“Walt & Mearsheimer Rock. Fight the Israel Lobby.”

No, really. that’s the button CAIR activists gave to Mearsheimer at his recent presentation in Washington DC. His response?

“I like it,” he said, beaming.

Go read Dana Milbank’s account of this event in the Washington Post.

Then go back and read Lee Smith’s takedown of their original paper (I linked to it in a post called “Fat, Drunk, and Stupid Is No Way To Run The Kennedy School“).

And finally go back and read Benny Morris’ evisceration of their historical analysis (originally at TNR, reprinted at Jeff Weintraub’s).Then back to the Post:

Walt kicked off the session with a warning that we face a “threat from terrorism because we have been so closely tied to Israel.” This produced chuckles in the audience. Walt allowed that this was “not the only reason” for our problems, but he did blame Israel supporters for the hands-off position the Bush administration took during the Lebanon fighting.

“The answer is the political influence of the Israel lobby,” Walt said. He also hypothesized that if not for the Israel lobby, the Iraq war “would have been much less likely.”

Right. If it only wasn’t for those pesky Jews…and their habit of defending themselves.

This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames. And, indeed, Walt seemed defensive about the charges of anti-Semitism. He cautioned that the Israel lobby “is not a cabal,” that it is “not synonymous with American Jews” and that “there is nothing improper or illegitimate about its activities.”

But Mearsheimer made no such distinctions as he used “Jewish activists,” “major Jewish organizations” and the “Israel lobby” interchangeably. Clenching the lectern so tightly his knuckles whitened, Mearsheimer accused Israel of using the kidnapping of its soldiers by Hizbollah as a convenient excuse to attack Lebanon.

It’s funny, we’re just back from watching Suicide Murders, about which more in a bit. And having watched the interviews with the failed bombers – and their happy willingness to go bomb again (in every case but one), and watched the interviews with the parents who raised them believing that killing Jews is the highest calling, and seen the streets of Gaza – lined with billboards glorifying murderers. I’m a lot more sensitive to these kinds of arguments then I might have been this afternoon.

And it looks like Alwaleed’s $20 million gift to Harvard may be paying off. Oh – sorry, that wasn’t mentioned in the original study, so it must not really count.

22 thoughts on ““Walt & Mearsheimer Rock. Fight the Israel Lobby.””

  1. Let’s see. First David Duke, now CAIR (along with all those myriads of earnest types who’ve been encouraged to crawl out of the woodwork.)

    Heady days. W&M will, no doubt, soon be declaring—if cautiously (they are, after all, serious professors)—victory.

  2. While it is good to be critical of scholarship, particularly in the realm of political science, statements like, “This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames,” seem aimed at limiting legitimate discourse rather than exposing bad scholarship.

  3. Let’s see if we can connect the dots:

    1) Prominent Democrat senator from Connecticut, who was the Democrat VP candidate not six years ago, is denounced by a growing faction of the the grassroots of the party. Oh, and by the way, he’s Jewish.

    2) Academics from a major US university write a widely published (and sanctioned by their university, no doubt) paper criticizing the influence of the Jewish-based lobbying in US politics and policy, and they are roundly well-greeted by an Arab-American LOBBYING GROUP which has conflicting interests. Surprised?

    3) Money changes hands. CAIR has lots of it, and I wonder where it came from? What is published and in the public domain regarding their contributors? Are they a registered lobbying group, and what are the reporting requirements for IRS purposes. My uneducated guess is that there are many strings that lead back to the KSA, our Saudi oil-buddies.

    The above comments were written by an American of German ancestry (no blue eyes, sorry), who hates anti-semitism.

  4. 1) Prominent Democrat senator from Connecticut, who was the Democrat VP candidate not six years ago, is denounced by a growing faction of the the grassroots of the party. Oh, and by the way, he’s Jewish.

    Sorry not buying what you’re implying. Lieberman was on the outs with the “netroots” because (a) he supports the Iraqi campaign in the GWOT and has pretty much stood by his decision and (b) even though he votes with his party 90 percent of the time, he fails to exhibit the requisite hatred for members of the other party, particularly the president. It may not seem rational to those of us on the outside but the fact that he’s Jewish doesn’t automatically make it anti-Semitism either.

  5. Mearsheimer is a lout, but an increasingly fashionable lout.

    Back in the 80s, when the literary lout Gore Vidal accused Jewish neoconservatives (Midge Decter and Norman Podhoretz) of being loyal to Israel rather than the United States – “Fifth Columnists” for a “predatory people” – there was outrage. The Nation got so many letters from angry leftists that they begged people to stop writing to them.

    All the people you think are crazy now will be heroes in a few years, not excluding David Duke and David Irving.

  6. Mr. Winston,

    I imply only that it is easy to tar some people and not others. I clearly remember the 2006 campaign, wherein various media figures, etc. tried to bait the Republicans into attacking Joe Leiberman on the grounds that he was Jewish. Didn’t work, as I recall. Even Joe was put off by it. Gotcha?
    Now, in 2006, he is attacked by a grassroots faction of his own party, but will likely get re-elected to the Senate seat as an independent by a combination of Republican and Democrat voters.
    To paraphrase, none dare call it anti-semitism.

    It’s in the air this year.
    The above mentioned authors also attacked, at the CAIR gathering (according to Dana Milbank), Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz, Jewish men that were part of the civilian leadership in the Pentagon in the run-up to OIF.
    I don’t know much about Douglas Feith, but I do know that Paul Wolfowitz, despite many shortcomings that people may ascribe to him, is a very intelligent and decent human being. But then, of course, he’s a Jew.

  7. I imply only that it is easy to tar some people and not others. I clearly remember the 2006 campaign, wherein various media figures, etc. tried to bait the Republicans into attacking Joe Leiberman on the grounds that he was Jewish.

    I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. I assume you mean the 2000 campaign when Lieberman ran as Gore’s running mate which I remember rather clearly being a a volunteer for the Bush-Cheney campaign where there were hardly any negative comments made about Lieberman (except for the flip-flops on school choice, Social Security reform, and a couple of other issues). Lieberman was generally regarded as a nice guy and pretty much treated with kid gloves (particularly during the VP debate) and the only mention I saw on our side of the Ditch about his religion was how great it was that was devout in his faith and Peggy Noonan’s column comparing him to JFK who “broke another religious barrier.”

    As far as media figures trying to bait Republicans into going after Lieberman for his religion – can you name any of these media figures? Links to actual examples would be nice.

  8. bq. This line of argument could be considered a precarious one for two blue-eyed men with Germanic surnames. And, indeed, Walt seemed defensive about the charges of anti-Semitism.

    So, according to Dana Milbank, I’m a borderline antiSemite. I have one Germanic grandparent, so I’m not allowed to hold certain opinions. If you are unfortunate enough to read some of his other stuff, you’ll see he thinks the same goes if you’re white, male, Republican or American. In fairness, the rest of the item seems to be “reporting” where I agree with his underlying opinion, which is a nice change.

  9. Mr. Winston:
    Typo! You’re right! I meant to write “2000” referring to the 2000 presidential election year (Gore-Lieberman), not 2006. ack!

    Still, while I have done a little searching on the net, I can’t find reports that have the innuendo of implicit Republican anti-semitism that I remember being batted about in the days after Joe Lieberman’s nomination in August, 2000 (not particularly by the Democratic party, but by the news media). Only comments about the small per centage on the “far” right that were anti-semitic that would not vote for Gore-Lieberman anyways.
    Today (2006), Joe is in the sights of those who are unhappy about the Jewish influence in the halls of Congress, as Joe is the only “Orthodox” Jew in the Senate. But there is no anti-semitism here, you see?

  10. Mr. Winston:

    1. It is a matter of public record that senior CAIR officials were convicted of funneling money illegally to terrorist organizations (Hezbollah, killer of over 400 Americans, and Hamas). Mearsheimer and Walt appearing at such a function is akin to appearing at a Klan rally, or Stormfront, or something along those lines.

    2. OTHER pro-War Democrats who are not Jewish were not targeted as Lieberman was. Including Hillary Clinton.

    3. Check out Daily Kos, Democratic Underground, MyDD, Firedoglake etc or Huffington Post (known as “Huffbollah” for it’s anti-Semitism) and see the naked anti-Semitism on display there, open admiration for Hezbollah (again, let me remind you, murderers of over 400 Americans), and sentiments such as echoing Ahmadinejad’s “wipe Israel off the map” …

    No need to take my word for it all; go see for yourself.

    4. Mearsheimer and Walt focus on lower-level JEWISH administration officials and ignore the Senior Policy Makers:

    President Bush
    Vice President Dick Cheney
    Secretary of State Colin Powell
    Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
    UN Ambassador John Bolton

    Senior policy makers (far senior in the case of GWB) to Feith and Wolfowitz. NONE of them are Jewish. Yet is only the Jewish figures who are singled out.

    Who do you suspect had more influence on the Iraq policy? Doug Feith or GWB?

  11. What we will see in all of the Arab newspapers is a long a detailed story describing this event in glowing terms and the fact that it was held at a “prestigious” institution like the National Press Club. CAIR will be applauded and the two speakers will be heavily quoted.

    No where, ever, will there be a follow up that both of these idiots have lost their jobs over their stupidity in printing the paper in the first place, nor that they have NO support among Americans at all. Nor will there ever be any discussion of the concept of “freedom of speech” and what that can entail when it’s carried to extremes.

    Arabs reading Arab media will think to themselves, “A-ha! The Americans are finally starting to agree with us that it’s all the Jews’ fault … and we’ve been right all along.”

    Someone needs to take who-ever booked this into the National Press Club to one side and have a stern discussion on the difference between freedom of speech and yelling “Fire!” in a theater. And then find out how much CAIR and/or their Saudi sponsors paid them to make this happen at that place.

  12. Matt Stoller has spotted another target: “Whiner of the Cycle: Rahm Emanuel.”:http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/8/28/131358/640

    What could they possibly have against Rahm Emanuel? He has a 100% Liberal ADA rating in the last two congresses. He’s 100% pro-choice. He’s a big fund-raiser. HE EVEN SUPPORTS LAMONT.

    What does a Jew have to do to assimilate around here?

  13. The problem with their paper is simple; there absolutely is a powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US, and studying the nature and impact of that lobby is absolutely a legitimate thing to do.

    They err – egregiously – in three ares.

    First, in asserting that US global interests are not well-served by supporting Israel. That’s an assertion they don’t nearly prove.

    Second, in asserting that there are no moral reasons to support Israel. Here they not only fail to prove their assertion, but they misread history and make significantly partisan assumptions in arguing their point.

    Finally, in assuming that the Israel lobby is the central (their word) force in determining US Middle East policy, and failing to carefully and rigorously – the web of interests around energy, money, race, and politics that is represented in this issue.

    Their argument started at a conclusion and worked backward, and in doing so they rented their reputations to a bunch of very unsavory folks.

    That’s too bad. It’s frightening to see how seriously it is being taken in many quarters.

    A.L.

  14. A. L.
    Exactly right. This is true of much of the “disreputable” business of lobbying. Not to defend it per se, but there are usually common interests at work.
    Some common political interests are virtuous, as you have cited, and some, decidedly are not.

  15. Somewhat related, the anti-semitism and pandering to that sentiment among Muslims by the Left is well in evidence.

    The Muslim man who ran over 14 people in a Jewish Neighborhood in San Francisco is being danced around by Gavin Newsome. WHo is very careful to call it NOT a hate crime.

    Compare/Contrast … Duke LaCrosse Case and Muslims just “happening” to kill Jewish citizens of the US INSIDE the US.

    I’d say the Left/Dems have objectively a massive anti-semitism problem.

  16. …nor that they have NO support among Americans at all.

    I’m afraid that’s not at all the case.

    Regrettably.

    On the one hand it’s a sloppily presented, tendentious piece of slime. On the other it’s a cleverly crafted cause celebre that the more it is attacked, the greater its appeal.

    For by attacking it, you reinforce its argument, viz. that the Israel Lobby has the US of A—and all of you real Americans—by the short curlies; by pointing out how wrong it is, you prove how right it is.

    Clever chaps.

    Conspiracy theory meets the halls of academe—and we’re not just talking Juan Cole, Rashid Khalidi, Joseph Massad, et al. This is big time.

  17. 1. It is a matter of public record that senior CAIR officials were convicted of funneling money illegally to terrorist organizations (Hezbollah, killer of over 400 Americans, and Hamas). Mearsheimer and Walt appearing at such a function is akin to appearing at a Klan rally, or Stormfront, or something along those lines.

    I’m sure others find that interesting but I’m not sure why it (or points 3 and 4) was addressed to me since it has nothing to do with any point I’ve raised which were limited to challenging the “netroots hate Lieberman” meme which I find to be an ugly slur even though I think the netroots are generally silly and hateful for other reasons.

    2. OTHER pro-War Democrats who are not Jewish were not targeted as Lieberman was. Including Hillary Clinton.

    Perhaps but that would probably be because she (unlike Lieberman) doesn’t “fail[] to exhibit the requisite hatred for members of the other party, particularly the president” as evidenced by her comparison of the Bush White House to a “plantation” last MLK Jr day.

    Besides which the “anti-Semitic netroots are targeting Liberman because he’s Jewish rather than because they don’t like things he’s done or said or failed to do or say” meme fails in light of their support for Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Schumer, and Feingold. Of course the aforementioned are generally “anti-war” and are also even more prone to be “anti-Bush.” It seems to me that when you have a number of elected officials who share the same ethnicity but only one of whom is being challenged by the base of his party and he differs from the others on a major issue and is generally seen as being “too friendly” with the other party, it’s more likely that that rather than his ethnicity are the reason why he’s being targeted.

  18. Anybody else think it is hilarious that _CAIR_ is suggesting that we need to beware of a foriegn funded organization promoting the interests of a specific race to the detriment of the United States best interests?

  19. Yab.. this time some people are gonna have a hard time to make the anti-semitism and related charges stick..

    The old spook has lost its power, and now some of you will soon come to face reality: The de facto Jewish Suppremacy that has put a heavy stamp on the policies of many countries for such a long time will end soon, if for nothing else because of the emerging MUSLIM lobbies in western countries.

    Not in the least thanks to those many influential Jews and organizations who have heavily promoted immigration and multiculturalism.

    Don’t tell us it is all the old aryan monsters fault.

    But study your opponents very well; watch the videos..

    Stephen Walt & John Mearsheimer, Israel Lobby Cair conference C-span 08240606.
    Downloadable Real Media video in 3 parts 32, 37 and 14 MB. http://tinyurl.com/nmw4a

    Pro_Israel lobby heavily influencing US policy academics Walt Mearsheimer Australia

    http://tinyurl.com/g5wth

    Pro Israel lobby_helping or hindering policy making Australia Loewenstein
    http://tinyurl.com/h25pz

    The word is out….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>