“The Israel Lobby”

The release of The Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt is causing a small storm in the US. M-W’s paper and book can be downloaded from a Harvard website.

Last year Mearsheimer and Walt (M-W) had their views published in the London Review of Books, which also raised accusations of “anti-Semitism” from the usual suspects. There was also a LRB-sponsored debate held in New York to accompany the publication of the M-W paper.

Whilst “criticism” of against M-W from anti-Palestinian bigots, pro-Israeli zealots and a docile and an incompetent and docile American media (especially on the Israel-Palestine conflict) is to be expected, M-W’s position was the subject of fairer critical analysis by people generally thought of as also being critical of Israeli-US relations:

– “AIPAC’s complaint” by Eric Alterman in The Nation
– “The Israel Lobby?” by Noam Chomsky at ZNet
– Rashid Khalidi in the debate I’ve linked to above states he disagrees with M-W
– “It’s Not Either/Or” by Norman Finklestein (not a direct criticism, but the implications are there; and let’s not forget he has been the target of this “Israel Lobby”)

The above suggests that a part of the “debate” that probably gets lost — this being a “controversial” issue — is the philosophical/academic positions of M-W compared to their critics on the left, even if both might agree on the problems generated by uneven US-Israeli-Palestinian relations.

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