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Old 12-22-2011, 02:23 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 ledocs View Post
But there has been a consistent US policy since 1967 to oppose the West Bank settlements in word, but not in deed.
I think this ignores changes, both because it's one part of the issue, because the reason for the US feeling bound in the region have changed, and because -- as you note -- Israeli politics have changed themselves. I also think there's a lot more open support or acceptance of the settlements in the US (especially on the right) today than ever before. When Israel appeals to its supports in the US, there seems to be a much greater recognition that there's potential acceptance in some quarters of the more extreme arguments. Official US policy hasn't changed, but I think the current support on the right is to the right of George W and way to the right of George HW, and Obama, despite being basically the same as everyone else, is getting a much different kind of criticism.

9/11 may have made imposition of leverage by the US more difficult, but then $4 gas may have done the opposite.
You may think it is foolish, but expensive gas is not connected in the US mind with settling the I/P issue and, in any case, I don't think most people feel like the US can do much about the issue.

On the other hand, there are articles in the NYT suggesting that support for Obama among Jewish voters has fallen a great deal since 2008, particularly in the state of New York. Is that because of Christian Zionists?
No, but as was discussed when those numbers were talked about earlier, it's also presumption to attribute those numbers to Israel, especially since -- as you seem to agree -- Obama is not pursuing a different Israel policy than anyone else has.

It either is or is not the case that Thomas Friedman said anything like what he just said about the Israel Lobby before W&M published their article and book.
He said things that seem to me entirely consistent with what he said there, given the new events, specifically such things as Congress's reaction to Bibi, the debate between Republican candidates over who loves Bibi more, the insane reaction to Obama's comments that you and I both talked about here. He certainly talked about the influence of AIPAC and Israel's own PR efforts. Of course, he also has talked about other reasons for the focus on and pro Israel attitudes in the US, both within the Jewish community and outside of it. I don't think that he used the term "Israel Lobby" means his views have become less nuanced and more like W&M seemed to be arguing.

It is this nuance -- the importance not only of Christian Zionism in the new attitudes on the US right, but also the wider reasons for the general pro Israel (or anti Palestinian) attitude in popular opinion in the US well beyond the "Israel Lobby" or Jews -- that seems to me lacking in the W&M approach. Why I don't think it's a FULL explanation for the fact that politicians basically across the board are so one-sided here. After all, the politicians you mention as ones you think would naturally have supported the Palestinians have bucked interest groups in other areas, I'm sure. AIPAC et al. really cannot be the whole explanation, or they'd either be the most powerful interest group ever or there'd be a lot less opposition to other PAC backed issues than there are. Similarly, apparently you think that the only reason I saw that attitude among the almost entirely gentile (and non Christian Zionist) folks I grew up around is because of brainwashing by the Lobby. That, to me, is nonsense. It's clear it's more complicated. Similarly, that the right machine seems to have become much more focused on Israel seems to me to suggest there's more going on that the Lobby, than politics as always.

And I simply see no evidence that -- outside of the one phrase that seems far more significant to you than me -- he wouldn't have written the column you've talked about without W&M. Other people who aren't especially considered W&M fans (like Goldberg, as mentioned above) have become much more critical of the kinds of weird extremism and unwillingness to criticize the Israeli right about anything that seems to me new to US politics.

I suspect, but do not know, that Friedman just broke new ground there, and I attribute this breaking of new ground to W&M.
I understand you think this. I disagree.
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