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Anti-Israel publication is full of mistakes
Two anti-Israeli professors published a "study" that basically said that it is against the United States' interests to support Israel in her fight against Islamic supremacism.
In addition they accuse pro-Israel Jews of controlling the United States, something that anti-Semites have done and will continue to do for years.
Alan Dershowitz has written a response to these false statements and he shows how the paper from the Harvard professor is basically trash:
[...] If these charges sound familiar, it is because, as I will show, they can be found on the websites of extremists of the hard right, like David Duke, and the hard left, like Alexander Cockburn. They appear daily in the Arab and Muslim press. They are contemporary variations on old themes such as those promulgated in the notorious czarist forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Nazi and America First literature of the 1930s and early ’40s, 20 and in the propaganda pamphlets of the Soviet Union.
I copy Mr. Dershowitz's response below; read it all and if someone ever mentions the trash paper from Harvard you'll have many counter arguments. Found this link on the excellent LGF which pointed to a Hardvard site.
Note: there are many foot notes in the paper shown with numbers (for example "1", "2", etc...). These footnotes appear in the middle of the Mr. Dershowitz's response between the pages. It it becomes too hard to read the reply below, you may click here to download a better formatted PDF document (right click and choose "Save As..."; 414 KB; if you don't have it, you'll need the free Adobe Acrobat reader to open the document).
Debunking the Newest – and Oldest – Jewish Conspiracy: A Reply to the Mearsheimer-Walt “Working Paper”
Alan Dershowitz Harvard Law School April 2006
The author of this paper is solely responsible for the views expressed in it. As an academic institution, Harvard University does not take a position on the scholarship of individual faculty members, and this paper should not be interpreted or portrayed as reflecting the official position of the University or any of its Schools. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 1 of 45 Debunking the Newest – and Oldest – Jewish Conspiracy1: A Reply to the Mearsheimer-Walt “Working Paper” by Alan Dershowitz2
The publication, on the Harvard Kennedy School web site, of a “working paper,” written by a professor and academic dean at the Kennedy School and a prominent professor at the University of Chicago, has ignited a hailstorm of controversy and raised troubling questions. The paper was written by two self-described foreign-policy “realists,” Professor Stephen Walt and Professor John Mearsheimer.3 It asserts that the Israel “Lobby” – a cabal whose “core” is “American Jews” – has a “stranglehold” on mainstream American media, think tanks, academia, and the government.4 The Lobby is led by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (“AIPAC”), which the authors characterize as a “de facto agent of a foreign government” that places the interests of that government ahead of the interests of the United States.5 Jewish political contributors use Jewish “money” to blackmail government officials, while “Jewish philanthropists” influence and “police” academic programs and shape public opinion.6 Jewish “congressional staffers” exploit their roles and betray the trust of their bosses by 1 Article citations reference John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” John F. Kennedy School of Government Faculty Research Working Paper Series, March 2006, accessible at http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/$File/rwp06011walt.pdf (last viewed March 28, 2006) (hereinafter “Walt & Mearsheimer”). 2 Alan Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor at Harvard Law School. He would like to thank Mitch Webber, Alex Blenkinsopp, Aaron Voloj Dessauer, Alexandra Katz, and Elizabeth Pugh for the research they provided under time pressure during their spring vacation. 3 See, e.g., “Conversation with John Mearsheimer, Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley Website, accessible at http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people2/Mearsheimer/mearsheimer-con2.html. 4 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 18. 5 Ibid. 6 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 23. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 2 of 45 “look[ing] at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness,” rather than in terms of their Americanism.7 The authors claim that the Lobby works against the interests of the United States because Israel’s interests are not only different from ours, but antagonistic to them for several reasons, including that: America’s “terrorism problem” is directly attributable to its “alli[ance] with Israel”8; Israel has gotten us to fight wars, such as those against Iraq, which are not in our general interest; and Israel spied on the United States during the Cold War and provided information to our enemy, the Soviet Union.9 The authors also assert that Israel lacks any moral claim to American support, because the “creation of Israel entailed a moral crime against the Palestinian people”10; Israel has continued to commit crimes including “massacres … and rapes by Jews”11; Israel is not a true democracy, because “citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship”12; Israel is a “colonizing” regime,13 on the road to achieving “pariah status” reserved for “apartheid states like South Africa”14; Israel has always refused to grant the 7 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 17. 8 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 5. 9 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 6. 10 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 11. 11 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 12. Walt and Mearsheimer quote two sources – including a full book on the War for Independence – to substantiate their charges of Jewish rape during the 1948 war. Neither source gives any indication whatsoever that the Israeli army adopted rape as either an official or unofficial policy. (One source does not mention a single incidence of rape; the other mentions one confirmed rape – for which the perpetrators were put on trial – and another attempted rape.) The emphasis that Walt and Mearsheimer put on “rapes by Jews” is therefore not only bizarre and unsettling, but also completely unwarranted. 12 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 9. 13 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 9. 14 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 42. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 3 of 45 “largely innocent” Palestinians “a viable state of their own”15; and “Israel’s conduct is not morally distinguishable from the actions of its opponents.”16 This particular lobby – which the authors ominously capitalize and reference with the definite article (“the Lobby”) – uses the undue influence of Jews in America to get the United States to do the “fighting, dying … and paying” for wars that are not in its own interest, causing American soldiers to die for Israeli interests.17 It was “the Lobby” that, according to Walt and Mearsheimer, drove the United States into the war against Iraq,18 and threatens to drive us into a war against Iran.19 In other words, real Americans are being killed because other Americans, whose primary loyalty is to the Jewish nation, are manipulating America’s political, media, academic and cultural leaders, as well as ordinary American citizens. American Jews who support Israel – even in a critical way – are thus being disloyal to the United States by placing the interests of a foreign state above the interests of their own country. If these charges sound familiar, it is because, as I will show, they can be found on the websites of extremists of the hard right, like David Duke, and the hard left, like Alexander Cockburn. They appear daily in the Arab and Muslim press. They are contemporary variations on old themes such as those promulgated in the notorious czarist 15 Walt & Mearsheimer, pp. 10, 11. 16 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 11. 17 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 40. 18 Walt & Mearsheimer, pp. 31-35. 19 Walt & Mearsheimer, pp. 38-40. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 4 of 45 forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in the Nazi and America First literature of the 1930s and early ’40s, 20 and in the propaganda pamphlets of the Soviet Union. In essence, the working paper is little more than a compilation of old, false, and authoritatively discredited charges dressed up in academic garb. The only thing new about it is the imprimatur these recycled assertions have now been given by the prominence of its authors and their institutional affiliations. As David Duke observed: “The Harvard report contains little new information. I and a few other American commentators have for years been making the same assertions as this new paper.”21 It “validates every major point I [Duke] have been making.”22 It should have been easily predictable – especially to “realists” – that their “Harvard report” would be featured, as it has been, on neo-Nazi and extremist websites, and even by terrorist organizations, and that it would be used by overt anti-Semites to “validate” their paranoid claims of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.23 20 Compare Walt and Mearsheimer’s accusations to those of the America First Committee and Charles Lindbergh prior to America’s entrance into World War II. Lindbergh traveled the country arguing that loyal Americans opposed war with Germany, while Jewish “war agitators” exerted undue influence to push American into the European conflict. On September 11, 1941, Lindbergh warned, “Instead of agitating for war, the Jewish groups in this country should be opposing it in every possible way for they will be among the first to feel its consequences…. A few far-sighted Jewish people realize this and stand opposed to intervention. But the majority still do not. Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government.” Charles Lindbergh, “Who Are the War Agitators,” Speech delivered in Des Moines, Sept. 11, 1941 (found in Philip Roth, “Postscript,” The Plot Against America (Houghton Mifflin: New York, 2004), p. 387. 21 David Duke, “A Real Breakthrough in the Battle for the Truth!,” DavidDuke.com, March 20, 2006, accessible at http://www.davidduke.com/?p=501. I never thought I would quote David Duke, but in this instance he is factually correct. 22 Eli Lake, “David Duke Claims To Be Vindicated by a Harvard Dean,” New York Sun, March 20, 2006, p. 1. 23 An addition to David Duke’s accolades, the paper’s most vocal supporters and distributors have been Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Charles A. Radin, “‘Israel Lobby’ Critique Roils Academe,” Boston Globe, March 29, 2006; Eli Lake, “David Duke Claims to be Vindicated by a Harvard Dean,” New York Sun, March 20, 2006. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 5 of 45 One of the authors of this paper has acknowledged that “none of the evidence [in their paper] represents original documentation or is derived from independent interviews”24 – a surprising admission, considering that professors at great universities are judged by the originality of their research. Moreover, the paper is filled with errors and distortions that should be obvious to any critical reader, all of which are directed against Israel and the Jewish Lobby. As I will show, there are at least three major types of errors: First, quotations are wrenched out of context (for example, the authors distort a Ben-Gurion quote to make him appear to favor evacuation of Arabs by “brutal compulsion,”25 when he actually said that, because an evacuation would require “brutal compulsion,” it should not become “part of our programme”26). Second, facts are misstated (for example, that Israeli citizenship is based on “blood kinship,”27 thus confusing Israel’s law of citizenship with its Law of Return; fully a quarter of Israel’s citizens are not Jewish). And third, embarrassingly poor logic is employed (for example, whenever America and Israel act on a common interest, it must be the result of pressure from “the Lobby,” and that “the mere existence of the Lobby” is proof that “support for Israel is not in the American national interest”28). In light of its many errors and the admission that their paper contains nothing original, it is fair to ask why these distinguished professors would have chosen to publish a paper that does not meet their usual scholarly standards, especially given the obvious 24 Ori Nir, “Professor Says American Publisher Turned Him Down,” Forward, March 24, 2006, accessible at http://www.forward.com/articles/7550. 25 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 10. 26 Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage, 2001), p. 169 ((found in Alex Safian, “Study Decrying ‘Israel Lobby’ Marred by Numerous Errors,” CAMERA.org, March 22, 2006). 27 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 9. 28 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 43. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 6 of 45 risk that recycling these old but explosive charges under the imprimatur of prominent authors and their universities would be seized on by bigots to promote their anti-Semitic agendas. As an advocate of free speech and an opponent of censorship based on political correctness, I welcome a serious, balanced, objective study of the influences of lobbies — including Israeli lobbies — on American foreign policy. I also welcome reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions. Let the marketplace of ideas remain open to all. But, as I will show, this study is so filled with distortions, so empty of originality or new evidence, so tendentious in its tone, so lacking in nuance and balance, so unscholarly in its approach, so riddled with obvious factual errors that could easily have been checked (but obviously were not), and so dependent on biased, extremist and anti-American sources, as to raise the question of motive: what would motivate two well recognized academics to depart so grossly from their usual standards of academic writing and research in order to produce a “study paper” that contributes so little to the existing scholarship while being so susceptible to misuse? Academics do not generally respond to the kinds of assertions and accusations made on hate sites.29 But because of the academic setting in which the Walt-Mearsheimer paper appears, I feel compelled to respond in detail and to these recycled 29 I am frequently attacked on these web sites, but I do not respond. Here, my own colleague accused me of being part of this anti-American conspiracy – they call me an “apologist” for Israel (p.11) – despite my frequent criticisms of specific Israeli policies and my opposition to the war in Iraq. For example, in my most recent book on the Middle East, called The Case for Peace, I air disagreements and grievances with many Israeli policies, and I advocate many positions different from those supported by the Israeli government. See, e.g., Alan Dershowitz, The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved (Wiley: Hoboken, 2005), p. 12 (“But by announcing that Maale Adumim will be expanded in the direction of Jerusalem before a final agreement is reached, the Israeli government has usurped a bargaining chip from the Palestinians and engendered distrust among some Palestinian moderates.”). L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 7 of 45 charges and to demonstrate how the paper fails the most basic tests of scholarship and accuracy. In this paper, I expressly raise questions about motive. As I have argued elsewhere, the issue of motive is a legitimate concern of scholarship,30 especially to “realists” who often look behind rationales for the actual reasons that underlie actions.31 This is especially so when the Walt-Mearsheimer paper itself questions the motives and loyalties of others, and when so many critics of the paper have raised the question of motive.32 I have requested the Kennedy School to distribute this counter working paper on its official website and to give it the same circulation and prominence as the original paper. Dean David Ellwood has graciously acceded to this request. I am confident that we share a commitment to the open marketplace of ideas as a vehicle to establish the validity or falsehood of ideas. I have had only a few days to write this preliminary response to a paper that took much more time to produce, and so my response is truly a “working paper” — a work in progress. But because of the attention the original paper has received, it is essential to publish and circulate this response as soon as possible. I hope that readers will be 30 See Alan M. Dershowitz, Supreme Injustice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 110-11. 31 See, e.g., Henry Kissinger, Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (Simon & Schuster: New York, 2001) (“realism” in international relations); Jerome Frank, Law and the Modern Mind (Doubleday, New York, 1963) (“legal realism”). 32 See Max Boot, “Policy Analysis – Paranoid Style,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2006; Michael B. Oren, “Tinfoil Hats in Harvard Yard,” The New Republic, April 10, 2006; Richard Baehr and Ed Lasky, “Stephen Walt’s War with Israel,” American Thinker, March 20, 2006, accessible at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles.php?articleid=5342; Daniel W. Drezner, “Trying for the Full Huntington,” DanielDrezner.com, March 17, 2006, accessible at http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/002636.html; and David Bernstein, “Mearsheimer and Walt—Arrogance, Not Anti-Semitism,” Volokh Conspiracy, March 28, 2006, accessible at http://volokh.com/archives/archive20060326-20060401.shtml#1143570237. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 8 of 45 stimulated by my work to do research of their own to test my points as well as those of Mearsheimer and Walt. My reply is not meant to be exhaustive; I address only the central points, beginning with the charge that “the Lobby” exists to undercut the interests of the United States on behalf of an antagonistic foreign power. The Lobby Who belongs to “the Lobby”? Walt and Mearsheimer acknowledge that the lobby is not monolithic in its composition.33 They point to extremists on the religious and political right as included in this Lobby,34 though they consciously omit non-Jewish liberal supporters of Israel, ranging from Senators Edward Kennedy and Evan Bayh to former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore to Father Robert Drinan and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Yet they claim that the Lobby is single-minded in its pursuit of Israel’s interests over that of the United States.35 Walt and Mearsheimer include in their catalogue of “Lobby”-ists: journalists Robert Kagan, William Kristol, and Charles Krauthammer36; Princeton professor Bernard Lewis37; Clinton administration diplomats Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk38; Bush staffers 33 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 14. 34 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 15. 35 See, e.g., page 16-17, noting the two-fold goals of all Lobby members: “The Lobby pursues two broad strategies to promote U.S. support for Israel. First, it wields significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the Executive branch to support Israel down the line. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker’s own views, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the “smart” political choice…. Second, the Lobby strives to ensure that public discourse about Israel portrays it in a positive light, by repeating myths about Israel and its founding and by publicizing Israel’s side in the policy debates of the day. The goal is to prevent critical commentary about Israel from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing U.S. support, because a candid discussion of U.S.-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favor a different policy.” 36 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 33. 37 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 32. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 9 of 45 Scooter Libby and Paul Wolfowitz39; Democratic Congressmen Joseph Lieberman40 and Eliot Engel41; former Republic Congressman Dick Armey42; the Brookings Institute and just about every other major think tank.43 The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are willing members of the conspiracy,44 whereas CNN and NPR are being dragged into it by pressure from Jewish donors and letter writers.45 This explains why, according to Mearsheimer and Walt, “the American media contains few criticisms of Israeli policies.”46 This statement will sound especially bizarre to anyone who regularly reads the The New York Times, which is frequently critical of Israel, and whose editorial board seems particularly antagonistic toward the Likud Party, which dominated Israeli politics during the period under discussion by the authors.47 Indeed, some members of the so-called Lobby organized a boycott of The New York Times for its perceived bias against Israel.48 A careful review of other media outlets that are allegedly part of the Lobby will also show repeated criticism of specific Israeli policies. Mearsheimer and 38 Walt & Mearsheimer, p.19. 39 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 32. 40 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 19. 41 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 37. 42 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 17. 43 Walt & Mearsheimer, pp. 21-22. 44 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 20. 45 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 21. 46 Ibid. 47 For example, the Times’s masthead editorial following Hamas’s January electoral victory placed at least partial responsibility on Ariel Sharon. “Israeli hard-liners can blame themselves as well. Even though most reasonable people have recognized Mr. Abbas as a far more pragmatic negotiating partner than Yasir Arafat was, Prime Minister Sharon failed to give Mr. Abbas any concession that he could point to as an achievement. Instead, Israel has busied itself with carrying out Mr. Sharon's doctrine of unilateral separation from the Palestinians, a doctrine that is sure to gain more favor now that the Palestinians have chosen Hamas.” “In the Mideast, a Giant Step Back,” The New York Times, January 27, 2006. The Times was originally so anti-Zionist that it refused to accept a paid advertisement from a pro-Israel group in 1946. Gay Talese, The Kingdom and the Power (Laurel: New York, 1986), p. 112 . According to Gay Talese’s history of the Times, the editorial page eventually became “a supporter of Israel in wars with the Arabs, but critical of some Israeli territorial ambitions and actions following the victories.” Id. at 97. 48 See “Rabbi Lookstein and The New York Times,” The Jewish Press, June 20, 2001. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 10 of 45 Walt are demonstrable wrong when the assert that “the American media contains few criticisms of Israeli policies.” They are also wrong when the say that the Lobby conspires to manipulate the U.S. government into making war on Arab and Muslim nations. Never mind that the chief figures in the Bush Administration responsible for the Iraq war, including the President, the Vice President, both Secretaries of State, and the Secretary of Defense, are all non-Jewish. A pesky detail like that can be explained away by the claim that America’s top politicians are all heavily “influenced by the neoconservatives” (read: Jews),49 and pressured by Jewish congressional staffers50 into doing Israel’s bidding, even though it is against the interests of the United States.51 As the conclusion warns, “American leaders” must “distance themselves from the Lobby” in order to act in a manner “more consistent with broader U.S. interests.”52 The reality, of course, is that the so-called members of “the Lobby” have little in common with each other, except for a preference for democracy over tyranny, belief in Israel’s strategic importance to the United States, support for an endangered American ally, commitment to the survival of a small democracy in which Jewish culture can thrive, and the recognition of the need for one nation that will always be open to Jews 49 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 32. 50 Walt and Mearsheimer write: “Pro-Israel congressional staffers are another source of the Lobby’s power. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, ‘There are a lot of guys at the working level up here [on Capital Hill] … who happen to be Jewish, who are willing … to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness…. These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators…. You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level’” (p.17). Quoting a Jewish source for this preposterous claim — that Jewish staffers place their loyalty to Israel over the loyalty to their own country — is part of a process of ethnic identification that I will examine later in this paper. 51 “In short,” the paper states, “Sharon and the Lobby took on the President of the United States and triumphed” (p. 29). 52 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 40. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 11 of 45 threatened with discrimination and persecution in a world with continuing if not increasing anti-Semitism. As Brett Stephens explained why the Wall Street Journal’s Robert Bartley — a moderate Christian — supported Israel: He supported Israel for much the same reason he supported Great Britain, Poland and Taiwan – because they were friends of the United States, because they were democracies, because they were places where his core beliefs in free men and free markets held sway. In this respect, and like so many of us who are friends of the Jewish state, he was not privy to an Israeli conspiracy but part of an American consensus.53 Some supporters of Israel are of the left and support extensive territorial compromise and a two state solution. Others are of the right and favor more limited steps. Some are secular, others religious. Some are Democrats, others Republican. Some supported the war in Iraq, while others – a majority of Jews – opposed it. They have no more in common with each other than do “members” of the anti-Israel lobby, which includes David Duke, Pat Buchanan, Noam Chomsky, Alexander Cockburn, numerous Arab and Muslim organizations, some church groups and now the authors of this working paper. Indeed, there are many lobbies that support diverse approaches to the Arab-Israeli conflict, just as there are many lobbies with differing perspectives on Cuba, China, North Korea, and Russia. Among the powerful lobbies related to the Middle East are the American oil lobby, the Saudi lobby, the lobbies for the Emirates, and various church groups that urge divestiture against Israel. AIPAC – to its credit – has been an influential lobby. So have others. When Saudi lobbyists have clashed with the Israel lobby, the Saudi lobby has often won. For example, the Israel lobby was no match against the Saudi 53 Bret Stephens, “The Israel Conspiracy,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2006. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 12 of 45 lobby in securing the $8.5 billion sale of American Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) jets to Saudi Arabia, over strong Israeli objection.54 The chief lobbyist for the Saudis, until recently, was Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was described as “so close to the President's father, George H. W. Bush, that he was considered almost a member of the family,”55 and was nicknamed “Bandar Bush” by the President’s family.56 And yet Walt and Mearsheimer omit any reference to competing lobbies. The paper is filled with thinly veiled charges of Jewish control of American thought. The authors refer to Jewish “manipulation” and “influence” over American media and government thirty-four times. They identify an American-Jewish lobbying group as a “de facto agent for a foreign government,” of having a “stranglehold” over American policy, and of “controlling the debate.”57 These charges are indistinguishable from Pat Buchanan’s invocation of the U.S. government as Israel’s “amen corner” and his reference to Congress as “Israeli Occupied Territory,”58 allegations, among others, 54 “News Summary,” The New York Times, October 30, 1981. The AWACS episode was accompanied by similar charges that a “Jewish Lobby” harbored undue influence in Congress. See James G. Abourezk, “The Power of Washington’s Israel Lobby,” The New York Times, November 8, 1981. 55 Elsa Walsh, “The Prince: How the Saudi Ambassador Became Washington’s Indispensable Operator,” New Yorker, March 24, 2003. 56 Robert Baer, “The Fall of the House of Saud,” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1, 2003; Maureen Dowd, “A Golden Couple Chasing Away a Black Cloud,” The New York Times, November 27, 2002; Brian Knowlton, “Saudi Ambassador’s Absence From U.S. Draws Questions,” International Herald Tribune, June 30, 2005. 57 Consider their word choice. “AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the U.S. Congress” (p. 18). Listen to the language: “agent for a foreign government” and “stranglehold.” It sounds more like a hate speech web site than an academic essay. And read this cryptic sentence: “Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing U.S. support, because a candid discussion of U.S.-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favor a different policy” (pp. 16-17). 58 “Pat Buchanan In His Own Words,” Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, February 26, 1996, accessible at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2553. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 13 of 45 that led William F. Buckley to characterize Buchanan’s views as “amount[ing] to anti-Semitism.”59 Mearsheimer and Walt go out of their way to deny that their paper’s dominant thesis is similar to the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.60 They bring up the Protocols to distance themselves from it — while generally adhering to a variation on its conspiratorial theme. Again, listen to Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal: [T]he gist of the Mearsheimer-Walt hypothesis should be clear. So should its pedigree. The authors are at pains to note that the Israel Lobby is by no means exclusively Jewish, and that not every American Jew is a part of it. Fair enough. But has there ever been an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that does not share its basic features? Dual loyalty, disloyalty, manipulation of the media, financial manipulation of the political system, duping the goyim (gentiles) and getting them to fight their wars, sponsoring and covering up acts of gratuitous cruelty against an innocent people – every canard ever alleged of the Jews is here made about the Israel Lobby and its cause.61 As an added precaution, the authors preemptively accuse the Lobby of indiscriminately crying anti-Semitism: “Anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over U.S. Middle East policy … stands a good chance of getting labeled an anti-Semite.”62 “In other words criticize Israeli policy 59 William F. Buckley Jr., In Search of Anti-Semitism (New York: Continuum, 1994), p. 44. 60 They write, “The Lobby’s activities are not the sort of conspiracy depicted in anti-Semitic tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (p. 16). 61 Bret Stephens, “The Israel Conspiracy,” Wall Street Journal, March 25, 2006. 62 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 24. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 14 of 45 and you are by definition an anti-Semite.”63 This is demonstrably false, thought it is a charge made frequently in the hate literature.64 Several years ago, I challenged those who made similar accusations to identify a single Jewish leader who equated mere criticism of Israeli policy with anti-Semitism.65 No one accepted my challenge, because no Jewish leader has made such an absurd claim. Among the harshest critics of Israeli policy are Jews and Israelis. Just read the mainstream Israel and Jewish-American press66 - a research task that Mearsheimer and Walt should have but did not undertake before they falsely generalized about its content. Mearsheimer and Walt’s straw-man argument — which, if true, would make me and other critical supporters of Israel anti-Semites — simply does not stand up to scrutiny. Nor are Mearsheimer and Walt merely criticizing Israeli policies, or even Israel itself. They are very explicitly targeting American Jews: “The core of the Lobby is comprised of American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend 63 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 25. 64 See, e.g., Osama bin Laden, “Full Text: bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America,’” The Guardian Online, accessible at www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,845757,00.html (“Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-Semitism.”). John Lynch, “Israel: A racist state for Jews-only!,” National Socialist Movement Northwest, accessible at http://www.nukeisrael.com/al.htm. 65 Alan Dershowitz, “The New Big Lie,” The Jerusalem Post, October 24, 2002 (“But the reality is that in the many years that I have been speaking about the Arab-Israeli conflict, I have never heard anyone ever actually label a mere critic of Israel or Sharon as anti-Semitic. Nor have I ever heard mere criticism of Israel described as anti-Semitism. Yet the big lie persists. Holocaust scholar Susannah Heschel has made the following charge: ‘We often hear that criticism of Israel is equivalent to anti-Semitism.’ Tikkun editor Michael has made a similar charge, as has Harvard professor Paul Hanson. I hereby challenge anyone who claims that mere criticism of Israel is ‘often’ labeled anti-Semitism to document that charge with actual quotations, in context, with the source of the statements identified. I am not talking about the occasional kook who writes an anonymous postcard or e-mail. I am talking about mainstream supporters of Israel who, it is claimed, have ‘often’ equated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.”). 66 For recent, harsh criticism of Israel and Israeli policy, see, e.g.,, Leonard Fein, “Zionists Without Umbilical Cords,” The Forward, March 16, 2006; Zvi Bar’el, “Let Hamas Do Its Work,” Ha’aretz, March 31, 2006. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 15 of 45 U.S. foreign policy so that it advances Israel’s interests” over those of the United States.67 In one of the paper’s more peculiar passages, the authors try to refute the allegation that anti-Semitism is on the rise in France by pointing out that “85 percent of practicing French Catholics reject the charge that Jews have too much influence in business and finance.”68 By citing this strange statistic — very few French people are, in fact, practicing Catholics — they seem to be acknowledging that those who do argue that Jews have too much influence may well be making a bigoted argument. The fact is that anti-Semitism is on the rise in France, as evidenced by a recent poll showing that sixty-four percent of French citizens themselves (not limited to, but including, “practicing French Catholics”) “think anti-semitism is on the rise in France.”69 The New York Times recently reported on “an undeniable problem: anti-Semitism among France’s second generation immigrant youth….” It headlined its story “Jews in France feel sting as anti-Semitism surges among children of immigrants,” and it documented “the deteriorating climate” that “has led thousands of French Jews to move to Israel in the past five years….”70 Yet Mearsheimer and Walt insist on denying the “undeniable,” 67 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 14. 68 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 25. 69 “France: Community leaders Believe Anti-Semitic Assaults are Symptoms of a Growing Problem with Racism: In Numbers,” The Guardian (London), March 21, 2006 (“64 % of French people think anti-semitism is on the rise in France, according to a survey published by Paris Match this month.”) 70 Craig S. Smith, “Jews in France Feel Sting as Anti-Semitism Surges Among Children of Immigrants,” New York Times, March 26, 2006, p. 12 (Emphasis added.) See also, Craig S. Smith, “World Leaders Gather for Auschwitz Ceremony,” The New York Times, January 27, 2005 (“That commitment is all the more critical now because a growing number of Europe's young Muslims are resisting, even rejecting, efforts to teach them about the Holocaust, arguing that there is not enough attention paid to the killing of innocent Muslims by Israel or the United States-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan…. Teachers are reluctant to teach about the Holocaust in some schools, particularly in France, Belgium and Denmark.”); Janine Zacharia, “A Nation Scorned; Eretz Acharet,” Foreign Policy, May 1, 2005 (“One need look no further than recent history for evidence. A report issued by the U.S. State Department in January noted the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe since 2000.”). L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 16 of 45 because a rise in anti-Semitism would undercut their thesis of an all-powerful Jewish cabal. Regardless, the real trouble with the paper is that it presents a conspiratorial view of history. This type of paranoid worldview, in which Jews manipulate and control the media and government, is not the sort of argument one would expect from prominent academics. It more closely resembles what Professor Richard Hofstadter described in “The Paranoid Style of American Politics,” in which extremists on both the far right and the far left harbor exaggerated fantasies about an individual demographic group’s influence.71 Prominent among the hard-right Jewish conspiracy theorists are David Duke and Pat Buchanan, and on the hard left are Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, and Alexander Cockburn. Their hateful views are consistent with other types of conspiracy theories spouted by those who, for instance, blame all of their own and America’s economic troubles on immigrants, or those who blame all crime on African-Americans, those who blame a perceived cultural decline on gays, or moral decline on secular humanists. The sort of people who articulate such views might defend themselves against charges of prejudice by insisting that they do not believe that all immigrants are harmful to America, or that all blacks violate the law. But just because a person believes 71 “In the history of the United States one find it [paranoid-style politics], for example, in the anti-Masonic movement, the nativist and anti-Catholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders’ conspiracy, in many alarmists about the Mormons, in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers’ conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing, and on both sides of the race controversy today, among White Citizens’ Councils and Black Muslims.” Richard Hofstadter, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” accessible at http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/conspiracytheory/theparanoidmentality/theparanoidstyle.html. The essay is referenced and related to the Walt-Mearsheimer paper in: Max Boot, “Policy Analysis – Paranoid Style,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2006. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 17 of 45 there are some exceptions to his pejorative generalizations does not erase the underlying prejudice. There are three areas of the Mearsheimer-Walt paper that I will address in more detail: their method of scholarship, their marshalling of facts, and their logical analysis. Scholarship Mearsheimer and Walt rely heavily on discredited allegations and out of context quotations found on extremist, disreputable sources, including well-known hate websites. It is ironic that in support of the proposition that American Jews are disloyal to America, Mearsheimer and Walt cite America haters who classify our country as the leader of the real axis of evil, who call America a worse terrorists organization than al Qaeda, and who claim that we deserved what happened to us on September 11. Consider some of the sources. Mearsheimer and Walt favorably cite Cockburn’s CounterPunch.org on four different occasions. Cockburn is best known for his anti-American charges (he referred to “the shared enthusiasm of the Führer and all U.S. Presidents (with the possible exception of Warren Harding) for mass murder as an appropriate expression of national policy”)72 and for airing accusations that Israel may have been complicit in September 11, ultimately concluding that he is not sure “whether [the charges] are true or not.”73 They cite Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein three times apiece. Chomsky has repeatedly expressed hatred for the United States, making 72 Alexander Cockburn, “Bush as Hitler? Let’s Be Fair,” Nation, January 26, 2004, p. 8. 73 Franklin Foer, “Relativity Theory; Alexander Cockburn’s Dubious Theories,” New Republic, April 22, 2002, p. 12. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 18 of 45 such claims as: “[i]f the Nuremberg laws were applied today, then every Post-War American president would have to be hanged.”74 Finkelstein’s anti-Americanism has led him to support Hezbollah and to blame the United States for September 11: “[W]e [the U.S.] deserve the problem on our hands because some things Bin Laden says are true.”75 On the question of Palestinian refugees, Mearsheimer and Walt cite Finkelstein’s for the absurd proposition that Israel essentially started the War of Independence in order to ethnically cleanse its land of Palestinians.76 Why would serious academics choose to cite as an authority on the contentious refugee issue a man who is not an expert on Israel and who wrote a book that the New York Times Book Review called “irrational and insidious” and a “conspiracy theory”?77 This is a man whom the Washington Post has described as “a writer celebrated by neo-Nazi groups for his Holocaust revisionism and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany.”78 University of Chicago historian Peter Novick had it exactly right when he said Finkelstein’s so-called scholarship — which he says includes made up quotes and sources — is a “twenty-first century updating of the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion.’”79 Novick continued: 74 Quoted in “Who Runs America? Forty Minutes with Noam Chomsky,” Boston Phoenix, April 1-8, 1999, accessible at http://www.bostonphoenix.com/archive/features/99/04/01/NOAMCHOMSKY.html. 75 Don Atapattu, “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: A Conversation with Professor Norman Finkelstein,” CounterPunch, December 13, 2001, accessible at http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein1.html. 76 Mearsheimer and Walt assert that Israel was always intent on ridding its land of all Arabs and that the “opportunity came in 1947-48, when Jewish forces drove up to 700,000 Palestinians into exile” (p. 10). They fail to mention that the War of Independence was thrust on Israel by the decision of the surrounding Arab countries to invade the new state and destroy it. They cite Finkelstein (footnote 35) in support of the ahistoric claim that the entire refugee problem was a product of Israeli’s willful “design.” 77 Omer Bartov, “A Tale of Two Holocausts,” New York Times, August 6, 2000, p. 8. 78 Marc Fisher, “Campus Should Cultivate Its Seeds of Debate,” Washington Post, December 3, 2002. 79 Peter Novick, “Offene Fenster und Tueren. Ueber Norman Finkelsteins Kreuzzug,” in Petra Steinberger, ed., Die Finkelstein-Debatte (München: Piper Verlag, 2001), p. 159 (translated from the German). Moreover, on several occasions, the authors cite quotations to their primary sources, when it’s obvious that L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 19 of 45 As concerns particular assertions made by Finkelstein . . . the appropriate response is not (exhilarating) debate but (tedious) examination of his footnotes. Such an examination reveals that many of those assertions are pure invention. . . . No facts alleged by Finkelstein should be assumed to be really facts, no quotation in his book should be assumed to be accurate, without taking the time to carefully compare his claims with the sources he cites.80 If there were other, more reputable sources, they would not have had to dig through recycled trash to support their untenable assertions. Mearsheimer and Walt do not make up quotes, but they wrench them out of context. They twice quote David Ben-Gurion so out of context that they make him appear to be saying the exact opposite of what he actually did say. First, the authors have Ben-Gurion saying, “After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment they did not find the materials there. For example, the authors cull a single quotation that originally appeared on pages 401-403 of Max Frankel’s biography, The Times of My Life and My Life with The Times. (“I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert.”) It is the type of quotation that pops up regularly on radical conspiracy theory web sites that assert the same sort of Jewish domination of the media as Mearsheimer and Walt allege. Clearly the authors did not read Max Frankel’s autobiography, but rather came across the quotation somewhere far less reputable. On at least one occasion, they quote to the primary source incorrectly. Though they cite to page 99 of the Steve Cox translation of Nahum Goldmann’s The Jewish Paradox, the quotation that Walt and Mearsheimer use is not from Cox’s and Goldmann’s book. Rather than citing to where they actually found the quotation, the authors simply copied a citation without checking the source they were citing. A few years ago, Finkelstein accused me of “plagiarism” on the basis of his claim that I cited to original sources, rather than to the secondary sources from which he (erroneously) believed I had initially found some of my quotations. In other words, Walt and Mearsheimer did exactly what Finkelstein accused me of doing. (The claim that citing to original sources amounts to plagiarism is patently ridiculous, and it was promptly refuted by quick reference to the Chicago Manual of Style, as well by investigations conducted by Harvard University, The New York Times, a former president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a score of librarians and professors.) Nor was I ever accused of taking quotations out of context in any way. I note that Finkelstein has not raised any “plagiarism” charges against Walt and Mearsheimer, either because he realizes that the accusation is utterly absurd, or because he has a double standard when it comes to criticizing his ideological soul mates. I suspect that both reasons play a part in his decision to remain silent. Finkelstein, who has made a career out of falsely maligning the academic integrity of nearly every prominent Holocaust historian and supporter of Israel’s right to exist (including Elie Wiesel, whom Finkelstein has called a “liar,” “cheater,” “clown,” “ridiculous character,” and “wimp”) never criticizes the citation form of his ideological allies. 80 Peter Novick, “Offene Fenster und Tueren. Ueber Norman Finkelsteins Kreuzzug,” in Petra Steinberger, ed., Die Finkelstein-Debatte (München: Piper Verlag, 2001), p. 159 (translated from the German). L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 20 of 45 of the state, we shall abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine.”81 The clear implication is that this would be done by force. Yet, in a follow-up question to that statement, Ben-Gurion was asked whether he meant to achieve this “By force as well?” He responded in the negative. “Through mutual understanding and Jewish-Arab agreement.”82 Yet, Mearsheimer and Walt omit this important qualifying answer. Ben-Gurion is then quoted by Mearsheimer and Walt as saying that “it is impossible to imagine general evacuation [of the Arab population] without compulsion, and brutal compulsion,”83 making it seem as if Ben-Gurion was advocating a “brutal compulsion.” But they omit what Ben-Gurion said after that: “but we should in no way make it part of our programme.”84 By omitting Ben-Gurion’s critical conclusions, they falsely suggest that Ben-Gurion was proposing the opposite of what he said. There are only two possible explanations for these pregnant omissions: either they were unaware of the context of the quotes because they read only the misleading excerpts ripped out of context by the biased sources in which they found them it but did not cite; or they themselves made the decision to misuse the quotes so as to mislead the reader. The burden is on them to tell us which it is. These particular quotations from Ben Gurion appears on several hard-left or hate sites, where they are always wrenched out of context to make it appear that he said the 81 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 10. 82 Efraim Karsh, “Falsifying the Record: Benny Morris, David Ben-Gurion, and the ‘Transfer’ Idea,” Israel Affairs, vol. 4, no. 2, winter 1997, at p. 52 ((found in Alex Safian, “Study Decrying ‘Israel Lobby’ Marred by Numerous Errors,” CAMERA.org, March 22, 2006). 83 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 10. 84 Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage, 2001), p. 169 ((found in Alex Safian, “Study Decrying ‘Israel Lobby’ Marred by Numerous Errors,” CAMERA.org, March 22, 2006). Ben-Gurion, of course, had no objection to other nations, such as Britain or the United States, pressuring the Palestinians to leave. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 21 of 45 opposite of what he actually said.85 The same is true of other quotations, also taken out of context. For example, the Max Frankel quotations are trumpeted on holywar.org, a website which claims that “Israel is a Satanic state.”86 Mearsheimer and Walt quote Ehud Barak as saying that “had he been born a Palestinian, he ‘would have joined a terrorist organization.’”87 This quote, too, appears on many hard-left websites,88 and omits his condemnation of terrorism.89 The same goes for the Ben-Gurion quote, “If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel.”90 And the quotation of Morris Amitay, about how Jewish Congressional staffers will “look at certain issues in 85 See, e.g., “‘Transfer’ (Ethnic Cleansing) Zionist Quotes,” PalestineRemembered.com: The Home Of All Ethnically Cleansed Palestinians, December 3, 2001, accessible at http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Famous-Zionist-Quotes/Story694.html; Phil Gasper, “Israel: Colonial-settler state,” International Socialist Review, December 2000-January 2001, accessible at http://www.isreview.org/issues/15/israelcolonial.shtml; and Remi Kanazi, “Transferring The Truth,” Palestine Chronicle, July 2, 2005, accessible at http://palestinechronicle.com/story.php?sid=20050702064103835. 86 See “Jewish Influence in the Mass Media,” accessible at http://holywar.org/jewishtr/24media3.htm. 87 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 13. 88 See, e.g., “From the Horses Mouth,” Guerrilla News Network, February 7, 2005, accessible at http://guerrillanews.com/users/user.php?bid=3914; “More Quotes,” MonaBaker.com, accessible at http://www.monabaker.com/quotes.htm; “On Ethnic Cleansing and the Solution of the Arab Question,” SocialistViewpoint, September 2003, accessible at http://www.socialistviewpoint.org/sept03/sept03_18.html; Stephen R. Shalom, “Background to the Israel-Palestine Crisis,” Z Magazine, May 2002, accessible at http://www.zmag.org/shalom-meqa.htm. Mona Baker, an Egyptian-born professor at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), caused a firestorm of controversy when, in 2002, she fired two Israeli nationals from two scholarly journals based solely on their nationality. One was Miriam Schlesigner, a former chairman of Amnesty International’s Israel chapter. Baker told the Sunday Telegraph that “Israel has gone beyond just war crimes. It is horrific what is going on there. Many of us would like to talk about it as some kind of Holocaust which the world will eventually wake up to, much too late, of course, as they did with the last one.” Charlotte Edwardes, “Fury as Academics Are Sacked for Being Israeli; American Scholar Leads Condemnation of ‘Repellant’ British Action,” Sunday Telegraph (London), July 7, 2002. 89 Barak added that he found terrorism “despicable” and “inhumane.” Liat Collins, “Barak, Gazit Cause Stir With Provocative Remarks,” Jerusalem Post, March 8, 1998. 90 M. Junaid Alam, “The New York Times Threatens Palestinians with Israeli Brutality After Hamas Vote,” Left Hook, accessible at http://lefthook.org/Politics/Alam020506.html; and “The origin of the Palestine-Israeli conflict,” April 5, 2002, accessible at http://www.zmag.org/content/Mideast/jewsfjustice.cfm. Mearsheimer and Walt claim to have drawn this quote from Nahum Goldmann’s The Jewish Paradox. Importantly, they omit the end of Goldmann’s account of this conversation with Ben-Gurion. “That was Ben-Gurion all over: he had told me that so as to show me how well he knew in his heart that Israel could not exist without peace with the Arabs,” Goldmann wrote. The Jewish Paradox (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1978), p. 99-100. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 22 of 45 terms of their Jewishness,”91 was included in an article 22 years ago that sounded many of the same themes as Mearsheimer and Walt.92 On NukeIsrael.com and other hate sites, one can also find many of the same points: “A group of powerful U.S. Jews have grotesquely distorted U.S. foreign policy in blind fanatic support of Israel.”93 And the following, which is somewhat more nuanced than the Mearsheimer-Walt formulation, appears in a neo-Nazi on-line publication: “Although criticism of specific Israeli policies is permissible in the United States, it is more or less forbidden to express fundamental criticism of the Zionist state, of America's basic policy of support for Israel, or of the Jewish-Zionist grip on the U.S. media or America’s political and academic life.”94 In addition to relying on quotes wrenched out of context by dubious sources, Mearsheimer and Walt also recite historic facts out of context. They willfully omit the most important contextual history. The authors mention the wars of 1948, 1967, and 1973 to cite evidence of Israeli military superiority, but they never mention why the wars were fought in the first place. In other words, there is absolutely no indication that on all three occasions, Arab countries attacked Israel in order, according to their own well-known formulation, to “drive the Jews into the Sea.” (Mearsheimer and Walt say that Israel won “quick and easy victories” in these wars, without mentioning casualty rates that claimed the lives of a full one percent of Israel’s population (many of them 91 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 17. 92 Cheryl Rubenberg, “The Middle East Lobbies,” The Link, January-March 1984, accessible at http://www.ameu.org/page.asp?iid=170&aid=214&pg=3. 93 “Jews that control the world,” National Socialist Movement Northwest, accessible at http://www.nukeisrael.com/media%20jewish%20elite.html. 94 John Lynch, “Israel: A racist state for Jews-only!,” National Socialist Movement Northwest, accessible at http://www.nukeisrael.com/al.htm. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 23 of 45 Holocaust survivors) during the 1948 war,95 or the high casualty rates and near-disaster Israel suffered by the Egyptian surprise attack on Yom Kippur of 1973.) Nor is there any mention of Palestinian terrorism, except to blithely dismiss it as a minor nuisance and to justify it as an understandable reaction to occupation.96 Needless to say, the authors’ rationalization does not explain the prevalence of Palestinian terror campaigns beginning in 1929, nor does it address terrorist organizations that consider all of Israel to be “occupied territory” (including Hamas, which now controls the Palestinian Authority). After all, al-Fatah (“The Conquest,” the main branch of the PLO) was founded as an organization committed to Israel’s destruction by terrorism before the 1967 war and subsequent occupation. The authors’ discussion of American involvement in Israel’s affairs is similarly skewed. They mention that “Washington was deeply involved in the negotiations that ended [the 1973] war” without saying that Washington’s intervention was to Israel’s disadvantage.97 They say that Israel was a potential liability in the first Gulf War coalition without mentioning that Israel refrained from entering the conflict, at the United States’s request, despite the Iraqi Scuds that rained down on Tel Aviv.98 Walt and Mearsheimer also fail to mention that it would have been considerably more difficult, if not impossible, for the United States to confront Iraq in the first Gulf War if Israel had 95 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 8. 96 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 13. 97 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 3. The United States pressed for a cease-fire only after Israel had turned the tide of the war and was marching steadily toward Cairo and Damascus. “The Americans pressed Israel to withdraw to the October 22 lines and, at the same time, rejected the Egyptian demand for American-Soviet military involvement, viewing this as a barely veiled ploy to inject Soviet troops into the area in order to intimidate Israel and to force open a passage between Cairo and the Third Army.” Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), p. 436. 98 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 4. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 24 of 45 not destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor ten years earlier. Then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney acknowledged Israel’s crucial role in facilitating America’s victory when, in December 1991, he presented the Israeli general who had organized the attack on Osirak a satellite photograph of the destroyed reactor with the following inscription: “With thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job…on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981, which made our job much easier in Desert Storm.”99 The authors write, “Even when Israel was founded, Jews were only about 35 percent of Palestine’s population and owned 7 percent of the land,”100 without citing the more important demographic statistic, namely, that Jews were a clear majority in the areas assigned to Israel under partition, thus making their reference to South Africa’s Apartheid inapt. The authors’ bias is most clearly demonstrated when they write that “the creation of Israel entailed a moral crime” without adequately explaining the history behind Israel’s birth and the near-unanimous Arab refusal to accept a Jewish state in the Middle East.101 There is no recognition that during and after the Holocaust, no nation would accept more than a handful of Jews in need of refuge. There is no word of the several partition plans – Balfour (1917), Peel (1937), and the UN (1947) – that the Arabs rejected but that the Jewish leadership accepted so that it might establish peaceful sovereignty alongside its neighbors, no matter how small, disconnected, and indefensible were the borders of the proposed Jewish state. There is no word about the great statesmen of the time, from 99 Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Great Terror,” New Yorker, March 25, 2002. 100 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 10. 101 Walt & Mearsheimer, p. 11. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 25 of 45 Woodrow Wilson102 through Harry Truman103 and Winston Churchill,104 who wholeheartedly supported Jewish self-determination through the establishment of Israel. The authors invert cause and effect by presenting Israel’s founding, without any historical context, as the cause of a great crime, rather than the reaction to one. These are only a few examples. Nearly every paragraph of the paper is riddled with similar errors, omits crucial details, and misleads the reader. As an editorial in the Forward put it: Countless facts are simply wrong. Long stretches of argument are implausible, at times almost comically so. Much of their research is oddly amateurish, drawn not from credible [sources]…. Some are wildly misquoted. An undergraduate submitting work like this would be laughed out of class.105 102 Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), p. 75. 103 Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), p. 172. 104 Benny Morris, Righteous Victims (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), p. 72. 99-100 (“It is manifestly right that the scattered Jews should have a national center and a national home and be reunited and where else but in Palestine with which for 3,000 years they have been intimately and profoundly associated? We think it will be good for the world, good for the Jews, good for the British Empire, but also good for the Arabs who dwell in Palestine…. They shall share in the benefits and progress of Zionism.”). 105 “In Dark Times, Blame the Jews,” Forward, March 24, 2006, accessible at http://www.forward.com/articles/7532. L:\Research\Sponsored Research\WP RR RAO\WP response paper\Dershowitz.response.paper.doc Words count: 9733 Last printed 4/5/2006 3:26:00 PM Created on 4/5/2006 3:22:00 PM Page 26 of 45 But this is no laughing matter since the authors of this “junk” social science study — one of Mearsheimer’s colleagues called it “piss-poor, monocausal social science”106 — hold prominent positions in major universities. Accordingly, the alleged “facts” on which their study is based must be tested against the reality.107 II. Facts It would take a much longer article to debunk all the factual errors in the paper, which truly is a collage of misinformation. I will point out only a very few of the most obvious misstatements Mearsheimer and Walt have borrowed from Israel bashers.
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