WaPo takes on Walt and Mearsheimer

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The Washington Post today publishes an important op—ed by Eliot* Cohen on the now—notorious "Israel Lobby" paper co—authored by formerly—reputable scholars from the University and Chicago and Harvard. The New York Times has remained silent on the growing scandal, for reasons known only to Pinch Sulzberger and his minions, but the Post boldly titles the piece, "Yes, It's Anti—Semitic." Some highlights:

One of Mearsheimer's University of Chicago colleagues has characterized this as "piss—poor, monocausal social science." It is indeed a wretched piece of scholarship. Israeli citizenship rests "on the principle of blood kinship," it says, and yet the country has a million non—Jewish citizens who vote. Osama bin Laden's grievance with the United States begins with Israel, it says —— but in fact his 1998 fatwa declaring war against this country began by denouncing the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia and the suffering of the people of Iraq. "Other ethnic lobbies can only dream of having the political muscle" The Lobby has —— news to anyone advocating lifting the embargo on Fidel Castro's Cuba. The Iraq war stemmed from The Lobby's conception of Israel's interest —— yet, oddly, the war attracted the support of anti—Israel intellectuals such as Christopher Hitchens and mainstream publications such as The Economist. America's anti—Iran policy reflects the dictates of The Lobby —— but how to explain Europe's equally strong opposition to Iranian nuclear ambitions?

Oddly, these international relations realists —— who in their more normal academic lives declare that state interests determine policy, and domestic politics matters little —— have discovered the one case in which domestic politics has, for decades, determined the policy of the world's greatest state. Their theories proclaim the importance of power, not ideals, yet they abhor the thought of allying with the strongest military and most vibrant economy in the Middle East. Reporting persecution, they have declared that they could not publish their work in the United States, but they have neglected to name the academic journals that turned them down.

There is more, and it is equally devastating. The appearance of such in the Post may be a sign that good sense is kicking in, and that the encroachment of the fever swamps on our top academic institutions will not go unchallenged by the rest of the intellectual and political establishment. Stephen Walt is stepping down as academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School, though no link to the paper has been convincingly established.

Rejecting this pernicious shoddy work is important, and shaming the writers and the institutions which sponsored it important for the health of our polity.

Originally mistakenly posted as Stephen Cohen, a very different man.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   4 5 06

The Washington Post today publishes an important op—ed by Eliot* Cohen on the now—notorious "Israel Lobby" paper co—authored by formerly—reputable scholars from the University and Chicago and Harvard. The New York Times has remained silent on the growing scandal, for reasons known only to Pinch Sulzberger and his minions, but the Post boldly titles the piece, "Yes, It's Anti—Semitic." Some highlights:

One of Mearsheimer's University of Chicago colleagues has characterized this as "piss—poor, monocausal social science." It is indeed a wretched piece of scholarship. Israeli citizenship rests "on the principle of blood kinship," it says, and yet the country has a million non—Jewish citizens who vote. Osama bin Laden's grievance with the United States begins with Israel, it says —— but in fact his 1998 fatwa declaring war against this country began by denouncing the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia and the suffering of the people of Iraq. "Other ethnic lobbies can only dream of having the political muscle" The Lobby has —— news to anyone advocating lifting the embargo on Fidel Castro's Cuba. The Iraq war stemmed from The Lobby's conception of Israel's interest —— yet, oddly, the war attracted the support of anti—Israel intellectuals such as Christopher Hitchens and mainstream publications such as The Economist. America's anti—Iran policy reflects the dictates of The Lobby —— but how to explain Europe's equally strong opposition to Iranian nuclear ambitions?

Oddly, these international relations realists —— who in their more normal academic lives declare that state interests determine policy, and domestic politics matters little —— have discovered the one case in which domestic politics has, for decades, determined the policy of the world's greatest state. Their theories proclaim the importance of power, not ideals, yet they abhor the thought of allying with the strongest military and most vibrant economy in the Middle East. Reporting persecution, they have declared that they could not publish their work in the United States, but they have neglected to name the academic journals that turned them down.

There is more, and it is equally devastating. The appearance of such in the Post may be a sign that good sense is kicking in, and that the encroachment of the fever swamps on our top academic institutions will not go unchallenged by the rest of the intellectual and political establishment. Stephen Walt is stepping down as academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School, though no link to the paper has been convincingly established.

Rejecting this pernicious shoddy work is important, and shaming the writers and the institutions which sponsored it important for the health of our polity.

Originally mistakenly posted as Stephen Cohen, a very different man.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   4 5 06