Perhaps I’m misreading, but it seems to me that in his reply to Alan Wolfe David Greenberg seems to indicate that to accuse Israel of “war crimes” is, as such, to engage in anti-semitism. Ironically, however, when going through his list of who the anti-semites are, Greenberg clarifies: “I don’t mean mere critics of Israeli policies, such as of the occupation of the West Bank or the building of the security fence or of the Lebanon incursion. Criticize away!” Well, okay, fair enough. But what if one were to criticize the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in part on the grounds that the settlement-construction program there, initiated in the 70s but continuing throughout the Oslo era, was and is in violation of international law. In short, war crimes have been committed. Similarly, Human Rights Watch has documented war crimes on both sides of the Summer War in Lebanon.
Is it really anti-semitism to point this out?
Similarly, to Jeffrey Herf anyone who thinks the “Israel lobby” (this is not really a term I’m enthusiastic about) is more powerful than Herf does is an anti-semite. Again, I would suggest he think harder about this. Clearly, people are going to disagree about precisely how powerful any given lobbying group is; these disagreements can’t all be chalked up to various forms of racial animosity. If Mearsheimer and Walt overestimate the power of the Israel lobby, mightn’t they just be mistaken? Especially in the absence of actual evidence that Mearsheimer, Walt, Jimmy Carter, Kenneth Roth, etc. actually have some sort of animosity toward Jewish people, isn’t it safer to conclude that disagreements about Israel’s policies and America’s policies toward Israel are just disagreements about controversial political issues? People say a lot of heated things in political debates.