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TWO ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM: ISRAEL AND ITS AMEN CORNER by Justin Raimondo

 
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08/30/2006 09:52 AM
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TWO ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM: ISRAEL AND ITS AMEN CORNER by Justin Raimondo
"Let's have a rational discussion of just how Israel both helps and hinders our interests in the Middle East, and weigh both factors in the balance: in short, let's subject the Israelis to the same test as the British, the French, the Italians, and all the rest."


antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9625
[link to antiwar.com]
(NUMEROUS SUPPORTING LINKS EMBEDDED AT SOURCE URL ABOVE)


August 30, 2006


Two Elephants in the Room

Israel and its amen corner


by Justin Raimondo


It's funny how the "debate" over Israel's role in the making of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is playing out, now that John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have let the cat out of the bag. Their critics have yet to confront the cogent arguments laid out in their seminal paper "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," and now they have yet another excuse for not confronting the facts. The two scholars recently spoke under the auspices of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and even Reason magazine's David Weigel normally a rational critic of the War Party is tut-tutting:


"Dana Milbank (via Glenn) offers up the most brutal take on John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt that I've yet seen, and the hook is their choice of partners to promote their work: CAIR.


Yesterday, at the invitation of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), they held a forum at the National Press Club to expand on their allegations about the Israel lobby. Blurring the line between academics and activism, they accepted a button proclaiming 'Fight the Israel Lobby' and won cheers from the Muslim group for their denunciation of Israel and its friends in the United States.


"The button read: 'Walt & Mearsheimer Rock. Fight the Israel Lobby.' And this is embarrassing:


As evidence that the American public does not agree with the Israel lobby, the political scientist cited a USA Today-Gallup poll showing that 38 percent of Americans disapproved of Israel's military campaign. He neglected to mention that 50 percent approved, and that Americans blamed Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Lebanon far more than Israel for the conflict.


"Feel free to kick me off the Serious Person Roll Call, but I had initially thought there was merit in the discussion Mearsheimer and Walt were trying to kickstart. They faced a serious hurdle in that discussion of Israel, like immigration, is dominanted [sic] by fringe voices, and they were going to be lumped in with that fringe immediately whether or not they liked it. If, as Milbank finds, they do like it, that's too bad."


Milbank, "brutal"? Oh please the Washington political gossip columnist's sneering "review" of the distinguished scholars' performance consists of noting that Mearsheimer pronounced two congressmen's names incorrectly (a big no-no in D.C., where politicians are akin to rock stars) and the same tired, old accusations of anti-Semitism if anyone looks cross-eyed at the Lobby or its partisans. Oh, but you see, Mearsheimer is claiming to be an "expert" on how policy gets made in Washington, therefore not getting two congressmen's names right effectively debunks everything he has to say. And that is what passes for "logic" among the Washington cognoscenti.


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