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  #1  
Old 10-31-2007, 02:54 PM
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Jewish Conspiracy

'Waltheimer' on the Hot Seat
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By EVAN R. GOLDSTEIN

"If you talk about an influential set of interest groups that is mostly though not exclusively comprised of Jewish Americans, some may think you are saying that there is some kind of secret conspiracy to control U.S. foreign policy," says Stephen M. Walt, gazing at the more than 500 people who have pressed into the narrow aisles of a Washington bookstore on this sweltering September night. "Anybody who raises this issue is virtually certain to be accused of being anti-Semitic."

The crowd gathered at the store is the largest anyone on hand can remember, and television cameras are here to record the event. People are jostling for positions and standing on tiptoe to get a better look at the two scholars in gray suits who, for the past 20 months, have been at the center of one of the greatest intellectual dust-ups in recent memory.

"So I want to be very clear at the outset," Walt continues, enunciating each word. "Both my co-author and I reject every one of those anti-Semitic conspiracy theories."

Those words will be repeated throughout the fall as Walt, a professor of international relations at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and John J. Mearsheimer, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, take their warning about the detrimental influence of the Israel lobby on American foreign policy to packed audiences across the country. Since a shortened version of their argument was published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, Mearsheimer and Walt have received the kind of attention most academics can only dream of and the sort of condemnation that inspires nightmares.

The New York Review of Books declared "The Israel Lobby" the most hotly debated academic essay since Samuel P. Huntington's 1993 article, "The Clash of Civilizations?" Within three months of publication, a footnoted version of the essay posted to the Web site of the Kennedy school had been downloaded 275,000 times. (In an effort to disassociate itself, the Kennedy school later removed its logo from the essay's cover page online and enlarged the font of the disclaimer stating that the authors' views do not reflect those of Harvard University or the University of Chicago. Walt says that was done with his support.) Most significantly, the hot blast of controversy attracted the attention of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, who offered the two a reported $750,000 advance to flesh out their ideas about the Israel lobby in a book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which was published in September.

Web sites have sprouted up devoted to selling T-shirts and buttons with the slogan "Walt and Mearsheimer Rock, Fight the Israel Lobby!" And in perhaps the ultimate testament to how deeply they have embedded themselves in the zeitgeist, Mearsheimer appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, where he bantered with the satirist Stephen Colbert about the deleterious influence that pro-Israel groups have on American foreign policy.

This month, Mearsheimer and Walt depart for Europe, where they will address audiences in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, and Britain. In London alone, they have events scheduled at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of London, and the House of Lords. Next spring they plan to take their message to Israel.

While both men have been involved in many high-profile academic debates, "this is a whole new level," says Michael C. Desch, a former student of Mearsheimer who is now a professor of international relations at Texas A&M University. "I think they knew theoretically it was possible, but to actually be the subject of that is a whole different thing."

In essence, Mearsheimer and Walt argue that America's uncritical and uncompromising support of Israel is not in America's interests. It stimulates the spread of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim and Arab worlds and fuels terrorism. They charge the Israel lobby a coalition of individuals and groups, some of them Jewish, some evangelical Christian with playing a key role in pushing for the invasion of Iraq as well as driving a policy of confrontation with Syria and Iran.

But the most troublesome characteristic of the Israel lobby's influence, according to Mearsheimer and Walt, is the fact that its existence goes largely unremarked on in the American media. They claim that is the result of the lobby's successful efforts to stifle and marginalize serious discussion about Israel in America.

Once their essay came out, it didn't take long for critics to weigh in. Eliot A. Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins University, accused Mearsheimer and Walt of harboring "obsessive and irrationally hostile beliefs about Jews." Christopher Hitchens declared them "partly creepy" and "slightly but unmistakably smelly." The Israeli historian Benny Morris described the essay as "riddled with shoddiness and defiled by mendacity" to such an extent that it is "depressing to anyone who values intellectual integrity."

None of those rebukes stung quite as much as the white supremacist David Duke's embrace of their essay as a "modern American declaration of independence." That endorsement astonished both men, who say they abhor everything David Duke represents.

Friends and critics alike have been left wondering why two social scientists with scrupulous reputations for technical precision have jeopardized their careers on behalf of what many feel is a polemical book that betrays a simplistic understanding of American politics. In some quarters, their names commonly shortened to "Waltheimer" have become shorthand for a resurgence of anti-Semitism in American intellectual life.

"What would motivate two recognized academics to issue a compilation of previously made assertions that they must know will be used by overt anti-Semites to argue that Jews have too much influence, that will give an academic imprimatur to crass bigotry, and that will place all Jews in government and the media under suspicion of disloyalty to America?" asked Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard University.

What indeed? Mearsheimer and Walt are two of America's pre-eminent international-relations theorists. In a recent survey conducted by the Program on the Theory and Practice of International Relations at the College of William and Mary, Mearsheimer ranked fifth on a list of scholars who have had the greatest impact on the field over the past 20 years, while Walt ranked 22nd.

more at: http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=gnmy860097bv75kbc9bnlt64zjtjl8q1

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  #2  
Old 10-31-2007, 03:21 PM
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This time this conversation as Gotta have a chance...

Our pals at the Temple will probably not let me play poker with them Thursday night, but I have had their position for years. We saw the Colbert thing (my wife wants to make him a write in for Pres) and she talked about getting me the book.

I don't think its a conspiracy, I just think it is a bad investment.
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:41 PM
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Oh my God! You're not starting THIS again, are you? Next you'll be saying that there's something wrong with Pella windows or something equally outrageous.
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Old 10-31-2007, 03:52 PM
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It's a somewhat different take on the same subject.

If it can be winnowed of the anti-Jewish-conspiracy/elders of Zion hysteria, I think that the influence of the pro-Israel lobby is a useful, interesting discussion. But that lobby is probably no more influential concerning it's special interest than the NRA is for 2nd Amendment and the various abortion rights groups for their agenda. I am very much in favor of "special interest groups" -- I think they are the essence of democracy. As long as we know about them. I am not favorably disposed to secret cabals.

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Old 10-31-2007, 03:55 PM
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nor cabal-rousers!
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:15 PM
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"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue ? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests." -George Washington
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:19 PM
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:20 PM
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Hard to argue with ol' Dubyuh #1.
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:54 PM
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He did his part in fine fashion no doubt, and times have changed a lot since those choices were more clear, but sit eems it may be time for a revival of the spirit, if not the letter, of our first purposes as a people on many fronts foreign and domestic. A spirit of cooperation amongst Americans (fostered by a revelation of the principals and practices we are asked to support) would be a helluva start. But as has been pointed out on this forum many times before and often by you {where is that up arrow thingy when you need it} the left/right wing one party state sure does take the demo out of democracy.
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Old 10-31-2007, 08:58 PM
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