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Old 11-30-2011, 06:40 AM
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)

And I think it's a bit of a strawman to keep bringing up W&M in connection with the anti-semitism claim, because Walter didn't say that their analysis was anti-semitic. You seem to be assuming that I am or he was suggesting that it would be and defending by saying (which of course I know is true) that many Jews agree with their claim. But that's not how I understood Walter and, in any case, not what I'm saying. Walter seems to now think that Mearsheimer recommended an anti-semitic book, but I have no knowledge about or interest in that.
Did you read Mead's review of the Walt/Mearsheimer book? He says that the book is not anti-Semitic but that its rhetorical style leaves it open to such a charge. And he does nothing in the review to back up this characterization. Then Mead moves on in this dv to accusing Mearsheimer, essentially, of being an anti-Semite. Mearsheimer has endorsed a book that is “clearly anti-Semitic.” Mead does not say what the book is, he doesn't say if Mearsheimer might have had motives for endorsing the book that would lead to a more innocuous interpretation of the endorsement than the one he is suggesting, we don't know what Mead's grounds are for asserting that the book in question is "clearly anti-Semitic."

But I have now gone to the trouble of looking all this up, and the results are…incredible.

Here is the Andrew Sullivan blog post about Mearsheimer’s blurb for a “clearly anti-Semitic” book.


Does Sullivan say, as Mead overwhelmingly implies, that the book for which Mearsheimer provided a blurb is “clearly anti-Semitic?” No, he says nothing of the sort. Here is what Sullivan says:

I have a hard time commenting on this since I have not read the book in question, although Atzmon strikes me as a disturbed figure wont to write obviously explosive things. Here is Mearsheimer's view of the dude…
It turns out that Atzmon sounds (according to Sullivan's summary of Mearsheimer's reading of him) a bit like Wonderment, noted anti-Semite. Mead misrepresents the brouhaha. Who else endorsed the offending book? Richard Falk. I knew Richard Falk, a Jew, when I was a boy. My father and he were friends and colleagues at Ohio State. I have read a bit of Richard Falk, who is a notable professor (now emeritus) of international law with a highly cosmopolitan world-view, shall we say. Is Richard Falk an anti-Semite because he endorses the book? Christ Almighty. Again, Richard Falk shares a lot of views with Wonderment, or vice versa.

By the way, here is a quote from another recent blog post (September 11, 2011) of Sullivan’s about Mearsheimer:

It took Obama to get this [sc. anti-terrorism policy] right, after I and so many got it so terribly wrong. And this is another reminder of the strategic brilliance of Mearsheimer, a man subjected to a vicious smear campaign because of his resistance to the Greater Israel Lobby.

With regard to what Mead has to say in the dv about Andrew Sullivan on Mearsheimer, all I can reply is, “What the fuck?” But I like Sullivan's use of the term, "Greater Israel Lobby."

There is absolutely no straw man here. You have to be pretty tone-deaf, in my opinion, not to understand that Mead is on the hunt for anti-Semites, that you had better be very careful what you say around him as far as the Jews and Israel are concerned. Moreover, if you read his review of Walt/Mearsheimer, you will see that the overall tone and judgment of that published review are a far cry from the characterization he gives of the book in this dv, viz. that "It's one of the silliest books ever written." That is not the way in which a normal reader would interpret that review. (By the way, the president of Bard is Leon Botstein. I've got to think that Botstein was very instrumental in getting Mead to come to Bard. I don't know what Botstein's views on US - Israel relations are, but somehow I would not be surprised if they were very close to Mead's, because one might wonder, a priori, how Mead ended up at Bard. And I recently listened to an interview with Botstein on "Conversations with History" at the UC Berkeley website that I liked quite a bit, but Israel is not discussed there. That's all just a sidelight. And I want to make it clear that I am not on an anti-Mead crusade here. If he has published something which shows the "overwhelming evidence" that America's Jews are not driving US - Israel relations, or that they are not crucially influential in determining those relations, I am anxious to read it.)

On the question of dual loyalty, Victor Davis Hanson argues that there is a dual-loyalty problem for the Mexican-American immigrants to the US. I am not endorsing this view, I did not finish his book on the matter, but Hanson is one of the most rabid Israel supporters on the planet, so I just think this is interesting, that he's so worked up about dual loyalty in one instance and not at all in the other.

On the substantive question of the influence of the "hardline" portion of the American Jewish community on US - Israel relations, and on the form that debate about those relations has taken, I would like to know what the best books, from the point of view of political science, are in the field of lobbying and PACS. As I have tried to say before, I am wondering about the extent to which it would be possible to do a rigorous study about the Israel lobby, to get beyond the tellingly anecdotal.

I would apologize for the gobbledygook remark, except that you were pretty harsh yourself in the way that you characterized the simplistic view that Loury and I appear to share, namely that oil is the principle consideration in America's Middle East policy generally, excluding Israel policy. (Although military/intelligence considerations might actually be paramount in reconciling America's Israel policy with a generally oil-driven foreign policy in the Middle East, I don't know, since, as I pointed out, this is rarely talked about and is mostly secret.). Speaking for myself here, not for Loury, I think that oil ought to be the paramount consideration in America’s Middle East policy, if it is not, until America can wean itself from oil if at all possible, which ought to be a huge priority, but is not.

Last edited by ledocs; 11-30-2011 at 06:53 AM..
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