Thursday, March 23, 2006

"The Israeli Lobby," discussed in Haaretz

Sasa at Syria News Wire asks: "Has Khaddam lost his mind - Khaddam accuses Palestinian MP of spying for Israel." Khaddam is accusing Israeli MP, Azme Bashara of having spied on Syria.

Sami Moubayed explains why the appointment of Najah al-Attar as Syria's first woman Vice President, may or may not be important. She is from a notable, non-Bathist family. Her brother, Issam al-Attar, now exiled in Europe, was the leader of the Muslim Brothers. Sami provides a number of interesting statistics about the advancement of women in various sectors of the Syrian work force.

Haaretz must be congratulated. Akiva Eldar proves that the Israeli press is bolder than the US press. In an article entitled, "A 'lite' plan for the enlightened voter" of (21/03/2006), Eldar includes the following section about "the Lobby in the crosshairs," which addresses the hard hitting and controversial article entitled, "The Israel Lobby" by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard in the "London Review of Books." The article has yet to be discussed in the US press.

Lobby in the crosshairs

The combination of an initiative aimed against Hamas - a party that is officially defined as a "terror organization" - and a Congressional election year should have insured that for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), passing a law limiting the aid to the Hamas government and associated bodies would be as easy as cutting through butter with a knife. And now, to the great surprise of the heads of the strongest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, nearly two months after they planted the proposal for the law with their obedient servants in both the House and the Senate, and two weeks after they sent out 2,000 activists to assault Capitol Hill, the proposal is still stuck deep in the pipeline.

Thus far about 150 members the House of Representatives have signed the proposal, about 70 short of the required number. On the weekend, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that AIPAC had distributed to its activists a panicked bulletin warning them that if the missing votes are not recruited by next Wednesday, the initiative will be lost.

An aide to a member of Congress told the Jewish weekly Forward that apparently the penny has finally dropped for the elected representatives of the American public. They have started to realize that the constant harassment of Arabs is liable to damage American interests in the Middle East, especially in Iraq.

It is possible that he, like many of his colleagues in the power centers of Washington, has read a new study on the pro-Israel lobby published by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Two professors, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, dared to put in writing things that are often heard in closed rooms now that the U.S. has sunk into the Iraqi swamp. The group of neo-conservatives that pushed President George W. Bush into this swamp has become the punching bag of U.S. academia and media, and it was only a question of time before it became Israel's turn to pay the price of the battle waged by Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and their colleagues in the pro-Israel lobby and its allies on the Christian right.

The start of the trial of the two AIPAC men accused of handing secret information over to Israel looks like the perfect timing for the publication of one of the most critical documents ever written at a first-rank academic institution about U.S. policy toward Israel (the main points of the article appear on The London Review of Books' Web site). The authors argue that the American support for Israel was one of the main reasons for the Al-Qaida terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

"There is no question," they write, "that many Al-Qaida leaders, including Bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians."

They note that American public opinion polls and research institutes show that the one-sided policy toward Israel is attracting fire against the United States on the Arab street and helping fanatics like Bin Laden to recruit activists. The researchers argue that Israel is detrimentally dragging the United States into a struggle against Iran. Moreover, they state that the nuclear weaponry in Israel's hands is one of the reasons that Iran, like other countries in the region, also wants to equip itself with a bomb. In their opinion, the American threat to depose the governments of those states increases nuclear appetites.

The two do not refrain from mentioning that Israel consistently bites the American hand that feeds it - usually, contrary to U.S. interests. With its one hand, Israel is establishing settlements, contrary to the wishes of the Untied States, and with the other it is smiting the Palestinians and tearing up American peace plans one after the other.

Once the pictures of American soldiers dying in Baghdad and of hungry Palestinian children in Gaza schools obliterate the pictures of the Israeli children killed in buses in Jerusalem and the Qassams in Sderot, the new government in Israel may well discover a different America.
Mearsheimer and Walt's article begins:
For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’.


At 3/23/2006 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Metaz K. M. Aldendeshe said...

I don't know of any Syrian school kid that do not know all that said in this article and much more. Yes, there are so much more, the article do not even scratch the surface. The long time damage and the future economic security (which is everything for America) is enormous. In fact, I would say that Israel's biggest threats are not the Palestinians and Arab enemies / armies, and America biggest threats are neither Oil supply nor Iranian nukes but AIPAC and like Zionist Organizations.

These Organizations has outdone it's usefulness and became outdated and outmoded just like the Russian Communist party.

Israel worry should be how to prosper in the region and make those around them develop and prosper, that is the secure future for everyone. We discussed in the past the other alternatives.

At 3/23/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger ActiveListener said...

Mearsheimer and Walt have enormous courage. They have written their paper carefully and wearing kid gloves but I can imagine the raging firestorm of personal abuse and threats to their professional careers they are now engulfed in. It’s depressing that they had to go outside America to get this published. Even more revealing is the stunning silence by the mainstream American press. These two facts alone demonstrate the truth of what they have said in their paper.

But say even if it's not true, why not at least have it healthily debated and examined? Instead, leaden, choked silence.

And you too Dr Josh appear to have been timid about dealing with it. It’s been several days since people in your comments section started asking for it to be discussed, yet you have posted anything and everything else you can think of, and even now you place it under other topics and use the Israeli angle as a way of introducing it. This is far, far more central to current and future ME affairs than anything Kanaan might have allegedly said.

However, you deserve praise for now focusing on it and bringing the Haaratz article to wider attention. I suspect that even this puts you in danger of aggressive arguments and criticism and sly slandering by some of your academic, media and think tank associates.

If Mearsheimer and Walt’s argument ever gets aired in America and the discussion gains momentum it would be a massive turning point. The Israeli lobby and the agendas it spins is one of the biggest and most dangerous confidence tricks in modern history and will be baffling to future analysts – especially if America is tipped into hostilities with Iran. So many American legislators and media figures would have to frantically cover their tracks and do back flips to avoid being exposed as fools.

Many key people in Israel themselves don’t buy what the Israeli lobby has sold in the US. Check what Meretz-Yahad Party leader Dr. Yossi Beilin and others there have been saying about Israel’s future extinction if things keep going the way they are.

(Mearsheimer comments here on how his mild academic piece proved too hot to handle in American publications:

At 3/23/2006 07:59:00 PM, Blogger t_desco said...

Zouheir Siddik nie s’être jamais rétracté sur son témoignage (!)
L'Orient-Le Jour

"The statement said Syria received a letter from another Syrian witness who has been identified by the report -- Mohammad Zuhair al-Siddiq -- stating that "he had been kidnapped and forced to make his previous testimony" to implicate Syria."
Reuters, December 14, 2005

This is going to be interesting...

At 3/23/2006 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Syrian Republican Party said...

Harvard to remove official seal from anti-AIPAC 'working paper'
By Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Harvard University has decided to remove its logo from a study that denounces the pro-Israel lobby's impact on American foreign policy, in order to distance itself from the study's conclusions.

The university also appended a more strongly worded disclaimer to the study, stating that it reflects the views of its authors only. The former disclaimer said merely that the study "does not necessarily" reflect the university's views.

The controversial study, published this week, was authored by Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago. It charged that American foreign policy has been subordinated to Israeli interests and accused the pro-Israel lobby of responsibility for America's invasion of Iraq.

At 3/28/2006 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Eleanor said...

The courage of Mearsheimer and Walt in exposing the Israeli Lobby will probably result in The Lobby destroying their careers. For a description of the absurd Wall Street Journal reaction see


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