I was eagerly awaiting to see when and if the Washington Post would review Kenneth Timmerman's best-selling exposé of Jesse Jackson's career as this country's leading race hustler. Well, the wait is over and the review in yesterday's Book World section is predictable.
The Post assigned foreign correspondent (and current Paris bureau chief) Keith B. Richburg to review the book and Richburg does not disappoint in trotting out the race card himself to use on Mr. Timmerman (a respected author of many books on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Cold War) himself, to-wit: "Jackson's defenders could usually dismiss those who did dare to criticize him as right-wing extremists, thinly veiled racists or both. In the case of Kenneth Timmerman, author of the new biography 'Shakedown,' the accusation may be right."
Lacking any basis to attack Mr. Timmerman's book on evidentiary grounds, Richburg goes on to trot out another favorite red herring of the Left in characterizing the book as "400 pages' worth of character assassination: Not only does Timmerman ignore Jackson's accomplishments; he uses McCarthyite rhetoric to try to portray Jackson as an unwitting tool of the Soviet KGB."
Well, well, well. What does Richburg use to back up his claim? Precisely nothing except to view somehow as historically irrelevant the Cold War stage on which Jackson's foreign adventures were largely played out in the 1980s. He states that the Cold War was "in its twilight by the time Jackson made his second run for president." Sure, from the perspective of 2002 this seems evident; it hardly did at the time.
Richburg writes, "[Timmerman] criticizes Jackson's 1983 trip to Damascus to free a captured American airman because 'Syria at that time was a key asset in the Soviet strategy to destabilize Israel . . . and reduce American presence throughout the Middle East.' He criticizes Jackson's early embrace of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat because 'the PLO was heavily financed and armed by the Soviet Union and was being used as a Soviet proxy in the Middle East.' He labels the Israeli group Peace Now as 'ultra leftist.' And he dismisses the entire European anti-nuclear movement, which Jackson supported, as being manipulated by Moscow." Well, duh, they were in fact manipulated by Moscow and used as pawns in the Cold War by the greatest enemy of freedom the twentieth century has yet seen. Using the ex-post facto demise of the Soviet Union as somehow justifying Jackson's witting or unwitting efforts on behalf of this country's enemies under the guise as humanitarianism is indeed an example of the tortured logic Richburg accuses Mr. Timmerman of employing.
In summation, Richburg goes on to attack Mr. Timmerman as some kind of closet racist for rightly pointing out Nelson Mandela's ANC Party's deep Communist affiliations and the wariness of Washington and Pretoria in viewing the ANC as a partner to be trusted in moving South Africa away from apartheid. Instead, Richburg prefers to equate anyone who may have viewed the situation in South Africa as part of a larger global picture as some kind of racist.
Mr. Richburg owes Mr. Timmerman an apology for a review that also can be charitably described as character assassination.
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