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April 06, 2006

Three Steps Forward, Five Steps Back

Joseph Josse, writing on the Walt and Mearsheimer paper:

Two political scientists, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, have recently sallied forth with a paper that puts The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to shame. The gist is that the "Israel Lobby," the core of which "is comprised of American Jews," keeps "bending U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel's interests." As a result, the Jews have jeopardized not only U.S. security, but that of much of the rest of the world.

Do these two have it out for the Jews? I have known and worked with them for ages, and I don't think so.

You know, considering the Czarist police who forged The Protocols pretty clearly had it out for the Jews, it's hard to believe two establishment foreign policy theorists who don't have it out for the Jews are really putting the vicious anti-semites of yesteryear to shame.

Josse's gotta sync up his hysterical hyperbole to his immediate walkbacks a bit better, cause this just sound silly.

April 6, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

I read Haaretz.com almost daily to get a (center-left) view of Israeli politics and government. What seems clear from that reading (and the results of recent election) is that the majority of voting Israeli citizens are less Zionist, less settlement-committed, and more interested in land for peace with the Palestinians than are the most vocal and active (in influencing US policy) US individuals and groups that support Israel.

Maybe that's not strange, since it seems that US communists in the 1920-30s were more holy in their belief than those in the Kremlin.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Apr 6, 2006 6:48:54 PM

Duh! Everybody knows the "neo" in "neoconservative" is code for "Jewish." Ask David Brooks.

Posted by: Grumpy | Apr 6, 2006 7:33:30 PM

"Josse's gotta sync up his hysterical hyperbole to his immediate walkbacks a bit better, cause this just sound silly."

He's not alone in that silliness.

A bizarrely large chunk of the overall commentariat reacted to W-M by loudly not engaging it by waving either the anti-semitism flag or the "shody scholarship" flag.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 6, 2006 7:45:57 PM

"the majority of voting Israeli citizens are less Zionist, less settlement-committed, and more interested in land for peace with the Palestinians than are the most vocal and active (in influencing US policy) US individuals and groups that support Israel."

I think that's been true for a pretty long time now.

The fascinating question to me is what accounts for the AIPAC lobby's rightward tilt?

  • How much is due to the presence of wingnut Christian fundamentalists among their coalition?

  • Is it natural for emigrated/exiled groups to always be more warlike? The Cuban exiles are an example of that...

  • What other factors cause it?

Posted by: Petey | Apr 6, 2006 7:53:15 PM

Emm… when someone does shoddy scholarship, since when does pointing that out become "silliness"?

The paper was a piece of crap. Read Dershowitz on the subject.

Quick question: if Israel rules the world, why the hell is Jonathan Pollard still in jail? Especially considering that Bill Clinton swore to Bibi Netanyahu that he would be released, if only Bibi would come to the Wye Conference? (That lying piece of crap…)

Posted by: Mastiff | Apr 6, 2006 7:55:51 PM

if Israel rules the world

Another quick question: WTF? Where does that come from?

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Apr 6, 2006 8:18:46 PM

"Another quick question: WTF? Where does that come from?"

I'd guess W-M as interpreted by Dershowitz...

Posted by: Petey | Apr 6, 2006 8:28:00 PM

The paper was a piece of crap. Read Dershowitz on the subject.

Not exactly the most persuasive pair of statements I've ever seen....

Posted by: sglover | Apr 6, 2006 10:00:22 PM

Fair points. Dershowitz is a douchebag who was (IIRC) OK with torture and OK with Padilla. Fuck him.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Apr 6, 2006 11:19:15 PM

Just becasusue you disagree with Dershowitz doesn't mean he's incapable of presenting a cogent argument.

I'd be inclined to give W&M the benefit of the doubt when they say that they are not anti-semites. But ... it seems to me that anyone in this day and age who would write a paper with the kind of language they used and NOT realize that it would push some anti-semitic hot buttons either has one hell of a tin ear or has some issues with Jews.

Posted by: fiat lux | Apr 7, 2006 12:00:37 AM

...Bill Clinton swore to Bibi...if only Bibi...
Oh, sod off Mrs. Netanyahu.

Posted by: cynic | Apr 7, 2006 12:03:20 AM

...it seems to me that anyone in this day and age who would write a paper with the kind of language they used...
Since when do scholars need to censor the conclusions of their research to avoid 'push[ing][...]hot buttons'?

What I like most about the piece is how artfully the authors anticipated the very nature of the defamatory garbage being tossed at them.

For the lowdown on Dirtshowitz, see Norman G. Finkelstein's work...

Posted by: grt45 | Apr 7, 2006 12:08:52 AM

It's JoFFe (not JoSSe). Anyway.

Posted by: Isaac | Apr 7, 2006 12:43:45 AM

My impression is that American Jews are about as Zionist as the American population as a whole. They're usually more leftist than most Americans, but Jewish leftists are usually more Zionist than equally leftist non-Jews, so in the end it cancels out, with Jews ending up being similar to other American groups in their Zionism, except that while their positions are roughly in line with that of most non-Jewish Americans, they hold whatever position they do with regard to Israel with somewhat more passion/intensity than most goyim Americans.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Apr 7, 2006 12:59:14 AM

Not every Jew, American or Israeli, is a Zionist who clings to the dream of Greater Israel at the expense of Palestinains and general peace in the Middle East. Most Jews are, and have always been, commited to the ideals of fairness, justice and peace. But I don't think any sane American can deny the existance of a very powerful right wing Israeli lobby that does advocate and work for the subjugation, if not elimination, of the Palestinians. This group is dangerous and uncompromising, very well funded and connected and more dangerous than ever since becoming aligned with the Christian evangelical movement.
To believe that these groups do not exert the single biggest influence on American Middle East policy is naive. We need to break this stranglehold so that we can foster better policies that will behoove the majority of Jews, palestinians and Americans, not just the loudest and most deranged.

Posted by: Rob | Apr 7, 2006 1:29:43 AM

Trying to end the indentation...

Posted by: Julian Elson | Apr 7, 2006 4:58:18 AM

Not to quibble, but the fellow's last name is "Joffe." His daughter, for what it's worth, looks like Nicole Kidman and was -- and may still be -- Peter Kaplan's assistant at the New York Observer.

Posted by: elon | Apr 7, 2006 9:56:56 AM

After following a number of threads that futilely attempted to coherently discuss W-M, I'm now going to propose Petey's corollary to Godwin's law:

Any online thread relating to Israel will quickly be descended upon by commenters straight out of Yeats' The Second Coming.

Posted by: Petey | Apr 7, 2006 10:00:55 AM

Methinks they doth protest too much...

Posted by: Paul in KY | Apr 8, 2006 12:28:39 PM

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Posted by: peterwei | Oct 22, 2007 8:52:35 AM

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