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Second, Robbins criticizes Mearsheimer and Walt for trying to inculcate themselves against charges of anti-Jewish bias by preemptively predicting that the Jewish lobby “will accuse them of it.” What Robbins fails to note is that this tactic has worked: Mearsheimer and Walt were accused of anti-Semitism, and their preemptive prediction worked well enough that those making such accusations came off the worse for so doing.They could only argue their case indirectly, saying that the book was anti-Semitic in effect if not by intention, for no one could adduce evidence of the authors’ malign intent toward Jews as a group (as distinct from their attitude toward the Jewish State). Mearsheimer and Walt do not seem particularly to care about Jews one way or the other. foreign policy in either Democratic or Republican administrations, however.
Brzezinski was not speaking theoretically of anti-Semitism.
Mearsheimer and Walt’s original essay elicited far more criticism than even guarded praise, and some of it did raise charges of anti-Semitism.
They care about American foreign policy, which, as we know from their other works, they believe should be guided by a restrained, “off-shore balancing” approach. Since the authors cannot believe that anyone could disagree with them on the merits, they seek other explanations for failing to convince the powers that be. They may be right or wrong analytically (I think they are mostly wrong), but this is their motive, which has nothing to do with liking or disliking Jews.
They identify the Middle East as the source that beckons U. power and prestige beyond the bounds of safe shelter, they see the Israel-Palestine conflict at the epicenter of that source, and they see domestic U. In one of the few reviews to get at the realist core of Mearsheimer and Walt’s argument, William Grimes, writing in the September 6, 2007 New York Times, defines The Israel Lobby as a “prosecutorial brief against Israel and its supporters” that describes a virtual rogue state, empowered by American wealth and might, that blocks peace at every turn, threatens its cowering neighbors with impunity, crushes the national aspirations of the Palestinians and, whenever the opportunity arises, bites the hand that feeds it.
It is uncommon, on the other hand, to find anyone who will defend both, but Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski came close. And as anyone will know who remembers President George H. Bush’s famous plaint—that he was “just one guy” standing against the wrath of the Israel lobby over the granting of loan guarantees to help settle Soviet Jewish immigrants in Israel—not every administration since Carter’s has been so pro-Israel.
In a brief comment (though not a review) in Foreign Policy, Brzezinski endorsed The Israel Lobby while at the same time praising the Carter Administration’s “impartial” policy in the Middle East. policy in the Middle East has shifted from the “relative impartiality” that delivered the Camp David Accords to the “adoption of the Israeli perspective in the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” This, in his view, has not served U. Nevertheless, it is true that during the last decade some U. officials recruited from AIPAC or pro-Israel research institutions preferred the Syrian track of the peace process to the Palestinian track, thus serving to reinforce the inclination to downplay the sense of urgency about tackling the Palestinian cauldron.Then again, the British press, long before the Iraq war, was inclined to argue that U. support for Israel is largely responsible for Arab and Muslim hatred of America, and for the terrorist attacks produced by this hatred.Thus Geoffrey Wheatcroft, author of a well-received book on Israel and Zionism some years ago, writes in the September 29, 2007 Guardian: Where Mearsheimer and Walt are on their strongest ground is in saying, as foreign-policy realists, that the Israeli alliance is very costly for the United States, and that’s where American supporters of Israel are on their weakest ground.Some of that carried over into reviews of the book—thus the title given by the September 7, 2007 Wall Street Journal to Jeff Robbins’ review, “Anti-Semitism and the Anti-Israel Lobby.” Robbins’ criticism of The Israel Lobby is twofold.First, in his view the authors completely ignore the massive pro-Arab lobby, “funded in significant measure by foreign oil money”, while at the same time “taking American Jews to task for participating in the American political process”, as is their democratic right.That is less likely to be the case, however, with Mearsheimer and Walt’s central contention: that the Israel lobby, acting as the Likud Party’s proxy, drove the United States into attacking Saddam Hussein.Here the authors are on the shakiest of ground; even their approach belies the weakness of the argument.Readers are treated to an explication of the religious affiliations of various Bush Administration officials and others, even Howard Dean, that reads as though it was inspired by the Nuremberg Laws.Left unmentioned is the fact that the figure most responsible for pushing the attack on Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney, is neither Jewish nor ideologically neoconservative.Grimes agrees with some of the authors’ arguments, but concludes shrewdly that the general tone of hostility to Israel grates on the nerves, however, along with an unignorable impression that hardheaded political realism can be subjected to its own peculiar fantasies.Israel is not simply one country among many, for example, just as Britain is not.