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Milton Viorst on ‘The Israel Lobby’

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Posted on Oct 4, 2007
The Israel Lobby
israellobbybook.com

RELATED LINKS

The original article that inspired the book can be found on the London Review’s Web site.  The letters it provoked along with Mearsheimer and Walt’s reply are well worth reading.  The essay also prompted a response by, among others, Christopher Hitchens on Slate.  Some months later, the London Review of Books sponsored a debate at Cooper Union in New York City, which can be viewed here. Also, be sure to read this interview with the authors.

By Milton Viorst

(Page 3)

Yet, even taking money and organization into account, there remains something of a mystery about the influence that AIPAC and its allies wield.  In contrast to AIPAC, the gun lobby is routinely called upon to defend itself.  But AIPAC’s task, it seems, is easier, because non-Jews, no less than Jews, unquestioningly accept its marching orders.  Why, when it comes to AIPAC, do so many Americans abandon the skepticism they apply to other interests within the political spectrum?  Europe is much less accommodating to Israel.  AIPAC, naturally, blames the difference on Europe’s anti-Semitism, though—apart from Europe’s Muslims, who start with political grievances against Israel—there is little evidence to support its theory.  Mearsheimer and Walt credit AIPAC’s skillful manipulation of the system, but the search for an answer needs more.   

Perhaps the answer has something to do with America’s being the most religious, the most Christian, the most church-going society in the Western world.  Once upon a time, deeply held Christian faith could be taken as a measure of hostility to Jews; that certainly is the case no longer.  If anything, American Christianity—led by but not exclusive to evangelicals—seems to take the biblical promise of a homeland for the Jews as a test of its beliefs and a commitment of its own.  This commitment goes beyond guaranteeing Israel’s existence.  It provides a body of sympathy for Israel’s hard line, and for the economic aid and weaponry that the United States dispatches to support it.

 

book cover

 

The Israel Lobby

 

By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

 

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 496 pages

 

Buy the book

book cover

 

The Deadliest Lies

 

By Abraham H. Foxman

 

Palgrave Macmillan, 256 pages

 

Buy the book

Unfortunately, the pro-peace segment of the American Jewish community does not have a parallel lobby.  It has a few organizations, with dedicated adherents.  Its members try to persuade the American Jewish community that reaching out to the Arab world, and particularly to the Palestinians, is better for Israel than perpetual war.  AIPAC does its best to de-legitimize them, but they hang in stubbornly, though they are barely a whisper in the debate over Israel’s course.  Despite the polls suggesting that many Jews agree with them, the influence of the peace groups is no threat to AIPAC’s pre-eminence.  It is ironic that without Foxman and the like-minded critics who echo him, the Mearsheimer-Walt book might well have vanished with barely a ripple.  Instead, their shrill voices have propelled it onto best-seller lists.  Whether the book’s success means, however, that the American people and the politicians who lead them are readier than before to seriously consider the issues that it raises is still far from clear.               
             
Milton Viorst, a former correspondent for The New Yorker, has written six books on the Middle East.  His most recent is “Storm from the East: The Struggle between the Arab World and the Christian West.”

 

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By weather, October 6, 2007 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

The personification of Israel

Arms folded, bottom lip pushed out and all sour in the puss, because it can’t and won’t play in the same sandbox w/the other kids.

See the political state of Israel for exactly what it is. Unmotivated by honor and goodwill. Fortified w/WMD, its highly manipulating hands all over our wallet, intimating people, places and things through bribery, extortion and charecter assasination.

Can America afford to engage in an exhausting and specious debate w/a political system that has the emotional development of a very sneaky and snotty
little brat,  that has no friends and no capacity to ask themselves why?

If Israel had even a modicum integrity and selfless motivations we would never need to have this discussion. Which begs the question, if this ‘blackbox’ of extortion called a lobby is in the nation’s capital of a “friend”, imagine Israel’s regard for their rolodex of enemies?

Israel is a self-inflicted wound.

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By Janie, October 6, 2007 at 2:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Americans of good faith and possessing a moderate, reasonable love of country resent duck tape on their mouths when it comes to discussing the influence of any foreign government inside the US.

They resent it when a discussion of this foreign influence morphs into emotional accusations of religious and racial insensitivity because they have nothing to do with the plain point: another country wants to influence our politics, use our military for their national security, and demands an annual hand-out from our Treasury. Americans feel they have a right to comment on that, one way or the other. Their Constitution is based on that premise: a right to participate at every level of government.

As a room full of Black-Americans can tell you, no matter how educated, assimilated, or successful they may be, if five of their White friends were to hurl “Nigger!” every time they opened their mouths to discuss the lingering racism in this country, the resentment in that hypothetical room would become primal.

That’s what’s happened with the constant ‘crying fire’ charge of anti-semitism that has kept Abe Foxman and his ilk employed, powerful, and immovable for 40 years. We’ve reached a tipping point in this country. Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, more than any of the arguments that both sides advance about its brilliant or sub-standard scholarship, defines what Americans of good faith and a modest love of country want to examine closely and talk about: what a foreign country is doing inside ours; in fact, feel it is their right to talk about. Because they are Americans and their Constitution gives them this right by birth.

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By Outraged, October 6, 2007 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

RE: #105032 by Howard on 10/05

“Israel is the major strategic asset of the United States in an area of the world that is the cradle of Islamo-fascism,”

So I’m curious Howard, is islamo-fasicism like christo-fasicism except one has Jesus and the other Mohammed?

I mean don’t they use the SAME BOOK until…..

——-
“Israel is indeed America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Middle East and the indispensable defender of America’s interests in that area of the world.”

Just what “interests” does “America” have in the middle east?

——-

“The people of the United States, individually and through their Congressional representatives, overwhelmingly support Israel in its seemingly unending fight against Arab aggression and Moslem terror.”

What a line of bull.  “The people of the United States”; individually…? OVERWHELMINGLY…?  Prove it!  You are so full of it!

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By Outraged, October 5, 2007 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

Here is the biggest spewer of propaganda out there, Mr. John Hagee.  His self-righteous indignation at everything NOT Israel should be (well, according to the bible) Woe to the world and everyone in her. This nitwit is definitely being used (no, not by god) but by the neocons to further their warmongering agenda. Check out that logo up on, well….EVERYTHING.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exdsB5D1r7Y&mode=related&search=John Hagee Islam Muslim Radical allah Mohammad world war Bible end times antichrist Iran nuclear prophecy

You gotta love John Hagee’s “heartfelt” apology to the Jews, for well…the holocaust, the inquistion…etc..etc.  He just kinda mumbles through the rest.

There was also an interesting segment on Bill Moyers Journal dealing with this same issue.  The point I found interesting was the evangelical Christians’ ACTUAL PLANS.  The deal is; after they gain control of Israel and the middle east they will “rid” themselves of those ungodly Jews.  Yep, that’s the plan.  So…if I were Jewish, I just might want to be a little bit wary of “friendly fire”.

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By Joe R., October 5, 2007 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Carter caught hell for starting this debate but we do need to have a more evenhanded approach to the mid east problem.  It will never stop until the Arabs start getting treated fairly. 

Moderate seculars need to gain control over both the Israeli and American governments while the Arabs need to reign in their extremist.  Religion is the cause of most of the worlds problems. We have to stop allowing religious fanatism and beliefs to justify killing each other.  We also need to control our greed.

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By Paolo, October 5, 2007 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

As a libertarian, I think the troubles in the Middle East are none of our business. Like the Founders, I feel we should concentrate on making the USA the “shining city on the hill”: an example of what diverse people living in freedom can accomplish together. We should, in short, be concentrating on making cool movies, cool cars, and all sorts of other cool stuff. We should not concentrate on making war, which is never cool.

Let those who live in the Middle East figure out how to solve their own problems.

Israel is not, as its supporters constantly say, a “democracy” in any meaningful sense of the word. As Thomas Friedman (a man with whom I rarely agree) points out, you can either have a Jewish State, or you can have a democracy, but you can’t have both.

Simply put, if Israel allowed Palestinians the same right to instantaneous citizenship under the “law of return” that is granted immediately to Jews, then the demographics would end Israel as a “Jewish State.” This would not necessarily be a bad thing. If Palestinian families who left (or were driven from) Israel were allowed to return, there would be some 8 million Palestinians in Israel, versus 5 million Jews. Thus, the Jews would be a significant, but powerful, minority, assuming there was any sort of real democracy. All factions would have to compromise.

Are Middle Eastern peoples inherently irrational and incapable of talking and compromising with each other? I don’t think so. But again, it’s not America’s place to decide this issue. To do so is the height of arrogance. Americans don’t know the cultures, don’t speak the languages, and haven’t a clue how to fix problems in the Middle East. It would be better for everyone if we just got the hell out.

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By thomas billis, October 5, 2007 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem as it always is that it does not become a sober discussion of the policies of a country Israel it becomes a debate about Jews.We talk about the country Germany not the loyalty of German Americans.I am A Greek American do I have a slight lean that we should help Greece I admit I do.If we went to war with Greece I would be in favor of killing the bastards.Jewish Americans are no different.Can we get to a sane discussion of the relationship between two countries instead of denigrating a race of people.By the way if the Jews run the world people were close to right do you think they would have given themselves one of the few plots of land in that area that has no oil.

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By Ga, October 5, 2007 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

Don’t forget that many a Christian support Israel because the Bible tells ‘em to.

Bill Moyers has a show on this right now:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10052007/profile.html

“If a line has to be drawn, draw it around Christians and Jews. We are united.”
-Pastor John Hagee, CUFI Founder

John Hagee, along with other Christian Evangelical leaders, created Christians United for Israel (CUFI) less than two years ago, yet it has already grown into one of the largest and most politically influential Christian grassroots organizations in the country.

“When 50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel, it is a match made in heaven.”

Christian Zionists are VERY EXTREME in their beliefs, and George Bush, New Gingrich, etc. support them. And they all believe that Iran is Israel’s worst enemy and that is why the U.S. is on a path to war with Iran.

This is not entirely due to any Israel Lobby.

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By Howard, October 5, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

Israel is America’s staunchest ally. A good case can be made that aid to Israel, certainly the military portion, should be part of the United States defense budget, rather than of the aid budget because Israel is, next only perhaps to Britain, by far the most important ally of the United States. Virtually without exception, Israel’s government and its people agree with and support the foreign policy objectives of the United States. In the United Nations, Israel’s votes coincide with those of the United States over 90% of the time. The Arabs and other Moslem countries, virtually all of them recipients of American largess, almost reflexively vote against the United States in most instances.

Israel is the major strategic asset of the United States in an area of the world that is the cradle of Islamo-fascism, which is dominated by tyrants and permeated by religious obscurantism and shows almost total disregard for human rights. During the decades-long Cold War, Israel was America’s indispensable rampart against the inroads of the Soviet Union. It is now the bulwark against the aggressive intentions of Iran. During Desert Storm, Israel provided invaluable intelligence, an umbrella of air cover for military cargo, and had personnel planted in the Iraqi deserts to pick up downed American pilots.

Gen. George Keagan, former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence, stated publicly that “Israel is worth five CIAs,” with regard to intelligence passed to our country. He also stated that the yearly $1.8 billion that Israel received in military assistance was worth $50 to $60 billion in intelligence, R&D;savings, and Soviet weapons systems captured and transferred to the Pentagon. In contrast to our commitments in Korea, Japan, Germany, and other parts, not a single American serviceperson needs to be stationed in Israel. Considering that the cost of one serviceperson per year — including backup and infrastructure — is estimated to be about $200,000, and assuming a minimum contingent of 25,000 troops, the cost savings to the United States on that score alone is on the order of $5 billion a year.

Israel effectively secures NATO’s southeastern flank. Its superb harbor, its outstanding military installations, the air and sea lift capabilities, and the trained manpower to maintain sophisticated equipment are readily at hand in Israel. It is the only country that makes itself available to the United States in any contingency. Yes, Israel is not a burden, but a tremendous asset to the United States.

Israel is indeed America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Middle East and the indispensable defender of America’s interests in that area of the world. The people of the United States, individually and through their Congressional representatives, overwhelmingly support Israel in its seemingly unending fight against Arab aggression and Moslem terror. But that support is not based on the great strategic value that Israel represents to the United States. It is and always has been based on shared values of liberty, democracy, and human rights. America and Israel are aligned by their shared love of peace and democracy. Israel and the United States stand together in their fight against Islamo-fascist terrorism. These shared values, these common ideals, will bind Israel and the United States forever.

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By Wanda Marie Woodward, M.S., October 5, 2007 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We live in a time when the most pressing issue of our day is between those who have narcissistic personality disorder and sociopathy versus those who are not clinically diagnosed with these.  Narcissistic personality disorder is found in Jews, Christians, and Muslims; white, black, yellow, and red skin; young and old; rich, middle class, and poor.  However, since 75% of people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are males, and since 99% of people with psychopathy are males, the vast majority are male.  If a woman has the disorder, she is exhibiting masculine psychopathology.  The hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder is the obsession with control, power, and perfection.  The psyche of the person with these disorders has grandiose ideas of omnipotence; fantasies of “specialness;” thoughts of superiority over those outside of the “in-group;” a pervasive pattern of externalizing blame onto others and refusing to accept responsibility for the role that this grandiose, immature psyche plays in bringing about the hatred of others who recoil from this primitive, arrogant, and unevolved thinking; a primitive intrapsychic defense mechanism of “splitting” which creates a kind of “you are evil and I am good and perfect” or “I am superior, special, and entitled while you are inferior, undeserving, and unentitled” kind of thinking.  There is also a pattern of denying imperfections and a fear of being vulnerable because these would threaten the sense of self of the narcissist and trigger a defense against losing control and power.  Additionally, the narcissist has a chronic fear of being vulnerable. He also has a devalued opinion of women since women symbolize all the traits which best represent to the narcissist a loss of power and control, namely, collaboration, compassion, gentleness, kindness, and caring for others outside his “in-group.”  Morbid, frank narcissism exhibits a pattern of exploiting and manipulating others, pathological mendacity, and lack of remorse for wrongdoing.  The sociopath and the psychopath are even more pathological in that they resort to the unremorseful and premeditated intention and acts of harming and destroying others psychologically, economically, and/or physically.

Some Jews have a long history of this pathological character disorder, thousands of years prior to the Holocaust.  Some Christians, many descendents of Jews, have a long history of this pathological character disorder as evidenced by the oxymoron “Holy Wars.”  Some Muslims have a long history of this pathological disorder and is best reflected in the oxymoronic, despicable “Holy Jihad” of terrorists.

As a psychotherapist and specialist in gender psychology, it is this characterological disorder that is going to be the death of us all.  There are Jews who have it and Jews who do not.  Those who present with this characterological pathology are most likely those who externalize blame onto anyone and callt hem “anti-Semite” who brings a sound, logical, coherent argument against the psychologically immature, primitive, militant Israeli Zionism.  No one who is not psychologically disordered wants the destruction of the Jews, but this immature militant Israeli Zionism is pathological and it is a sign of maturity, sanity, and logic to be against their methods. There are Christians who have the disorder and those who do not.  Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals, mostly males, are flooded with “benevolent narcissism.”  There are Muslims who have it and those who do not.  To vilify all Jews or all Muslims or all Arabs is simply naive and a sign of a person who is misinformed.

The entire globe is warming and melting.  What will it take for these infantile narcissist men to grow up and start working together to solve the most challenging problem that exists today—-the potential destruction of the entire planet?

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By PatrickHenry, October 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

It’s about time for some serious debate.

The politicians fear the Jewish lobby as it holds a damocles sword over each and every elected head by virtue of their close associations with Jewish owned and controlled media. 

They can make or break you with sensational media or lack thereof, just ask Ron Paul.       

http://www.rense.com/general78/mdot.htm

Anti-trust actions should be taken against the media in general, the spirit of the anti-trust law is that no one entity, corporation, religion or race should be in control of any number of things that affect our lives on a day to day basis in deference to the free market.

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By Robert, October 5, 2007 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

A Powerful Voice: An Interview with Ilan Pape.
Written by Liam Bailey
Published January 17, 2007

Prominent Israeli academic and author Ilan Pape is openly critical of Israel. In his latest article, he called Israel’s policies in the West Bank “ethnic cleansing” and felt safe to call their actions in Gaza “measured genocide”.

Let us not forget that Ilan Pape is an Israeli and for him to accuse his own homeland of these things must be very hard indeed, and without a strong basis, I’m sure he would reduce the terms to something much weaker. Secondly, Ilan Pape has extensive experience of the conflict. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa.

He has also written books on the subject, including, among others: The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and his latest, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).

An Israeli with so much knowledge criticizing his homeland makes him a powerful voice. Ilan agreed to answer a few questions of mine on the above matters by e-mail.

Liam Bailey: Do you believe Israel will ever commit to peace?

Ilan Pape: Not in the near future and maybe not in the longer run. There is a need for a revolutionary change in global and regional balances of power before a genuine process of change takes place in Israel itself. If ever this happens, and it is likely to happen at one point, these are time consuming processes. Israel has to be de-Zionised to a point before any genuine reconciliation can be attempted.

LB: Do you think Israel would be more committed to peace if the U.S allowed resolutions against Israel, and threatened to withdraw U.S aid unless they make more concessions to achieve sustainable peace with the Palestinians?

IP: Yes by all means this is one of the revolutionary changes in the global balances I was taking about, above. It will be a crucial factor in forcing a new thinking within Israel and it would be a very positive message to the Arab world to believe once more in the possibility of peace.

LB: Do you share the opinion that the recent Gaza ceasefire was nothing more than appearing as committed to peace to guarantee continued U.S support from a Democrat Congress?

IP: I think the ceasefire was less to do with US policy as with two other factors: one, Israelis want to see how a civil war inside Gaza serves them and secondly, foolishly, Hamas and Fatah are willing to divert their energies and attention from fighting the occupation into trying to struggle one against the other.

LB: When this article is published, going by my past articles, I will be inundated with e-mails and comments saying that genocide in Gaza is a ludicrous suggestion, that Israel is only attacking Gaza in self defence, and that if the Palestinians would stop launching rockets and committing other acts of terrorism Israel would stop retaliating. What would you say to those people?

IP: The Israeli actions, as the Israeli army admits, increase the motivation for more rockets and missiles. The Israeli army itself admits the punitive actions have very little to do with the missile attacks and are meant to achieve ‘deterrence’. Moreover, ever since 1993, whenever any Palestinian group was willing to ceasefire and give a chance for a peace dialogue, the Israeli army immediately launched a provocative action so that the lull would not continue for too long. After the recent ceasefire was agreed upon, the Israeli army arrested a large number of leaders and killed activists and civilians in the West Bank; knowing perfectly well that this was a cassis belle in the eyes of the Palestinian groups.
http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/01/17/033135.php

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By Rebecca Hale, October 5, 2007 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hello - i am a full-blooded Jew by birth, but in 2004 i became a baptized Christian - a follower of Jesus.  there were several reasons leading up to this event, and i made a song/ movie about it that is 2:26 long - here is the link if you are interested:
http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=RenoDawn
but a large reason was due to the fact that i wished to relinquish my Right of Return.  a Jew who willingly embraces another religion publicly is no longer a de facto citizen of Israel.  this is one way for me to say that i do not wish to displace anyone from their house, or their land, or the area where their family resides.  perhaps others who were born Jews have thoughts along the same lines?

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By Robert, October 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

A Powerful Voice: An Interview with Ilan Pape.
Written by Liam Bailey
Published January 17, 2007

Prominent Israeli academic and author Ilan Pape is openly critical of Israel. In his latest article, he called Israel’s policies in the West Bank “ethnic cleansing” and felt safe to call their actions in Gaza “measured genocide”.

Let us not forget that Ilan Pape is an Israeli and for him to accuse his own homeland of these things must be very hard indeed, and without a strong basis, I’m sure he would reduce the terms to something much weaker. Secondly, Ilan Pape has extensive experience of the conflict. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa Department of political Science and Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa.

He has also written books on the subject, including, among others: The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (London and New York 1992), The Israel/Palestine Question (London and New York 1999), A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2003), The Modern Middle East (London and New York 2005) and his latest, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).

An Israeli with so much knowledge criticizing his homeland makes him a powerful voice. Ilan agreed to answer a few questions of mine on the above matters by e-mail.

Liam Bailey: Do you believe Israel will ever commit to peace?

Ilan Pape: Not in the near future and maybe not in the longer run. There is a need for a revolutionary change in global and regional balances of power before a genuine process of change takes place in Israel itself. If ever this happens, and it is likely to happen at one point, these are time consuming processes. Israel has to be de-Zionised to a point before any genuine reconciliation can be attempted.

LB: Do you think Israel would be more committed to peace if the U.S allowed resolutions against Israel, and threatened to withdraw U.S aid unless they make more concessions to achieve sustainable peace with the Palestinians?

IP: Yes by all means this is one of the revolutionary changes in the global balances I was taking about, above. It will be a crucial factor in forcing a new thinking within Israel and it would be a very positive message to the Arab world to believe once more in the possibility of peace.

LB: Do you share the opinion that the recent Gaza ceasefire was nothing more than appearing as committed to peace to guarantee continued U.S support from a Democrat Congress?

IP: I think the ceasefire was less to do with US policy as with two other factors: one, Israelis want to see how a civil war inside Gaza serves them and secondly, foolishly, Hamas and Fatah are willing to divert their energies and attention from fighting the occupation into trying to struggle one against the other.

LB: When this article is published, going by my past articles, I will be inundated with e-mails and comments saying that genocide in Gaza is a ludicrous suggestion, that Israel is only attacking Gaza in self defence, and that if the Palestinians would stop launching rockets and committing other acts of terrorism Israel would stop retaliating. What would you say to those people?

IP: The Israeli actions, as the Israeli army admits, increase the motivation for more rockets and missiles. The Israeli army itself admits the punitive actions have very little to do with the missile attacks and are meant to achieve ‘deterrence’. Moreover, ever since 1993, whenever any Palestinian group was willing to ceasefire and give a chance for a peace dialogue, the Israeli army immediately launched a provocative action so that the lull would not continue for too long. After the recent ceasefire was agreed upon, the Israeli army arrested a large number of leaders and killed activists and civilians in the West Bank; knowing perfectly well that this was a cassis belle in the eyes of the Palestinian groups.

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2007/01/17/033135.php

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By Sepharad, October 5, 2007 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PETTY QUIBBLE—Mr. Viorst dismisses Dennis Ross as a “dubious source” when nearly every other Middle East expert turns to his vast experience in negotiating what his own book is called, “The Missing Peace”.

ISRAEL & ANTIWAR JEWS—Ariel Sharon privately advised George Bush to NOT invade Iraq because 1)the WMDs had long since been sent to Syria and were probably sent elsewhere from there and 2) the consequences of such an invasion could be very bad for everyone in and out of the region. The question raised in Israeli policy circles today is “Why didn’t Sharon go public with his misgivings?” to which the realpolitik wonks answer “Israel can’t afford to publicly disagree with such a major ally.” 
    Did Mearshimer and Walt noted that there are major conflicting opinions within Israel over nearly every aspect of where the embattled country should go from here? (Personally, I hope Netanyahu and his ilk do not prevail: he is bullying, irresponsible, impulsive and arrogant. After his antics the last time he was prime minister, letting him into that office a second time is the Mossad’s worst nightmare.)
    I’m a pro-Zionist who thinks it would be dangerous to return all of the West Bank (look at a map, for goodness sake: Arab territories are as vast as their oil wealth is huge, whereas Israel is tiny, oil-free, and, without much of the West Bank could be totally cut in half in time of war and would once again be vulnerable to invaders crossing the Jordan valley. 900,000 displaced Mizrahi (Arab)Jews built new lives for themselves in Israel after being ejected in what the Arab League’s Iraqi delegate described as a “population exchange”; so why, three generatons lateer, haven’t the Arabs, given the tradition of hospitality and brotherhood and charity their book enjoins, built lives for themselves and their families?

THE HOLOCAUST CARD—With all due respect to survivors and victims of the Holocaust (some of whom were in my family), I think it’s time that Jews turn a new face to the world. We weren’t the only victims—20 million Russians civilians and soldiers died in WWII. But Holocaust emphasis has led the world to a comfortable moral place in which they can shed soft tears in sympathy for Anne Frank but despise Jews who fight back against those who would destroy them, as the Israelis have done and, inshallah, will continue to do. As for “antiwar”, genocide after genocide shames the peaceniks who fainted at the very possibility of intervention in Kosovo, in Rwanda, in Somalia (“Black Hawk” went down in an effort to keep warlords from starving civilians, warlords who massacred 27 Pakistani UNPeacekeepers). I’ve been a Freedom Rider registering voters in the American south, and a civil rights and FoI Act activist, and remain a progressive and liberal interventionist.

I was wrong about Iraq. Initially I supported the concept of that war based on secular Arab scholarship—UN reports, Kanan Makiya, the Beirut-born secular Shiia Fouad Ajami, all of whom believed that it would take a strong Western force to give the Arabs room to reinvent their societies in a more rational way. But I stopped supporting it the moment that George Bush kicked General Eric Shinseki out, because Shinseki, well acquainted with sectarian violence after Kosovo, told Bush and Rumsfeld how the war could be won for the Iraqi people and they dumped him. That made it clear to me that for them, Iraq was just another oil adventure.

HOWEVER, if you want to worry about special interests, think about the big oil lobby which is hand in glove with the Islamic lobby. Saudis still rule in D.C. If you want to do something useful, try to get the Turks the EU and NATO.

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By Greg Bacon, October 5, 2007 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment

Harry S. Truman 1947 Diary

July 21:
[The entry for this day is written on three loose pages, interleaved in the diary book.]

6:00 P. M. Monday July 21, 1947

Had ten minutes conversation with Henry Morgenthau about Jewish ship in Palistine [sic]. Told him I would talk to Gen[eral] Marshall about it.

He’d no business, whatever to call me. The Jews have no sense of proportion nor do they have any judgement on world affairs.

Henry brought a thousand Jews to New York on a supposedly temporary basis and they stayed. When the country went backward-and Republican in the election of 1946, this incident loomed large on the D[isplaced] P[ersons] program.

The Jews, I find are very, very selfish. They care not how many Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Poles, Yugoslavs or Greeks get murdered or mistreated as D[isplaced] P[ersons] as long as the Jews get special treatment. Yet when they have power, physical, financial or political neither Hitler nor Stalin has anything on them for cruelty or mistreatment to the under dog.

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/diary/page21.htm

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By Tony Wicher, October 5, 2007 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

Re #104948 by WriterOnTheStorm on 10/05 at 10:05 am
(16 comments total)

It’s time for this debate in this country!
===============================================

You know it, Writer! Let the frank and open debate begin!

First of all, the current policy of Israel is one of ensuring a permanent Jewish supermajority in all of Israel, including the West Bank which is steadily being annexed. The demographic considerations are paramount in Israeli policy. Since there are already nearly as many Arabs as Jews within the area within their control, the only way they can acheive this is by a policy of ethnic cleansing. Let us call a spade a spade, as we used to say. The Zionist project of a Jewish state has involved ethnic cleansing of non-Jews (mostly Arabs) from the area from the very beginning, and this process is continuing. Let us no longer keep shutting our eyes and closing our ears to this obvious fact. We must rationally assess that the Zionist project cannot be supported. I am far from advocating that the United States should “abandon Israel”. The United States must indeed remain involved in the Middle East, but as a real peacemaker. I believe the best way to do this is to support a transition to a multicultural democracy, rather than by a “two state” solution. My view is that the original partition of Palestine by the United Nations was a mistake, as is clearly shown by the fact that the Zionist forces led by David Ben Gurion initiated their carefully planned project of ethnic cleansing and immediately expelled some 800,000 non-Jewish residents of the area granted to Israel.

Partition will not solve the problem. Re-unification of the country and repatriation of its non-Jewish residents as full citizens is the answer.

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By M Henri Day, October 5, 2007 at 11:13 am Link to this comment
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While I did read Professors Mearsheimer and Walt’s article in the London Review, I have not seen their book, but Mr Viorst’s review seems both fair-minded and - to use that often-abused but nonetheless essential term - balanced. And his answer to why in the United States Israel is not subject to the sort of analysis and criticism that any other country - with one exception - would be,
  «Perhaps the answer has something to do with America’s being the most religious, the most Christian, the most church-going society in the Western world.»,
pertains also to that other singular exception which makes US government policy so parlous for us all - the fact that this eschatological Weltanschauung, skilfully manipulated by legions of well-paid spin doctors in government, business, and the media, makes it impossible for many in that country to regard the United States itself as anything but a shining city on the hill, ordained by (a rather violent and vindicative) God to straighten out the tangled affairs of our globe. Like the colonel’s lady and Judy O’Grady, the US and Israel are, in this view, sisters under the skin - and the rest of humanity has no choice but to suffer the edicts of these harsh mistresses, or submit to the consequences, of which the more than one million killed in Iraq as a result of Messrs Bush and Cheney’s (and AIPAC’s, not to forget the contributions of the egregious Mr Blair) war is a mere example. Rapture, anyone ?...

Henri

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By Tony Wicher, October 5, 2007 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Re #104947 by QuyTran on 10/05 at 10:04 am

Meaning what?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 5, 2007 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Three cheers to Truthdig for recognizing the value of this story and featuring it prominently on their site. It may turn out to be the most important American foreign policy story in some years, and for years to come.

The consequences of undue Israeli far-right influence in US gov’t policy goes to heart of the regrettable situation in the middle east. If you don’t think so, remember Bin Ladden himsel recently said that, if you want to know why we fight America, read Imperial Hubris. This book, by Michael Scheuer, also makes a strong case that our unqualified support of Israel is a major component in Muslim animosity toward America.

Israel has changed. It has moved to the right politically. And because of this radical shift, we MUST rethink our relationship to it’s policies.

Is it truly in Israel’s own long term interests to continue in this manner? Are those who support Israel’s far right truly Israel’s friends?

It’s time for this debate in this country!

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By QuyTran, October 5, 2007 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

The threat to Isreal’s exsistence is from within !

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By John Borowski, October 5, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
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The Jews are part of the evil that permeates our society. But they are a small part of the whole. They blame the Jews for the doings on Wall Street. If this is so why is Wall Street closed on Good Friday? Why will you be unable to rise to the top in this country unless you are a WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)? The only people that are not WASPS and still rise to the top are people with exceptional talent. There are so few of that type it would be a crime to waste them. If you took a cross-section of the religious beliefs that run the country, what percentage would be Jewish? Why are the Irish dominating the TV? Not Catholic Irish, but rather Protestant Irish. Is it because they are close cousins to the “Protestant British” that control the media? Why will there never be a Jewish president in this country?

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By sam, October 5, 2007 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
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you are right that foxman causes more problems for the jews than he solves.  on the other hand you argue that you found no bigotry or anti-semitism in the book but then you go on to show that W-M assign a disproportionate amount of power to jewish groups in the build up to the Iraq war.  hmm ignoring all nuance and blaming the “jews” or the “israel lobby” for a war sounds a lot like scapegoating to me. if scapegoating jews for an unpopular war isn’t a classic anti-semetic tactic i dont know what is.  then you claim that he lumps all jewish groups together.  you are right in pointing out the peace now and aipac have almost nothing in common.  along those lines W-M also point out that howard dean is pro-Israel because he has a jewish wife.  making broad stereotypes and roughly lumping all jewish groups together no matter what their possessions is also classic bigotry.  if you cannot recognize that there is even a hint of this in the book, i dont know how you consider yourself a liberal.  i think the nation’s article on this had it right.  some may be predisposed to thinking that they should defend this book because the authors share enemies with many on the left, but this book is simply indefensible.  no matter what the authors goals were, their tactics should be rejected.

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By Stan Zuckerman, October 5, 2007 at 9:37 am Link to this comment
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Dear Milton: we met in Korea when I was at the US embassy as press attache in the early ‘70’s, and I found your piece on the power of AIPAC and the Walt-Mearshimer book very useful. I wonder, however, why you didn’t consider their marginalization of the role of liberal American Jews as an indication of their teleological reasoning in crediting AIPAC with more power than it really has. I would also dispute your characterization of Dennis Ross as a prejudiced source. He played a thankless role for years in trying to induce both Israel and the Palestinians to reach an accord that would accommodate the needs of both and lead to the long-sought two state solution.Surely American Jews have an influence over American policy on this issue,and have a right to weigh in, as does the growing Muslim population in key congressional districts.And it should not be surprising that, AIPAC or not, they will spring to Israel’s needs when it is under attack, by writing their congressmen or giving money. The notion that Israel faces no threats of destruction should have been dispelled by the success of Hizbollah in neutralizing the heretofore compelling military advantage of the IDF. And finally,  the characterization of Jim Moran, formerly my congressman until he moved the district’s lines, as merely an enemy of AIPAC and not anti-semitic, ignores the remarks he made in an open meeting indicating his belief that the US would never have gone to war in Iraq were it not for the influence of Jews, and he didn’t mean only AIPAC.

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By RdV, October 5, 2007 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

“right-wing Israel lobby”

  Yet politicians of every stripe bow before it.
Non-Jews who challenge it are labeled “anti-semites” and Jews who oppose it are “self-hating Jews”.
  The silence is deafening.

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By Tony Wicher, October 5, 2007 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Kudos to Mearsheimer and Walt. Finally the conspiracy of silence about the U.S.-Israel alliance is broken. The Zionist project of a Jewish state in the Holy Land is nothing less than a prescription for endless war. The United States must no longer support the Zionist project.  There is no chance for peace in the Middle East, ever, unless the United States conditions its support for Israel on the ending of the Zionist project and the institution of a multicultural democracy in its place.

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By Patrick William Thornton, October 5, 2007 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
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It is comforting that Viorst, like Lillienthal or Finkelstein or Blankfort and many others, have the courage to support dialogue and debate about our implacable support of Israel. However, his notion that the Israel lobby was not the driving force behind the invasion and occupation of Iraq has no purchase with me. As for Bush, he omits the one motivation that he later touches upon with respect to America’s “abandonment of skepticism” with the Israel lobby. As a fundamentalist christian, Bush obviously buys into the misconstrued biblical prescription about “Jews and the Promised Land”. As for the other main players in his administration, almost all are zionist jews, including Perle, Feith, Wurmser, Wolfiwitz, Libby and others. And for the non-Jewish zionist ‘man behind the curtain’, former secretary of defense Cheney is probably most responsible for the renegade, false-intelligence-gathering-cabal in the defense department that got much of its information from Aipac and the Likud Israel government. If it were about oil, we would be in Venezuela. If it were about WMD, we would be as belicose toward North Korea or even Brazil as we are toward Iran. It is all about Israel.

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By Michael, October 5, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
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The fact that Mearsheimer and Walt, academics with outstanding credentials, have been labeled by some as “anti-Semitic” for attempting to put forth a scholarly look at this subject confirms their premise.

The world is catching up with [i.e., tiring of] Israel’s knee-jerk reaction to labeling anyone and anything as “anti-Semitic” that disagrees with their propaganda valid or not. Just because someone doesn’t agree with the Jews and Israel doesn’t make them an “anti-Semite” otherwise Israel is full of “anti-Semites” at least according to Haaretz.  Sooner or later this hackney “cry wolf” practice becomes counter-productive.

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By weather, October 5, 2007 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

May Israel flourish, just not at the remarkably arrogant and manipulating expense of everyone else.

If Israel/Jews ever had the courage to finally confront the truth about themselves w/out manipulating blame onto others and heal from it, there would be no need for this ‘blackbox’ of bribes and extortion called a lobby to exsist.

But confronting the truth about themselves is what Israel/Jews fear most - Hollywood and the Media machine focus and distract with a Spears or Soprano not on a Sackler/PurduePharma and a lovely little cash cow called OxyContin and it victims.

We have a far bigger problem w/our Planet and America can no longer afford this selfish agent of acrimony and angst.

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