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

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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.

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