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Old 12-18-2011, 11:03 PM
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)

All well and good, but what I said was that Friedman would not have put that sentence in his column about the Israel lobby pre-W&M. I was in the process of researching the truth-value of my statement when I got waylaid by the blog post by Tobin (son of James?) on the "Commentary" website. More generally, the main points that Friedman made in that column were lifted straight out of W&M. Could he have had these thoughts independently? Yes. Did he? I don't think so, not all of them, and especially not the sentence about the lobby.

Here is the point. Mead admits that there is a specifically Jewish lobby. How could he not? So the lobby is trying to achieve something, isn't it, it's not just spinning its wheels, trying to achieve nothing, or simply providing information and not attempting to influence candidates and elections? But now if we say that it's too powerful, that's anti-Semitic. So, as I said before, the entire question is one of assessing its actual achievements and power, nothing more, nothing less.

To repeat myself, if Mead had said that W&M's effort was courageous, admirable, and wrong, that would have been fine. He had to add that it was "immoral," and then he had to go on to imply rather forcefully that Mearsheimer, at least, is an anti-Semite. But Friedman says exactly what W&M say. So now he's an anti-Semite, too, per Tobin. Which is exactly what I predicted would be said. To repeat myself again, there is an additional Catch-22 here. W&M are anti-Semites because they make false allegations against Jews by attributing too much power to them (per Mead). Would they be less anti-Semitic if they made true, i.e. proved allegations of disproportionate political power of [rich] Jews? I don't think so. That would be more anti-Semitic than a false allegation, supposing for the moment that we can imagine what a proved allegation looks like in this case. Therefore, no allegation of disproportionate political power of rich American Jews is possible, unless the allegation is simultaneously anti-Semitic. The truth-value has no bearing on the question of anti-Semitism, which represents a problem, in my view. The whole question cannot be subjected to analysis, it's impossible, in practical terms.

Similar considerations could lead to similar statements about "the civil rights lobby," but the Jewish thing has a special valence, because of the Holocaust.
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