Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Israel Lobby

Though pretty much everyone under the sun has written a response to or comment on the recent idiocy from Harvard, this article in today's Wall Street Journal is a nice sum up of the issue at hand. One great line at the end that is worth quoting directly:
Americans don't support Israel because of the strength of any lobby; Israel earns American support the hard way, for the very reasons the Boston cabbie cited several decades ago.
Read the whole thing.

The best specific response I saw, by the way (and there were many good ones) was in Monday's Best of the Web. A quote from there - again, read the whole thing:
Walt and Mearsheimer's method of analysis presumes Israel's guilt. Every past or present Israeli transgression is evidence of its wickedness, whereas Arab ones, if they are acknowledged at all, are "understandable." This approach paints a highly misleading picture. It is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.


  1. I don't have a WSJ account and cannot access the article to which you have linked. Can you reprint it in your blog? Or is that illegal? I would like to read it. Is there another way to access it?

  2. I could not read the article either. But I did read Taranto's commentary and found two items that show that he has a limited historical perspective:

    "But as pro-Western as some of the countries may be, only Israel is a dependable friend of the U.S. And that in the final analysis is the reason why we support Israel. "

    "World War II left Europe owing an incalculable moral debt to both America and the Jews: America because it saved Europe from its own savagery, Jews because they were the primary victims of that savagery. European anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are often hard to tell apart, and it may be because they both reflect a self-loathing aspect of the European psyche--a neurotic need to compensate for an overwhelming sense of historical guilt."

    One problem with these is that the U.S. did NOT support Israel during the first twenty years of its independence. Yes, Truman recognized Israel, but he also imposed an arms embargo. Who supported Israel back then? Europeans! The arms that Israel needed to win its independence were supplied by the new Communist government of Czechoslovakia. During the Suez War, Britain and France supported Israel, while the U.S. was openly on the side of Egypt. France was the major supplier of arms to Israel until De Gaulle precipitated the Six Day War -- something Mitterand would never have done had he defeated De Gaulle in France's 1965 election. One could analyzed Mitterand's SUPPORT for Israel as having been driven by HIS guilt at having been a minor functionary in the Vichy regime.

    The second flaw is that America did not play the major role in defeating the Nazis. Most of the blood was shed by the Soviet army. The continued existence of a militarized, hostile Britain was critical in preventing Hitler from concentrating his entire forces against the threat from the east. US Lend Lease aid to both Britain and the USSR, both of whom were broke, was equally critical. But the actual role played by the US military in combat was strategically rather minor.

  3. Sorry, didn't realize it was a log-in only article. I'm not sure I'm allowed to reprint it in full, so I'm sorry...

    Charlie - I think the point is that without the US, the Soviets and British would have been in far greater trouble, and likely ended at best with a standstill against a Nazi Germany. It is clear that Europe as a whole felt a great sense of debt to the US, particularly with how the US helped rebuild Europe after the war.

    I'm not why the first 20 years necessarily matter; the point is that in recent history, Israel is the US' only dependable ally in the Mideast, and that's why Taranto says the US must support Israel.

    Anyway, I think you'd agree with his overall points.

  4. 'without the US, the Soviets and British would have been in far greater trouble'

    Agreed. But the most important part of the U.S. support was aid, not combat.

    'in recent history, Israel is the US' only dependable ally in the Mideast'


    'that's why Taranto says the US must support Israel'

    I profoundly and totally disagree with this. We should support Israel because it is the morally right thing to do, not because it is an ally of the US. Allies come and go. (For example, Pakistan was a major, important, totally dependable U.S. ally during the entire Cold War.) Morality is supposed to be constant.

  5. He says the morally right argument repeatedly; he's adding this in as well.

  6. My father-in-law studied under Mearsheimer while studying Sociology at the University of Chicago. He had very candid discussion with this schmuck. The guys actually admitted that he sometimes chose to write articles that were based on incorrect premises and that he knew were wrong simply because it would stur up the world of academia and get him more attention that a less controversial article would get him. This was back in the early '80s. I guess it's worked for him.