Monday, April 03, 2006

Anti-semitism, Harvard-style

The Israeli Lobby

Simply titled "The Israel Lobby," the piece by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt is, more or less, a compendium of every slander and innuendo that's ever been aired about the supposedly pernicious influence of supporters of Israel on US foreign policy.

As such, it is far from unique. One can find similar screeds, filled with the same sort of obvious factual mistakes punctuated by blatant bias, on any number of extremist Web sites hosted by neo-Nazis or Islamists. Indeed, it is a classic example of what the great American liberal historian Richard Hofstader once labeled "the paranoid style in American politics."

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....

The Jerusalem Post
April 3, 2006


One of the strangest convictions ever to escape the sinister mind of an anti-semite is the notion that Jewish people cannot address criticism on its merits. These kooks have the temerity to suggest that Jews deliberately obfuscate issues with irrelevent hypotheticals, false prioris and post hoc fallacies, weaving a web of confusion that anti-semites have coined "Jewspeak." Another dastardly accusation of anti-semites---one that is equally as incredulous as it is odious---is that Jewish people rebuff Gentile critique with ad hominem attacks (such as the often repeated albeit baseless charge that Jews use the word "anti-semite" just a wee bit too liberally), or, even more affronting, that Jews would be unscrupulous and spiteful enough to use their money and political clout to ruin the careers of political dissidents.

This is the 21rst century, folks!

Thank goodness the Jerusalem Post has provided us with a "scientific" refutation of the points raised by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. I have quoted only a few excerpts from the Harvard Study, Israeli Lobby. As this report is too exhaustive to republish here, you may download the full Harvard report here and give it due consideration.

The full report, which alleges Jewish influence on America's academia in order to sway public opinion on middle-eastern affairs, is equally as vitriolic and virulent as the excerpts I will quote below. The Havard study is typical of the unsubstantiated, unscholarly, anti-semitic screed that my colleage, Danny Steinberg, has just finished reporting on his site.

Quite simply, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are pontificating, pecksniffian hucsters of pea-brained, pseudo-intellectual popycock. You have heard a fair and impartial refutation of the Israeli Lobby on the Cohen Report.

Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a new development. It has just come to my attention that Stephen Walt lost his job as academic dean at Harvard. The New York Sun reports that a very large, Jewish financial contributor to Harvard had deep concerns:
"Yesterday's issue of The New York Sun reported that an 'observer' familiar with Harvard said that the University had received calls from 'pro-Israel donors' concerned about the KSG paper. One of the calls, the source told The Sun, was from Robert Belfer, a former Enron director who endowed Walt's professorship when he donated $7.5 million to the Kennedy School's Center for Science and International Affairs in 1997. 'Since the furor, Bob Belfer has called expressing his deep concerns and asked that Stephen not use his professorship title in publicity related to the article,' the source told The Sun."

Before reading the bald-faced, lying, anti-semitic screed that follows, I'd like to personally welcome my viewers and encourage you to read the Cohen Report. Feel free to link to my blog or pick up my site feed so that other Americans can get the same news and commentary. I've included page numbers of the report for your own referrence. Remember, you read the refutation of the Harvard Study on the Cohen Report. Here are excerpts from the Israeli Lobby:

Jewish‐Americans have formed an impressive array of organizations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and well‐known. In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington.[65]AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People (AARP), but ahead of heavyweight lobbies like the AFL‐CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington’s “muscle rankings.”[66] (page 16)

According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, “It is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.”[72]More importantly, he notes that AIPAC is “often called upon to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co‐sponsors and marshal votes.” (page 19)

One reason for the Lobby’s success with Congress is that some key members are Christian Zionists like Dick Armey, who said in September 2002 that “My No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.”[69] One would think that the number 1 priority for any congressman would be to “protect America,” but that is not what Armey said. There are also Jewish senators and congressmen who work to make U.S. foreign policy support Israel’s interests. Pro‐Israel congressional staffers are another source of the Lobby’s power. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, “There are a lot of guys at the working level up here [on Capitol Hill] … who happen to be Jewish, who are willing … to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness …. These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators …. You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.”[70]

It is AIPAC itself, however, that forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. AIPAC’s success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. Money is critical to U.S. elections (as the recent scandal over lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s various shady dealings reminds us), and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the myriad pro‐Israel political action committees. Those seen as hostile to Israel, on the other hand, can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to their political opponents. AIPAC also organizes letter‐writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates. (page 17)

To take but one example, in 1984 AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to one prominent Lobby figure, had “displayed insensitivity and even hostility toour 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.”[71] AIPAC prizes its reputation as a formidable adversary, of course, because it discourages anyone from questioning its agenda. (page 19)

Many of the key organizations in the Lobby, like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations (CPMJO), are run by hardliners who generally supported the expansionist policies of Israel’s Likud Party, including its hostility to the Oslo Peace Process. (page 15).

When Israel Policy Forum president Seymour Reich advised Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to pressure Israel to reopen a crtical border crossing in the Gaza Strip in November 2005, critics denounced his action as “irresponsible behavior,” and declared that, “There is absolutely no room in the Jewish mainstream for actively canvassing against the security‐related policies...of Israel.”[64] Recoiling from these attacks, Reich proclaimed that “the word pressure is not in my vocabulary when it comes to Israel.” (page 16)

The Lobby pursues two broad strategies to promote U.S. support for Israel. First, it wields significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the Executive branch to support Israel down the line. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker’s own views, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the “smart” political choice. Second, the Lobby strives to ensure that public discourse about Israel portrays it in a positive light, by repeating myths about Israel and its founding and by publicizing Israel’s side in the policy debates of the day. The goal is to prevent critical commentary about Israel from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing U.S. support, because a candid discussion of U.S.‐Israeli relations might lead Americans to favor a different policy. (page 17,18)

The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress.[73]Open debate about U.S. policy towards Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. Thus, one of the three main branches of the U.S. government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. As former Senator Ernest Hollings (D‐SC) noted as he was leaving office, “You can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.”[74]Small wonder that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told an American audience. “When people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them--Help AIPAC.”[75] (page 19)

The Lobby also has significant leverage over the Executive branch. That power derives in part from the influence Jewish voters have on presidential elections. Despite their small numbers in the population (less than 3 percent), they make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties. The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates “depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 percent of the money.”[76] Furthermore, Jewish voters have high turn‐out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. Because they matter in close elections, Presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonize Jewish voters. (page19)

Key organizations in the Lobby also directly target the administration in power. For example, pro‐Israel forces make sure that critics of the Jewish state do not get important foreign‐policy appointments. Jimmy Carter wanted to make George Ball his first secretary of state, but he knew that Ball was perceived as critical of Israel and that the Lobby would oppose the appointment.[77]This litmus test forces any aspiring policymaker to become an overt supporter of Israel, which is why public critics of Israeli policy have become an endangered species in the U.S. foreign policy establishment. (page 20)

These constraints still operate today. When 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean called for the United States to take a more “even‐handed role” in the Arab‐Israeli conflict, Senator Joseph Lieberman accused him of selling Israel down the river and said his statement was “irresponsible.”[78]Virtually all of the top Democrats in the House signed a hard‐hitting letter to Dean criticizing his comments, and the Chicago Jewish Star reported that “anonymous attackers … are clogging the e‐mail inboxes of Jewish leaders around the country, warning--without much evidence--that Dean would somehow be bad for Israel.”[79](page 20)

I'm Aaron Cohen and you're reading the Cohen Report.

Selected Footnotes:

[70] Quoted in Mitchell Bard, “Israeli Lobby Power,” Midstream, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January 1987), pp. 6 8.

[71] Quoted in Edward Tivnan, The Lobby: Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987), p. 191. J.J. Goldberg, the editor of the Forward, said in 2002, “There is this image in Congress that you don’t cross these people or they take you down.” Quoted in John Diamond and Brianna B. Piec, “Pro Israel Groups Intensify Political Front in U.S.,” Chicago Tribune, April 16, 2002.

[73] Although AIPAC has been able to use its political muscle to avoid having to register as a foreign agent for another government, it is especially concerned about that problem today because of the Larry Franklin spy scandal, and thus it is going to considerable lengths to emphasize its “American side.” See Ori Nir, “Leaders Fear Probe Will Force Pro Israel Lobby to File as ‘Foreign Agent’ Could Fuel Dual Loyalty Talk,” Forward, December 31, 2004; Idem, “Leaders Stress American Side of AIPAC,” Forward, May 27, 2005.

[74] “Sen. Hollings Floor Statement Setting the Record Straight on His Mideast Newspaper Column,” May 20, 2004, a copy of which can be found on the former Senator’s web site.

[75] Published in an AIPAC advertisement in the Chicago Jewish Star, August 29 – September 11, 2003. Sharon is not alone in his appraisal of AIPAC’s power. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says that “I canʹt think of a policy organization in the country as well organized or respected [as AIPAC]” and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called it “the most effective general interest group . . . across the entire planet.” Former President Bill Clinton described AIPAC as “stunningly effective” and “better than anyone else lobbying in this town.” Quotations downloaded from the AIPAC website on January 14, 2005 [].

[76] Thomas B. Edsall and Alan Cooperman, “GOP Uses Remarks to Court Jews,” Washington Post, March 13, 2003. Also see James D. Besser, “Jews’ Primary Role Expanding,” Jewish Week, January 23, 2004; Alexander Bolton, “Jewish Defections Irk Democrats,” The Hill, March 30, 2004; E.J. Kessler, “Ancient Woes Resurfacing as Dean Eyes Top Dem Post,” Forward, January 28, 2005. Hamilton Jordan wrote a memorandum to President Jimmy Carter in June 1977, in which he said: “Out of 125 members of the Democratic National Finance Council, over 70 are Jewish; In 1976, over 60% of the large donors to the Democratic Party were Jewish; Over 60% of the monies raised by Nixon in 1972 was from Jewish contributors; Over 75% of the monies raised in Humphrey’s 1968 campaign was from Jewish contributors; Over 90% of the monies raised by Scoop Jackson in the Democratic primaries was from Jewish contributors; In spite of the fact that you were a long shot and came from an area of the country where there is a smaller Jewish community, approximately 35% of our primary funds were from Jewish supporters. Wherever there is major political fundraising in this country, you will find American Jews playing a significant role.” Hamilton Jordan, Confidential File, Box 34, File “Foreign Policy/Domestic Politics Memo, HJ Memo, 6/77,” declassified June 12, 1990.

[77] Douglas Brinkley, “Out of the Loop,” The New York Times, December 29, 2002. Lawrence Kaplan reports that after Bruce Riedel, the Middle East expert on the National Security Council, left his job at the end of 2001, the Pentagon “held up the appointment of Riedel’s designated successor, Middle East expert Alina Romanowski, whom Pentagon officials suspect of being insufficiently supportive of the Jewish state.” “Torpedo Boat: How Bush Turned on Arafat,” New Republic, February 18, 2003. The position was eventually filled by Elliot Abrams, a fervent supporter of Israel. “Indeed, for the government of Israel,” Nathan Guttman wrote, “it is a gift from heaven.” See “From Clemency to a Senior Post,” Ha’aretz, December 16, 2002.

[78] E.J. Kessler, “Lieberman and Dean Spar Over Israel,” Forward, September 9, 2003; Stephen Zunes, “Attacks on Dean Expose Democrats’ Shift to the Right,” Tikkun, November/December 2003.

[79] Zunes, “Attacks on Dean”; James D. Besser, “Dean’s Jewish Problem,” Chicago Jewish Star, December 19, 2003 January 8, 2004.

[69] Jake Tapper, “Questions for Dick Armey: Retiring, Not Shy,” New York Times Magazine, September 1, 2002. Also, Tom DeLay has called himself “an Israeli at heart.” See James Bennet, “DeLay Says Palestinians Bear Burden for Achieving Peace,” New York Times, July 30, 2003.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jews can only call names. "Anti -semitic" , "Nazi" - thats all you can say to counter criticism.


4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Thank goodness the Jerusalem Post has provided us with a "scientific" refutation of the points raised by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt."

Funny, I never heard any discussion at all about this paper in the U.S. media, ANYWHERE!

Do you think this supports or undermines that old canard about Jews controlling the media?

2:56 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home