"For what its worth, that neo being short for Jewish was meant as a joke. Nothing more. Most of the people who get labeled as Neocons are Jewish, so I was just sort of playing off that.
" As for me accusing anybody who accuses neocons of being anti-Semitic, there are a few issues here. First, I wasn't saying anything about people who criticize neocons' ideas. The column wasn't about that at all. It was about people who imagine there is a shadowy conspiracy behind Bush policy. Second, I explicitly say that only a subset of the people who talk about the shadow conspiracy find Jewishness a handy explanation for everything. I have no idea how large a subset that is, but judging from my e-mail it is out there.
"So I was careful not to say that Bush or neocon critics are anti-Semitic. I was careful not to say that all conspiracy theorists are anti-Semitic.
"I am still on the learning curve here, and I do realize that mixture of a crack with a serious accusation was incredibly stupid on my part. Please do pass along to readers that I'm aware of how foolish I was to write the column in the way I did." --David Brooks
(sent in by reader e)