Stanford-in-Washington’s Walter Pincus and the Freeman Affair

Walter Pincus, Pulitzer Prize national security reporter for The Washington Post, and current teacher of a course at the Stanford-in Washington has (unintentionally) stirred up some more controversy concerning Charles Freeman. Published in the Sunday edition of the Post, Pincus’s article details the Arab world’s rather predictable reaction to controversy over Freeman’s consideration for the chairmanship of the National Intelligence Council.

Then, yesterday, the conservative blogosphere picked up on the story. Commentary‘s blog Contentions accused Pincus of perpetuating the Israel Lobby conspiracy via the publication of non-newsworthy piece. Before long, Pat Buchanan and even Andrew Sullivan had entered the fray.

America’s policy toward Israel is really one of the most powerful divides within the conservative movement on and off campus,  polarizing different factions. More after the jump.

Here is Commentary‘s Noah Pollack calling out Pincus’s (admittedly underwhelming) story:

Here’s the thing about stories on Arab reactions to Israel-related American political stories: there is almost never any doubt about what those Arab reactions are going to be. There are no “trends” here — there is utterly predictable, hackneyed conspiracy-theorizing about Jewish power and Israeli puppeteering.

He then goes on to call out The American Conservative Magazine, the main intellectual hub of Pat Buchanan and other paleoconservatives:

Philip Weiss writes a cover story for the un-American, un-conservative magazine called The American Conservative, and in it he quotes Pincus’ source for his “Arab” analysis of the Freeman debacle — the IPS’ Jim Lobe.

Is criticizing Israel un-American? It is a knotty issue. The Israel issue is particularly important on Stanford’s campus; indeed, most strongly pro-Israel Jews and Christians find themselves in the conservative camp. Joe the Plummer – the unfortunate conservative icon from the 2008 election – has loudly claimed that the unequivocal support of Israel is a core conservative value.

But what about the prudence and realism at the core of traditionalist conservatism? What if America’s allegiance to Israel flies in the face of a conservative temperament?

Question like these lie in the fault lines of American conservatism. Can they be resolved?

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