Powered by WebAds

Friday, September 07, 2007

The New York Times pegs Walt and Mearsheimer as anti-Semites

Arthur Hays Sulzberger must be rolling over in his grave. Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times during World War II, argued that all Jews are not brothers and that American Jews bore no responsibility to try to save Jews endangered by the Nazis. Under his stewardship, the Times often downplayed the Holocaust. He was known in my circles as the classic Jewish anti-Semite.

Today, in its review of The Israel Lobby, the Times all but comes out and calls the authors, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, anti-Semites.

Hat Tip: Contentions

The authors state, on several occasions, their belief that Israel has a moral and legal right to exist, but the effect of their book is to leave it dangling by a moral and strategic thread. In essence they call for the United States to cut Israel loose, to return more or less to American policy before the 1967 war, when the United States tried to occupy a middle ground between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Strangely, the authors do not itemize the fabulous benefits delivered by this approach in the 1950s and ’60s.

It is a little odd that so chilly a book should generate such heat. Most of Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt’s arguments are familiar ones, and it is hardly inflammatory to point out that the major Jewish organizations tend to take a much tougher line on, say, a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, the Iraq war or settlements in the West Bank, than most American Jews favor. The writers stand on eminently defensible ground when they argue for a more constructive, creative American role in peace talks.

The general tone of hostility to Israel grates on the nerves, however, along with an unignorable impression that hardheaded political realism can be subject to its own peculiar fantasies. Israel is not simply one country among many, for example, just as Britain is not. Americans feel strong ties of history, religion, culture and, yes, sentiment, that the authors recognize, but only in an airy, abstract way.

They also seem to feel that, with Israel and its lobby pushed to the side, the desert will bloom with flowers. A peace deal with Syria would surely follow, with a resultant end to hostile activity by Hezbollah and Hamas. Next would come a Palestinian state, depriving Al Qaeda of its principal recruiting tool. (The authors wave away the idea that Islamic terrorism thrives for other reasons.) Well, yes, Iran does seem to be a problem, but the authors argue that no one should be particularly bothered by an Iran with nuclear weapons. And on and on.

I can't wait to see the letters to the editor.


Post a Comment

<< Home