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1884Attacks on the Israel Lobby gain momentum

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  • Maurice Ostroff
    Jan 31, 2012
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      The professors and the Israel Lobby                     http://www.2nd-thoughts.org/id384.html
      By Maurice Ostroff

      In March 2006 the London Review of Books published a condensed version of a paper under the title The Israel Lobby by Professor John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, and Professor Stephen Walt of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It describes the Israel lobby as actively working  to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction against the best interests of the US. It was published as a book in August 2007 and aroused a great deal of controversy with vocal critics on both sides. Certainly it gave strong impetus to the Zionist conspiracy to rule the world cabal 

      Considering that Professor Mearsheimer blames the Israel Lobby not only for the Iraq war but also for 9/11 (NY Sun September 29, 2006), many consider the concerted attack by the two professors on the Israel Lobby as nothing more than another conspiracy theory, though elegantly wrapped in an academic cover especially since the first edition of their working paper enjoyed the prestige of Harvard University's imprimatur.

      However, Harvard decided to remove its logo in March 2006, at the same time appending a more strongly worded disclaimer stating that it reflected the views of its authors only, whereas the former disclaimer merely stated that the study did not necessarily reflect the university's views.

      The furor over the book had calmed for a while but recently re-emerged with Mearsheimer achieving new prominence for endorsing a book "The Wandering Who" by Gilad Atzmon, well-known for his controversial views on the Holocaust and Zionism. Foreign Policy (FP) website devoted a 3,000 word article, "Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg's latest smear" in response to an article in the Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg criticizing Mearsheimer's endorsement of the book.

      As both professors have complained that attacks on "the Israel Lobby" rarely address the substance of what they wrote, I remind them of their failure to respond to queries I raised in my open letter dated May 7, 2006 directly addressing the substance of their arguments. Although the professors replied that they would soon respond in detail they have not yet done so and in June 2008 when both visited Israel, I wrote a further open letter to them, drawing attention to the unanswered queries I had raised directly relating to the substance of their arguments. These included:
       
      1. The Iraq war
      I asked why they continue to ignore reliable reports that Israeli officials including  then PM Sharon had warned the Bush administration against invading Iraq as confirmed by Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, disproving the professors' unsubstantiated allegation that were it not for the Jewish lobby, the US would not have gone to war against Iraq in 2003,(NY Sun Sept. 29, 2006).

      2. Sponsors of Terror.
      Regarding their claim that US policy towards Israel contributes to America's terrorism problem, I referred to concrete evidence to the contrary, including a statement by Alex Alexiev, vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., who revealed that Riyadh, flush with oil money, had become the paymaster of most of the militant Islamic movements, which advocated terror.
       
      3. Ehud Barak's purportedly generous offer.
      The authors referred to then PM Ehud Barak's "purportedly" generous offer at Camp David, and I suggested that the loaded word "purportedly" was inappropriate. Rather, they owed it to their readers to present the facts and allow them to form their own opinions as to whether the offer was generous or "purportedly" generous.

      4. Campus Watch
      The authors wrote about Campus Watch, "Pipes does not deny that his organization, Campus Watch, was created in order to monitor what academics say, write and teach, so as to discourage them from engaging in open discourse about the Middle East".
      As Campus Watch is known to encourage open discourse, I asked the authors to please explain their allegation that it attempts to discourage academics from doing just that. I also asked them to substantiate their claim that Pipes admitted he discouraged open discourse.
       
      5. Apparent bias
      I raised the suspicion of bias evident from their writing about relations between "Tel Aviv" and Washington, rather than Jerusalem (Israel's seat of government), and Washington.
       
      6. Lobbies in context and the Arab Lobby
      The professors failed to respond to my contention that their concentrated focus on the Israel Lobby creates the completely misleading impression it is the only influence on Congress, whereas in reality, the Israel Lobby is one of very many stronger, wealthier and more influential interest groups. Based on data from the Senate Office of public records, opensecrets.org reports that in 2011, 12,592 lobbyists spent $3.27 billion on lobbying.

      For example,  U.S.A.-Engage is one of the largest lobbying groups, uniting 640 giants of the American economy, a tenth of the leading banks, as well as associations of industrialists and farmers. The most prominent and influential members of U.S.A.-Engage are almost permanently to be found in Congressional circles. They have great influence over the mass media (partly because of their advertising expenditure).
       
      The professors avoided my question as to how, in the face of extensive evidence to the contrary, they concluded in the unpublished paper sent to me, that there is no well-organized and politically potent Arab Lobby. They ignored my reference to various examples such as Prince Bandar Bin Sultan who participated in clandestine negotiations and billion-dollar deals affecting US interests in the Middle East. Craig Unger tells of Saudis investing as much as $800 billion into American Equities, not only in blue chip companies but also in companies not doing so well, but linked to powerful politicians. Over the last 30 years, the Saudis spent $70 billion on propaganda, the largest propaganda campaign in the history of the world. The Israel Lobby's expenditure is less than puny by contrast.
       
      Nor can the stranglehold of OPEC be ignored. This blatantly monopolistic cartel threatens not only the US, but indeed the world economy. It is mind-boggling to consider that production costs average only about $6 per barrel for non-OPEC producers; and $1.50 per barrel for OPEC producers according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists May/June 2005.
       
      I suggested that in light of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary they cannot in all conscience continue to claim that there is no well-organized, politically potent Arab Lobby.
       
      The authors repeated complaints that their critics fail to address the substance of their allegations is refuted by their failure, since 2006, to reply to the substantive issues I raised,  as summarized above. My detailed letter of May 2006 contains detailed  supporting information relating to these queries.