Beginning of the End: Code of Silence is Broken
While almost everyone sees the AIPAC-Likud-neocon-Iraq War axis, not a single academic soul in the USofA had the courage to write about it.
Now, for the first time, two distinguished academics have broken the omerta-like code of silence and published in Britain (according to well-placed but unsubstantiated sources, no US publication would print it). I hope this is the turning point for the US in guarding its interests and those of Israel without the influence of a few radical organizations. Who are these professors as vilification has perhaps already started. Just read their credentials:
Stephen Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
John Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
Alan Dershowitz replied [pdf] and once again made an utter fool of himself with 'Debunking the . . Jewish Conspiracy' in the title. I miss the intellectual Dershowitz of the 80s and early 90s. As an aside, I also miss the pre-Iraq War William Safire. From great heights, these men have made fools of themselves as few have.
Back to the article: some excerpts from the article. Also available is the full academic version [pdf]:
Besides, the Lobby’s campaign to quash debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing sceptics by organising blacklists and boycotts – or by suggesting that critics are anti-semites – violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends. The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel’s backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned.
Finally, the Lobby’s influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities – including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords – that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists. Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalise a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and US policy more even-handed.
Very well said. Also, I applaud the decision of Olmert to restrain from killing innocents in the TelAviv killing of innocents as a response to the extrajudicial murder of militant leaders by Israel. It shows maturity, and it shows that perhaps Israel has realized the writing on the wall and decided to use traditional methods to fight the militants instead of killing innocents and tearing down homes.
To bloggers worldwide, my heartfelt congratulations. Well done, you have even made the professors talk. Finally!