It it indisputable that Walt and Mearsheimer and Jimmy Carter have had a great effect: it is impossible to have a discussion about Israel/Palestine in respectable intellectual circles without being conscious that at any moment someone is likely to start screaming from the sidewalk, Israel lobby! or Apartheid! Now I am not saying that those voices are in the room. They're not. But the voices of conventional wisdom inside the room are aware of them, and a little afraid of them.
This explains a couple of recent developments. AIPAC has evidently been trying to hold the lobby's hardliners here back on divestment campaigns aimed at Iran and Syria. The dual-loyalty crowd, in this case, Caroline Glick, an editor at the Jerusalem Post who is also a fellow at a Washington thinktank, is appalled by this behavior:
in Texas and California, AIPAC lobbyists led by AIPAC's policy director Brad Gordon, advocated that divest-terror bill sponsors take North Korea and Syria off their bills. As they did in Ohio, they also strongly recommended that divestiture from companies invested in Iran be limited to companies that invest more than $20 million in Iran's oil and gas sector.
I wonder whether AIPAC isn't softpedalling the Confront-Iran agenda because the neoconservative moment is over. And because people are drinking water fluoridated with Walt and Mearsheimer.
Then there's Roger Cohen's op-ed piece ruling that Obama is good for the Jews, in the Times today. The piece is careful on Israel/Palestine. Obama is strong on Israel "but not uncritical." Obama was right to say that Palestinians are suffering the most. Obama "feels Israel in his kishkas, all right." A bit of Yiddish, to make Jews feel good about him. The piece concludes,
Nor is he blind to the fact that backing Israel is not enough if such U.S. backing provides carte blanche for the subjugation of another people.
This is a true statement, with a beautiful emphasis-- the last word in a column. I do not believe that Cohen, a CFR sort of official journalist, would have written such a thing were it not for the drip-drip-drip of Jimmy Carter and Walt and Mearsheimer, talking to the American people. It's good that Cohen is saying this, of course, as it is good that the Times is printing his opinion that the Palestinians are suffering the most. But in the end the only two questions are, A, If the Israelis have been granted "carte blanche for the subjugation of another people," then why isn't the Israel lobby a fit subject for investigative exposure in the pages of the Times, on a weekly basis (as we got ad nauseum exposes of the Christian right in its heyday)? And B, if the Israelis are subjugating another people, and believe me, they are, I've been to the West Bank--why isn't the U.S. sanctioning this behavior? Back to A.