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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

Hamas Sets Its Sights on Taking over the PLO

Oct. 20 2017

Examining the recent reconciliation agreement between the rival Palestinian organizations Fatah and Hamas, Eyal Zisser argues that the latter sees the deal as a way to install its former leader, Khaled Meshal, as head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and thereby the Palestinian Authority. It wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened:

Even the former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat . . . took the PLO leadership by force. His first steps, incidentally, were with the Fatah organization, which he cofounded in January 1965 in Damascus, under Syrian patronage. Fatah was meant to serve as a counterweight to the rival PLO, which had come into existence [earlier] under Egyptian patronage. Arafat, however, was relegated to the sidelines in the Palestinian arena. It was only after the 1967 Six-Day War that he exploited the resounding defeat of the Arab armies to join the PLO as the leader of Fatah, which led to his gaining control over [the PLO itself].

Meshal [most likely] wants to follow in Arafat’s footsteps—a necessary maneuver for a man who aspires to lead the Palestinian national movement, particularly after realizing that military might and even a hostile takeover of [either Gaza or the West Bank] will not grant him the legitimacy he craves.

It is hard to believe that Fatah will willingly hand over the keys to leadership, and it is also safe to assume that Egypt does not want to see Hamas grow stronger. But quasi-democratic developments such as these have their own dynamics. In 2006, Israel was persuaded by Washington to allow Hamas to run in the general Palestinian elections, thinking the Islamist group had no chance of winning. But Hamas won those elections. We can assume Meshal will now look to repeat that political ploy by joining the PLO and vying for its leadership.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Fatah, Hamas, Khaled Meshal, Palestinian Authority, PLO, Politics & Current Affairs, Yasir Arafat