Steve Walt, “Israel Lobby” Author, Speaks at the Harvard Club

It’s no secret I’m deeply opposed to the “Israel Lobby” thesis put forward by Steve Walt and John Mearsheimer. What bothers me most is not their singling out of the pro-Israel community, a charge that borders upon the old double loyalty canard, is that it’s not accurate. I remember covering the nascent effort to oust Saddam Hussein from Iraq beginning in 1998 and the organized pro-Israel community wanted absolutely nothing to do with this cause. Their concerns were the discussion between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the threat of Iran developing WMD, a point made by Ariel Sharon prior to the Iraq War.

Yesterday, Steve Walt, who is already an academic dean at the Kennedy School of Government, spoke at the downtown Harvard Club of Boston. I was there. It was interesting to see Walt, whose claim is that he is seeking more dialogue and debate on the Middle East, attempt to shut down his critical questioners. He said, “Everyone should be aware of what’s going on here, which is fairly classic. We pointed out in our original paper that anybody who criticizes Israeli policies or anybody who criticizes the Israel lobby immediately gets attacked for being anti-Semitic. This is the standard operating procedure.” So much for dialogue.

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2 Responses to “Steve Walt, “Israel Lobby” Author, Speaks at the Harvard Club”

  1. delia Says:

    The problem is that “dialogue” — such as it is on the topic of the Lobby since the M&W paper appeared — consists of “you’re an antisemite,” “am not,” “are so,” “am not,” etc., ad nauseum. Although M & W are accused of sloppy scholarship, I’ve yet to see a reasoned critique of the paper on those grounds. There’s lots to critique there, if you’re not a fan of the Realist school of IR, but so far no one has produced a critique that doesn’t very quickly slide into an ad hominem attack.

  2. Joe Lieberman’s War « Dispatches from Seth Gitell Says:

    […] Dispatches from Seth Gitell on politics from Boston to Beirut (and of course… food) « Steve Walt, “Israel Lobby” Author, Speaks at the Harvard Club […]

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