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‘Haaretz’ removes red-baiting headline — ‘I’m not anti-Israel’ — on Steve Walt interview

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Stephen M. Walt

Stephen M. Walt

This is good news. Nowadays, publications revise themselves all the time on-line, and Haaretz has revised its headline on its big interview with Steve Walt. Two days ago it said,

“I’m not anti-Israel”

In a no-holds barred conversation, Haaretz’s Chemi Shalev talks at length with Prof. Stephen Walt, coauthor of the notorious ‘Israel Lobby,’ about accusations of anti-Semitism and U.S. foreign policy.

I called it redbaiting. Walt has always sought to preserve Israel’s existence as a Jewish state via the two-state solution, saying that’s in Israel’s best interest. Whatever you think of that goal, some folks must have complained, and Haaretz did the right thing.

Well, now it says:

Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship?

Good question. Again: why aren’t US publications asking him the same thing?

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8 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    pabelmont on April 19, 2014, 2:50 pm

    The USA-Israel S/R need not end, but surely needs to change shape from the present pseudo-slavery of the USA to something more adult:

    [1] USA and Israel have some similar interests and some different interests (just as each country has with other countries) and we need to fit our relationship to accommodate those differences as far as possible rather than to pretend the differences don’t exist or don’t matter.

    [2] It is in the USA’s national interest that Israel’s continuing occupations should end soon and, until then, that they be conducted legally according to international law, conventions, agreements, and human rights norms. The settlers must be removed. The wall and the settlements must be dismantled. The siege of Gaza must end.

    [3] USA will continue to assist Israel on security matters and expects that Israel will reciprocate in kind. The S/R can continue with that cooperation. The matter set forth in [2] above need not stand in the way.

  2. brenda
    brenda on April 19, 2014, 2:53 pm

    “Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship?
    Good question. why aren’t US publications asking him the same thing?”

    Answer: We haven’t evolved that far as a nation yet, Phil, and never will while the Israel Lobby is sitting in the catbird seat. But this question is being addressed by independent Israeli journalists. Ben Caspit of al-Monitor (owned by a Lebanese American and Washington based) goes into it:

    “If US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, US special envoy Martin Indyk and Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, are able to salvage the prisoner release deal that collapsed earlier this month and come up with a new package, Netanyahu will have to choose sides. His options would be between Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and US President Barack Obama. It will either be Israel’s messianic political right or the United States.

    “Nobody in Israel has any intention of chipping away at the relationship with Washington, but the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. If Israel and the Palestinians are able to reach a new package that will help resume negotiations, Netanyahu will have to decide what to do. Just imagine him saying, “No.”

    “At precisely that moment, Netanyahu’s government will become the Bennett government, and the United States and Israel will get a divorce. Fighting tooth and nail, Kerry will get a public slap in the face and leave Israel to its own devices. Obama will feel as if he has been punched in the gut, after personally rallying support for the deal and having agreed to swallow the most bitter of pills from his standpoint, Jonathan Pollard’s release.

    “Israel will be left behind with Netanyahu and Bennett, the radical rabbis, the settlers and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who has just annexed a few dozen acres to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. This might become the most radical Israel ever, quickly finding itself more isolated than it has ever been. This is how catastrophes come about.”

    Read more:

    this is a long piece, I left out most of the middle. Caspit has some light to shed on the Netanyahu/Putin coziness, leaving Obama out in the cold. Interesting reading.
    Read more:

  3. American
    American on April 19, 2014, 3:23 pm

    ”pabelmont says:

    April 19, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    The USA-Israel S/R need not end>>>>

    Frogs do not have S/R or any relations at all with scorpions unless they wish to be stung and drown.

  4. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby on April 19, 2014, 4:58 pm

    What a ridiculous interview, did anyone read it?

    Besides why does Walt dont admit that hes anti-Israel.

    What is pro-israel?
    Love for occupation and other unlawfulness?

    • Talkback
      Talkback on April 20, 2014, 6:35 am

      A better question from Miko Peled:

      “If opposing Israel is anti-semitism then what do you call … supporting a state that has been engaged in brutal ethnic cleansing for seven decades … WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU?!”

  5. brenda
    brenda on April 20, 2014, 7:04 am

    “Why does this man want to end the U.S.-Israel special relationship?”

    this is the Ha’aretz headline. My point is: why should we be distracted by a question arising from this source? It is not that Stephen Walt has taken on a personal anti-semitic quest to end the special relationship as the headline implies. He and Mearsheimer were simply reporting, in 2006, from their area of expertise; political science/US foreign policy and the effects of the special relationship in the US.

    The question is more aptly applied to Benjamin Netanyahu — Ben Caspit is a journalist, not a columnist with an opinion like Chemi Shavel. Caspit asks the question but applies it to a different man: why is Netanyahu challenging the US in a way that could (finally) end the special relationship? And if you wanted to go further along that line of thought, you could apply it to the entirety of Israel’s relationship with the US over the past several decades, back to at least 1991:

    “Administration officials said Mr. Bush believes that Mr. Shamir simply does not take him seriously and thinks that he can still have everything he wants: American aid, housing guarantees, no halt on settlements and a peace conference virtually entirely on Israeli terms… the Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and a broad coalition of Jewish organizations in the United States, made clear that they too would fight the President on the issue.”

    Israel, Ignoring Bush, Presses for Loan Guarantees

    If the special relationship is breaking down, it is not because someone like Stephen Walt wanted it to happen. Walt is only the messenger. The reason it is breaking down is because Israel is increasingly putting pressure on the relationship.

    • lobewyper
      lobewyper on April 20, 2014, 7:33 am


      You make some excellent points here.

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder on April 20, 2014, 9:40 am

      I agree, always interesting to go back in time. I tried to mentally go back and wondered if that was close to the time we were offered sympathetic portrayals of settlers fighting terrorism, as I remember them almost without any context. In any case I was still pretty busy studying the German past and its continuity both concerning people and institutions into post war Germany. And to be honest only when one such a person was kidnapped I felt a little Schadenfreude concerning the German terrorism of the radical left. So yes, to juxtapose the settlers with terrorism around them they were fighting, it may have worked on others. It sure did keep me from wanting to know more.

      But this sticks out for me:

      Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the New York Democrat, said the Bush Administration, in demanding that Israel freeze its settlements in the occupied territories before it will grant the absorption loan guarantees, was in effect asking Israel to make a unilateral concession to the Arabs before the peace conference even begins, without demanding anything similar from the Arabs.

      Moynihan is an interesting man. I discovered many themes that later puzzled me in the neocon hardcore universe, like Frontpagemag. Sometimes he felt like a really early inspiration for them : Jacob Heilbrunn, The Moynihan Enigma

      After Moynihan published an article entitled “The United States in Opposition” in the March 1975 Commentary, in which he argued that the Third World was exploiting its victimhood status to blackmail the West, President Ford appointed Moynihan ambassador to the United Nations. He had now consecutively served two Democratic presidents, and then two Republican ones.

      His new international pulpit allowed Moynihan to play to the home front as an arch-Cold Warrior denouncing the excesses of Third World despots and the naiveté of détente with the Soviets, which he characterized as “a form of undisguised retreat.” He decried the infamous United Nations resolution calling Zionism a form of racism. “This is a lie,” he said. “Whatever else Zionism may be, it is not and cannot be ‘a form of racism.'” For the second time in his career,
      Moynihan made the cover of Time.

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