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Old 11-23-2011, 10:19 PM
ledocs ledocs is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: France, Earth
Posts: 1,165
Default Re: Values Added: The Whirligig of Time (Glenn Loury & Walter Russell Mead)

ohreally said:

Mead protests too much. I don't recall Loury blaming "The Jews" for anything,
I'll have to look at Mead's review of Walt/Mearsheimer in "Foreign Affairs," but it seems to me that Mead's reasoning is seriously flawed.

In the first place, Walt/Mearsheimer did not depict the "Israel lobby" as a monolithically Jewish lobby. All along, there was the acknowledgment that the "Israel lobby" contains, or depends upon important gentile support. But more importantly, one cannot look at the influence of the alleged lobby and then do a polling analysis of the American Jewish community, an analysis based upon one-man/one-vote, with each vote bearing equal weight, and then conclude that the alleged lobby, which represents the "Israel right or wrong" portion of the American Jewish electorate, does not exert outsized and disproportionate influence. One could not conclude this logically, even if one stipulated that every "fact" Mead alleges about the preferences of each Jewish individual in the US is true. In order to think that there is no specifically Jewish lobby that is influencing policy in a pro-Israel direction, one would have to think, for example, that Wonderment and I exert as much influence on American policy towards Israel as William Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. I would contend that such a thought is preposterous on its face. But OK, let's make this a fairer fight. Who exerts more influence on America's policy towards Israel, David Remnick or William Kristol, or Noam Chomsky or Abraham Foxman?

I think Mead has a good point, if his assertion is that no subset of the American Jewish community, no matter how rich and well connected, could, completely by itself, account for American foreign policy towards Israel. If we look at the Iraq war, which was the policy decision that evoked the Walt/Mearsheimer book, there had to be an alliance between the gentiles, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, and the Jewish neocons Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle. At the level of the foreign policy elite, there is, in my opinion, undoubtedly a faction which thinks that Israel’s contributions to US interests in the Middle East in the military/intelligence realm outweigh any liability the US-Israel alliance represents in terms of access to oil or the recruitment of Islamo-terrorists.

If Mead insists upon calling me an anti-Semite because I believe that there is a specifically Jewish lobby, an important subset of the larger “Israel lobby” that would also include the Christian Zionists, that exerts disproportionate influence on American policy towards Israel, I guess I’ll have to live with the accusation. But I think it’s a bit weird to be calling “left-wing” American Jews who desperately want an end to the occupation and whose views are not aligned with those of Kristol-Podhoretz-Perle-Wolfowitz-Feith-Krauthammer anti-Semites.

But just from the point of view of political science, I don’t see how one can look at the politics of the United States and then proceed to do a one-man, one-vote analysis of virtually anything, an analysis in which every vote is given equal weight. So, for example, I think it is widely recognized that the Cuban exile community in Florida exerts a disproportionate influence on US policy towards Cuba, partly because Florida is an important swing state in US presidential politics. For similar reasons, one has to consider the possibility that the particular makeup of the Jewish communities in New York and Florida leads to results that are not consistent with the political outcomes that would be expected from doing a poll of all Jewish voters in New York and Florida and then weighing every straw-poll vote in the poll equally.

If one goes on to youtube, one can see videos of Stephen Walt addressing very enthusiastic crowds of American Jews who would like to see an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and a more even-handed American foreign policy as regards the Israel-Palestinian debate. So let us stipulate that the Jewish community in America is itself divided on this question. How does it follow from this that there cannot be a “neocon” Jewish lobby that exerts disproportionate influence, say by a factor of 3 to 4 to one, or even by 100 to 1, in terms of its sheer numbers on a one-man, one-vote basis, on US policy towards Israel? Are we supposed to ignore the fact that the people pulling the strings at AIPAC, and who are using specific techniques to achieve the 20% drop in overall vote count for the “anti-Israel” candidates they target, are Jewish? I mean, let’s get real. But sure, AIPAC could not achieve the results it does achieve in the absence of factors in the history and sociology of American gentiles that make its propaganda techniques so effective. One also has to look at this from the other point of view. Would America's policy towards Israel be what it is in the absence of AIPAC?

If Loury is going to stand up to Mead in a future discussion of this issue, Loury is clearly going to have to do a lot more reading and thinking about it than he has done. It’s not a fair fight. So I think bhtv needs to persuade Walt or someone like him to do it. Let’s see Mead call Walt an anti-Semite. That could be interesting.

Last edited by ledocs; 11-24-2011 at 12:28 AM..
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