Ten years after the publication of The Israel Lobby—the work of two “realist” political scientists who accused pro-Israel forces of manipulating U.S. foreign policy into disaster—events in the Middle East have shown that the existence of a Jewish state is the least of the region’s problems. Yet the book’s coauthor, Stephen Walt, has resurfaced with a column in the Forward arguing that history has proved him right. Jonathan Tobin comments:
[T]he nature of Walt and [and his coauthor John] Mearsheimer’s arguments [in their book] hinged on anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews buying influence or manipulating unsuspecting Gentiles. . . . While Walt continues to deny the anti-Semitic nature of his work, it is telling that in his Forward article he cites, among other things, the rise of Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that engages in openly anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist incitement, as proof his stand was correct. He and [others who share his perspective] ignore the reality of the conflict in which a Palestinian political culture rejects peace on any terms. . . .
The context for this effort [to revive the arguments of Walt and Mearsheimer] is important because while most Jews are still focused on President Donald Trump’s wrongheaded comments about Charlottesville, the Democratic party is becoming increasingly hostile to Israel. . . . . [N]ow that we have a president who, despite other obvious faults, isn’t obsessed with the idea of “saving Israel from itself” or in empowering an Iranian regime that is as much of a threat to the U.S. and the Arab states as it is to Israel, as Barack Obama was, it’s unsurprising that some on the left want to revive this dishonest discussion.
In the ten years since The Israel Lobby was first published, a rising tide of anti-Semitism has swept across the globe, fueled in part by smears of Israel and Jews like [the smears] Walt helped spread. That is an indictment of his work, not a vindication. Those who want to besmirch Israel’s supporters as undermining U.S. interests without being rightly labeled as anti-Semites are fooling no one.
Sign Up For Our E-Mail List Get the latest from Mosaic right in your inbox
Sign up now for unlimited access