by: Schvach Yid
If you’re not already familiar with Meryl Yourish’s blog site at http://yourish.com/, then here’s a good reason to become introduced to it. She’s just posted a blog about a New York Times review of Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s weigh-in on the ‘great
and here’s the piece; judge for yourselves: (it’s CNN’s ‘diamonds and schmooze’ accusation all over again):
A Prosecutorial Brief Against
and Its Supporters Israel
A bitter debate has raged ever since, with accusations of anti-Semitism leveled by, among others, Alan M. Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor, and Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, one of the principal lobbying organizations taken to task by Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt.
Slowly, deliberately and dispassionately Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt lay out the case for a ruthlessly realistic Middle East policy that would make Israel nothing more than one of many countries in the region. On those occasions when
The reason they do not realize this, Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt insist, can be explained quite simply: The
This lobby is particularly adept at stifling debate before it begins, the authors argue. “Whether the issue is abortion, arms control, affirmative action, gay rights, the environment, trade policy, health care, immigration or welfare, there is almost always a lively debate on Capitol Hill,” they write. “But where
There is nothing underhanded or devious about this, the authors say. Like the National Rifle Association or the AARP, the Israel lobby relies on the traditional political weapons available to any special-interest group in pressing its agenda. It just happens to be unusually skillful and effective.
“It is simply a powerful interest group, made up of both Jews and gentiles, whose acknowledged purpose is to press Israel’s case within the United States and influence American foreign policy in ways that its members believe will benefit the Jewish state,” they write.
The problem, Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt argue, is that Israel has become a strategic liability with the end of the cold war and a moral pariah in its dealings with the Palestinians and, most recently, the Lebanese. Uncritical American support for its closest Middle East ally has damaged American credibility in the Arab world, encouraged terrorism, stymied the search for a solution to the Palestinian problem, and in every way made America’s international position weaker and more dangerous.
Coolly, not to say coldly, Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt mount a prosecutorial brief against Israel’s foreign and domestic policies, and against the state of Israel itself. They describe a virtual rogue state, empowered by American wealth and might, that blocks peace at every turn, threatens its cowering neighbors with impunity, crushes the national aspirations of the Palestinians and, whenever the opportunity arises, bites the hand that feeds it.
Working tirelessly in the background is the
Most American readers will bristle at the authors’ characterization of
The authors state, on several occasions, their belief that
It is a little odd that so chilly a book should generate such heat. Most of Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt’s arguments are familiar ones, and it is hardly inflammatory to point out that the major Jewish organizations tend to take a much tougher line on, say, a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, the Iraq war or settlements in the West Bank, than most American Jews favor. The writers stand on eminently defensible ground when they argue for a more constructive, creative American role in peace talks.
The general tone of hostility to
They also seem to feel that, with
“It is time,” Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt write, “for the