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The mainstreaming of Walt and Mearsheimer
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18 September, 2011 By Glenn Greenwald

There were numerous reasons that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer were accused in prominent venues of all sorts of crimes — including anti-Semitism — when they published The Israel Lobby, but the most common cause was the book’s central theme: that there is a very powerful lobby in the U.S. which is principally devoted to Israel and causes U.S. political leaders to act to advance the interests of this foreign nation over their own.  In The New York Times today, Tom Friedman — long one of Israel’s most stalwart American supporters — wrote the following as the second paragraph of his column, warning that the U.S. was about to incur massive damage in order to block Palestinian statehood:

This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.

Isn’t that exactly Walt and Mearseimer’s main theme, what caused them to be tarred and feathered with the most noxious accusations possible?  Indeed it is; here’s how the academic duo, in The Israel Lobby, described the crux of their argument as first set forth in an article on which the book was based:

After describing the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel, we argued that his support could not be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds  Instead, it was due largely to the political power of the Israel lobby, a loose coalition of individuals and groups that seeks to influence American foreign policy in ways that will benefit Israel . . . We suggested that these policies were not in the U.S. national interest and were in fact harmful to Israel’s long-term interests as well.

Is that not exactly the point which The New York Times‘ most “pro-Israel” columnist himself just voiced today?