B’nai B’rith Expresses Concern About Nominee for Ambassador to Germany’s Past Comments on “Neocons,” Iran
(Washington, D.C., July 28, 2020)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We are troubled by retired U.S. Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor’s past comments on “neocons” and dismissal of Iran’s threat to the U.S. Macgregor was recently nominated to replace Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany.
In 2012, Macgregor gave an interview in which he described neoconservatives, or neocons, as “making decisions in Washington that in their minds are beneficial to a foreign power and are not necessarily good for the American people or the United States.” Neoconservatives are regarded as pro-Israel. The term is often used as a euphemism for Jews.
In a more recent interview, Macgregor described neoconservatives as those who “operate in a variety of settings in the government and in the media, and they support or advocate, for all intents and purposes, unconditional support for whatever the Israeli government wants to do.” However, he clarified that he regards neocons as unrepresentative of American Jewry.
It is important that American diplomats not question the patriotism of other Americans who hold political views different from their own, especially given that questioning Jewish loyalty to America is an anti-Semitic trope. Moreover, it is vital that the American ambassador to Germany, whose work includes diplomatic negotiations on sanctions against the Iranian regime, Hezbollah’s presence in Europe and other aspects of Iran’s global reach, understand the severity of Iran’s belligerence and support for terrorism. Combating anti-Semitism is an important priority for the U.S.-German bilateral relationship, which adds to our concern over his record of insensitivity in speaking about Jews.
Macgregor’s comments on Iran are also concerning. On a Fox News appearance, he claimed that there is “no evidence that Iran wants to attack us” and blamed “neocon” advisers to the president for successfully advocating for the elimination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani last year. As the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Soleimani led multiple terrorist attacks against Americans and was directly responsible for hundreds of American deaths.
We hope that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will raise these concerns during Macgregor’s confirmation process.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org