Double Standard Watch: Questions for Walt and Mearsheimer

Posted: 6/12/2008 9:41:00 AM
Author: Prof. Alan Dershowitz
Source: This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post online on June 12, 2008.

Double Standard Watch: Questions for Walt and Mearsheimer
by Prof. Alan Dershowitz

Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer have been invited to speak at Hebrew University. They will continue to pedal their bigoted drivel about the iron grip, the Jewish lobby - which they call the "Israel Lobby," in capital letters - holds over American foreign policy. They will claim, as they did in their previous writings, that Israel's birth was an original sin and crime, that Israel holds the moral low ground, and that if the cause of Israel were in any way deserving of American support, it would not need a lobby. They don't make similar claims about the powerful Saudi lobby or the numerous other lobbies that have been part of America since the days of Thomas Jefferson. If just causes did not need lobbies, then it would follow that the causes of civil rights, civil liberties, gay rights, environmental rights, the rights of the elderly, etc. would all be unjust since each of them has high-powered and effective lobbies.

They miss the point that the reason the Israel Lobby is influential is because the cause of Israel is popular among grass root Americans. This contrasts with the Saudi lobby, which buys influence for a cause that has no support among average Americans. Yet the Saudi lobby warrants almost no mention in their screed against Israel. Walt and Mearsheimer blame Israel for everything that is wrong with the world, ranging from the Iraq war to 9/11 to high oil prices.

On the Iraq war, they claim that Prime Minister Sharon and the Israeli government and its AIPAC lobby drove the United States into a war that American officials did not want to fight. This is demonstrably false, as evidenced by the fact that the then Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, counseled President Bush against invading and occupying Iraq. Sharon was concerned that such a misadventure would bog down the American military and divert attention from Iran, which posed a greater threat to the world, to the United States and to Israel. Nor did AIPAC push the United States into the Iraq war. That war was the brainchild of American conservatives such as Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and President Bush. But blame the Jews and blame the Jewish nation! How much easier that is.

Professors Walt and Mearsheimer are described as distinguished academics, but their book is so riddled with simple factual mistakes that it could not pass peer review by an academic press or scientific journal. In my forthcoming book, The Case Against Israel's Enemies, I document dozens of factual errors, all of which - not coincidentally - are against Israel. (Israeli citizenship is based on "blood," they claim, thus ignoring Israel's million plus Arab citizens.) It's amazing that they never make a mistake in Israel's favor. I also document the out-of-context quotes - all against Israel - they lifted from anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi and radical Islamic hate sites. That is why so many of their own colleagues - Jewish and not Jewish - have trashed their work as "piss-poor" research (as one colleague put it). Distinguished academics? Not as evidenced by this book. Unscholarly propagandists? The proof is in the reading.

They whine that they could not get their critique published in America, but now they are laughing all the way to the bank with a best-seller that is featured on virulently anti-Semitic hate sites all over the world. They are treated as rock stars by anti-Israel groups that invite them to say exactly what the groups want to hear.

They travel all over the world pandering to their audiences, and yet they refused to debate me when I repeatedly challenged them to expose their fallacious theory to the marketplace of ideas. I wish I were in Israel and able to attend and respond to their presentation in public. I hope those who are in the audience will ask them the kind of probing questions they have thus far refused to entertain. And by the way, ask them why they won't debate me. I'm right across the street from Professor Walt.