Bret Stephens (b:1973) is (2005) a member of the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. From 2002-2004, he was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, a right-wing Zionist Israeli newspaper, then owned by Conrad Black.
Still only in his late 20s (2003), Stephens was the youngest editor-in-chief in the paper's 70 year history. Prior to joining the Post, he was an editorial writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Brussels and New York. He has also worked at Commentary magazine. Stephens was educated at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He has written extensively on Middle East politics, as well as on the European Union. The son of a Mexican-born father and an Italian-born mother, he was raised in Mexico City.
Here is a report of a speech he gave in Jerusalem in January 2003. It casts some interesting light on his attitudes:
First to the podium was Bret Stephens, editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post. Stephens, an American who attended graduate school in London, chose to frame his remarks in the context of his personal experiences with Christianity. He spoke of his childhood as the son of secular Jewish parents growing up in Mexico. While his parents chose not to give Stephens any kind of formal Jewish education and no bar mitzvah, they did instill in him an awareness of his Jewishness. While the family never told anyone they were Jewish, relationships with their Catholic neighbours "were not amicable," Stephens divulged. "It was a hostile environment for Jews," he said.
Stephens saw Catholicism as practised in Mexico with its heavy pagan influences as "primitive." Christianity was regarded with fear and contempt and as a Jew, Stephens felt a sense of superiority over those who practised the primitive faith. His views changed when he moved out of Mexico and began to learn about his Jewish heritage through university courses on Jewish texts. "As I acquired an education in Jewish tradition, my negative attitudes toward Christianity diminished," he said.
Stephens met Christians who were thoughtful and serious about their faith. "It was a revelation to me that you could be a sincere Christian and not be a peasant," he asserted. Stephens related that he eventually put aside his "sniggering" about Christianity--a phenomenon endemic to Jewish leftist intellectuals and their admirers. As he became more committed to Israel, it was hard not to notice, he said, that it was Christian conservatives who were amongst the most supportive of Israel.
AIPAC (the America Israel Public Affairs Committee) doesn't deliver the votes for Israel, Stephens contended, "it's the Christian Coalition."
Stephens recounted several anecdotes about his encounters with Christian supporters of Israel in the southern United States. He remarked on the turnaround in Christian attitudes toward Jews and Israel in recent years: "It's a huge reservoir of support," he noted, that the Jewish community would be "stupid to spurn, especially when we don't have so many friends and allies."
Stephens did caution Jews to make certain terms and conditions clear to pro-Israel Christians. "You may support us as Israelis and Jews, not as cogs in some grand design," he asserted. "Then we can have a dialogue."
For more detail about the context of this speech, see here
Bob Dreyfuss reports (13 December 2013):
But Podhoretz is channeling another extremist pro-Israeli kook, Sheldon Adelson, the 79-year-old billionaire casino magnate who singlehandedly funded Newt Gingrich's 2012 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. In remarks in October, Adelson said that the United States ought to bomb Iran, using nuclear weapons:What are we going to negotiate about? What I would say is, "Listen, you see that desert out there, I want to show you something." You pick up your cellphone … and you call somewhere in Nebraska and you say, 'O.K., let it go.' So there's an atomic weapon goes over, ballistic missiles, in the middle of the desert, that doesn't hurt a soul. Maybe a couple of rattlesnakes, and scorpions, or whatever. Then you say: "See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, for energy purposes." So.
So. You see. That's it.Even though, according to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens said that he agrees with "98 percent" of what Adelson said, even the Journal today isn't quite calling for bombing Iranthough it gives Podhoretz a forum. Instead, like AIPAC and other hawks, the Journal is essentially trying to wreck the deal by demanding new, tougher sanctions on Iran.