‘Atlantic’ concedes the groundbreaking impact of a piece it killed

Israel/Palestine
on 8 Comments

Robert Kaplan has a piece in the latest Atlantic about America losing patience with Israel and finally going "against the interests of the Jewish state." Revolutionary, eh?

The piece is about the end of the era of the Israel lobby, which now that it is ending, now that J Street has fractured it into two lobbies, everyone is allowed to say Walt and Mearsheimer were dead right about. In another three years, everyone will say, The Iraq war was fought for Israel’s security. It will be a national "Duh" moment.

And think: The Atlantic killed the piece that Kaplan says is so important, Walt and Mearsheimer’s groundbreaking essay on the lobby in 2006, forcing them to publish in another country, and meantime allows two former IDF soldiers, in Robert Kaplan and Jeffrey Goldberg, to write about Middle East policy. Am I smoking something? Is everyone?

Kaplan deals with (some of) the sociological issues at the heart of the matter:

"One striking indication of the extent to which Israel has lost American sympathy was the publication in 2007 of The Israel Lobby, a controversial book by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. The book alleges that it was Israel’s supporters in America who played a pivotal role in influencing the Bush Administration to go to war in Iraq in 2003. … [T]he fact that two highly distinguished political scientists–one from Harvard and the other from the University of Chicago, who have contributed significantly to their field in their other works–felt confident enough to go so far out on a limb on this sensitive issue is telling. Nobody takes such a risk without outside encouragement. Indeed, it is in the nature of these things that, for every reviewer’s condemnation, one can assume that many others are quietly nodding their heads in agreement with the authors. [Not that we have dinner parties with any of those people!]

"As for the matter of Israel’s influence on U.S. policymaking, that will only wane as a new generation of immigrant elites – from Asia, the Muslim world, and the Indian Subcontinent – take their places inside America’s civilian bureaucracy and military ranks. Israel is not central to the analytical concerns of these young, newly minted Americans. To them, it is just another country with which America must engage according to its interests. If anything, for this new generation–and, in fact, for the Obama Administration – it is countries like China, India, and Indonesia that are becoming the principal areas of focus. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s two trips to Asia in the first six months of her tenure were arguably the Administration’s most important expression yet of what it sees as the new geopolitical locus of the 21st century. The Israeli-Palestinian problem is increasingly becoming seen as a leftover irritant from a passing era."

Thanks to MJ Rosenberg at TPM for picking this up.

About Philip Weiss

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

Other posts by .


Posted In:

8 Responses

  1. potsherd
    August 6, 2009, 11:29 am

    Unfortunately, the allegiance of the US Congress to Israel seems undiminished still.

  2. America First
    August 6, 2009, 12:17 pm

    “As for the matter of Israel’s influence on U.S. policymaking, that will only wane as a new generation of immigrant elites – from Asia, the Muslim world, and the Indian Subcontinent – take their places inside America’s civilian bureaucracy and military ranks. Israel is not central to the analytical concerns of these young, newly minted Americans. To them, it is just another country with which America must engage according to its interests.

    Very interesting point, though it’s not really “analytical,” it’s that these minorities may not be as susceptible to moral blackmail due to the Holocaust as white Americans have been. Steven Steinlight has said much the same thing. I’m not sure it’s true though. We can expect more of the type of “outreach” (horse trading?) Jewish groups are already doing with Hispanics. Also, it’s a very common view in Asia that the way to get things done in the US is to get in good with American Jews by praising Israel.

  3. munro
    August 6, 2009, 2:08 pm

    “The Iraq war was fought for Israel’s security.”

    “Security” or stature as the regional superpower and expansionist, imminent threat to the entire Muslim world?

    • potsherd
      August 6, 2009, 4:36 pm

      “Security” for Israel means eliminating any possible security for its neighbors, rendering them helpless to defend themselves. Israel will not feel secure until not only the Palestinians but the entire MidEast is disarmed and they have the only weapons – which the US will keep selling them.

      There is now an increase in military activity at Israel’s border with Lebanon, because Hezbollah is known to possess rockets with which they can retaliate against an Israeli attack.

  4. Chu
    August 6, 2009, 3:15 pm

    Kaplan…”If you think the tension between the U.S. and Israel is high now, just wait until there’s a significant spike in casualties in Iraq following an Israeli strike on Iran.”

    He’s got that right!

    Moderate Israeli supporters in America will realize that Israel is doing harm to America’s interests (Pastor Hagee not included). There are small gains made by Israel annually, but there are losing the grand strategy, now evident in the changing American public attitude, which will only get worse.

    If Israel could meld into its surroundings in the Middle East and make some concessions and repay the damage they’ve caused, things will start to rotate clockwise. The more war they create, the easier it will be to lose the narrative of the Jews as victims of the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism, etc. Both ways can’t be had.

    The sooner the strike on Iran occurs, the more people will realize the ‘clean break’ (Perle) plan. When, if ever, the news media becomes independent from being non-critical of Israel, this might just make 60 Minutes as a prime story – 10 years late.

    No news about these issues, makes a majority believe it does not exist.

  5. Citizen
    August 7, 2009, 2:06 pm

    99.9% of Americans never heard of PNAC. The problem is the Fourth Estate. It’s made a joke of the First Amendment.

Leave a Reply