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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."

And:

"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.

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