Let’s read this Bloomberg story about the Koch Institute in Washington hosting Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer at an event on the future of foreign policy today. “Koch Brothers Give a Megaphone to the anti-Israel Fringe.”
On Wednesday, the Charles Koch Institute, a think tank funded by one of the conservative movement’s most generous donors, will host a conference featuring some of the academy’s most virulent foes of Israel.
Eli Lake made it almost through a whole sentence without giving away he wasn’t really a journalist. But then he just had to stick in “virulent” foes of Israel. Wasn’t “big” or “vigorous” foes of Israel enough? “Virulent” is defined as venomous or poisonous, as in a virulent disease. So now the intelligent reader has a decision. Does he or she want to risk becoming an anti-Semite by continuing to read Eli Lake right now? Because if history is any guide, the reader knows a lot of nasty things are about to be said about usually decent people.
Charles and David Koch, scions of the Koch Industries fortune, have always leaned libertarian in their political giving and nonprofit work. The two brothers have supported criminal-justice reform and other free-market initiatives in education and labor. In foreign policy, the Kochs have stayed away from the uglier fringes that blame Israel and its supporters for hijacking U.S. foreign policy. That is, until now.
Koch brothers, we used to think we had an understanding with you guys. You stick to your “conservative” issues, we stick to ours. What you’re doing would lead to a turf war on “The Wire.” You already know you can have all the conservative issues you want except for our “conservative” issues like the “special relationship”, overall Middle East policy; and of course we insist on being the “intellectuals” of the movement, too.
OK, time to meet our foaming-at-the mouth friends. Let’s recap. Virulent, uglier fringe, blame Jews Israel for “hijacking” US foreign policy.
The institute’s conference scheduled for Wednesday will feature separate panels with Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, co-authors of the 2006 [actually 2007] book “The Israel Lobby.”
While Walt and Mearsheimer are hardly household names, they are known in U.S. policy circles. Their book prompted Abe Foxman, who was then national director of the Anti-Defamation League, to write a response, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control.”
Mr. Eli Lake– you were about to introduce us to some bad, bad people; and now we learn this is on the “word” of one Abe Foxman– and who is this Abe Foxman? He “was then” the “National Director of the Anti Defamation League.” Here Mr. Lake is where anti-semites are made. You led us to believe we were going to get as a “witness for the prosecution” an impartial witness. Do you not understand that people look at “Abe Foxman” the same way they look at, say, Ralph Reed talking about abortion rights? And if you ask why would they look at Abe Foxman like that, then you’re not being very objective. So already a dispassionate reader is thinking, If this is the best evidence you can marshal, the accused is probably innocent because everyone already knows you throw the proverbial kitchen sink at your enemies.
The institute’s decision to host a conference that features Walt, Mearsheimer and a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Chas Freeman, is in keeping with a general realignment of U.S. politics in 2016. Under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, conservatives have embraced Israel and accused their partisan foes of not supporting the Jewish State, but this year has brought a shift. This week for example, the conservative website Breitbart featured a story that accused Weekly Standard editor William Kristol of being a “renegade Jew.”
OK; so it used to be that conservatives embraced Israel and accused liberals of not supporting Israel. But something has now changed and the example you give is a very, very vocal and combative pro-Israel American, David Horowitz, who is angry that another very, very vocal and combative pro-Israel American Jew (Kristol) is trying to sabotage Trump who Horowitz says is good for Israel and the Jews. This is evidence of what? One crazy Jew called another a “renegade Jew” and now you’re saying it’s Trump’ s fault? Or it’s Walt’s fault? Or maybe it’s the Mufti’s fault?
What it looks like is going on here is that you want to create a certain “impression” about the discourse of your enemies– but you take the discourse of your friends (Horowitz and Kristol) and say, See what I’m saying?? Well that’s just plain dishonest, isn’t it Eli? Horowitz himself insisted on that “renegade Jew” title; it wasn’t some anti-semitic Breitbart editor.
In recent years Walt and Mearsheimer have gotten a cold shoulder from the right, but have been embraced by the anti-war movement. For example they were the featured speakers at a 2011 conference sponsored by Code Pink and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. It was called Move Over Aipac, a reference to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
You’re supposed to be an objective journalist. You’re writing for Bloomberg. But the reader can sense for sure that some “smearing” is going on here. Look what you did, connected them to Code Pink and to a conference called “Move over Aipac”. But again Eli, this is where anti-semites are made. A smart reader says, Wait, isn’t this the same Eli Lake who put up an article last year on what a cuddly outfit Aipac is — “AIPAC is no different than the National Audubon Society.” And they also know from reading other Jewish journalists that AIPAC isn’t as innocuous as you make them out to be. And they heard Hillary’s AIPAC speech where she promised to take the relationship with Israel to “the next level,” and they thought to themselves WTF. And maybe some readers leave your article now to google “Move over Aipac” because it sure sounds interesting.
This made sense. Walt and Mearsheimer have doubled down against the pro-Israel lobby. In 2011 Mearsheimerblurbed a book from the notorious Holocaust denier Gilad Atzmon. During the Iran deal debate last summer, Walt tweeted his praise for an article that asserted the opponents of the Iran agreement were puppets of Israel’s prime minister.
Before you can even catch you breath, here comes the next volley of shit! And this is it: Here’s the evidence. This is going to be the best the opposition researchers came up with to explain why the Koch brothers made such a big mistake inviting Walt and Mearsheimer.
And first off, I couldn’t help but notice you offering that Walt and Mearsheimer were “not household names,” but now you give us the “notorious Gilad Atzmon” who has been giving kids nightmares for years. After all they’ve done, they’re still nobodies! What a childish knock. Then what do we get? A blurb from 2011 and a retweet from last summer. This is your evidence. Mearsheimer put a blurb on a book no one has even heard of; and on this basis the Koch brothers should throw out his 30 years at the University of Chicago and countless books.
Eli, seriously, you know you can’t be trusted with these things. Let’s cut to the chase: you want your readers to believe you when you say that Walt and Mearsheimer hate Jews. And you will do everything within the limits of the law to convince people of that “truth.” You and your friends will have no compunction about destroying their lives. Because like many, many people before Eli Lake and many people after, regular rules of civility, fair play, honesty, don’t apply when you “know” you are on the side of the angels and your opponents on the side of the devil. Of course it is lost on Eli Lake and his friends that their behavior is the strongest case for the thesis in “the lobby.” But other people are aware, the “lobby” had a fatwa put on it by Jeffrey Goldberg and the other warrior scribes have been tormenting Walt and Mearsheimer ever since.
Freeman, another panelist at Wednesday’s conference, has a similar record. In 2009 many Republicans led a campaign to stop his nomination to be the chairman of the National Intelligence Council in part because of his extreme views on Americans who support the Jewish State. In 2012, Freeman delivered a speech in Moscow on the topic, where he said, “In some countries, like the United States, Israel can rely upon a ‘fifth column’ of activist sympathizers to amplify its messages.”
So Chas Freeman gave a speech in Moscow! Is that here to suggest Chas Freeman is some sort of traitor? Or is it supposed to remind people of the Pale of Settlement? Definitely “Moscow” means something bad for Freeman. Maybe Eli Lake just put Moscow there to let each individual reader make their own negative association. So Chas Freeman in “Moscow” said that Israel has some fanatical supporters who are very aggressive in pursuing what they claim is in the American Interest but was ALWAYS in the state of Israel’s interest. Perhaps “fifth columnist” is too strong a term, but then again it may not be. We are going to explore that question in the coming weeks. And what if we discover together that 5th columnist is the most appropriate word; well then we are stuck in a situation where the truth is anti-Semitic.
Will Ruger, vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute, pushed back on the idea that his think tank was providing a “platform” to Walt, Mearsheimer and Freeman. “They are all very respected members of the foreign policy community and the academy,” he said.
Big student of propaganda that I am, I have a 6th sense for trickery. What is the only fact in the above paragraph? It is that Will Ruger said of Walt, Mearsheimer and Freeman “they are all respected members of the foreign policy community and the academy.” Now read the paragraph again. Who is interpreting that statement as “pushback”? Eli Lake. Eli, did you just make that up to imply that Will Ruger is “defensive” about hosting them? Because his statement is pretty straightforward.
When asked whether he endorsed Freeman’s view of American supporters of Israel, Ruger backed off: “We’re not endorsing anything or everything these people have said; we are trying to have a broad conversation about foreign policy.” But he stressed that Freeman was a former ambassador and assistant secretary of defense and that he wrote the entry for diplomacy for the Encyclopedia Britannica. “His voice as a practitioner is relevant to a foreign policy conversation,” he said.
Look what a trick Eli Lake is playing on the reader. Ruger said what every person in the history of conferences says: “we’re not endorsing anything or everything…..” But look what Mr. Eli Lake adds here: “Ruger backed off.” What did Ruger do that showed the great journalist Eli Lake that he was “backing off?” Nothing. Eli Lake put those words in to show again some defensiveness which just isn’t there.
Do you feel any sense or responsibility to be honest, Mr. Lake? Do you expect “non partisans” to read you and believe you’re in the right? Why all the dishonesty if your cause is just?
“We went out of our way to invite a broad, diverse set of panelists for this conference,” Ruger said, pointing out that the institute had also invited two prominent advisers to Hillary Clinton, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Michele Flournoy, who both served in the Obama administration at senior levels. Neither Slaughter nor Flournoy could make it, but Kathleen Hicks, who served as a senior Pentagon official during Obama’s first term, will appear on a panel at the conference with Mearsheimer.
But the ideological diversity for the Charles Koch Institute has its limits. When asked whether the institute invited any neoconservatives to the conference, Ruger said, “Since I don’t want to assign labels to people, I don’t want to say.” He added, “We are trying to get away from labels, and we’re trying to focus on ideas.” The same cannot be said for Freeman, Mearsheimer or Walt.
So Mr. Lake ends this great polemic by saying I think Freeman, Mearsheimer, and Walt don’t “focus on ideas” but labels. I guess that means when those three have lunch together at the conference, while other tables are discussing ideas, these guys will just be “labeling.” I think the image Mr. Lake wants the reader to be left with is: Walt, Mearsheimer, and Freeman eating off in a corner (everyone else keeping away to not catch the virulent disease) and everyone else is discussing the big ideas of the conference but these three will just be chanting “Jew” in between each bite.
There was a true statement in there, too, though: the Charles Koch Institute has not invited any neocons to the conference. Mr Lake, what is obvious to all your friends should be obvious to you by now, especially with all your insider Washington contacts. Neocon action can only be found with Hillary Clinton this election cycle.
This is a notice: If people like Eli Lake want to write an article for the mainstream that belongs in the feverishly-Zionist rag the Jewish Press out of Boro Park, it will be pointed out.