The New Theist

William Lane Craig, evangelical Christianity’s answer to the New Atheists, has his philosophical opponents on the run.

Read more at Chronicle of Higher Education

More about: Atheism, Evangelical Christianity, New Atheists, Philosophy of Religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Theology, William Lane Craig


Meet the Iran Lobby

Despite its allegedly immense power, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) failed to influence the president’s pursuit of the Iran deal, and also appears unable to rally sufficient opposition to it in Congress. By contrast, the much less well known National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has played an important behind-the-scenes role in orchestrating and campaigning for the deal. Lee Smith explains:

[NIAC’s founder Trita] Parsi deserves lots of credit for his victory, but he can’t cash his checks too publicly—because the American public doesn’t like Iran. Which in turn points up a major difference between the pro-Israel lobby and the pro-Iran lobby—both of which . . . make entirely legitimate use of the American democratic system to advocate for their respective points of view. Where NIAC differs from AIPAC is in its relation to American public opinion. . . . The pro-Iran lobby, [unlike the pro-Israel lobby], has no real base of popular support in America. . . .

One of the chief ironies of the ongoing debate over the Iran deal is that both defenders and detractors of a supposedly all-powerful “Israel lobby” have been wasting their breath over an entity that has notably failed to affect U.S. policy on a single issue of major concern over the entire course of Barack Obama’s six-year presidency—a record of unmitigated failure that would clearly condemn it to the black hole of Beltway irrelevance if not for the bizarre imaginative hold, and political utility, of the myth of a powerful conspiracy of Jews who secretly rule the planet.

Or perhaps it’s not an irony at all. Some of the loudest detractors of the “Israel lobby” are in fact paid staffers and partisans of the Iran lobby—an entity that, unlike the Israel lobby, has succeeded in radically altering U.S. foreign policy, with the help of the president and his advisers. Seen from a certain angle, the Iran lobby has pulled off the neat trick of using the specter of the Israel lobby to shift U.S. policy away from Israel and toward Iran—while actually succeeding at the same dark arts that it blames the Jews for employing. The Iran lobby used a combination of lobbying, donations, propaganda, and back-door personal connections to top policy-makers to . . . alter American foreign policy and align the United States with an oppressive authoritarian regime that is destabilizing the Middle East.

Read more at Tablet

More about: AIPAC, Barack Obama, Iran, Iran nuclear program, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy