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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

View from America: American anti-Israel politics

I think that this article does a great job of putting the "Israel Lobby" into perspective.

But what differentiates Mearsheimer and Walt from the 19th-century anti-Semitic populists that Hofstader wrote about - or even a contemporary example such as Louisiana Klansman David Duke - is their credentials.

Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, while Walt is the Robert and Ren e Belfer Professor of International Affairs, as well as academic dean at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Both hold sinecures in the heart of the academic establishment.

Their goal isn't just to attack Israel, but to delegitimize Israel's supporters. The main point of "The Lobby" is to portray the pro-Israel community as a vast conspiracy that controls the media, Capitol Hill and the White House, and which ruthlessly squelches any resistance to Israeli policies.

The truth is less exciting. A consensus of Americans across party-lines and religious affiliation identify with Israel not because they do the bidding of the Elders of Zion, but because they see it for what it is: a democratic state in a sea of Arab tyranny with its roots in a common Judeo-Christian civilization.

No one has to bribe or hornswoggle ordinary Americans to back Israel. Whether they base their support on the Bible (as many American Christians do) or on sympathy with a fellow democracy afflicted by terrorists, the American love affair with the Jewish state has withstood the assaults of a biased media (another point Mearsheimer and Walt get completely wrong) and demagogic attacks from the extreme Left or Right.

Read it all.


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