April 03, 2006

Times misrepresents the Israel Lobby article

Here's The Times report on Harvard withholding its imprimatur from the Israel Lobby article. Under the headline Exposé on Jewish role in US policy is disowned. Here's a piece:
HARVARD UNIVERSITY is distancing itself from a report by one of its senior academics that accuses the Jewish lobby in America of subverting US foreign policy in Israel’s interest.

After a furious outcry from prominent American Jews, Harvard has removed its logo from the study and disowned any responsibility for the views put forward in the working paper, released two weeks ago.

Yesterday it confirmed that Stephen Walt, the co-author of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, will be stepping down in June as academic dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government to become an ordinary professor.

Professor Walt and John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, caused a storm of protest when they published their report, which argued that America’s interests were being manipulated by the pro-Israel lobby, using a network of politicians, journalists and academics. It said that the Jewish lobby was a key factor behind President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and cautioned that the US could be drawn into conflicts against Israel’s other enemies in the region.

No one disputes that the Jewish lobby is an influential force in US politics and that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) is one of the most powerful organisations in Washington. Aipac is described in the report as “a de facto agent of a foreign government (that) has a stranglehold on the US Congress”. It also challenges the need for America to give Israel $3 billon (£1.73 billion) in aid every year, worth about $500 for every Israeli citizen. It argues that Israel’s critics are routinely branded anti-Semites.
"No one disputes that the Jewish lobby is an influential force in US politics?" Huh? Actually Mearsheimer and Walt dispute that it is a Jewish lobby. The basic thesis of Mearsheimer and Walt is that lobby activism for Israel is tilting US support for Israel beyond what could be described as America's national interest and that further, the same lobby activism is stifling debate on the subject. Now, to show that it doesn't exist, the lobby has pressured Harvard to withdraw its support for the article and has got the Times misrepresenting the same article. The article has also prompted the "anti-occupation" "non-zionists" at Engage, abandoning any pretence of seriousness or honesty with the "academics" they are choosing to run with lately.

The Times is part of the same Murdoch stable as Fox News, with, no doubt, the same principles of balance and accuracy.

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