 @ 6:51 pm - April 9, 2010

  3. Obamas recent anti semitism has hightened my awareness of Jew hating polititians. Democrat or Republican we shouldn’t stand for it. The USA is the only reliable friend of Israel left. Conservatives should protect the state and the Jews.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — April 9, 2010 @ 9:04 pm - April 9, 2010

  4. This is BS. I mean come on, any opposition to Israel and it’s policy, now you are an anti semi. Jesus, how do we come to that?

    Comment by BS — April 9, 2010 @ 9:33 pm - April 9, 2010

  5. Actually Dan has it about right. There is definitely an anti-Israel if not anti-Jewish streak among the libertarians.

    Either way, as sympathetic as I am to libertarians, they’re whacked on foreign policy. Too isolationist for this neocon.

    Comment by Tom the Redhunter — April 9, 2010 @ 10:39 pm - April 9, 2010

  6. I can see where to an Israel-first warmongering traitor to america like you, people like Campbell, Ron Paul and other antiwar folks can be considered to be antiZionist. But to call them anti Semetic (the Palistinians are the true semites according to the bible aren’t they?) or even anti Jewish is a strech. Where have these people made statements against the Jewish religion? I don’t think they know enough about the Jewish religion to be able to make statements against it. They probably never lived among Jews.

    Comment by Bob D — April 10, 2010 @ 12:37 am - April 10, 2010

  7. Bob D and BS, please note that I never call Campbell anti-Semitic, merely wonder about the anti-semitism of certain libertarians

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — April 10, 2010 @ 2:21 am - April 10, 2010

  8. “Bob D and BS, please note that I never call Campbell Glenn Beck anti-Semitic racist, merely wonder about the anti-semitism racism of certain libertarians Tea Partiers.”
    Fixed it for you, Dan.
    Just because there are people who don’t support sending US funds to Israel (often based on a belief in not sending funds to ANY nation), does not mean these people are anti-Semitic. The overplayed victim card compounded by vicious namecalling is SOOOO Democrat.

    Comment by Brendan In Philly — April 10, 2010 @ 3:41 am - April 10, 2010

  9. If the best you can do is “wonder” about an issue, I see no point in blogging about it. Grow some balls and take a clear position, instead of fence-sitting so you don’t have to defend yourself against people picking up upon your ungrounded insinuations.

    Comment by Tim — April 10, 2010 @ 3:57 am - April 10, 2010

  10. On April 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm, Tim wrote:

    @AID, the only anti-Semitic thing I could find on that site was proposing repealing the AntiSemitic Act of 2004, which made it illegal to criticize the country of Israel.

    Tim, help me out here. Are you:

    (a) Stoned off your balls?
    (b) One of those people who are politely termed “educable”?
    (c) Off your anti-psychosis meds?
    (d) A slimy and dishonest liar, and also a Jew-hater?

    It seems to me that you’ve gotta be one or more of the above, Tim, because no sober, non-retarded, sane, and honest person could possibly believe that there was a law passed in 2004 making it illegal for Americans to criticize Israel.

    Comment by Throbert McGee — April 10, 2010 @ 6:06 am - April 10, 2010

  11. now you are an anti semi. Jesus, how do we come to that?

    No, that’s when you hate Mack, Kenworth, Freightliner etc.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 10, 2010 @ 6:19 am - April 10, 2010

  12. The only link you provide is over 2 years old.

    And all you provided was a bloviated version of “Nuh-uh!”.

    On another note: One thing I noticed was that the Ronulans around here never seemed to have professionally made signs or bumper stickers. They used windshield markers on their cars and made signs with black spray paint and scraps of wood nailed to telephone poles. Campaign signs all over the place look bad enough, but when you have shitty campaign signs that look like trash to begin with, it looked even worse.

    Never saw any Ronulans on the net who didn’t seem to be moonbatshit crazy either. Desperately cramming polls to give the appearance that your candidate is viable doesn’t seem to be the way to attract people. Not to me anyways.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — April 10, 2010 @ 7:09 am - April 10, 2010

  13. the Palistinians are the true semites according to the bible aren’t they?)

    There is no such thing as a “Palestinian”: just a bunch of Jordanians and Egyptians who can’t or refuse to be repatriated.

    Comment by DoDoGuRu — April 10, 2010 @ 7:18 am - April 10, 2010

  14. Speaking as a libertarian-conservative, I never could figure out why some people were so into Ron Paul. He is great on the domestic / economic issues, but hard to distinguish from leftist moonbats on the foreign policy issues – George W. Bush’s mirror opposite, in both ways.

    Right now I like an associate of Paul’s, namely Peter Schiff, for Senator from CT. But that is because he is running for Senator, not President. He is focusing on the domestic / economic issues (where he is fantastic, and speaks truths that no one else will) and would be a great voice to have in the Senate.

    As for Israel: It is much too socialist for my taste. On the other hand, it is the only country in the Middle East that comes close to treating gays right. And nearly the only real democracy. And a true friend of America. And a key bulwark against Islamism, and home to some great people. As long as it manages to retain those traits despite its socialism, I am for Israel.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 10, 2010 @ 10:04 am - April 10, 2010

  15. I don’t know that Campbell, Ron Paul, and the rest of the anti-Israel crowd are anti-Semitic or just don’t like Israel. So let’s get that out of the way.

    That said

    1) Calling Tea Party people racist is McCarthyism; def a reckless charge made without any evidence

    2) For a whole variety of reasons we should support Israel. They are our best ally in the region, they supply us with a lot of intelligence information, they have helped us deal with IEDs and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are a fellow democracy, and we have spiritual ties which should be plain to all

    3) I have actually been to Israel, seen the “settlements” all that, so I know a bit of what I’m talking about

    4) It does seem that many RonPaulians are nutty on other issues too, as ThatGayConservative accurately pointed out.

    Comment by Tom the Redhunter — April 10, 2010 @ 10:18 am - April 10, 2010

  16. Just because there are people who don’t support sending US funds to Israel (often based on a belief in not sending funds to ANY nation), does not mean these people are anti-Semitic.

    I would agree that’s a fair point. Again I personally support Israel, but I must concede that the people who argue against all U.S. foreign aid are at least making a principled case.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 10, 2010 @ 12:32 pm - April 10, 2010

  17. I don’t think Ron Paul is an antisemite. I think he is a very solid libertarian. He is for America first, and take care of yourself. In America that resonates because of our nanny state. And those that are fairly comfortable who have worked for what they have find him very attractive.
    Now Obama is clearly an antisemite and most commentators agree that he is the most anti Israel President since 7 million were slaughtered 65 years ago. Only the Dali lama and the Jewish PM were escorted out of the White House thru the servants exit by the trash bags. The 20 years spent listening to the anti semite Rev Wright did take hold with our current President. Pray for the Jews.

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — April 10, 2010 @ 1:53 pm - April 10, 2010

  18. Dan,

    Speaking of Liberterians and closed-mindedness, here is some local info to see:

    Further, the so-called Freedom Slate is coming from a place of intolerance. Rick Williams has been heard to comment at RWF meetings he has spoken at, that it is time to remove the gays from the 42nd AD central committee. Rick may be unaware that West Hollywood – home to many gays, Republican and Democrat – makes up a substantial part of the 42nd Assembly District. Is he saying that West Hollywood should not have representation on the Central Committee? The following is a comment from an article Rick Williams wrote which appears on their website:

    “Four of the incumbent candidates are special interest advocates– interested in only the single issue of advancing the cause of gay marriage. Well . . . with all due respect to our four incumbent friends, the issue of gay marriage ranks pretty close to the bottom of the political priority list in a time where the state of California and the city of Los Angeles are bankrupt, and good hearted people are losing their jobs and their homes in an avalanche of economic collapse.”

    This type of rhetoric is an attempt to disguise an intolerance for gay Republicans. I sit on the 42nd AD central committee and work with its members. While there are a handful of gay members on the current central committee, I can tell you that the furthest thing from their mind is gay marriage. They are not single interest advocates. I have not heard the words gay marriage once during any central committee meeting in the past year and one half that this central committee has been active. These men are more interested in loss of liberty, economic concerns, employment concerns, getting Republicans elected, and preventing the enormous expansion of government. Hurtful rhetoric from “freedom slate” candidates reveals their true agenda.

    Comment by JSF — April 10, 2010 @ 2:33 pm - April 10, 2010

  19. dodoguru,

    Whether they are Palestinian, Egyptian Jordanian they are still semites. And the semites were there first. You are so focused on discrediting them you comment on the molehill and miss the mountain.

    But lets use your fatuous mentality. Pakistan didnt exist before 1946. So that gives us the right to go in there and bomb them right? Oh we already are?

    Comment by Bob D — April 15, 2010 @ 5:46 pm - April 15, 2010

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