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Neoconservatives and the Israel Lobby
In 2006, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, published "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" in the London Review of Books. (The article is available on the Internet—simply use Google to find copies.) The article caused quite a stir as it exposed the neocons behind the Bush Presidency that led to the invasion of Iraq.
In the past, Jews have been blamed for numerous wars—or encouraging or financing them for personal gain. I have found little evidence of that charge being true, but should it now be shown to be true in the case of the Iraq War, it could well turn other nations even more against Israel, as well as the support Israel gets from the U.S. As a result, the paper was a bombshell for Zionist Jews.
In September 2007, Mearsheimer and Walt (henceforth M&W) produced a book length version of the earlier paper by the same name—The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. About a week after its release, Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), published a rebuttal to M&W's allegations entitled The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control. Reading Foxman's book, I learned he could not identify any lies, but he could use an endless series of smear tactics, specious arguments and canards, making false allegations, insinuating unproven motives, and using guilt by association—really just the standard Jewish rebuttal when facts are not available to marginalize an opponent.
Foxman begins, "I wanted to believe that in our great democracy only those on the fringes of society would continue to engage in conspiracy theories about Jews. And while anti-Semitism certainly creeps beyond the fringe, it dramatically entered the mainstream when two prominent academics made the conspiratorial charges that American Jews, because of their own self-interest and concern for Israel, control American foreign policy and are responsible for the war in Iraq. These age-old canards had to be debunked, and thus Deadliest Lies had to be written."
M&W make it very clear that there is no Jewish conspiracy; Jews are a very disparate group that does not follow one agenda. There is no control of American foreign policy—rather it is Jewish influence that is listened to by the power elite—and M&W were asked to produce their research by the Atlantic Monthly. They themselves did not initiate the research nor come to their conclusions beforehand, but uncovered the workings of the Lobby as part of their investigation in writing the article. Can they be accused of accepting a commission for uncovering an unknown to them at the time? When finished, the Atlantic Monthly got cold feet and decided not to publish the paper.
Foxman, "The United States supports Israel, not because of favoritism based on political pressure or influence, but because both political parties and virtually all our national leaders agree with the American people's view that supporting Israel is politically sound and morally just. Those who disagree with this policy, such as the authors whose writings are examined in this book, assume they cannot be wrong, and so they contend that the American people and its leadership must have been deceived, time and time again, by Israel and its supporters."
It is evident that in any country, what people believe and what is fact are not always the same. Americans, like members of any country, are subject to differing levels of indoctrination and being mostly agreeable, tend to believe what their leaders tell them. Kevin MacDonald has pointed out that during the turn of the last century, business, religion, and the military were the primary public indoctrinators. Today it is academia, the government, and the media. (MacDonald's The Culture of Critique, 1998, 2002)
M&W report quite a different viewpoint: "Regarding the consequences of U.S. support for Israel, a Pew survey conducted in November 2005 found that 39 percent of the American public said that [support for Israel] was 'a major cause of global discontent.' Among opinion leaders, the numbers were substantially higher. Indeed, 78 percent of members of the news media, 72 percent of military leaders, 72 percent of security experts, and 69 percent of foreign affairs specialists believe that backing Israel seriously damages America's image around the world. A Newsweek poll released a few weeks after the September 11 attacks found that 58 percent of the respondents believed that U.S. support for Israel was a factor in Osama bin Laden's decision to attack America."
In addition, "… there was little enthusiasm for going to war against Iraq inside the State Department, the intelligence community, or the uniformed military. Although Secretary of State Powell ultimately supported the president's decision for war, he believed that it was a bad idea. The rank and file in his department shared his skepticism. There were two key outliers in the State Department, however—John Bolton and David Wurmser, both prominent neoconservatives who had close ties to the White House. George Tenet, the head of the CIA, also supported the White House on Iraq, but he was not a forceful advocate for war. Indeed, few individuals within the intelligence community found the case for war convincing, which is why, as discussed below, the neoconservatives established their own intelligence units. The military, especially the army, was filled with Iraq skeptics. General Eric Shinseki, the army chief of staff, was severely criticized by Wolfowitz (who dismissed Shinseki's estimate of the necessary troop levels required for the occupation as "wildly off the mark") and later Rumsfeld for expressing doubts about the war plan. The war hawks within the administration were mainly high-level civilians in the White House and the Pentagon, almost all of whom were neoconservatives." So much for everyone supporting Israel's agenda.
However, those who do stay the course in backing Israel are those who may find themselves out of a job if they don't. Accorting to M&W: "As we have seen in other contexts, Israel usually finds its strongest support in the U.S. Congress, and congressional behavior during the Lebanon conflict unequivocally confirmed this tendency. Democrats and Republicans competed to show that their party, not the rival one, was Israel's best friend. One Jewish activist said he thought that 'it's a good thing to have members of Congress outdo their colleagues by showing that their pro-Israeli credentials are stronger than the next guy's.' In the end, there was virtually no daylight between the two parties regarding Israel's actions in Lebanon, which is remarkable when you think of the sharp differences between Democrats and Republicans on most other foreign policy issues, like Iraq, for example. Abraham Foxman, the head of the ADL, made this clear when he said, 'The Democrats who are opposed to the president on 99 percent of things are closing ranks on Israel.' Reflecting this bipartisan consensus, on July 20, 2006, the House of Representatives passed a strongly worded resolution condemning Hezbollah and supporting Israeli policy in Lebanon. The vote was 410-8. The Senate followed suit with a similar resolution, sponsored by sixty-two senators, including the leaders of both parties. A number of prominent Democrats, including the party's leaders in both the House and the Senate, tried to prevent Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, from addressing Congress, because he had criticized Israeli policy in Lebanon. Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic party, who had been targeted by the lobby in the past, went so far as to call the Iraqi prime minister an anti-Semite. Support in Congress for Israel was so overwhelming that it left Arab-American leaders stunned." It seems that Foxman is a little deluded or severely paranoid claiming that support for Israel is good for America, and that a majority of policy makers all agree with him. But of course members of the House and the Senate know that to keep their jobs, they had better not cross the Jewish Lobby.
Foxman claims, "So, at every level, those who blame Israel and its Jewish supporters for U.S. policies they do not support are wrong. They are wrong because, to begin with, support for Israel is in our best interests. They are also wrong because Israel and its supporters have the right to try to influence U.S. policy. And they are wrong because the U.S. government is responsible for the policies it adopts, not any other state or any of the myriad lobbies and groups that battle daily—sometimes with lies—to win America's support."
Of course, policy advocates are rarely wrong when promoting one policy over another because policies usually impact the future. We don't know what the Middle East will look like in the years to come, and M&W have the duty to argue for America's best interests by presenting their policy recommendations, AND to try and get the debate opened up so all sides are included. M&W clearly state that the neocons have just as much right as any other group to lobby for their policies—they are merely explaining how we got into Iraq and who were the best lobbyists that pulled it off.
M&W note that, "Now that the war has turned into a disaster, supporters of Israel sometimes argue that AIPAC, which is the most visible group in the lobby, did not back the invasion. But this claim fails the common-sense test, as AIPAC usually supports what Israel wants, and Israel certainly wanted the United States to invade Iraq. Nathan Guttman, Washington correspondent for the Israeli daily newspaper, made this very connection in his reporting on AIPAC's annual conference in the spring of 2003, shortly after the war started: 'AIPAC is wont to support whatever is good for Israel, and so long as Israel supports the war, so too do the thousands of AIPAC lobbyists who convened in the American capital.' AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr's statement to the New York Sun in January 2003 is even more revealing, as he acknowledged that '"quietly" lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq' was one of 'AIPAC's successes over the past year.' And in a lengthy New Yorker profile of Steven J. Rosen, who was AIPAC's policy director during the run-up to the Iraq war, Jeffrey Goldberg reported that 'AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraq war.'"
Foxman also claims that it is unfair to charge Jews with dual loyalties. Perhaps it is; other groups could easily harbor feelings of dual loyalty in silence. But Jews are not the only ones now or in the past where the subject has salience. During the Second World War, Germans and Japanese were suspected of dual loyalty, and today the Mexicans in the United States openly advocate a taking back of the Southwest—a reconquering of land for Mexico. Foxman also claims that, "virtually every time [Jews] face some choice concerning the policies or philosophy that either of their cherished countries should follow, they find it easy to identify a path that is beneficial to both nations—a path that leads toward ever-growing democracy, prosperity, and peace." Foxman seems to live in a perfect world where two governments can formulate perfectly equitable policies that border on the utopian.
How does the rest of the world see this relationship? M&W note: "This support has accomplished one positive end: it has helped Israel prosper. For many people, that fact alone might justify all of the support that the United States has provided over the years. Given this record, it is no surprise that a June 2003 Pew poll found that in twenty out of twenty-one countries surveyed—including close U.S. allies like Britain, France, Canada, and Australia—either a majority or plurality of the population believes that U.S. Middle East policy 'favors Israel too much.' What is more surprising, perhaps, is that a plurality of Israelis (47 percent) agreed."
How would Foxman claim that the war in Iraq, costing the United States about $10 billion dollars a month, was a beneficial path for both Israel and the United States as a joint venture with their promoting the war and Americans fighting it? Only the U.S. will be holding the accumulated debt, while still giving Israel billions of dollars in aid. It is clear why Jews are so interested in shedding the blame from themselves for the Iraq War, as it turns into a disaster.
With additional nations on the agenda for regime change, it is imperative that Americans understand the difference between the War on Terror and war for the sake of Israel alone. From M&W, "Bush's enthusiasm for defining Iran as a mortal threat to Israel but not the United States, coupled with his stated commitment to go to war against Iran for Israel's benefit, has set off alarm bells in various parts of the lobby. In the spring of 2006, the Forward reported, 'Jewish community leaders have urged the White House to refrain from publicly pledging to defend Israel against possible Iranian hostilities.' The point is not that these leaders oppose the use of American power to protect Israel, but rather that they fear that Bush's public statements 'create an impression that the United States is considering a military option against Iran for the sake of Israel—and could lead to American Jews being blamed for any negative consequences of an American strike against Iran.' As Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, put it in April 2006, 'As much as we appreciate it, the question is whether it's beneficial to tie this to Israel.'"
The main purpose of M&W's paper and book on the Israel Lobby was to open up the debate—get it out in the open where it could be discussed intelligently. Foxman fails to understand this so he turns to smearing, name calling, and distortions to try and attack the messengers. Foxman states, "People, especially politicians and pundits in the media, think of Israel as one of those hot buttons around which controversy tends to swirl and that people need to be 'careful' about discussing publicly lest they offend someone or other. The fact that the Jewish community in America is relatively successful, articulate, and politically involved helps to deepen this sense that Israel is a hot button."
An equally suppressed issue is the fact that different races have different average IQs, so that any discussion about the gap between races is taboo. I have been watching articles on the No Child Left Behind program, and it is never mentioned that Blacks on average have low IQs, or Asians and Jews higher-than-average IQs. Is this because Blacks are also successful, articulate, and politically involved like Jews? No, politically correct issues that are difficult to discuss openly—to the best of my knowledge—all have to do with tensions between different races or ethnic groups and egalitarian–socialist dogma that is the dominant worldview in the West.
Sensitive discussions about Jewish issues by gentiles are usually followed not by an honest or open debate, but by name-calling, smearing, censorship, and claiming anti-Semitism as the motive, etc. Foxman's book is a perfect example of this hysterical approach to rebuttal and intended as a form of censorship. It is meant to disqualify the gentile's point of view by destroying the credibility of the person[s].
"With this historical and cultural context [where American Jews are somehow agents of Israel], we can see how the horrific events of September 11, 2001—a painful turning point in the history of the world and of the United States in particular—created unique problems for American Jews. The reason: A world in which fears of terrorism generated by 9/11 are a shaping force in U.S. foreign policy is a world in which the role of Israel—and by extension the role of American Jews in the national debate—is bound to stir up powerful emotions: fear, resentment, anger. And this is exactly what we see happening today, with consequences for the public debate that are very disturbing—and even dangerous."
The paranoid Foxman is charging that M&W's investigation of the Israel Lobby is dangerous. What is the alternative, that we all just bury our heads in the sand and let World War IV unfold in the Middle East? M&W notes, "According to a 2007 Gallup Organization study based on the results of thirteen polls taken since 2005, American Jews are significantly more opposed to the Iraq war (77 percent) than the general American public (52 percent). With respect to Iraq, the larger and wealthier pro-Israel organizations are clearly out of step with the broader population of American Jews." Remember (see above) Foxman claims that Jews and Americans always come up with policies that benefit both Israel and the U.S. equally! One has to ask which Jews was he referring to—Israel's or America's? What he is fearful of is that Americans, who are generally less attuned to political issues than more articulate Jews, will also start to see that the Iraq War had nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with protecting Israel.
In using slander and innuendo to discredit M&W, Foxman notes that, "In 2006, two mild-mannered university professors inaugurated a new era of anti-Jewish scapegoating—whether they did it intentionally or not. In March of 2006, John J. Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, published an article entitled 'The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.' It appeared originally as a working paper on the website of the Kennedy School; later, it was published in a somewhat shorter, revised version in the London Review of Books, a highly regarded magazine of social, artistic, literary, and political criticism that is read throughout the world."
This is of course an egregious lie by Foxman, because he knows that M&W were commissioned by the Atlantic Monthly to research and write the article about the Jewish Lobby. And yet he conveniently omitted this fact, so that he could claim that it was their original intent to publish such an article. When a known fact that is pertinent to an issue is purposely omitted from a scholarly debate, that constitutes pseudo-scholarship.
Foxman continues his smear tactics: "It is because of [M&W's] reputations and the fame of the institutions with which they are associated that their article has created such a stir. Many who have read it—especially those with expertise in the history of the Middle East and the details of American foreign policy, among them Eliot Cohen and former ambassadors Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk—have recognized the article's numerous distortions, omissions, and errors. Many took the time to write critiques and replies that, taken together, go a long way toward demolishing the credibility of the article. Questions about the motives of Mearsheimer and Walt have also been raised."
Again, the motive question was obvious from the Atlantic Monthly commission. As for demolishing M&W's credibility, one must wait until all sides weigh in. The scientific method starts often with an opening hypothesis, others criticize it, more research is done, and slowly a consensus is formulated. Foxman has no interest in this method of scholarship—this is war between Jews and gentiles.
M&W understand the game being played: "Or as the Economist recently observed, 'Helping Israel should no longer mean defending it uncritically . . . Diaspora institutions should . . . feel free to criticize Israeli politicians who preach racism and intolerance . . . [and] encourage lively debate about Israeli policies.' Indeed, current conditions in the Middle East pose a serious dilemma for the more hard-line elements in the lobby. Instead of defending a weak state surrounded by enemies, created in the aftermath of a great historical tragedy, they are now forced to defend a powerful, modern, and prosperous state that is using its superior force to confiscate land from the Palestinians and to deny them full political rights, while dealing harshly with troubled neighbors such as Lebanon. When this behavior prompts criticism from sensible moderates, these groups are forced to try to smear and marginalize people who are obviously neither extremists nor anti-Semites. Condemning neo-Nazis or Holocaust deniers is a worthy enterprise, but smearing respected individuals such as Jimmy Carter, Richard Cohen, Tony Kushner, or Tony Judt, or attacking progressive groups like the Union of Concerned Zionists, is something very different and disturbing. The more the lobby's hard-liners attack any and all critics, the more they reveal themselves to be out of step with the broad American commitment to free speech and open discussion. And once virtually any criticism of Israel becomes equated with anti-Semitism, the charge itself threatens to become meaningless."
Foxman continues the smearing rather than pointing out purported errors in "The Israel Lobby" article. "Instead, on issue after issue, the authors start with unproven, anti-Israel assumptions and then point to isolated examples to justify these assumptions. One does not have to take a pro-Israel position to recognize that the authors, despite their reputations, have no interest in producing a serious, balanced work. The result is a sloppy diatribe—a fact that many observers who endorse all or part of the Mearsheimer-Walt analysis have been forced to admit…. My message will probably reach fewer people. Plain facts and complex realities aren't as sexy as conspiracy theories and black-and-white accusations."
Foxman does make several feeble attempts to rebut claims, rather than make sweeping generalizations about what others have said. He asserts, "But the overwhelming impression [M&W] create is clear: If only the U.S. would dump its undeserving ally, Israel, the terrorists would stop targeting America. The facts say otherwise. If Islamist anti-Semitic hatred is focused mainly or even largely on the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, how can we explain its prevalence among Islamic communities that are very distant from the Middle East and almost entirely uninvolved with that conflict?"
This observation is so bad it isn't even wrong. The support that America gives to Israel, and the way Israel oppresses the Palestinians, means that fellow religionists will very much take notice no matter where they live—thanks to television and no doubt heavy doses of anti-American propaganda. Also note how Foxman's version of his just-so story is a "fact." There are few facts in these issues; human behavior is far too complex to be certain as to why people behave the way they do.
In M&W's book, no doubt adding a lot of material they had to leave out of the abbreviated paper, they note, "Moreover, bin Laden's first public statement intended for a wider audience—released December 29, 1994—directly addressed the Palestinian issue. As Bruce Lawrence, compiler of bin Laden's public statements, explains, 'The letter makes it plain that Palestine, far from being a late addition to bin Laden's agenda, was at the center of it from the start….' Similarly, when the respected polling firm Zogby International asked citizens of six Arab countries if their attitude toward America was shaped by their feelings about American values or by U.S. policies, 'an overwhelming percentage of respondents indicated that policy played a more important role.' When asked open-ended questions about their 'first thought' when they think of America, the most common answer is 'unfair foreign policy.' And when asked what the United States could do to improve its image, the most frequent answers are 'change Middle East policy' and 'stop supporting Israel.' Not surprisingly, after Congress directed the State Department to establish an 'advisory group on public diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World' in June 2003, the group's report found that 'citizens in these countries are genuinely distressed at the plight of the Palestinians and at the role they perceive the United States to be playing.'"
Clearly, America's overwhelming support for Israel, and its willingness to attack other nations that Israel wants us to attack for them, motivates the hate that we see directed back at us. Of course, just being the most powerful nation will provide some forms of envy and hostility. However, if it weren't for Israel and our unwavering and uncritical support for Israel's apartheid government, terrorism would not have evolved as the only way to fight back against injustice.
Foxman's attack on M&W continues with additional diatribes: "But their claims of even-handedness and objectivity, in the end, are merely lip service, because of the nonstop one-sidedness of their presentation, their gross exaggeration of the power of the lobby, their disregard for the consistently broad-based American public support for Israel, their omission of the very many interests that the U.S. has in a strong and safe Israel, and their overriding theme that policy-makers are controlled by the lobby. No matter how the authors protest, all of this adds up to an effort to delegitimize the work of pro-Israel activists."
M&W make it clear that there is no "control" by the Lobby, just elegant arguments for policies that they are advocating. Also, there was no indication that the Lobby had inordinate power as presented in the Israel Lobby. It was also stated that the Lobby had every right to try to influence policy, so there was no attempt to "delegitimize" activists. But the greatest omission by Foxman is when he AGAIN claims that a strong Israel is good for America—but never develops any arguments as to why.
Foxman continues: "In this way, the Mearsheimer and Walt article has many of the elements that are familiar from the classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theories throughout history. Visit any anti-Semitic website, read any anti-Semitic tract, attend any meeting by a hate group that targets Jews, and you'll hear the same old themes: the Jews have too much power; they are more loyal to 'their own kind' and to the State of Israel than they are to their native country; they exercise political influence not as individual citizens but as a cabal, working together behind the scenes to force non-Jews to do their bidding. Walt and Mearsheimer sound all the same notes—not with the crudity we'd encounter from spokespeople for neo-Nazi groups like the National Alliance, but with a subtlety and pseudoscholarly style that makes their poison all the more dangerous."
If you read their book, you'll see that there is none of the above in it—not even alluded to and often just the opposite. Furthermore, if they wanted to make the above claims all they would have had to do is cite the book Jews in American Politics, written by Jewish scholars over several years and published in 2001 before 9/11. These Jewish scholars discuss at length Jewish overrepresentation in all areas of the political system: bureaucrats, advisors, cabinet posts, the House and the Senate, think tanks, advocacy lawyers, etc. In addition Jews have much higher wealth and income compared to the average American, and have a higher average IQ—115 versus an average of 100 among Whites (85 among Blacks). The Jews talk at length about all these accomplishments, but when gentiles discuss the same issues they are called anti-Semitic and they are trying to stigmatize a Jewish essence that Jews themselves proclaim is unique and different from other people.
Foxman tries to show, using M&W examples, that the Israel Lobby is not in lock-step agreement on every issue, and there are ongoing debates as to what the best policy for America to take in support of Israel. There is no "rigid ideological" conformity, nor is there any specific branch of government that will aid Israel. During Bush's Presidency, those pushing for war were neoconservatives advisors to Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell, and Bush. They lobbied incessantly that Iraq must be attacked if the war on terror is to succeed—Bush in essence was duped by men far smarter than himself.
There was no wavering among the neoconservatives; their commitment to Israel is strong, and their determination to set policies that will be beneficial to Israel was their primary objective—leading to a disastrous war in Iraq. And they stay committed to invading Iran and Syria after the war in Iraq is completed.
It is interesting that some of the most visible neoconservative advisors to the president, after the war in Iraq stopped going well, conveniently left to take other jobs: Wolfowitz, Perle, and "Scooter" Libby who was forced out; whether this was to reduce a neoconservative presence and spare the connection to the war, or for various other reasons has not been determined. But they are in a mode of damage control, while they continue to push for expanding the war effort into Syria and Iran.
The neoconservatives exert their influence through advising members of the executive branch. They also have been able to keep the legislative branch in line by trying to defeat any member who challenges the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel. M&W used the example of Senator Charles Percy to make their point: "There is no doubt about the potency of these tactics [i.e., AIPAC's attempts to influence election campaigns]. To take but one example, in 1984 AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had 'displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns.' Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: 'All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians—those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire—got the message.'"
Foxman attacks this example: "Let's ignore the fact that, in the aftermath of the 1984 election, both Edward Vrdolyak and Harold Washington—two leading Illinois politicians—attributed Percy's defeat neither to Jewish pressure nor even to defections by Jewish voters but to the fact that the Chicago Democratic Party had done an usually good job of mobilizing African American voters in support of their candidate, Paul Simon. Instead, let's focus on how lame this example is. One would think, from the way Mearsheimer and Walt describe it, that the Lobby claims congressional scalps on a regular basis, defeating disliked candidates and elevating favored ones in every election cycle. Yet the authors apparently have to go back over twenty years to find a single, somewhat dubious illustration of the Lobby's supposedly tyrannical power. Impressive? No, not very."
Two points, first it would be suicide for Vrdolyak and Washington to admit that the Jews helped take out Charles Percy, and that is M&W's point. Very little has to be done once elected officials get the message—they become amen compliant. Foxman insinuates that they need to be reminded on a regular basis, so there should be plenty of examples of Jews squashing someone with a little less support for Israel than another candidate. But that would be counterproductive and could easily backfire if the legislature rebelled from the insecurity.
Foxman criticizes M&W's assertion that Jews have a great deal of power in academia and in the media. Let's look at academia first. Over the last fifty years, Jews have dominated academia by their own admission, and they have also promoted a radical egalitarianism. That egalitarianism has now stuck, and as Israel was perceived by academia as an apartheid state, Jews along with other Leftists started attacking the Zionist state. So yes, there is a hot debate on campuses over the Palestinian issue and Jews can be found on both sides.
As for the media, Jews themselves are quite up-front about their dominant role in Hollywood, newspapers, journals, publishing, television, and as radio talk show hosts, etc. In large part, Jews dominate the media because it is a verbal medium, and Jewish intelligence is largely located in their verbal ability. Just like Black athleticism dominates football, Jewish verbal skills dominate the media. This is openly recognized and discussed by Jews, and to say so is in no way anti-Semitic.
Foxman criticizes M&W on their views toward interest groups: "Think for a moment about the logic implied here. If we take Mearsheimer and Walt at their word, any cause that is supported by 'an organized special interest group' is thereby exposed as being 'not in the American national interest.' After all, according to the authors, any policy that is in the national interest will fall into place naturally and automatically, with no need for public advocacy! This is a stunningly naive view of how government works. It also, at a stroke, condemns the efforts of any 'organized special interest group' in America as being, ipso facto, opposed to the national interest—a revelation that might startle and dismay the members of AARP, the NAACP, the labor unions, the Chamber of Commerce, NOW, the Audubon Society, the American Legion, [the tobacco lobby], the Consumers Union . . . name your favorite cause. Mearsheimer and Walt have declared them all out-of-bounds!"
I think most people understand that special interest groups are usually not promoting issues that are in the national interest, but serving the interest of the groups' members. Often it is a zero sum game—if realtors get their way, homebuyers pay. If the AARP gets its way, young workers pay. If the NAACP gets its way, Whites and Jews pay. Probably most special interest groups are not concerned about national interest but members' interests. And the special laws that get passed place a burden on any state's overall efficiency. Foxman, never honestly addresses why the Israel Lobby is good for America. So it is safe to say he is unable to justify why America should care about Israel except in simplistic terms such as "the American people like us." That is hardly a reason to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into war efforts that have nothing to do with America but desired by Israel to make them feel safer.
Foxman then states, "Here, then, is the United States embroiled in an unpopular war that is unfolding unhappily. There obviously is much room for criticism, including criticism of the so-called neoconservative advisors, pundits, academics, and journalists who supported [no—vital lobbying for war] the original decision to go to war. And many writers and politicians have stepped forward in the last couple of years to voice those criticisms and to call for changes in U.S. foreign policy going forward. All of this is part of the healthy debate on which democracy thrives."
Has anything changed? Really? Bush is moving forward with plans to attack Iran and Syria, which can only be for Israel's protection. M&W state, "Israel's enthusiasm for war eventually led some of its allies in America to tell Israeli officials to damp down their hawkish rhetoric, lest the war look like it was being fought for Israel. In the fall of 2002, for example, a group of American political consultants known as the Israel Project circulated a six-page memorandum to key Israelis and pro-Israel leaders in the United States. The memo was titled 'Talking about Iraq' and was intended as a guide for public statements about the war. 'If your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful with your language because of the potential backlash. You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.'"
Foxman recapitulates: "But Mearsheimer and Walt approach the topic of Iraq with a very different agenda. Their goal is to identify and target a scapegoat for what they consider the mistaken decision to invade Iraq. And that scapegoat, unsurprisingly, is the Lobby, which, according to Mearsheimer and Walt, drove America into war not to serve the best interests of the United States but to serve their true homeland, Israel. In their words: 'Pressure [or plain old nagging] from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element. . . . Within the United States, the main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with close ties to Israel's Likud Party. In addition, key leaders of the Lobby's major organizations lent their voices to the campaign for war.'"
Is Foxman really trying to advance knowledge or cover up Israel's complicity in a disastrous war? M&W note that, "Former Senator Ernest Hollings made a similar argument in May 2004. After noting that Iraq was not a direct threat to the United States, he asked why we invaded that country. 'The answer,' which he said 'everyone knows,' is 'because we want to secure our friend Israel.' A number of Jewish groups promptly labeled Hollings an anti-Semite, with the ADL calling his comments 'reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government.' Hollings adamantly rejected the charge, noting that he had long been a staunch supporter of Israel and that he was simply stating the obvious, not making an untruthful claim. He demanded that his critics 'apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism.'"
"The connection between Israel and the Iraq war was widely recognized long before the fighting started. When the prospect of an American invasion was beginning to dominate the headlines in the fall of 2002, the journalist Michael Kinsley wrote that 'the lack of public discussion about the role of Israel . . . is the proverbial elephant in the room: Everybody sees it, no one mentions it.' The reason for this reluctance, he observed, was fear of being labeled an anti-Semite. Two weeks before the war started, Nathan Guttman reported in Ha'aretz that 'the voices linking Israel to the war are getting louder and louder. It is claimed the desire to help Israel is the major reason for President George Bush sending American soldiers to a superfluous war in the Gulf. And the voices come from all directions.' A few days later, Bill Keller, who is now the executive editor of the New York Times, wrote, 'The idea that this war is about Israel is persistent and more widely held than you may think.' Finally, in May 2005, two years after the war began, Barry Jacobs of the American Jewish Committee acknowledged that the belief that Israel and the neoconservatives were responsible for getting the United States to invade Iraq was 'pervasive' in the U.S. intelligence community."
And, from inside the White House M&W report, "Philip Zelikow, a member of the president's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (2001-03), executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-06), told a University of Virginia audience on September 10, 2002, that Saddam was not a direct threat to the United States. 'The real threat,' he argued, is 'the threat against Israel.' He went on to say, 'And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat . . . And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell [just to protect Israel].'"
Foxman attempts to show that M&W link the neocons directly with the Lobby, "Here is the subtext of the entire article—the grand syllogism to which Mearsheimer's and Walt's disjointed argument has been pointing: The neocons got us into Iraq; many of the neocons are members of or supporters of the Lobby; many of the neocons are Jewish and have 'ties' to Israel; therefore, the war can be blamed on the Lobby."
But is it factual? Here is how M&W see it, "Yet as important as the neoconservatives were as the chief architects of the war, they had been unable to persuade either Clinton or Bush to support an invasion. They needed help to achieve their aim, and that help arrived on 9/11. Specifically, the events of that tragic day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war to topple Saddam. Robert Kagan put the point well in an interview with George Packer: 'September 11 is the turning point. Not anything else. This is not what Bush was on September 10.' The neoconservatives—most notably "Scooter" Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and the Princeton historian Bernard Lewis—played a critical role in persuading the president and vice president to favor war. For them, 9/11 was the new context to sell their old view of American foreign policy. Possibly their greatest advantage was that they had, in Kagan's words, 'a ready-made approach to the world' at a time when both the president and the vice president were trying to make sense of an unprecedented disaster that seemed to call for radically new ways of thinking about international politics. Wolfowitz's behavior is especially revealing. At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on September 15, 2001, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the United States and bin Laden was known to be in Afghanistan. Wolfowitz was so insistent on conquering Iraq that five days later Cheney had to tell him to 'stop agitating for targeting Saddam.' According to one Republican lawmaker, he 'was like a parrot bringing [Iraq] up all the time. It was getting on the President's nerves.' Bush rejected Wolfowitz's advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and the president tasked U.S. military planners on November 21, 2001, with developing concrete plans for an invasion."
Foxman then notes that there is no way of knowing if Israel or the United States interests are foremost in the neoconservatives' thinking. It is amazing how Foxman states there is no way of knowing what country they hold the greater allegiance to, but he is quick to call anyone who challenges Jewish interests as anti-Semitic. He is quick to smear anyone who he feels is a threat to the interests of Israel.
Like Einstein, Foxman has the ability to bend time and space. He criticizes M&W's assertions because not all presidents capitulated to the Israel Lobby. Of course, the Lobby has changed over time, and the neocons even more so. They never controlled the government; they only had a great deal of influence. Foxman makes the Lobby sound like it must be an ironclad cabal otherwise it does not exist at all. It is an absurd argument for all or nothing. M&W's position is clear on this issue, "The U.S. presidents who have made the greatest contribution to Middle East peace—Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush—were able to do so precisely because each was willing on occasion to chart a separate course from the lobby. As former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has written, 'Carter had yet another vital advantage. A rare bird among politicians, and especially among residents of the White House, he was not especially sensitive or attentive to Jewish voices and lobbies . . . As it turned out, it was this kind of President—George [H. W.] Bush in the late 1980s is another case in point—who was ready to confront Israel head on and overlook the sensibilities of her friends in America that managed eventually to produce meaningful breakthroughs on the way to an Arab-Israeli peace.'"
Foxman incites hatred for the perceived enemy: "I feel as though I am verging on overkill, that perhaps I've offered enough examples of the credibility problems embodied in Mearsheimer's and Walt's paper to enable you to draw your own conclusions. Let me be sure my point is clear: A factual error or misinterpretation here and there in a scholarly paper is not a big problem. None of us is perfect. But when a much-acclaimed and widely read paper by two distinguished academic authors is riddled with errors, and when all of those errors tend to slant the paper in the exact same direction, we are dealing not with a little unfortunate carelessness but with a culpable degree of bias. The examples that I've been at pains to document all point to the authors' relentless obsession to see the world through their own narrowly conceived and distorted prism, one that makes Israel and its American allies in the so-called Lobby into the source of most of the evils haunting the international scene today. The result is one of the most unprofessional works of scholarship ever to emanate from supposedly respectable quarters. Undoubtedly, the anti-Israel forces and the avowed bigots will be citing Mearsheimer and Walt for a long time to come."
Foxman admits the paper was much-acclaimed, and yet he trashes it as garbage, unfit for publication, because it is so biased against Israel. Or could it be that Foxman is so highly neurotic and/or paranoid that he reads into publications what is not there? I read the paper and the book by the authors, and I saw none of what Foxman speaks. And yes, I do criticize all sides when it comes to writing empirically honest works. I have to conclude that Foxman is stooping to character assassination because he has no good rebuttal based on facts. This is the same tactic one sees in the debate on different average mental abilities between races. The empiricists produce research, do not attack the messenger but debate the fine points of arguments, etc. The Left stoops simply to character assassination because they have no data supporting the radical environmental position. We see a similar pattern with global warming—if you don't agree it is a catastrophe, then you are somehow deranged.
Foxman continues, "I don't believe in guilt by association. I understand that Mearsheimer and Walt can't be held responsible for every individual who chooses to praise their work….What's disturbing is that 'The Israel Lobby' does in fact espouse arguments and beliefs that are very closely aligned to those held by anti-Semites and racists of the David Duke variety. Either explicitly or by implication, the article embraces half a dozen of the most common and poisonous assertions that anti-Semites have long peddled: that Jews are treacherous practitioners of 'dual loyalty' who are ready to sell out America for their selfish interests; that Jews cooperate behind the scenes to manipulate national institutions for their own benefit; that Jews wield a disproportionate amount of economic and political power; and that they control, or try to control, the press, the media, and the universities so as to stifle dissent and prevent the world from understanding their true objectives."
Foxman doesn't believe in guilt by association, and yet he mentions David Duke's name no less than eight times. Now let's look at the half-dozen anti-Semite assertions. "Jews are treacherous practitioners of 'dual loyalty' who are ready to sell out America for their selfish interests." Not all Jews are alike, and M&W never claimed that all Jews practice 'dual loyalty.' As a German-American, I would certainly give my allegiance to my natural kin in Germany before I would fight and die for America. So I don't see where Jews are any different than other races in this regard.
"Jews cooperate behind the scenes to manipulate national institutions for their own benefit." M&W make it very clear that this is a normal practice for any ethnic group that has taken up lobbying for favors from the government. This is not a bad thing but shows engagement with one's people.
"Jews wield a disproportionate amount of economic and political power; and that they control, or try to control, the press, the media, and the universities so as to stifle dissent and prevent the world from understanding their true objectives." Jews themselves have written about Jewish political power, extraordinary economic success, and their influence in the top professions. That is a good thing for the Jews; others should try to emulate Jewish success. As to controlling targeted institutions, get over it. Everyone does it, and many get criticized for it like capitalists. It is neither good nor bad but a natural state of affairs. As to trying to keep the world from understanding Jewish objectives, isn't that the standard operating procedure for every country? Isn't that why the spy business is so prevalent everywhere?
I suggest that maybe the only real fault with people like Foxman is that they are overly sensitive. As a White person I am used to being given various human essences like oppressing others, racism, war mongering, inegalitarianism, greed, etc. So what? They are assertions that may or may not be correct for any one individual. Foxman later states, "The Jews are a famously individualistic, argumentative, strong-willed people." Apparently stereotyping all Jews is appropriate, but if it is done by outside observers they are bigots. There is only one source that I am aware of that documents the biological differences between Jews and Whites with regards to behavior, and that source is Kevin MacDonald's research into empirical data on the matter (see The Culture of Critique, 2002).
Foxman states, "Naturally, the authors would claim they have a good reason for their single-minded concern: namely, the fact that the Israel lobby has, in their view, been successfully advocating policy positions they view as detrimental to America's interests. Obviously, most U.S. policymakers disagree with them on this point, as do a vast majority of American citizens." But Mearsheimer and Walt are, of course, perfectly free to think otherwise. And they have a simple remedy available to them: Win the policy debate! If Mearsheimer and Walt can propose a new set of Middle East policies that they think will bring peace to the region and protect U.S. interests more effectively than current policies, they should lay out their ideas and present cogent arguments on their behalf. If their arguments are convincing, they will surely attract supporters in the general population, in academic and journalistic circles, and ultimately among elected officials. That is how government policies get changed, and Mearsheimer and Walt should be encouraged to pursue that course." They did. They wrote a book that expanded on their original paper.
Foxman tries to rationalize unconditional support for Israel as being in our best interest: "As far as I am concerned—and here I am in agreement with the vast majority of strategic thinkers—Mearsheimer and Walt have it entirely backward. Even if Israel were not a Jewish state, and even if Jews were not a significant voting bloc in the United States, and even if there were no Jewish American lobbying groups supporting Israeli interests—even if all these things were true, supporting Israel would be in the best interests of the United States and would, I believe, be the mainstream policy of both American political parties. Under the circumstances I describe, the U.S.-Israeli alliance would be taken for granted and would be no more controversial than the U.S.-British, U.S.-Mexican, or U.S.-Japanese alliance."
"The fact is that there are several important factors that make Israel of strategic importance to the United States. As we've already noted, Israel is the only major democracy in the Middle East. As such, it is a natural ally of America, a country whose values, instincts, policies, and programs all tend to run on parallel lines to our own. In a world where, as many historians and analysts have recently noted, democracies virtually never go to war with one another, it only makes sense for two of the world's leading democracies to seek one another out for mutual support. (This is not to say that the United States can enter alliances only with democracies; just that an alliance between democracies is inherently attractive, convenient, and sustainable for both parties.)"
"Second, as a strong military power and a U.S. ally, Israel has proven to be the single greatest source of stability in the region. It is also the chief U.S. proxy and friend in the area, playing a role much like that played by Turkey in Central Asia or Japan in the Far East. Israel has even been described as 'an American aircraft carrier' in the Middle East."
"Martin Kramer has explained Israel's role as the linchpin of U.S. Middle Eastern policy in a particularly clear and convincing fashion: 'American support for Israel—indeed, the illusion of its unconditionality—underpins the Pax Americana in the eastern Mediterranean. It has compelled Israel's key Arab neighbors to reach peace with Israel and to enter the American orbit. The fact that there has not been a general Arab-Israeli war since 1973 is proof that this Pax Americana, based on the U.S.-Israel alliance, has been a success. From a realist point of view, supporting Israel has been a low-cost way of keeping order in part of the Middle East, managed by the United States from offshore and without the commitment of any force. It is, simply, the ideal realist alliance.'"
These four paragraphs are extremely lame in terms of justification. As I have mentioned before, State, Defense and Intelligence departments in the U.S. government do not universally accept Israel as a natural ally. And I would question what pool of strategic thinkers agrees with Foxman—perhaps they are those from the Jewish think tanks. Also, the American public does not feel a natural alliance with Mexico, and they overwhelmingly want immigration controlled. So it is only big business and the government elite that uses Mexico as a resource for cheap labor. The British have always been close to U.S. interests only because of kinship between the business elite. And I was unaware that we were so close to Japan—I thought we were placing our trading dollars with the Communist Chinese. So much for embracing democracies over totalitarians!
As for stability, our alliance with Israel has strained our relations with oil producing countries, hobbled our ability to provide equipment and engineering expertise to the region, dragged us into a war that has no end in site and is costing us billions of dollars, and has promoted the propagation of terrorist networks that are determined to harm Americans, anywhere in the world. That kind of stability we don't need.
The United States is uniquely positioned far away from parts of the world that could threaten us, and our best policy would be to engage in trade, not military jingoism as we have been doing. Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, etc. have both peace and stability without building alliances with other racist states such as Israel. M&W are absolutely correct, the only reason we are engaged in the Middle East is because of the nine million Jews we have in the United States keeping us glued together for the safety of Israel alone. The United States suffers economically and militarily from this arrangement. Foxman's syllogism does not hold when alternatives are considered.
Foxman finds M&W's assertions about Jewish involvement in academia laughable: "Unfortunately for the authors, the idea that colleges and universities in the United States are dominated by pro-Israeli voices is absurdly laughable, even more so than their claims that the Lobby controls Congress, the State Department, and the White House. Thus, Mearsheimer and Walt are forced to do a lot of hedging and filling in their discussion of the Lobby and academia. They admit that 'The Lobby has had the most difficulty stifling debate about Israel on college campuses,' and in mild desperation they list many instances in which pro-Israel advocates merely criticized or disagreed with specific faculty members or university programs."
M&W merely discuss neocon attempts to influence the debates on campus, they don't say that the neocons succeeded. Remember that most Jews are against the war in Iraq, so there is in fact at least two Jewish lobbies that oppose each other.
Foxman tries to show that if the Lobby doesn't get exactly what it wants, then there is no Lobby, "And the authors go on to quote a number of other prominent Israelis who stated in the run-up to the Iraq war that Iran was a more serious threat to Israel than Iraq. It's all very alarming, and certainly testifies to the desire of Israeli leaders to influence the thinking of the United States. But Mearsheimer and Walt seem to ignore one salient fact: The United States chose to attack Iraq, not Iran. Given the fact that Israel regarded Iran as the primary threat, how does the U.S. decision to invade Iraq instead square with the notion of Israeli 'control' of U.S. foreign policy?"
That is a simple one. Early on Israel and Bush knew that trying to justify invading Iran rather than Iraq would be a much harder sell to the American people, and if it failed neither Iran, Iraq nor Syria would be invaded. In addition, by the time Bush finally decided to invade Iraq, he had already communicated his plans to Israel and the world that Iran and Syria were to follow. Israel would eventually have the United States neutralize all of Israel's enemies in due time.
Foxman then attempts special pleading: "How would you feel about a political 'expert' declaring that a country you love should not even exist? How would you feel about having that country attacked and condemned for doing the same things that dozens of other countries do—and are often praised for doing? How would you feel about having that country's leaders treated as if they are by definition untrustworthy, dishonest bad actors? Wouldn't such treatment feel unfair, unjust, bigoted?"
Welcome to the real world! Whites have been condemned as racists repeatedly by "people of color," with a great deal of help from Leftist Jews. Jews have been largely behind the ACLU's attempts to destroy Christianity in the United States (I'm no Christian but others object). The Jews have been the primary advocates for open borders to dilute the number of Whites in the United States from 1924 to 1965. (Since then others have found open immigration lucrative and have joined the party to destroy White America.) Freudian psychoanalysis has always been about pathologizing Whites as being sexually repressed or having that peculiar Protestant ethic. And then there is the Frankfort School of Social Research trying to show that Whites have an authoritarian type of personality that naturally oppresses others. If Jews can find extreme fault with Whites, it is only fair that Whites be allowed to find fault with their behavior when it is justified. (MacDonald in The Culture of Critique, 2002)
Foxman, "The Jews of Israel don't want to rule the Palestinians—they want to live apart from them, in a country of their own, where Jews are a majority and Jewish culture and religion are taken as the norm." This is the same aspiration held by White separatists, and yet they are condemned as racist. So why isn't Israel treated the same as White separatists? If we could all agree that homogenous nation-states are better than nation-states made up of multiracial groups, Israel would not be condemned as a racist state.
Foxman on President Carter, "Carter says: 'There are constant and vehement political and media debates in Israel concerning its policies in the West Bank but because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the United States, Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate our media, and most American citizens are unaware of circumstances in the occupied territories.' In other words, the old canard and conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the media, Congress, and the U.S. government is rearing its ugly head—this time, carrying all the prestige of a former president." I would think that Carter, as president, would know as well as anyone how Jewish influence works in Washington.
But then later, Foxman explains how it is that Jews can act as a powerful force to get their way: "First, there is the reluctance to 'wash one's dirty laundry in public.' As the Jewish homeland, Israel is a country where Jews can freely and openly debate their future precisely because the conversation is taking place among family members, in the relative privacy of their home. Every Jew living in Israel is by definition committed to the freedom and security of the nation. (To feel otherwise would be to invite physical attacks on oneself, which is something that even a 'self-hating Jew' isn't likely to do!) Therefore, people can argue vociferously about the right way to achieve that freedom and security without needing to wonder about the motivation, good faith, or personal investment of their interlocutors. Every argument is an argument among family members, which means that all the participants can assume a degree of mutual support that simply doesn't exist in any other setting."
Foxman has just described the Israel Lobby that M&W write about. A committed people, highly motivated to protect Israel, acting in any way they can to influence American policy to provide Israel with the security needed to survive. And there is not one Israel Lobby—the Lobby changes over time and there are Jewish factions that act against each other. The neocons over the last couple of decades happen to be the most aggressive and successful advocates for American hegemony in the service of regime changes to neutralize Israel's enemies.
Foxman obfuscates this reality: "As we've seen, some of those engaged in the debate about the Middle East have yielded to this temptation. They've chosen to blame the so-called neocons for America's mistakes in Iraq. And some have gone further, painting a picture of these sinister neocons as mostly Jews and (horrors!) staunch supporters of Israel. The implications: The war in Iraq was never about any of the things the Bush administration and its supporters claimed—never about the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the danger of regimes that support terrorism, or the need to strengthen democracy in the Middle East—it was always about a secret, unstated objective: to make the region safer for Israel." And Foxman and other Jews are petrified now that the war is going badly that the obvious will become common knowledge.
I am reading World War IV by Norman Podhoretz. The purpose of the book as far as I can tell is to show that the Bush doctrine of preemptive intervention–warfare, unilateralism, and regime change— was formulated because of the recognition—finally—that we are at war with the "Islamofascists." It is a book that is trying to deflect neocon involvement in the Bush doctrine, as well as trying to justify an extended war against Middle East countries that are hostile towards the West.
The premise is absurd of course because the terrorists generally have a low average intelligence, they are easily identified, their terrorist plots are routinely uncovered, and ultimately when the West finally has had enough we can simply deport them back to the Middle East. In addition, we can divest ourselves of the burden of supporting Israel, and if WMDs ever become a problem our military can easily neutralize the threat with modern weapons that can obliterate any our enemies.
Reading World War IV with The Deadliest Lies is an important exercise in comparing types of propaganda. World War IV is written without the tone of hysteria, smearing, character assassination, etc. It reads intelligently and one has to be aware of the author's motivation to understand the message he wants you to accept as factual. The Deadliest Lies on the other hand is an hysterical screed, without value except it exposes the often used smearing, false intentions, guilt by association, claims of errors, repetition of accusations, substitution of words for those actually written by M&W, claims of "I will show" that never materialize, etc. After reading the book, I wish I would have kept a list of all the unempirical techniques used by Foxman to try and destroy the reputations of M&W. Seeing these methods used repeatedly is a good reason to read the book. It is a lesson in Jewish tribalism that focuses on survival of the clan over interaction and open debate with outsiders.