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Old 11-26-2011, 10:52 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: US Northeast
Posts: 6,784
Default Re: Values Added: The Whirligig of Time (Glenn Loury & Walter Russell Mead)

I listened to that segment of the diavlog again.

Walter states that it isn't Jews who drive US foreign policy towards Israel. He supports this claim by stating that American Jews are, as a group, to the left of current policy. He states that it is American gentiles who support such policies and that their views are more in tune with Likud than those of American Jews.

Glenn correctly brings up (although he doesn't explain it in so many words), that it may be entities like AIPAC that influence such policy. He obviously means that it doesn't matter so much what American Jews as a group may think, but it is the activist group's opinion that counts in terms of influence.

Walter tries to counter that by saying that AIPAC only points out who is pro-Israel or "anti-Israel", and based on that qualification the American electorate (non-Jewish) decides. This is based on the claim that American gentiles are pro-Israel for "complex reasons".

My interpretation of the above is that Walter gives AIPAC the role of "marking" or labeling candidates only, but he doesn't seem to consider the role of that labeling as influence on policy. Furthermore, when he points out that gentiles support Israel "for complex reasons" he doesn't advance the discussion. It's important to know what those complex reasons are. Let's say, that one of those reasons is heavy pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian propaganda. Then, one could still support the view that those who are responsible for the propaganda are influencing US foreign policy.

Then the antisemitism part starts. Walter states, first, "blaming" Jews for what American gentiles believe isn't antisemitism, but it's wrong and it's immoral. Then he introduces the concept of "latent anti-semitism". Then there's a brief mention about W&M and Walter clearly states that their position is antisemitic. Then they move on and both mention their sympathies for the Palestinian people, and their support of the state of Israel's right to exist. Both seem to agree with no noticeable difference in opinions. Walter had a statement about his own feelings about the issue which, IMO, was very nicely articulated. And then towards the end, it seems that Walter needed to present additional support to the idea that American gentiles have been supportive of a state of Israel for a long time. He mentioned MLK but also mentioned a petition presented in the 1890s calling for the establishment of a state of Israel. Glenn appropriately points out that this is not the issue being discussed. And Walter ends the diavlog reiterating what he seems to present as his central message.

In my opinion, Walter was so focused in making his point that he really wasn't listening to Glenn. Glenn tried to point out how the situation on the ground, as it has developed in recent decades, may change people's sympathies somewhat and make them more receptive to the Palestinian's plea. Walter agrees with the sympathies but doesn't make the connection that it is highly unlikely that the American people have been kept informed in an unbiased fashion about what's happening. Who is responsible for that (alleged) lack of information? Perhaps it will be discussed in a future diavlog.

I think that indeed, in order to give Walter the benefit of the doubt, one has to understand that he's trying to counter some more radical claims coming from possible antisemitic groups.

If one doesn't take that in consideration, his position in this diavlog doesn't stand alone. It doesn't address Glenn's questions, and it has the feeling of an attempt to prevent an open discussion by threat of being called a bigot. This latter is what Walter should be careful not to do if he wants to bring light to the topic.
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