Whatever you think of his conservative politics (and I don’t like ‘em), John Sununu, Bush 41’s chief of staff and the former gov of New Hampshire, is a brilliant guy. Sununu is a nuclear engineer, a self-made man, and one tough politician.
Sununu is also an Arab-American. I’ve always wondered what Sununu has to say about the Israel lobby. Well here he is, on the website of the new book, The Much Too Promised Land, by Aaron David Miller, talking about the Israel lobby:
It’s like a handful of pebbles in the shoe. It’s there all the time, and this process of not permitting anything that’s trying to tug in the other direction, to gain root and thrive, is almost automatic. And it’s not just AIPAC, it happens all the time, everywhere. Every congressman, every senator, before they win, is being soft lobbied on the issue. Whether it’s their friend that owns 40 acres down the street whose grandfather happened to have come from Kiev, goes in and talks to him about helping him, developing a social relationship on an issue that has nothing to do with the district, begins to communicate their interest. And rightly so– pulling on their end of the rope. It happens almost invisibly. But across the board. There is nobody who has run for office in this country who has not been soft lobbied the day they announce that they are going to run and not been hard lobbied after they win.
Astute, nuanced, and frank, these statements absolutely confirm what I observed more impressionistically when I reported that a friend who was thinking of running for Congress in my district faced an immediate test from New York money people on the Israeli "settlements" issue. And it is consistent with my own experience in political journalism. From the beginning, there has been pressure to hew to the line on Israel. And any effort to grow a different point of view? Discouraged….
But our culture is changing. The natives are restless! We are two years into the Era of Walt and Mearsheimer… And one day soon there is sure to be journalism on this question at last…