Norton Mezvinsky told the New York Daily News this week that he wasn't invited to the wedding because of a family feud with his nephew that stemmed from his support for his disgraced brother, former Iowa Representative Edward Mezvinsky, whose plans to move to New York and write a book after his release from prison were opposed by nephew Marc.
But there's another reason the Clintons might want to keep the Mezvinsky -- who says he's the "senior male member of the family, and Marc's only uncle" -- well away from Rhinebeck on Saturday: Mezvinsky's ties to the conspiracy mongering anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche.
Just last year, Mezvinsky shelled out his own cash to bring LaRouche to speak at Central Connecticut State University, where he taught for 42 years. In February 2009, Mezvinsky spoke to assembled LaRouchites at the Schiller Institute in Rüsselsheim, Germany, which was founded by LaRouche's wife Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
That Mezvinsky would invite such a man to campus -- much less pay his expenses -- could be reason enough for the former First Family to treat him like a stranger. LaRouche, after all, has charged Queen Elizabeth II with running a drug cartel and sponsoring the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
LaRouche has a long history of Israel-bashing. Writing in the August 22, 1978 issue of New Solidarity, he deployed a tactic later used by Holocaust denier David Irving to declare that, "the Nazis did not kill six million Jews, but they did kill upwards of a million and a half." Thus, while not denying the fact of the Holocaust, LaRouche did seek to deny the uniqueness of its horror. In such a scheme, Jews are portrayed as just another victim of the War in a group that includes Poles, Russians, and Gypsies.
In the same piece, LaRouche shows himself decades ahead of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's own conspiracy-theory-mongering work, The Israel Lobby. He offers an early example of the "linkage theory," which holds that Israel is a strategic burden to the U.S., by claiming that the Zionist lobby is:
[T]he most visible of the internal enemies of the United States--and of the human race--at this specific moment. Every policy it is currently pushing is pure evil....
These rants weren't lost on the late New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, whose imprimatur gave then-New York senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton the boost she needed to succeed him in the Senate in 2000. In 1986, Moynihan called LaRouche a "fascist" and an "anti-Semite."
Would the mother of the bride forget her esteemed predecessor's words about LaRouche and then publicly associate with his supporter?
LaRouche, who spent five years of a 15-year federal prison sentence behind bars for tax code violations and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, claims he was subjected to a "surgical procedure" to torture him while incarcerated. He claimed at the time that with his sentencing, "the vital interests of the United States have been put in jeopardy."
Yet Mezvinsky's public statements reveal a high opinion for LaRouche. According to the Executive Intelligence Review, the house organ for LaRouche's conspiracies, during Mezvinsky's introductory remarks at the May 4, 2009 event at Connecticut State, he praised EIR as:
[A] weekly magazine he founded in the mid-1970s, which is, I have personally discovered, must reading [emphasis original] for numerous members of the United States Congress, United States State Department officials, other politicos in Washington and around the world, and many academics.
At major Middle-East-oriented think-tanks in Washington and elsewhere, factual information, supplied by the LaRouche group, at least some of his views, are regularly studied and considered. During the past year, especially, when I have been in Washington starting a new Middle East political think-tank, I have witnessed this personally.
Projection, perhaps, or wishful thinking? Mezvinsky's think tank, the International Council for Middle East Studies (ICMES), is, according to its web site, "located on the premises of the International Law Institute, with office space provided by Professor Don Wallace (Georgetown University), Chair of the ICMES Board of Directors."
Given Mezvinsky's potentially embarrassing past support for LaRouche, and his fawning words for the rant-filled Executive Intelligence Review, perhaps he was the family member whose presence just couldn't be tolerated. People may pretend not to notice a crazy old aunt in the attic. But even a $3 million wedding can't hide a LaRouche-supporting uncle in the receiving line.
Winfield Myers is director of Campus Watch. Asaf Romirowsky is an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Forum.