Homogeneity

New Republic editor in chief Martin Peretz writes of George Shultz’s take on Walt and Measheimer that I should “Read him and take him seriously.” Well, okay. Shultz says: “Anyone who thinks that Jewish groups constitute a homogeneous ‘lobby’ ought to spend some time dealing with them.”

I’m not quite sure I understand where in the journalistic ethics manual it says “if you’re attacking critics of Israel, you’re allowed to completely misrepresent their work” but since it’s available online let me offer a link to the original Walt/Mearsheimer “Israel lobby” essay which says “This is not meant to suggest that ‘the Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues. Not all Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby […] Jewish Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies […] The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals” and so forth.

I really hate to write on this topic so frequently, because I really do think Walt and Mearsheimer overstate the centrality of the “lobby” to US policy in the broader region, and I don’t want to be an obsessive on this subject. But it’s really absurd how frequently and eagerly major publications are willing to run silly distortions of their position. Surely if the Walt/Measheimer argument is so wrong, its critics ought to be able to rebut the actual argument.