John Mearsheimer – the more unseemly half of the
anti-Semitic anti-Zionist Walt and Mearsheimer writing team – has become quite a star:
“The Israel lobby was one of the principal driving forces behind the Iraq War, and in its absence we probably would not have had a war,” said the University of Chicago professor, John Mearsheimer, at a forum organized by the London Review of Books. Later, in response to a question from the audience, Mr. Mearsheimer claimed that the “animus to the United States” of Qaeda terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed “stemmed from U.S. foreign policy toward Israel… [this] simply can’t be discussed in the mainstream media.” In fact, Mr. Mearsheimer claimed, “There is a considerable amount of evidence that there is a linkage between the two” — the two being American support for Israel and the terrorist attacks of September 11.
We’re bored with the debates about whether or not anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Of course anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism: there’s no other way to explain why, of all the countries in the world, billions of dollars and uncountable hours should be spent to point out the atrocities of Israel – a state that not only is a victim of unremitting and genocidal hatred but that goes out of its way to be civilized. Even if there was a way to explain the global obsession with Israel – and even if Israel actually committed the atrocities that it is accused of – no other country’s very existence is put at stake the way that the Jewish State’s existence is. When Serbia was accused of genocide much more massive and provable than Israel, their leaders were whisked away and then the rest of the country was embraced with aid. Only Israel sees columns from Pakistan to Europe calling for its elimination. Of course anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.
And how are these calls made and defended? As “legitimate criticisms of Israel”. Even when they’re couched in the most virulently and obviously anti-Semitic terms – accusations of blood libel, well-poisoning, dual-loyalty, etc – everything’s on the table as long as activists carrying signs saying “Nazi Kikes Out of Lebanon” say that they’re talking about “Israelis” and not “Jews”. And of course they’re talking about Jews. Of course they are. So New Jersey Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka took the anti-Semitic myth of Jewish involvement in 9/11 and wrote a poem about how 4,000 “Israelis” didn’t show up to work in the Towers that day, he could go on Fox News and defend himself against anti-Semitism by angrily insisting that criticizing Israel isn’t anti-Semitic (and Pravda could publish an article headlined “State Poet Asked to Resign for Criticizing Israel”, as if that’s what anybody thought he was doing). All that’s necessary, apparently, is to take an old anti-Semitic myth, replace the word “Jewish” with “Israeli”, and suddenly you get to get angry that your nudge-nudge wink-wink is actually being called anti-Semitic.
How about we agree on this? We’ll refrain from accusations of anti-Semitism when “Israel” or “Israelis” are accused of: poisoning Palestinian wells, using depleted uranium, undermining governments from within, giving Palestinians AIDS, being supported by Jews elsewhere in the world spying on their home countries, intentionally targeting Palestinian children, or anything else that seems mysteriously like a modern-day revival of an ancient anti-Semitic libel. Instead, we’re just going to comment on the degree to which these accusations – based on the flimsiest evidence and repeated in the most hysterical ways – just sound like anti-Semitism. Instead of “anti-Semitic”, we’ll make due with them being vaguely anti-Semiticish. It’s not the most elegant of phrases, but we think it’ll stick.
So when Mearsheimer says that you can tell that the “Israel Lobby” controls the press because no one dared to bring up American support of Israel after 9/11 and he turns out to have kind of made that up…
He appeared to have forgotten the article that ran on September 20, 2001, on the op-ed page of the largest circulation American newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, that began with the sentence: “Is American support of Israel behind the hatred of this country that pervades the Arab world and that literally exploded into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11?”
… we’re not going to suggest that the almost willful neglect of the facts in the interest of repeating the age-old “Jewish conspiracy” canard is the product of resentment at declining political influence and knee-jerk anti-Jewish scapegoating. Instead, we’ll content ourselves with just pointing out that, while it might not be anti-Semitic, it is a demonstrably false statement made in the interest of making an anti-Semiticish statement.
Or when Walt and Mearsheimer defend themselves against anti-Semitism in their paper by saying that they’re criticizing non-Jews too…
It described what it alleged to be a vast Israel lobby that included the editors of the New York Times, “neoconservative gentiles,” the Brookings Institution, and students at Columbia. The “Lobby,” the paper said, had the “ability to manipulate the American political system,” “a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress,” and was actively “manipulating the media.”
… we’re not going to say something like: “did we just read Want and Mearsheimer defending themselves against the charge of anti-Semitism by saying that American Jews have cunningly subverted some American gentiles to their cause as well… which is one of the oldest anti-Semitic canards in history?” Instead, we’ll say something like “Wow. Walt and Mearsheimer just defended themselves from the charge of anti-Semitism by implying that American Jews have cunningly subverted some American gentiles to their cause as well. We don’t know if that’s anti-Semitic, but given the tens of thousands of Jews that have been killed in pogroms throughout history on the basis of exactly that accusation, it’s certainly a little bit anti-Semiticish.”
It’s not that they’re being anti-Semitic when they’re criticizing Israel. It’s just that they’re libeling Israel with lies that happen to sound a lot like anti-Semitic libels. Anti-Semiticish. Awkward, but it gets the job done.
[Cross-posted at IsraPundit]Related Mere Rhetoric Posts: