A Real "Likudnik":

[NOTE: Given that we probably have a lot of new visitors to this blog, I thought I'd add this preface linking to some of my other posts about tendentious, dishonest uses of the word Likudnik, a pet peeve of mine. Start with this one. FWIW, I sometimes get called a "Likudnik," even though I have no ties to Likud, would not vote for Likud if I were an Israeli, and have never expressed support for Likud here or anywhere else.]

Haaretz: "[Rahm Emanuel] is the son of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was a member of the Irgun (Etzel or IZL), a militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine between 1931 and 1948." Etzel, of course, was the predecessor to the Herut party led my Menachem Begin, which became the dominant member of the coalition of parties that became "Likud." Just imagine the outrage of Juan Cole, Joe Klein, etc. if such an individual had been made chief of staff in a Republican administration! [UPDATE: Not because this actually tells us anything much about Emanuel, but just because they like to throw around accusations about "Likudniks" with "dual loyalties" for the flimsiest of reasons.] But remember, it's only Republican Jews who get accused of being dual loyalty "Likudniks", (and this is key), regardless of whether they have any ideological or other connections to Likud.

UPDATE: M.J. Rosenberg helpfully informs us that "Rahm Emanuel is no Likudnik." He also speculates that Emanuel's father is no longer "right-wing," or he wouldn't have produced liberal kids. Putting aside the issue of whether the apple sometimes falls far from the tree, Rosenberg should know better than to assume that being "right-wing" on the Israel-Palestine question has any bearing on whether one would have "left-wing" views on a host of other issues, ranging from income redistribution to civil rights to whatever. Even in Israel, some elements of the Likud coalition have traditionally been far further left on economic policy than some of the peacenik parties. For that matter, some American Jews like Paul Wolfowitz who are generally hawkish on foreign policy are more dovish on Israel-related issues. Hence, the idiocy of hurling the "Likudnik" label at people with no ties to Likud other than that they are seen as "right-wing Jews". And, as Rosenberg's post suggests, liberal Jews will be presumptively exempt from being called "Likudniks," because the real purpose of using the term is not to elucidate anything, but to not-so-subtly raise issues of "foreigness" and "dual loyalty" for conservative Jews by suggesting that they are literally motivated by a foreign ideology in support of a foreign power.

FURTHER UPDATE: The point is not to criticize Emanuel, which I thought was obvious but the comments suggest is not, nor to suggest that he's really a "Likudnik," whatever that means. Rather, since the Iraq War, critics of the Bush Administration's policies have been promiscuously throwing the term "Likudnik" around to describe any person of Jewish origin who happens to disagree with their views and is generally perceived as "right-wing." This has included plenty of "dual loyalty by association" arguments, including, for example discussing which Bush Administration Jewish officials married women of Israeli origin, have Israeli relatives, or other Israeli connections. By contrast, liberals who ave such connections will be exempted from such arguments because they are liberals, and certainly won't be called "Likudniks." The fact that Rosenberg has to reassure his fellow trave that Emanuel isn't a "Likudnik," though, shows that some of his fellow travelers didn't understand that this was a phrase used to try to silence "right-wing" American Jews only, and not to be devolved into general anti-Jewish presumptions.

The point in the first update, meanwhile, is that there is virtually no overlap between American political categories and Israeli political categories. The American group most often called "Likudniks," the "neocons", is considered hopelessly naive about the Arab world by the actual leaders of Likud. The only Israeli leader whose worldview remotely approaches the neocons is Natan Sharansky, who gets virtually no respect or audience in Israel. The most "American" of Israeli politicians, Binyamnin Netanyahu, spent his formative years in the U.S., and then served as Israeli ambassador to the U.N., living in NYC. That's a case of American conservatism (especially on economics) influencing an Israeli, not vice-versa.

ONE MORE UPDATE: According to this story, Emanuel goes to an Orthodox synagogue, sends his kids to a Jewish day school, and volunteered on an Israeli army base during the 1991 Gulf War. All signs of a "Likudnik" if you ask me! Oh, wait, he's not a Republican!

And Philip Weiss, the "white nationalists'" favorite Jewish blogger, was already accusing Emanuel of "neocon" sympathies yesterday. (No link, because I'm not going to link to anyone who favorably links to openly anti-Semitic websites.)

And from the comments to Rosenberg's post: "Well, anyone who says 'ef the Republicans' in public can't be a Likudnik by definition."