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Old 12-23-2011, 11:56 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
Here is evidence. Use of that particular phrase engendered the anti-Semitism charge and evinced the names of W&M at the "Commentary" website. How much more evidence do you need?
See, I see this as evidence more for my argument. I think Friedman was intentionally using the term (a term that is different than "Jewish Lobby," even, which was defined -- however poorly -- by W&M to include non-Jews) to take sides in the current dialogue in the US, which is different in various ways to the traditional one. Again, I point to the changes noted in my last post, the increasing extremity on the right in the US, the reaction to Obama for statements that Friedman likely sees as mainstream and traditional US policy. I think it's this extremism and the open acceptance of such things as the settlements and idea that criticizing Bibi should be taken as worse than criticizing Ronald Reagan (for conservatives, I mean) that is driving Friedman to take a stand. Again, I point to the Goldberg posts, which show a similar movement.

Without this extremity in the US, without the Commentary arguments becoming much more mainstream than they used to be, I don't think you'd get the reaction you find positive. And I see this as quite similar to Friedman's shock at Israel's actions in Lebanon shaking up his long-held views inculcated by his childhood, the American Jewish community's ideas about Israel, etc., as discussed in FBTJ.

Now, Friedman is far from a careful writer. Nevertheless, I believe that the phrase "bought and paid for by the Israel lobby" had to have been intended to be provocative and to demonstrate that Friedman was explicitly siding with W&M in some way. Frankly, I am astounded that you refuse to see this.
I don't. I just still see it in a different way than you do.

But this is similar to a debate in literary interpretation. I won't convince you.
True, but I think you are exaggerating the disagreement or at least focusing on quite different things than I think the disagreement is about.

On the issue of the gentiles with whom you grew up, the Jewish Israel lobby influenced them by influencing the way in which the Israel-Palestine question is framed in the media and in American politics generally.
And I think that over-simplifies how the media framing came above, in an unrealistic way. Again, I think AIPAC played a role, but that role wouldn't have had nearly the same effect without the numerous other conditions, including the ideas about Israel in the wider Jewish community during relevant periods of time (and which have changed), including the ideas about Israel among Christians and within American culture generally. It's not insignificant that the US historically had some ideas of itself as "the new Jerusalem." It's also not insignificant that the US was a new country built on land that was settled by colonists. It's not insignificant that American culture has many other ideas that help the stories about Israel resonate and the ones -- eventually -- about the Palestinians not so much. To really answer the question Glenn asked, I think it's important to get into these things, and not just assume it's an all-powerful lobby.

Of course, there are cultural and historical reasons that explain why American Christians might be receptive to this framing, that's obvious, and I'm not denying it.
Yes -- I'm simply saying this is an important piece of the answer, and answers that dismiss it for the more simplistic explanation are problematic and do seem in some cases suspicious. Similarly, those that ignore the reasons we thought the foreign policy in question was in our interest -- Cold War paranoia, generally -- also strike me as strange. I'm all for considering the influence of the lobbies (as long as we acknowledge this is not unique to the Israel issue). I think it's an interesting question, as I've said over and over. I simply don't think framing the question as if the lobby was the sole answer is helpful, and not only because it makes the ridiculous "anti-semite" accusations of Commentary appear at times more reasonable, in a way that seems to me easily avoided. And yes of course part of the problem is because of historical slams against the Jews that should nonetheless not mean that we can't point out that some rich Jews, like other rich people, have a lot of political power.

This is all part of my Jewish Lobby as necessary but insufficient condition argument.
Okay, but I note that for whatever reason of your own -- I assume cussedness or just "I will call it as I think it is and dig my heels in when I think others are refusing to" -- you are going farther than W&M by insisting that it's a "Jewish Lobby." This is like our argument over slamming rich people. I really just don't see the point -- it gives cover to unfair claims about the position without strengthening the position. But I realize this is some kind of broader difference between you and me and no doubt you find what I'm saying just as wrong or frustrating. (And I hope it's clear that I'm engaging in this discussion with you because I always find what you say interesting and respect your ideas.)

But the framing is very different in Europe, not that I am at all knowledgeable about this.
I'm sure you are more knowledgeable than me, but I do (of course) know this. I don't think it's surprising nor that it requires a W&M-esque explanation. That said, I don't deny there's a lobby (AIPAC), other pressure groups with power, as well as a variety of other reasons why Israel gets the framing it does in the US (and simply the attention it does). I just think the broader reasons for the differences and, in particular, for the current trend that worries me, are much more complicated. This is important, because I don't think how the US acted historically is as weird as Glenn or W&M did. And it's worth pointing out that at least some of whom seem to focus most on the weirdness of the US's sympathies would go back to the beginning of the state of Israel, when the US wasn't more pro-Israel than Europe as it later became. To really discuss the issue, it's really necessary to be specific and look over the course of the history at the events in which the US supposedly acted against its interest and compare its action to other things done and to the position taken by other states. I -- again -- think this would not lead to a clear answer and could be very interesting.

For the record, I'm also not so sure that the opinion in other states is less skewed in some ways than that in the US, that it's at all what opinion would be here absent AIPAC, etc.
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