New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd sparked a bit of an uproar in advance of the Jewish New Year with her reference to Dan Senor, a Jewish foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, as a “neocon puppet master.” She also suggested that Senor had “played ventriloquist” to both Romney and Ryan.
Critics — including some who are not known as Republican partisans — said that she was deploying anti-Semitic imagery. Politico had a good rundown of some of the responses.
Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal defended his columnist from her critics, responding to a query from Politico in an email: “No fair-minded reading of Maureen Dowd’s column supports the allegations you and others are making. She makes no reference, direct or implied, to anyone’s religion." (Politico notes that its article did not level any allegations against Dowd, but rather reported that others were making the allegation.)
Before Rosh Hashanah Senor’s wife, Campbell Brown, re-tweeted a number of critiques suggesting that Dowd was indulging in anti-Semitic rhetoric. Ira Stoll was perhaps the first out of the gate with a blog post calling Dowd’s column “disturbing on many levels.” (Among other things, Stoll argues that Senor "isn’t much of a neoconservative"; though one could counter that he was mentored by Bill Kristol, the son of neoconservativism’s so-called godfather and arguably the most influential of the movement’s second generation.)