I misplaced my taperecorder after the MoveonAipac.org hoedown in D.C., I’m still looking for it but in the meantime I need to convey from my notes three things that John Mearsheimer said in his appearance at the conference.
1. Someone asked about the USS Liberty attack in 67 that killed 30-some Americans and was never investigated. Mearsheimer said, “I think about Rachel Corrie [American killed in Gaza in 2003 by Israel]…. Nothing was done about that. I think about Furkan Dogan [the American killed on the Mavi Marmara].” And Mearsheimer said that if he went to Israel and was shot and killed, nothing would be done about it. This shows “how remarkably powerful” the Israeli government is in Washington, and that’s the simple explanation for why there’s never been an investigation of the Liberty attack.
2. There was a dual loyalty question. Mearsheimer said that in America, we’re allowed to have dual loyalty. You can be a citizen of another country, fight in their army. But the real question is, what happens when the “interests of the two countries come into conflict. The question is who will you side with? For most of Israel’s supporters they will side with Israel, and they don’t view that as a conflict of interest.” On nukes, it is not in America’s interest that Israel have nuclear weapons, for instance. But the lobby invariably sides with Israel and Netanyahu not Obama. And this, he said, is a “potentially dangerous situation for reasons I don’t have to spell out to you.” Wow I love this answer. P.S. At Columbia 3 weeks back, Peter Weiss of the Center for Constitutional Rights said he had written an article for the Palestine Israel Journal calling for legal action against Israeli nukes. Have to catch up to this.
3. William Safire. Mearsheimer liked the columnist William Safire, but he always wondered why he was for a Kurdish state. Well years after Safire died, Mearsheimer figured it out. Forming a Kurdish state would involve breaking up Syria, Iraq and Iran, “Israel’s three principal adversaries.” So Mearsheimer was saying that Safire was driven by love of Israel in his policy prescriptions. Don’t you wonder about a lotta folks the same way? I do.