While Walt was busy playing the concern troll in the Washington Post – “I’m only viciously anti-Israel for the good of the Israelis” – his partner was writing in the LRB, overcome with passions exceeding even his usual physical white-knuckle hatred for the Jewish State. What an absolute delight this guy must be:
The Obama administration has unambiguously declared that Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, are doing serious damage to US interests in the region… Biden reportedly told [Netanyahu]… “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace.”
If that message begins to resonate with the American public, unconditional support for the Jewish state is likely to evaporate…
Mark Perry, a Middle East expert with excellent contacts in the US military, described a briefing that senior officers working directly for General David Petraeus… ‘Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardising US standing in the region… and could cost American lives.’ Apparently, Mullen took this message to the White House, where it had a significant impact on the president and his chief advisers.
The Petraeus thing is a lie and Biden, when asked about his part of the story, replied “no, I never said that.” Now you might think Mearsheimer was being intellectually dishonest, and you might point to his weasel phrase “Biden reportedly told” as proof. Ditto for how he neglected to mention that “Middle East expert” Mark Perry is a former Arafat adviser. But then you’d get to the bottom…
To show how Orwellian the lobby can be, Israel’s supporters are also trying to make the case that Biden too was flagrantly misquoted and indeed, he never told Netanyahu that Israel’s policies were putting American troops at risk.
… and you’d realize that he’s just a run-of-the-mill conspiracy theorist who sees the shadowy hand of cabalistic influence everywhere (“the lobby” even got the Vice President to parrot their Orwellian talking points!) He goes on in the final paragraph to accuse Israel of being an apartheid state, making his insinuations of Orwellian manipulation particularly elegant.
These tools are passing anti-Israel canards back and forth, “reporting” on each other as if each new fabrication emerged fully-formed in some kind of isolated analytical glory. Eventually they’ll start “reporting” on how more people are writing that “US support for Israel damages American interests” – which is to say, they’ll “report” on their own reporting! No wonder Laura Rozen raised her eyebrows about the recent and seemingly uncoordinated flurry of articles “suggesting a diverging of perceived U.S. and Israeli interests in the region.”
It’d be nice if supporters of the special relationship could just make stuff up, inject it into foreign policy journals, and then pretend to objectively evaluate the subsequent debate. Things would be so much easier. Especially if libeling the other side and then acting like a wounded victim was in-bounds.
Speaking of which – have you noticed how, from the cheapest populist to the most sophisticated diplomat, anti-Israel partisans are no longer embarrassed to trade on anti-Jewish imagery? They talk about shadowy cabals made up of Jews and the Christians they’ve flipped, they urge that “the lobby” be endlessly fought to restore international harmony, and then they wear subsequent accusations of antisemitism as badges of honor.
They’ve even got an informal competition going to see who can rack up the most outrage. There’s almost an incentive to take age-old anti-Jewish accusations and just substitute “Zionist” or “Israeli.” Ron Paul accuses “Zionists” of trying to corrupt the US from within. Juan Cole hints darkly about “neoconservative Likudniks” taking over the government And Mearsheimer revels in the coming American backlash, which will erupt in response to “Israelis” getting American blood spilled on the battlefield.
Antisemitism has always had its place in the academy, especially in those left-leaning disciplines most influenced by Nazis and Nazi collaborators from the Continent. It’s also been a mainstay of working-class populism, where conspiracy theories about Jewish financial control have found particular popularity. But for anti-Jewish libels to be both intellectually mainstream and pubicly pervasive – that’s beginning to get a little uncomfortable.
The punchline from Mearsheimer’s article:
The third reason that this crisis is so troublesome for Israel and the lobby is that it forces the latter to choose sides in a public way. There is little doubt that almost all of the mainstream organisations of the lobby will back Israel to the hilt and blame the Obama administration for the crisis…
Siding with Israel against the United States was not a great problem a few years ago: one could pretend that the interests of the two countries were the same and there was little knowledge in the broader public about how the Israel lobby operated and how much it influenced the making of US Middle East policy. But those days are gone, probably for ever. It is now commonplace to talk about the lobby in the mainstream media and almost everyone who pays serious attention to American foreign policy understands – thanks mainly to the internet – that the lobby is an especially powerful interest group.
Therefore, it will be difficult to disguise the fact that most pro-Israel groups are siding with Israel against the US president, and defending policies that respected military leaders now openly question. This is an awful situation for the lobby to find itself in, because it raises legitimate questions about whether it has the best interests of the United States at heart or whether it cares more about Israel’s interests. Again, this matters more than ever, because key figures in the administration have let it be known that Israel is acting in ways that at best complicate US diplomacy, and at worst could get Americans killed.
“Thanks to how Walt and I mainstreamed a ‘cabal’ conspiracy theory, we can now move on to trumpeting ‘dual loyalty’ accusations.” See? Delightful!
* In the fight over settlements, who are Israel’s real friends? [Walt / WaPo]
* We’re Considering the Possibility that Walt and Mearsheimer Might Not Be Faking Their Ignorance [MR]
* Taking Sides [Mearsheimer]
* A Lie: David Petraeus, Anti-Israel [Commentary Contentions]
* EXCLUSIVE: Biden Says White House Getting Earful from Nervous Lawmakers Over Health Care [ABC News]
* Jewish Fact Check #6: Who’s really using the term "anti-Semite"? [The Fingerman]
* Omri Ceren Show – 6:30pm PST – The Apartheid Blood Libel, Antisemitic Education, Dan Diker On Middle East Tensions, Etc. [MR]