Anticipating Walt and Mearsheimer

US Politics
on 19 Comments

As September looms, bringing publication of Walt and Mearsheimer’s book on the Israel lobby, people are lining up on the issue.

1. This past weekend, I heard Josh Rubenstein of Amnesty International, speaking at an Episcopal church in Woods Hole, MA, basically welcome the book as evidence of  "a free society" in the U.S. Rubenstein also described the professors’ deal for the book as a "big contract"–a source of grief to Israel lobbyists, who have complained that W&M were apparently paid for their labors.

2. In Haaretz this week, Shmuel Rosner says he’s "worried" about the possible dissemination and acceptance of Walt and Mearsheimer’s ideas. Gabriel Schoenfeld responded:

I found the widespread acceptance of Walt and
Mearsheimer’s article on the "Israel Lobby" deeply troubling… The
interesting issue you raise now is whether the re-circulation of those
same ideas – this time in book form – will further the march of this
brand of thinly veiled anti-Semitism into the elite circles of American
life.
In their forthcoming book, it is likely that Walt and
Mearsheimer may have added some details and nuances to the picture they
already drew in their initial paper, but my sense is that they have
already fired their heaviest shells. The issue has been debated, lines
are drawn, and a bit of exhaustion and exasperation has set in. For
this reason, the book might not get quite as much attention as the
initial article did.

This is the new position of the lobby: been there, done that. I think they’re wrong; I think W&M will widen their argument and give it a larger, moral footing that will give their ideas a new fall frock, as it were. But we shall see…

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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19 Responses

  1. Joachim Martillo
    August 2, 2007, 1:08 pm

    Schoenfeld is completely delusional to believe that Professor Walt is either anti-Semitic or would write anti-Semitic articles and books.

  2. Alex Chaihorsky
    August 2, 2007, 2:15 pm

    Cant wait. This will be a great test for American elite on its ability to take their own country's interests seriously.

  3. Denis Drew
    August 2, 2007, 3:41 pm

    "further the march of this brand of thinly veiled anti-Semitism"

    The truth is that Israel only gets away with persecuting Palestinians because it is populated by white, middle class, English speaking types who are screwing over poor, darker-skinned Mideasterners — that is the only genuine racial component at work.

  4. lester
    August 2, 2007, 6:44 pm

    How un american for someone to be "worried" about a book. forget the issue of zionism, american jews really need to ditch the entire israeli outlook on things. I was just reading an article at jewcy.com about the ADL's aquiesscing however you spell it to turkey in regards to the genocide of armenians. some of the comments were really strange. like "of course there was a genocide but of course we shouldn't ackowledge because of politics and …" so on. this is a very short term, very dishonorable way to think. but alot of the comments were very thoughtful/ respectful of armenians

  5. bill Pearlman
    August 2, 2007, 11:39 pm

    Boy Lester, your a regular reader of Jewish web sites, jewcy for the love of God. You must live a real thrilling life. Dennis, if you ever actually went to Israel you would see that better than half the population is sephardic, and pretty dark skinned. Not to mention 50,000 Ethiopian Jews who are pretty black. Alex, I haven't fforgot about you. I'm going to get in touch with the NY Board of Rabbis next week and see what's involved in this. Get your parents ketubah ready because I would really like to check the pronvenance of any proof you supply.

  6. LanceThruster
    August 3, 2007, 6:17 pm

    I remember seeing a picture of a classroom of newly arrived Ethiopian Jews. Lots of smiling faces but pretty much segregated. I was wondering if at some point they are integrated with the general population or largely kept apart.

  7. Alan
    August 3, 2007, 7:19 pm

    Lance, Bill implies that Sephardim Jews and Ethiopian Jews are treated as equals in Israel just because they exist. As anyone who has ever been in Israel and really experienced the country (meaning one has to avoid the very deceiving marketing "tours"), I can assure you that that's his usual bs, counting on the fact that most people wouldn't know how these Jews are treated.

    They are second-class citizens, only slightly above Israeli Arabs (who are third-class citizens).

    Not to mention other niceties, like the number of holocaust survivors living in dire poverty.

    One wonders why Bill is still in America when Israel – according to him – is such a nice country.

  8. bill Pearlman
    August 3, 2007, 8:25 pm

    Alan, nobody ever claimed that Isrel was a utopian society, What I am saying is that the people are has native to the region has anybody else and that the case that this is some sort of situation where people of "color" are being dumped on by white people is full of shit. And if you were ever in Israel for any period of time you would know that the Jews who are most skeptical of the Arabs intentions are Jews from Arab countries. the ones who know them the best. Peace now and what's left of the Israeli left wing is almost exclusively Ashenazi.
    The Ethiopian Jews are the only black africans who have ever been airlifted to a country and given full citizenship and help. No other country has ever done this and Sudanese refugees are trying to reach Israel even has we speak. Skiping all the "benevolent" brother Arab countries. Palestinians in Israel have aligned themselves with the enemy and are a security risk, without question. Any other country would have deported these people. Only Israel has members of a minority who want to destroy it in the parliament.
    Lastly, explain to me why guys like you are obsessed with all things Jewish, how much time out of every day do you spend researching us. And why, I'm not being sarcastic I really would like to know what makes a guy like you tick.

  9. Alan
    August 3, 2007, 10:58 pm

    Oh, yeah, the Sudanese refugees! Last time I checked these poor refugees were put in concentration camps ("shelters") and getting ready to be deported.

    And considering the Apartheid laws, including the new JNF bill that wouldn't allow Israeli citizens who happen to be Arab to buy any land, I can't say I'm really surprised this minority has issues with the State.

    As far as security risks go, I don't see you having any trouble with fanatic Zionist neocons trying to drag the US into more ME wars on behalf of Israel, are you? But hey, oops, I forgot, you ARE a fanatic Zionist who wants the US to nuke Iran! How could you possibly have a problem with the security risk such persons – some of who have been investigated by the FBI in the past for passing State secrets to Israel – pose to the US? As long as it's good for Israel, right Bill?

    Yeah, keep talking about security risks.

    P.S. You conveniently forgot to answer my question: Why aren't you in Israel Bill? And have your kids served in the IDF? Nah, probably not. I bet your family has "other priorities".

  10. Sabine Wales
    August 3, 2007, 11:37 pm

    "Been there, done that" is also the strategy used to prevent a congressional investigation of the traitors who lied us into an unnecessary war which is bankrupting the country. (The Republicans say that this is old news.) Hopefully the Mearsheimer/Walt book will reinvigorate the public discussion leading to pressure on Congress to act before the Israel Lobby leads us into another war.

  11. bill Pearlman
    August 4, 2007, 7:43 am

    Alan, you have to relax, too much study of the protocols and mein kamph is geting to you. Personally, I was thought the war was a bad idea. The idea that Arabs can have a pluaralistic democracy with the rule of law and rights was always ludicrous. They are a society of blood vendetta's, honor killings, and general backwwardness. that's what they are and what they will always be.
    Secondly, I know you would like the US to be "judenrhein" and Israel to be wiped out but that puts we Jews in a tough spot. What exactly is your plan for us Alan, and why do you spend so much time thinking about this? Serious question.

  12. Alan
    August 4, 2007, 10:09 am

    I want justice Bill.

  13. lester
    August 4, 2007, 2:53 pm

    bill- what does my non proclivity for jewish website reading and /or the nature of Jewcy.com have to do with Abe Foxman denying the genocide of Armenians?

    Do you think it's a good thing to deny the genocide of a people for ANY reason? I don't

  14. courtney squires
    August 4, 2007, 9:51 pm

    Bill Pearlman says Arabs are incapable of democracy. But isn't that an anti-Semitic comment, considering Arabs are Semites? Actually Israel is no democracy having ethnically cleansed 4 million persons so as to maintain a Jewish majority and thus be a Jewish state. Of course those who criticize Israel or the Israel Lobby are often labeled anti-Semites but it is the ones doing the labeling who are the real anti-Semites since these labelers are thus unfairly assuming that all Jews are complicit in the crimes of some of them, such as occupying others' lands, pushing the US into unnecessary and disastrous wars, etc. Any honest person will admit that this is not the case as many Jews have spoken out against these crimes. For this reason it is not anti-Semitic to criticize policies of the Israeli government or the current US Israel Lobby. Hopefully both will change.

  15. LanceThruster
    August 6, 2007, 6:43 pm

    Wasn't the retribution depicted in "Munich" a 'blood vendetta"? Seems the pot is calling the kettle black.

  16. mobius
    August 7, 2007, 3:42 am

    a) w&m's paper was riddled with factual inaccuracies.

    b) w&m's paper took the palestinian narrative at face value, and did not bother to attempt negotiating narratives. rather they portrayed the israelis as essentially evil and untrustworthy. every benefit of the doubt was afforded to the palestinians, but no benefit of the doubt was awarded to the israelis. that really is antisemitic.

    i say this as an anti-occupation activist who spent three years in jerusalem volunteering with ngos and agitating within the jewish community for resistance to the occupation as well as for critical self-reflection with regards to zionism.

    i'm no fan of israel's at all. but i also know bullshit when i read it.

  17. mobus
    August 7, 2007, 3:56 am

    "Bill Pearlman says Arabs are incapable of democracy. But isn't that an anti-Semitic comment, considering Arabs are Semites?"

    jesus, are you reading from a book of idiotic anti-israel stock quotes?

    "Actually Israel is no democracy having ethnically cleansed 4 million persons so as to maintain a Jewish majority and thus be a Jewish state."

    israel is a democracy for its citizens, which includes its sizable arab population which votes, has all-arab parties in the knesset, and which even has arabs on the supreme court and in the senior cabinet.

    that population does of course experience institutional discrimination on many levels, however there are dozens of israeli ngos championing their rights and consistently winning court rulings in that community's favor.

    rather, israel has not annexed the west bank or gaza, and therefore has not absorbed the palestinians in those territories as citizens. it thus has no obligation to provide democratic access to those individuals, whereas they are non-citizens. rather, they are citizens of the palestinian authority, who pay taxes to the palestinian authority, vote in palestinian elections, and carry palestinian authority passports.

    "Of course those who criticize Israel or the Israel Lobby are often labeled anti-Semites but it is the ones doing the labeling who are the real anti-Semites since these labelers are thus unfairly assuming that all Jews are complicit in the crimes of some of them, such as occupying others' lands, pushing the US into unnecessary and disastrous wars, etc."

    in my experience, half the people who criticize israel do so in ways that can genuinely be perceived as antisemitic. half criticize israel in ways that are entirely legitimate. however, because both of these groups share so many stock phrases and smart ass quips like your own, they generally get lumped together because of the similarity of their rhetoric.

    furthermore, since the outset of the iraq war, the american jewish community was overwhelmingly ahead of the rest of america in its opposition to the war. presently over 80% of american jews oppose the war in iraq, which again, far outpaces the rest of america's citizenry. in addition to this fact, aipac has never ever once made any remarks whatsoever expressing any position on the war in iraq at all. neither did the american jewish committee, the american jewish congress, or the anti-defamation league. do not confuse neocons and the jewish community. they are two very different things and to conflate them bespeaks, once again, a propensity towards antisemitism.

    "Any honest person will admit that this is not the case as many Jews have spoken out against these crimes. For this reason it is not anti-Semitic to criticize policies of the Israeli government or the current US Israel Lobby. Hopefully both will change."

    the only thing you've said that i agree with. mazal tov.

    ***

    weiss, really — is creating an echo chamber for kneejerk lefty idiots really what you prefer to writing for the observer?

  18. Alex Chaihorsky
    August 7, 2007, 5:07 am

    Billy-boy:

    1. You do not demand anything, you ask politely. Use the words "please" abundantly.
    2. No money, no talk.
    3. Written agreement signed by you for public apology for your insolence (if the Board confirms my Jewish "credentials").
    3. If the above conditions are met – you are on.

  19. LanceThruster
    August 7, 2007, 11:47 am

    Regarding point b) above; this shows how hard the lobby fights to keep *any* positive representation of Palestinians out. When it happens, they cry that it is lopsided. I agree that coverage is biased but wholly in the other direction.

    Regarding the jibe that to point out the reality of what is and isn't anti-Semitism as anti-Israel talking points, I would use the following to illustrate. The Nazis largely brought about the common usage of Semite to mean Jews. It seems many Jews themselves have come to accept this usage. Yet the Klan deemed those of African heritage as animals and those engaging in sexual relations with them as commiting bestiality. Africans/those with African heritage aren't beasts (any more than any of the human species are or aren't) and Semites are more than just Jews. Why then, would anyone let the purveyors of hate define the term? It's basically promoting an inaccuracy which has genuine consequences.

    Maybe a new term needs to be coined to cover those of the Jewish tribe who are predjudiced against those of the Arabic tribes (and vice-versa); "self-hating Semites."

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