FEITH FOR THE RECORD - THE "CLEAN BREAK" PAPER
I have been frequently been cited, online and in print, as a "co-author" of the "Clean Break" paper, an essay which some writers have described as a neoconservative "manifesto" or "master plan."
These claims are false.
I was not a co-author of the "Clean Break" paper. I neither wrote it nor signed it. I do not believe I even saw it before it was published. The paper was published by an organization with which I had no affiliation. The paper did not have co-authors.
An Israeli think tank, The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), published "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" in 1996. It is a short paper - approximately 2800 words - that offered thoughts on Israeli and U.S. policies on national security and economics.
The paper's principal author was David Wurmser (then affiliated with IASPS). As he researched the paper, he shared some of his thoughts with a half dozen people, including me, and asked us for our reactions and our own ideas. When IASPS published the paper, it described these individuals as a "study group." The paper says its "main substantive ideas" came from talks in which the study group members participated.
In fact, my relationship to the paper is like that of an individual mentioned on a book's acknowledgement page - simply someone with whom the author consulted in the course of his work. It would be foolish to describe all the names on a book's acknowledgement page as co-authors. And it is foolish to describe me as co-author of the "Clean Break" paper.
I recall that my main contribution to the paper was the suggestion that Israel could help both itself and the United States by "graduating" from the U.S. economic aid program. The paper drew on that suggestion. It said that the Israeli Prime Minister could "use his forthcoming visit to announce that Israel is now mature enough to cut itself free immediately from at least U.S. economic aid and loan guarantees at least, which prevent economic reform."
The "Clean Break" paper has become grist for thousands of conspiracy-mongering books and articles. If one puts "Clean Break" and "Feith" into the Google search engine, it produces many thousands of hits. Inaccurate references to the "Clean Break" paper have often been used to make the false and vicious argument that I supported war against Iraq to serve Israel's interests rather than America's. After an article in the Washington Post misreported me as a coauthor of the "Clean Break" paper, the Post published a letter from me correcting the point.