< HOME  Tuesday, April 18, 2006

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!


At Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Is this different from the paper they published in the Harvard Journal?

Regarding Olmert, I think it's premature to judge his abstention. Though, of course, I am thankful for this respite and the innocent lives it has spared.

I agree that the internet is making an impact on world events.

At Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

Don't know - must have missed that and can't find it. Let me know if it is and I'll edit out the part about no US publication.

At Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

the lobby strikes back has a link to the pdf

At Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I agree AIPAC and organizations like it are a problem for the world, and also for Israel. I disagree that they are behind America's decision to fight the war in Iraq.

It is not "anti-semitic" to point to the destructiveness of AIPAC, however, I simply do not see that they have the influence that they are made out to have. I do not see AIPAC as having any "stranglehold" over American foreign policy. An INFLUENCE is not the same as a STRANGLEHOLD.

The reasons to fight in Iraq are numerous. The biggest reason is the monetary interest of oil companies and Halliburton. I believe that the monetary interest is #1. There is also the "Let's git 'em" mentality of Bush. ("he threatened my pa!") Evangelicals also are operating via the Book of Revelations, and have a strong hold on this White House.

Yes, one of the reasons we went to war in Iraq was due to the lobbying of AIPAC - however, I do not see this as the decisive factor. I want to add that war in Iraq has been disastrous for Israel, which actually was safer with Saddam in power. The Middle East in general was safer with Saddam in power. At least Saddam suppressed al queda.

Finally, what great height are you speaking of re: Safire? The man was Nixon's speechwriter. He was/is an intellectual, for sure, but I disagreed with most of what he had to say for years.

I did not read Dersh's paper, but I read his summary of it on the Huffington Post. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/the-lobby-jews-and-anti_b_18998.html)

I actually have come to usually agree with much of what Dershowitz says.

The paper in question, which I have known about for at least a week, is untrue. Jews do not control the media, nor the White House. It is money interests that control both, and it is money interests that led to war in Iraq.

At Tuesday, April 18, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Oh, and the working paper you speak of is online at Harvard's website. Hence, it was published in America.


At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Daniel said...

I just wanted to drop you all a note of encouragement. You've really boiled it all down to the root. Keep it up :)

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger alan said...

readers of the lrb article might find these comments of interest http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=9999

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Akber said...

I do not think it was published in any journal. It is on the KSG web site, that is all. And according to reports, the endower of the chair had asked him to be fired. He has since left.

The reaction to the paper proves the paper's truth. A country who treats academics like the servants of the mercacntile class is doomed. Totally doomed.

BTW, Dershowitz supported torture and other Bush-ist ideologies and fried his legal mind forever. Another supporter of torture, Ignatieff, left Harvard and successful ran for election back in Canada, and is now running for the Liberal leadership.

Safire had witty language and social columns in the Sunday NYT. After 9/11 he waded into areas he knew nothing about, was applauded by those who wanted to abuse his name, and totally lost his credibility.

I guess 9/11 changed the world forever, why blame individuals.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Dershowitz does NOT support torture. This is a common misconception. He also does nott support Bush.

You can read what he supports himself.


He supports torture only for one instance - if there is a ticking time bomb and torturing someone can diffuse the bomb. Truth be told, I think most people would support torture in that one limited instance.

As far as the article goes - the "academians" were fired because they published a paper that was hogwash and simply untrue. AIPAC has influence, but not some veto power over American policy. I won't say what Dersh said and claim the paper is anti-Jewish. But I will say that it is false.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Frederick said...

More speach, more speach!!!

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Akber, thanks for clarifying that. I was under the impression that it was published in the Harvard Journal. I see now that it was only offered online.

I agree with Fred, speech must not be suppressed - especially when it's political.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

miss r said: "Truth be told, I think most people would support torture in that one limited instance."

Speak for yourself. Torture is for barbarians - under ANY circumstance.

"As far as the article goes - the "academians" were fired because they published a paper that was hogwash and simply untrue."

Now, THAT'S hogwash!

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Jeff G said...

I think Chomsky has a pretty sane perspective on this.

In regard to Dershowitz he says,

Well, the answer to your last question is well described in Norman Finkelstein's quite outstanding book and also in the record of Dershowitz’s attempts to prevent its publication. Some of the documents were just published in the Journal of Palestine Studies. Finkelstein's book gives an extensive detailed account, the best one we have, of a frightening record of Israeli crimes and abuses, where he relies on the most respectable sources, the major human rights organizations, Israeli human rights organizations and others, and demonstrates, just conclusively, that Alan Dershowitz's defense of these atrocities, based on no evidence at all, is outrageous and grotesque.

Regarding the study by Walt and Mearsheimer, Chomsky indicates that determining the influences on foreign policy is not that simple:

It's a serious, careful piece of work. It deserves to be read. They deserve credit for writing it. But it still it leaves open the question of how valid the analysis is, and I notice that there's a pretty subtle question involved. Everyone agrees, on all sides, that there are a number of factors that enter into determining U.S. foreign policy. One is strategic and economic interests of the major power centers within the United States. In the case of the Middle East, that means the energy corporations, arms producers, high-tech industry, financial institutions and others. Now, these are not marginal institutions, particularly in the Bush administration. So one question is to what extent does policy reflect their interests. Another question is to what extent is it influenced by domestic lobbies. And there are other factors. But just these two alone, yes, they are – you find them in most cases, and to try to sort out their influence is not so simple. In particular, it's not simple when their interests tend to coincide, and by and large, there's a high degree of conformity. If you look over the record, what's called the national interest, meaning the special interests of those with -- in whose hands power is concentrated, the national interest, in that sense, tends to conform to the interests of the lobbies. So in those cases, it's pretty hard to disentangle them.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

QRS, so you are saying that if there was a ticking time bomb that could kill thousands, maybe MILLIONS of people and a terrorist knew how to diffuse said bomb in order to save many lives, you would be against torture? Bullcrap. And it doesn't mean a person is "pro torture" if they believe that torture is justified in that one, EXTREMELY LIMITED instance.

Let me put this viscerally. If a bomb were to go off that would kill your son, and there was someone who knew how to diffuse said bomb, are you saying you would not torture the guy into telling you how to diffuse the bomb? You would be okay with letting your son die? I find that impossible to believe.

Jeff G, Chomsky is a false academic that is occasionally right. I often an horrified at what he has to say. I think he is NOT saying something "sane." he should stick to linguistics where he belongs. You quoted his defense of Finkelstein...a man who chronicled lies or exaggeration about Israel.

That said, obviously AIPAC has interests that happen to coincide with moneyed interests. It doesn't mean AIPAC is the cause of the Iraq War.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Miss R, that "extremely limited instance" you describe DOES NOT exist. So, stop living in la-la land. States suspect that people know something, so they justify the unjustifiable based on suspicions, NOT knowledge.

What Chomsky wrote sounds reasonable to me.

And regarding "coincidences," so what? Are you saying AIPAC is a harmless barnacle that happens to feed off the military industrial complex?

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...


Dersh himself said that the one instance that he supports torture being used may never come to fruition - but it can happen. Ticking time bombs have been known to go off. He does not believe torture is justified in any other instance. I happen to agree with him that in that one instance, torture is justified. (but only that one instance)

AIPAC is not some purely evil organization. Its stated purpose is to further American-Israeli goodwill. That in and of itself is fine. However, the problem is certain people within AIPAC, along with other lobbying groups, have too much of an influence in the Bush White House.

AIPAC is not the cause of all of the Middle Eastern woes, nor is it a harmless barnacle. It is one lobbying group amongst many. But to exaggerate its influence is to engage in falsehoods.

I want to add that nations such as Saudi Arabia have a huge influence on Bush, and in fact have a massive vested interest in keeping the conflict going. Should there no longer be conflict in Israel, then the House of Saud loses a massive "wedge issue" that keeps them legitimate among their people. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the House of Saud weilds possibly a larger influence on Bush than AIPAC, given then are sitting on a massive amount of oil.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Yeah, well nobody from the House of Saud is being prosecuted for passing US national secrets to a foreign government.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

I want to add this, to clarify. Many groups have interests that coincide.

Evangelical Christians want Jews in the Holy Land so the Book of Revelations can come true. Big Oil wants Iraq and Iran to be in their hands, so they control the oil supply. Halliburton wants there to be devastation so it can rebuild after the devastation. The House of Saud needs conflict to continue so the dictator/kings have legitimacy among their people. Bush wants to "git 'em" after "Saddam threatened his dad." And AIPAC was worried that Iraq was a threat to Israel, and Iran is currently a threat to Israel.

Which of these groups wields the biggest influence? Well, let's look at it logically.

The Bush White House has proven time and again that it is married to Big Money. We can assume that the money aspect is major. In my opinion, the key needs to be to follow the money. AIPAC has money, but not Big Oil money. Not Halliburton money. And certainly not Evangelical money that is funneled through phony 501(c)(3) charities. It is clear which influence reigns supreme.

Yes, AIPAC contributes to the problem. But no, they did not CAUSE the problem, or are even the decisive factor.

Traditionally, Repugs have actually not been pro-Israel, as Jews tend to vote Democrat. James Baker, Secretary of State under Bush Sr, was bad for Israel. It is only recently that Repugs have lined up with hard-right Israeli interests. That alone should tell you something about what REALLY is driving the Bush White House.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

And re: Jonathan Pollard.

Yeah...and? He is currently in jail.

Meanwhile, Saudis who are behind 9/11 are being let off the hook, and the phony baloney joke of a Moussaoui trial is taking place. That should tell you something.

The House of Saud wields a tremendous influence over the Bush White House. A dangerous influence. And no one within the Saudi government or anyone connected to it will be punished for any wrongdoing while the Bush White House is in office. There will never really be a war on terror, rather, there will be a house of mirrors and a color coded terror chart to shock the nation into submission.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

Hel-lo! Federal Indictment Urged for AIPAC, Not Just Rosen and Weissman

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...


Those who actually weild the power tend to get off scot free.

I am not an apologist for AIPAC. I am not saying it is a good organization. I simply am disputing their being the decisive influence they are conflated as being.

At Wednesday, April 19, 2006, Anonymous Mighty Thor said...

Qrswave Gets Bold--Will She Regret?
(Mighty Thor, 19 Apr 06)

Hey, I like the way qrswave so boldly talks back to "Miss R." Watch out qrswave, pretty soon u'll be dubbed "antisemitic" and have the JDL on ur trail--that's the way Jews work--they don't "mess around." "Miss R" just paves the way w. a little disinfo, u see--"Miss R" not understanding the meaning of the word, "truth" (hence objectivity).

Now u begin to understanding the way and purpose of Jew "dialectic," mere prelude and "softening up" for most ruthless violence and treachery, don't doubt or forget.

Palestinians are "terrorists"?--no, of course not, they're simply patriots, pure and simple. Jews are the murderers as they always have been by religion, first by murder of the truth and objective reality (ck the Talmud).

CONCLUSION: Don't doubt or forget: truth is antisemitic. Keep up ur good and improving work. Thor


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