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Old 11-26-2011, 03:23 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
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.
To focus on this specifically--

I don't think it's quite fair to blame Walter for not addressing Glenn's questions. Glenn, unfortunately, started out with the "it's the Jews" explanation, and Walter, IMO understandably, felt compelled to address that claim, however tentatively stated, because of the context. I think the insistence by some -- and this is part of the overarching debate, IMO -- that the US policy must be driven by Jews is sufficiently prominent and problematic that it needs to be addressed. I think this is part of what J-Street is doing with its surveys of Jewish opinion, although another part, of course, is to counter AIPAC's claim to speak for all Jews. So once Glenn brought up that angle, the discussion focused on that, and not the more straightforward question "why are Americans on average pro Israel and not pro Palestinian"? Why does the I/P question seem to have an effect on US politics that is so dramatic -- if 20%, like Walter said (that seems too high to me, but I haven't researched it), a number that has no connection to the Jewish population.

But more generally, I do think that we need to be able to have an open discussion of the issue including pointing out when certain arguments seem to have a connection to historical anti-Jewish arguments in order to understand a policy that seems driven by many things, not simply a disagreement between foreign policy realists on either sides. Similarly, I think it's okay -- even if I often think a misunderstanding -- for people to note that there may be colonialist or "racist" elements to the failure of many Americans to identify as much with the plight of the Palestinians. I do not in fact think this is a compelling explanation, but given that we are talking about emotional reactions and identification issues, I don't think bringing up such concerns or exploring them is an effort to silence.

And on the effort to silence issue, neither Walter nor Glenn is a politician, where these kinds of accusations (or simply being accused of being anti Israel) is a big problem. Both are prominent professors at left-leaning schools. In that environment (I know from having gone to a couple that would be so classed, neither of which is as far left as Brown, where Glenn is, IMO), Glenn's views are not uncommon or dangerous. They are mainstream, whereas admitting sympathy for AIPAC likely would not be. Which is not to say that one is silenced if one does -- the claims by the right to be silenced in such environments also struck me as a gross overstatement. (Indeed, the complaints that it's unfair tactics to note potential anti-semitism strike me as not unlike the overwrought complaints about being called racist in other contexts.)
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