Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gil Troy's "Moynihan's Moment"

Gil Troy is  Professor of History at McGill University. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, The New Republic, and other major media outlets. His books include The Reagan Revolution: A Very Short Introduction, Leading from the Center, Morning in America, and Why I am a Zionist.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to latest book, Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight Against Zionism as Racism, and reported the following:
Whew, the book passed the page 99 test. There are two great nuggets on that page. First, Moynihan is in fine form, already at the UN, actually negotiating with his colleague Len Garment and other nations, an important reconciliation between the demands of the non-aligned nations who had just met in Lima, Peru, for more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, and American values. Moynihan and Garment mischievously “followed the Lima format and echoed the language just enough to obscure the subtle changes they inserted to make the document more palatable to the West.” But, typical of the times – and ours! – the New York Times reflected the new American apologist ideology Moynihan abhorred. The paper compared the North-South struggles to the “class struggle” of the 19th century, with the Southern Hemisphere as “the globe’s proletariat,” rather than seeing the world Moynihan saw pitting Western liberals against Third World totalitarians. “Such sloppy moralizing and Western self-abnegation, Moynihan believed, helped Foreign Service officers get along with their neighbors when they commuted home to ‘Scarsdale’ nightly.” Bam – Moynihan often spiced some class conflict and resentment into his social and political commentary.

On this page, the book also captures the essence of totalitarian anti-Zionism, willing, then as now, to sacrifice all scruples, all individuals, in the quest to destroy the Jewish state. I write in fall 1975, as the push to marginalize Israel grows and undermines the recent North-South cooperation: “The Soviet-Arab animus against Israel was so great, the desire to embarrass the United States so intense, that nearly all other agenda items became secondary.” This line reflects what today I call the Palestinians’ toxic embrace of the United Nations, undermining the institution, especially in American eyes, by exploiting the anti-Western, anti-Israel politics of the General Assembly to score empty symbolic victories that mean nothing and do not advance any chance of peace.
Learn more about the book and author at Gil Troy's website and blog.

Writers Read: Gil Troy.

--Marshal Zeringue