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Old 12-22-2011, 02:07 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)

This is where I most disagree. I don't see a roughly consistent US policy marked with one primary explanation, vs. a US attitude toward Israel that has become more extreme over time due to somewhat varying causes.
But there has been a consistent US policy since 1967 to oppose the West Bank settlements in word, but not in deed. 9/11 may have made imposition of leverage by the US more difficult, but then $4 gas may have done the opposite.

Nor do I think it makes sense to attribute the reaction to the more extreme US attitude to W&M, as opposed to the extremity itself.
I don't understand this sentence. But I don't think there is "a more extreme US attitude." There is one consistent official US attitude, that the settlements are not helpful. It's just that the US either cannot or will not exert pressure to stop them. Little has changed in 35 years on the US side. Israel has become much more right-wing, and the Arab side has generally become less militant and more realistic. I don't think that Obama had to back down from Netanyahu because of increased power of the Christian Zionists and a rightward move of the Republican Party generally, or of the Republican Party's attitude toward the Islamic world or Hamas/Hezbollah post 9/11. Obama was never going to get votes from Christian Zionists. 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?

Stephanie, there are specific points I have made to which you make no response. 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. 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 don't think there is anything remotely unreasonable about making this connection. It is quite possible that Mandelbaum thinks that W&M are getting a raw deal from the Zionist propaganda crowd, for example, that Mandelbaum thinks the anti-Semitic angle is unnecessary, or even outrageous. In any case, it is crystal-clear that Friedman thinks there is more to the Israel Lobby idea than you do. It is clearly the case that W&M were trying to break a taboo, they have explicitly said this, and I think they have succeeded, in part.

Another point I made had to do with Barbara Boxer's record on Israel. I think it is reasonable to think that, in the absence of the Israel lobby, Boxer would have said and done some things over the years that could have been portrayed as "pro-Palestinian" or "even-handed," something. But I am not aware of anything like this ever having happened. Or, we could look at Paul Wellstone and see what the record was there. Or, Russ Feingold. You cannot account for the monolithic, blank-check support that Israel gets from the US on the grounds of increased power of Christian Zionism or anti-Islamic feeling post 9-11. This stuff has been going on since 1967, as I say.

Opposable Crumbs cited a long piece that Norman Finkelstein posted at Z-Net, I think it's called. In that piece, NF reports a disagreement that he and Chomsky have about why the US appears to do nothing about the West Bank settlements. The two of them agree that no one in the US government would be upset if the settlements were rolled back, everyone agrees that this would be in the US interest. So Finkelstein attributes this aspect of US policy to the Israel Lobby, but he thinks that W&M went too far (as I do not) in attributing any part of the motivation for the war in Iraq to the Israel Lobby. It was not clear to me from NF's post what Chomsky's explanation for US inaction on the West Bank settlements is.

Last edited by ledocs; 12-22-2011 at 02:12 PM..
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