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The Return of the “Israel Lobby” Canard

Oct. 10 2017

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.

Read more at Jewish News Service

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel & Zionism, Israel Lobby, Stephen Walt

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy