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Old 11-26-2011, 03:02 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Values Added: The Whirligig of Time (Glenn Loury & Walter Russell Mead)

Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
I listened to that segment of the diavlog again.
I think the whole thing gets started by Glenn's way of phrasing the question which is here. Given that he starts out by referencing a naive viewer (him, he then says) who would look at what goes on and assumes that it's the result of the influence of the American Jewish community on our policy. It's that statement that gets Walter off on the whole argument over whether it's the Jewish community or other factors which are to blame.

And, sure, I agree that the reason this triggers a response as much as it does is because there's a lot of suspicion about why people frame it in that way and in the motives or underlying (even unconscious) assumptions of people who do. I didn't think Walter was suggesting that was the case for Glenn, but simply that that was a mistaken way to look at it and pushed by those who should know better (and those people were the ones Walter was suggesting may be anti-semitic). But I don't think the context that led to Walter's response is a specialized one, although it may well be a cultural one.

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.
Yes, and I see this as a better way (though still an incomplete one, as if it were just AIPAC I don't think you'd have the result we do) as framing the issue. And a quite different one, again, than the one Walter objected to more strongly, even though he still disagrees with this one, as you note. When the discussion turns to AIPAC he compares it with other PACs (like the NRA) which is right -- it's different than claiming that American policy is solely due to the Jews or some such, which has much different connotations.

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.
They are talking about a limited topic at that point. I don't think there's any reason to think Walter couldn't or wouldn't go into more detail about what he sees the complex reasons to be. (That's something I'm interested in and have tried to be open in considering myself.) Indeed, I think that might be something a longer discussion between them would address. (I don't think propaganda attributable to AIPAC is likely to be a strong explanation, although obviously there's been a telling of the story from a multiplicity of sources in the US that inclines non Jewish Americans to identify more with Israel. And in my experience (which is, I suppose, not all that great), Glenn's response that shows an identification with the Palestinians is relatively common in the African-American community these days.)

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.
I had a slightly different take on this. Walter said what you note above -- basically that the willingness to believe that it's all the Jews, despite the evidence, is a sign of latent anti-semitism. Glenn pushed back saying that he doesn't disagree if it is wrong, but what does Walter think about W&M? Now, there's a simple way that Walter could have responded -- he could have said that contrary to how it was sometimes reported W&M's article (I haven't read the book) did not simply explain things as the influence of "the Jews," as their "Israel Lobby" includes other forces, such as Christian Zionism, and notes that pressure from Jewish groups is not limited to one policy view as represented by AIPAC. (There's still a real problem in their analysis, IMO.) However, it seems that Walter's views have hardened re Mearsheimer, perhaps due to this recent book that was recommended or something more, I don't know. Therefore, he merely evaded the direct question and said the article was silly and referenced his prior review.

I thought Glenn's raising of the question as to why Americans on average interpret the issue and identify differently than he does, so strongly, was the key question (here) and one worth discussion. However, clearly, most Americans don't feel all that strongly about the issue, which is why the smaller number who do tend to drive the debate. That the mild sentiment that exists even among those who don't care much tends to be tilted differently in the US than many other places is relevant, though, and I think giving the power there to AIPAC provides it with rather unrealistic powers.

Similarly, I think the NRA has an influence on US policy, but that there's a decent sized number of Americans who are sympathetic to many of the basic messages on which the gun rights argument relies can't be attributed to NRA's amazing marketing skills. There's something more. If it's just that damned NRA getting Americans to think stupid things (or AIPAC or the Jews forcing the American people to go against their own interests), the analysis is implausible, such that it's hard to see how people could think that's all it is. Add to that the background to the idea of an ethnic group turning US policy against US interests and the history of those kinds of arguments re Jews in particular, and I continue to think Walter's comments were not at all unreasonable and can't be compared with people who respond to any suggestion that Israel is ever imperfect with accusations that one is anti-semitic or wants Israel destroyed.

Last edited by stephanie; 11-26-2011 at 03:25 PM.. Reason: fix quoting
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