Foxman Confronts “The Israel Lobby” Thesis

Abraham Foxman, who spent his childhood in Vilnius hiding from the Nazis, has a new book out critiquing Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer and Jimmy Carter (two of whom, Mearsheimer and Carter, were prominently featured in CNN’s “God’s Warriors.”)

For Mr. Foxman, the current arguments have an ugly resonance given the historical context: He cites the Dreyfus Affair, Hitler’s allegations that Jews undermined the German effort in World War I, and Stalin’s doubts about Jewish loyalty as significant precedents to the recent charges. “To survive Hitler and to survive postwar communist Europe and to relive these hideous canards, just because they’re being paraded by professors with titles from Chicago and Harvard, does not change their reality,” said Mr. Foxman, making clear he does not equate the current authors with either Hitler or Stalin.

At stake, says Mr. Foxman, is the ability of Jews to engage in American democracy as citizens, much like Irish Americans, Cuban Americans, Italian Americans and members of other ethnic groups. “Will Jews be less willing to act out their full citizenship on issues for fear of being accused of being disloyal or not loyal enough or more loyal to Israel than America?” If some American Jews want to advocate on behalf of Israel or any other cause, he added, “that’s what American democracy is all about.”

“The Deadliest Lies,” which Mr. Foxman hopes will find its way onto academic reading lists that include the books addressed in his account, provides a litany of errors and illogicalities in the works it disputes. Among the offenses: the “denigration” by Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer of Israel’s offer to Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000; their “minimization” of Palestinian-Arab terror attacks on Israeli civilians; their account of the demise of Senator Charles Percy of Illinois, the only politician they believe was forced out of office by the “Lobby,” in an electoral defeat that Mr. Foxman attributes instead to the power of Chicago’s Democratic machine; and numerous examples, omitted from the work of Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer, of American administrations acting in opposition to Israel and its advocates.

Regarding Mr. Carter, Mr. Foxman quotes Kenneth Stein, a former aide to the president, to dispute the former president’s assertion that Menachem Begin ever made any commitment during Camp David discussions on settlements in the West Bank, and certainly none involving stopping their growth.

Mr. Shultz goes even further in refuting the idea that any “Israel Lobby” dictates American foreign policy, enumerating America’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia during the Reagan administration and recounting Reagan’s decision to visit the Bitburg cemetery. He also cautions against scapegoating. “When we make a wrong decision – even one that is recommended by Israel and supported by American Jewish groups – it is our decision, and one for which we alone are responsible,” Mr. Shultz writes. “We act in our own interest. And when we mistakenly conclude from time to time – as we will – that an action or policy is in America’s interest, we must take responsibility for the mistake.”

Read more here.

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One Response to “Foxman Confronts “The Israel Lobby” Thesis”

  1. Eris Says:

    Zombie beat me to creating a graphic of the Walt/Mearsheimer Jewish Lobby drek in the toilet, at Little Green Footballs. (Zombie: Walt and Mearsheimer, Right Where They Belong.)

    I don’t think these professors are actually anti-Semitic. However, what they are is worse than run-of-the-mill anti-Semitism because it affects us all.

    Allow me to explain.

    It is true that Walt and Mearsheimer are utilizing the same anti-Semitic tactics as despots who wish to distract from the malignant social ills that despots foster. Unlike despots who fabricate Jewish conspiracy theories out of a combination of opportunism and actual hate, however, these professors have written their essay and book based on the former motivation alone, opportunism.

    Their motivation for this outrage is primarily because “the Jews are there”, are the target du jour of the Islamofascists (for now!), and have proven useful as punching bags to countless others in history.

    The professors’ writings show no respect for the Jewish people and for their past persecutions, but the professors are not anti-Semitic, just amoral and opportunistic. Accusations of anti-Semitism are a distraction from the real issues.

    Walt and Mearscheimer know full well there is no super-powerful “Jewish Lobby”, that the pro-Israel lobbyists have competing counterparts representing many other causes and countries, and that the pro-Israel lobby is not particularly remarkable in this environment. They know full well that the misrepresentations of fact, omissions, things taken out of context, logical errors, etc. in their prior paper and this book are indeed risible, the trash produced by dilettantes, not by serious researchers.

    But they don’t care.

    What would make them produce such garbage?

    Fear of Islamofascism, and the standards of (mis)conduct that come right from the halls of academia with which they’ve lived their lives, notably amorality and betrayal of friends when some self-interest is served. (For professors, it’s usually money and status.) They are clearly enthralled with university culture and attempting to export that pathologic “culture” to the rest of the world.

    What is the “gain” here? In the main, I do think the reason d’atre of their book is one of appeasement and surrender to Islamofascism.

    A few hundred million insane bloodthirsty Arabs and other followers of the death cult of Islam calling for Death to Israel and Death to America: what better way to appease them than writing a book that the authors hope will cause the U.S. to hang Israel out to dry in the face of genocidal maniacs, groups and countries like Hezbollah, Hamas, Ahmadinejad, Syria and Iran?

    In fact, they are not anti-Semites. Rather, they are equal opportunity amoralists. If the Islamofascists were chanting “Death to Mexico! Death to America!”, Walt and Mearsheimer would undoubtedly craft conspiracy theories that might justify allowing Osama and his minions to relocate from Waziristan to Acapulco.

    University professors are renowned for turning on their friends, students and colleagues at the drop of a hat, if they see a personal gain in doing so. They could care less about ruining careers and lives. See for example, “Academic Tyranny: The Tale and the Lessons”, Robert Weissberg, Review of Policy Research, Vol. 15 no. 4 P. 99-110, Dec. 1998, and especially “Authorship: The Coin of the Realm, The Source of Complaints” by Wilcox, Journal of the AMA, Vol. 280 No. 3, July 15, 1998 that describes how stealing of others’ work and career-ending professorial retaliation against those who complain is common at Walt’s university, Harvard. Of course see http://www.thefire.org as well.

    So, Walt and Mearsheimer wrote this book in all its faux-academic glory in the cowardly and academic-culture-inspired hope of spearheading a U.S. betrayal of its friend, Israel, in their hope that this will satiate the Islamofascists’ appetite for blood and “honor.”

    They are incredibly reckless in this regard. Their book is quite socially irresponsible (not a new thing for academia). Their whole theme, abandonment of friends for supposed secondary gain, i.e., the appeasement of a brutal terrorist killer culture, is explicitly amoral (and likely immoral as well for those of us not prone to moral relativism) as well as anti-American.

    They are using this book and likely their educational pulpits with students as a weapon, with the desired collateral damage of weakening the U.S. (Does anyone even need to ask anymore why Ivy professors might be against a strong United States?)

    Walt and Mearsheimer, through their arrogance, stupidity, and exportation of academia’s amoral tyranny, are tacitly working for our enemies.

    These professors are out of control, like a runaway locomotive, thanks to the cheerful support of opportunistic anti-Semites and the MSM (I’m not sure those two are entirely separable). They need to be stopped – however, accusations of anti-Semitism are a distraction and they know it.

    Walt and Mearsheimer have more in common with Arthur Neville Chamberlain than David Ernest Duke or Alfred Charles Sharpton.

    That said, as Abraham Foxman, Alan Dershowitz, and many others as well have observed (documented at the CAMERA – Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America story “Updated Roundup of Coverage of the Walt/Mearsheimer Israel Lobby Controversy” at http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=8&x_nameinnews=189&x_article=1105), Walt & Mearsheimer’s faux-scholarship is “riddled with errors” that tend to slant it “in the exact same direction, thus we are dealing not with a little unfortunate carelessness but with a culpable degree of bias.”

    I submit again that their “carelessness and bias” is most likely knowing and deliberate, but not due to anti-Semitism. Its purpose is promoting appeasement and the weakening of America, at a cost to Israelis and Jews the professors are indifferent to and simply don’t care about, typical of Ivy professors who want their way, period.

    There is a term for deliberate and knowing falsification in academia for any secondary purpose:

    Academic Fraud.

    Walt and Mearshiemer have placed themselves in the same league as Finkelstein, Chomsky, and other academic fabricators.

    Charges of anti-Semitism are a distraction from their motivations. Charges of academic incompetence are not highly credible considering the experience, resources and positions of these professors.

    Charges of deliberate academic fraud are, I believe, closer to reality, and perhaps hold the key to successful challenging of this dangerous charade.

    In summary, Walt and Mearsheimer’s distortions are knowing and deliberate, in the interest of appeasement of Islamofascism and the weakening of the “imperialist AmeriKKKa.” The Israelis and Jews make good cannon fodder because “they’re there” and have a historical track record of serving this purpose for despots. W&M malign the Jews not out of anti-Semitism but out of amoral academic convenience.

    This is worse than run-of-the-mill professorial anti-Semitism due to its generalized, nihilistic stupidity.

    My only hope is that these professors are doing this of their own volition, and that there are no “handlers” involved.

    – ERIS

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