Skip to main content

That Israel Lobby

It may be remembered that in March 2006 Mearsheimer and Walt unleashed near-enough to a storm when their paper on the Israel Lobby was published in the London Review of Books.

One might have thought that after all the invective and outrage from the usual suspects that the authors would pack their bags and call it quits. But, no! Two weeks ago, this time a book by M & W on the subject of the Isreal Lobby was released in the US. Needless to say there has been a torrent of responses, much of it critical. Then again, those carping and taking on the authors are mostly those with a clear pro-Israel bias or probably literally "frightened" to agree even remotely with M & W. Exhibit #1 is Barack Obama, Democratic presidential hopeful.

The New Statesman has a review the book by its US editor and correspondent there since 1998:

"Yet anybody who has lived in Washington as long as I have knows that the Israel lobby can be extraordinarily ruthless and unpleasant, and I'm not just talking about the deranged letter-writers and threat-merchants."


"Perhaps it is hard, for those of us who are not Jewish, to understand the passion and intensity with which America's Israel lobby pursue their goals. It would have been helpful if Mearsheimer and Walt had tried, dispassionately, to explore why they are so often driven, sometimes to the excesses I have described. But the authors are too busy with their prosecutorial charge-sheet to pause and wonder. We read all too much about AIPAC, but next to nothing about the Project for the New American Century - a genuinely sinister group that included the now-discredited neocons but also, more crucially, non-Jewish fanatics such as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and John Bolton. In my opinion it, far more than the likes of AIPAC, was responsible for the foreign-policy calamities - culminating in the Iraq tragedy - that have occurred under George W Bush.

We should be grateful to Mearsheimer and Walt, nonetheless, for embarking on their near-impossible task and bringing out into the open a rancorous issue that desperately needs to be addressed by all concerned. The passions and anger - and, indeed, anti-Semitism - are such that writing a detached and lucid book on this subject is probably impossible. Heaven knows what Mearsheimer and Walt have been through, but we should all now hope that it has been worth it and that their book marks the beginning of a new and more open era when it comes to this most painful of subjects."

Over at FP [Foreign Policy magazine] the authors answer 7 questions put to them. Well worth reading! - from the "horses mouth" as it were.


Popular posts from this blog

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…