Originally Posted by ledocs
Stephanie, if oil is not a compelling US interest in the Middle East, what the hell would be?
I didn't say it's not a compelling interest. I said it's not a compelling explanation. I don't believe that the US has ever believed that its Israel policy was putting its access to oil at risk. If one wants to claim that the US's policy from '47 to the present (or during portions of that time) was irrational, I think one has a much tougher argument than Glenn acknowledges, and citing oil doesn't cut it.
I also think it's funny (not in a bad way, it's human) that Glenn insists that the policy is weird because it's irrational when it's clear he's driven by something other than strict rationality, but by a view of the rights and wrongs and identification.
But I welcome a real discussion of the topic.
On the other point, I'm almost ready to agree to disagree. I do think Walter overspoke a bit in reaction to a particular type of argument which I have heard and think justifies the reaction (even if I would use different words to avoid the digression) just as I have heard the anti-semite argument used in ways (different than here) that I think are indeed silencing. I didn't think Glenn was cowering and don't think he should have been surprised to the response to his words that seemed chosen to be provocative. Nor do I think Glenn's argument is a dangerous one -- not at Brown, not at Bard, not at the schools I attended.
But it should have been enough for him to say that anyone who thinks that Jews are driving the policy is wrong.
I think he wanted to make the stronger point -- that those who continue to attribute the influence solely to "Jews" rather than a PAC without (a) distinguishing between the many different positions represented, and (b) noting the relevance of any non-Jewish opinion (other than the Christian Zionists on occasion) despite the problems with that analysis are being sufficiently pigheaded about their conclusion, no matter what, that one wonders why. It seems strange to make this point so significant. It would seem wrong but not strange (and not immoral) to focus on AIPAC rather than "Jews." Maybe I'm wrong in thinking Walter's reaction would be the same.
It's also important, IMO, to acknowledge that one can hold the extreme pro Israel position without thinking its contrary to the interests of the US. Presumably, however much NRA supporters love guns, they don't actually think that their positions on gun laws are bad for the US. Similarly, AIPAC people may have different views on the relationship between Israel and the US and what Israel should do than I do, but I don't assume it's at the expense of what they think is best for the US. My problem with the "the US acts against its interest in Israel due to the influence of Jews" argument is that it smacks of a disloyalty claim. I don't think that was Glenn's point; I don't think Walter accused him of that. But that's the kind of thing I think Walter was reacting against with the "immoral" point.
For further discussion, I suppose I think the "anti-semite" claim and the "racist" claims should both be dropped. It's possible to explore the underlying issues without using the terms and even though I think the "danger" of being called either is more often than not overstated these days, it always creates a diversion from the main subject. But I'd also ask that those who want to talk about the pressures -- who need not be Jewish, IMO -- try to be more specific, because given the diversity of Jewish opinion and the obvious influence of Christian Zionism (along with other more benign non-Jewish opinion, IMO), it does strike me as weird when people insist upon characterizing it as "due to the support of Jews." And, sure, I admit I read or hear the statement quite differently depending on who it comes from.