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…