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Lazare on The Israel Lobby

By ThinkProgress on October 19, 2007 at 6:49 pm

"Lazare on The Israel Lobby"

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I’m a little confused at how it is that I’ve wound up in some kind of blog feud with Jewcy’s Michael Weiss but he seems to regard Daniel Lazare’s somewhat negative review of Walt & Mearsheimer’s The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy as some kind of knock-down refutation of my views. But I liked Lazare’s review! The only observation I would make is that since Lazare is writing for The Nation he’s simply taking the Nation line on the occupation of the Palestinian Territories (namely that it’s immoral and contrary to American interests and, contrary to what you often hear, by no means wholly the fault of Yasser Arafat) for granted.

That’s appropriate in context but it winds up obscuring the fact that Lazare (and I, and Daniel Levy, MJ Rosenberg etc.) are in agreement with Mearsheimer and Walt about a matter of substantial importance even though we all (like, I imagine, almost all liberals) don’t accept the broad Mearsheimer/Walt “realist” perspective or the entirety of its analysis. I believe I’ve said in the past that it’s treatment of the Syria issue, in particular, seems badly wrong.

That said, the point on which Lazare I agree with Walt and Measheimer — that the sort of policies the “Israel lobby” has pushed the United States to adopt vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are neither morally correct nor conducive to America’s interests — is a very important one, and what I’ve repeatedly sought to do is defend them from critics from the right who prefer to evade that point with insinuations of anti-semitism. In this regard, it’s worth commending Martin Kramer, who’s made a real effort in this article and elsewhere to argue on the merits (unconvincingly, in my view, but it’s a real argument that I ought to engage substantively in the future) that the close US-Israel alliance does, in fact, serve American interests.

At any rate, I’m a bit confused about what Weiss’ beef with me is exactly, or why he doesn’t think Josh Marshall is Jewish, but I guess those are matters for another day.

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