The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?

Last March, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published an article in the London Review of Books. Entitled “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy,” it drew swift charges of anti-Semitism in the editorial pages of American newspapers.

At root are passages like the following:

…the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the “Israel Lobby”. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country — in this case, Israel — are essentially identical.

Those attacking Mearsheimer and Walt suggest the duo outline a nefarious Jewish cabal with a stranglehold on American Mideast policy. Think smokey back rooms; think political and media domination; think subtle and sneaky manipulation of the unsuspecting, innocent gentile. Think historical stereotype.

Mearsheimer, Walt and their defenders counter that they neither suggest a cabal nor a monolithic Jewry driving the American body politic. Instead, a close alliance of disparate groups form a capital "L" Israeli Lobby that distorts US interests in the region. While this is lead by the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Lobby includes Jews and Gentiles alike:

The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be contrary to God’s will. Neo-conservative gentiles such as John Bolton; Robert Bartley, the former Wall Street Journal editor; William Bennett, the former secretary of education; Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former UN ambassador; and the influential columnist George Will are also steadfast supporters.

The above debate centers around these two perspectives as the panelists move among issues such as US-Israeli relations, the Middle East peace process, the origins of the Iraq War and Israeli settlement policy to name a few.

Update: the press conference that followed this debate is now available online.

Panelists:

  • John Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.
  • Shlomo Ben-Ami is a former Israeli foreign and security minister and the author of Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy.
  • Martin Indyk is Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution.
  • Tony Judt is Erich Maria Remarque Professor in European Studies and Director of the Remarque Institute at New York University.
  • Rashid Khalidi is Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies and Director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University.
  • Dennis Ross is Counsellor and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace.

Moderator:

Anne-Marie Slaughter is Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Bert G. Kerstetter ‘66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

About The Debate

The above debate took place at Cooper Union in New York City.

Debate Transcript

A transcript for this debate is available on this site. To view it, kindly point your browsers over here. Reprint permissions can be directed to ScribeMedia via email at pubs [at] ScribeMedia [dot] org.

About the London Review of Books

Founded in 1979, The London Review of Books is dedicated to carrying on the tradition of the English essay, giving contributors the space and freedom to develop their ideas at length and in depth.

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102 thoughts on “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?”

  1. The debate and the reaction of those in audience was surprising enough..but by reading the comments above i do not understand how when so many ordinary people are willing to recognize the biased attitude of the media/congressmen towards this issue, how are U.S decision makers ignoring their own people?..why have the intellectuals and other opinion makers stayed quiet about thsi..Though the existance of a Cabal was repeatedly denied by all yet the mainstream media’s apprant ignorance (deliberate?) of this debate and in fact failure to hold such a debate on their own clearly points towards a sinster plot…Indeed anti-semite is a term which is flinged around with abandon on anyone critical of Israel yet the fact that Arabs (christians or Muslims) as a race are also Semites is never even mentioned in various discussions..Armeggadon surely seems like a self-fulfilling prophecy…O ya and i hope there is debate on the role the evangelicals and christian zionists in creating a pro-israel stand on issues regarding Foreign policy..

  2. Bible Prophecy: A Vietnam Veteran’s Perspective

    Greetings.

    The God of Israel is bringing all of mankind to one final crossroads. The Jewish people and the land of Israel are standing at the intersection and no one can pass through without first deciding whether they love or hate the Jews and their coming Messiah. God’s eternal judgment is coming upon those who have sided with the hate that dwells within them! Please consider the following questions:

    Are aliens or angels real? Is someone or thing â out thereâ in the heavens? Do they have anything to do with the wars raging in the Middle East? Is more war or peace on the horizon? Will Israeli and American tanks have to roll into Damascus and Tehran respectively, to keep them from obtaining nuclear weapons? Or will Iran and Syria make peace with Israel? Does there need to be regime changes in these two nations first? Will Russia and America work together for peace in the Holy Land? Will the Pope help? Will Mary, the Queen of Heaven, help as well? Can the Jews and Moslems share the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, allowing for the rebuilding of Solomonâ s Temple right next to the infamous Dome of the Rock mosque? What do communism, fascism, monarchies, theocracies, democracies, and republics all have in common? How are Christians suppose to relate and react to the men in charge of these various forms of civil government? Will the coming infamous peacemaking Antichrist
    be a Jew, a Muslim, a New Ager, or a Christian? And finally, are Christians counted as sheep for the slaughter or militant soldiers of the sword? Are they to be lambs or lions in this life and world?

    I happened to see your name and address on a web site and was wondering if you were open to reading some things I have written, including the questions I just asked above? And thank you for allowing internet contact, for the last thing I want to do is intrude or be needlessly offensive. Isn’t it great that the internet provides for the free flow and exchange of knowledge?

    I would like to welcome you to visit my web site, if you are interested in knowing about today’s political-religious-military events, including those in Israel and America, and how they relate to Bible prophecy from one Vietnam veteranâ s perspective. The five years I served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army helped me to understand why nations war against each other.

    If you drop by my web site please let me know by signing the “guestbook” or dropping me an email. Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon. Again, if you have any interest in the questions above, please consider reading my articles â The Judgment Chroniclesâ , â Despising Government, Part 1 and 2″, “Rick Warren’s Purpose”, and “An Appeal to Hal Lindsey”, posted on our web site. And if you want to read about my military background, please read the article â Moved with Compassionâ . Just click on my web site link below and click on â Articlesâ . The radio interviews I have been part of can be listened to by clicking on this link: http://www.weehoursradio.com/JackHook.html

    Sincerely, Jack D. Hook

    jdhook@cox.net

    Babylon the Great is Falling

    http://www.babylonthegreatisfalling.net

  3. Hi,
    I found your blog via google by accident and have to admit that youve a really interesting blog 🙂
    Just saved your feed in my reader, have a nice day 🙂

  4. I suggest all american’s and the world go to google and type in “benjamin freedman” and listen to his 1961 speech. and then maybe you will understand how we got to where we are today.

  5. One question I would have liked to see answered is: Would the US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians been different all these years if AIPAC was not as strong on the Hill?

  6. Part of Jewish tact was to accuse other party of ANTI-SEMETICISM, imagen a white person criticising the actions of black African American; about drugs, criminal activities, AND the African Americans accuse the white writer of RACISM. The tact is to silence criticism by implying he DONT LIKE MY COLOUR THATS WHY HE IS CRITICISING ME, it works. Same with Jewish groups, they have promoted the use of word ANTI-SEMETIC / ‘ISM, you point the finger at the JEWISH DEEDS, and BEFORE THAT FINGER GOES DOWN some JEWISH NUT CASE WILL; “He Is Anti-Semetic!”

    If criticising a group of people and THEIR NAT’ZI {NAZI}WAYS IN ISRAEL, will EARN ME THE TITILE OF “Anti-Semetic” then please, do invite me for the medal ceremony.

  7. The real issue is not whether or in what extent the Lobby and AIPAC influence the policy makers at Capitol hill and the U.S. foreign policy toward Israel. This is the legal right of every interest group and organization. The real problem is that they have been so successful in creating such an atmosphere in US, where no one and particularly no politician dare criticize Israel publicly. Criticizing Israel is a taboo in US and it kills the public debate on the issue.

  8. Zam, you hit it right on the head!! By why is it taboo to criticize Israel? Well, I’ll tell you why! For starters the media is our enemy. Americans have been literally brainwashed into thinking that Jews are good and Arabs are bad. And we are so stupid not to realize that EVERY single major media outlet is owned/controlled by Zionist Jews! This is a FACT!! ABC, CBS, NBS, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun Times, Hollywood, etc, etc, etc. But if you even dare speak these facts you are labled as anti-semetic even though it’s true! But the most compelling evidence of Jewry in America is through the Federal Reserve System which is PRIVATELY OWNED!! YES! Privately owned by a majority of Jewish interests. Bottom line is “Whoever Controls the money Controls the Country”, period! And our politicians are cowards because they know it to be true but do NOTHING!!

    And to the so-called historian who said that “when the UN announced the Israeli state to exist next to a Palestenian state, it was the Arabs who launched the war against this resolution, and tried to drive Israel into non-existance, all occupations that occured were a result of the Arab aggression, and the israeli people fighting for their lives and existance.”
    This is a bunch of BS!!!! For starters, who in the Hell gave the UN the authority to uproot 100’s of thousands of people for the sake of giving Europeans a piece of Palestine??? The Balfour Declaration is one of the biggest scams in the history of the world! Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern day Zionism started his plan decades before the creation of “Israel”, which is nothing more than a country full of Askenazi Europeans that don’t have a drop of Biblical Judean Blood! You people make me sick! Liars, cheats and enemies of Christianity! And you’ve got Christians actually believing in Judeo-Christianity and that Muslims hate Christians!! That’s insane!!! The Holy Koran reveres Mary and Jesus to the fullest! Jesus is mentioned more times in the Koran than Muhamad!! However, the Zionistic Talmud calls Mary a whore and says that Jesus is boiling in Semen in Hell!!! Now you tell me who is our friend and who is our enemy!

    And lastly Mr. so-called historian, I KNOW about the Bolshevik revoloution and how 20-60 million Christians were killed at the savage hands of Jews but you don’t hear about this in the media. All we are “fed” by the Jewish media is the so-called Holocaust which is now being protected by so-called Hate Speech laws. Too funny! I “see” right through your BS!!!

  9. hi nasa,

    i believe NBC is owned by GE, which is a public company, formerly run by the legendary Jack Welch, who is not jewish. CNN is owned by TimeWarner, a public company, run by a black man, Richard Parsons. i could go on…but generally, make sure you ACTUALLY know what you’re talking about before making blanket statements. it’s not good journalism. it’s not good blog commenting.

    the media is your enemy? i’m part of the media. and i never wake up in the morning thinking i’m someone’s enemy. is al jazeera your enemy 🙂 i guess your enemy is the person who says things you don’t agree with. your friend is the person who says what you think.

    in the world, there are good jews and bad jews, good arabs and bad arabs, good muslims and bad muslims, good black people and bad black people, good white people and bad white people, good journalists and bad journalists, good blog commenters and bad blog commenters, etc…

    as for you, i feel bad. you see the world in black and white and are very one-sided in your views. it’s people like you that i fear the most.

    peter

  10. Yes it is people like me that you should fear most because I see staright through your deceit while you try to “spin” things. The President & CEO of NBC is Jeff Zucker (Jew). Just becasue a company is publicly traded doesn’t mean Jack Squat! Shareholders are ownly concerned about making money and are totally oblivious to what “content” is being fed to the public!! It’s all about the dollar, period! And Gerald LEVIN was just replaced by Richard Parsons, HOWEVER the Senior Management of NBC News content are Jewish!!! Throwing out Richard Parsons is like saying that President Bush really pulls the “Strings” in America. Good try! And wow, you sure missed all of the other media outlets I mentioned!! All the debate in the world DOES NOT diminish the fact that the true American public has been purposely led to beleive that we are under attack by Islam and that’s a BIG 9/11 LIE!!! And for the record, I’m not a Jew hater, I just hate liars and criminals and the blatant double standard that Israel/Zionists receive when it comes to EVERYTHING! Wake up! Oh, and for the record before you try and paint me as a David Dukie, I’m a black Episcopalian and I’m tired of people like you telling me there isn’t an elephant sitting in my living room!

  11. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that they only represent 4% of the population! Oh, and according to the FBI Jews lead in Hate Hoaxes. Meaning they were staged. But curiously things like this don’t hit the news. Wonder why? Not hate, just a fact!

  12. Don’t ask me if this post is Anti-Semetic! Ask me if it’s true!!

    It isn’t Arabs who have hijacked my government – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who have hijacked the American legal system and now are transforming it to conform to Talmudic law – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who own and run the Federal Reserve Bank, which is in the process of destroying the dollar and the American economy – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs rigging the US stock market and commodities futures markets – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who sent our military into Afghanistan and Iraq – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who refuse to serve in the US Military in numbers proportionate to their population percentage – it is jews (1/10 of 1%, vs. 2-1/2%).
    It wasn’t Arabs who sued to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who sued to remove the Ten Commandments from that Alabama courthouse, had Judge Moore removed from the bench and now seek to disbar him – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who sue to remove nativity scenes from public venues – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who erect menorahs in public venues in place of crosses – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who sued to remove group prayer from public schools – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs suing to remove decorative lights from schools at Christmas – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who refuse to allow children to say grace over their school lunches – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who continue to impose affirmative action upon us in all walks of life – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who began and continue to expand militant feminism – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who buy off all our legislators with our own tax dollars – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who tried to sink the USS Liberty and killed and maimed so many of its crewmembers during an extended attack – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs enacting hate crime laws designed to outlaw criticism of themselves – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who run NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association) – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs suing to force us to allow homosexuals to lead boy scout troops – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who started and ran so many black organizations like the NAACP – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs importing huge numbers of Somalians and Bantu into American cities – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who formulated American legislation providing pensions to Russian jewish immigrants for doing nothing – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who run organized crime throughout America – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who import tons of drugs into America every day – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who literally own and run all of Hollywood’s moviemaking enterprise – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who literally own and run all of America’s mainstream media – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs spewing obscenity and race-mixing propaganda from the TV and movie screens – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs trying mightily to block release of the Mel Gibson movie, “The Passion” – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs lying about and guilt tripping us with “the holocaust” – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs stealing American tax dollars to fund all their holocaust monuments throughout America – it is jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who forged the Anne Frank “diary” – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who lied about gas chambers at Dachau and Auschwitz – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who lied about mass graves at Treblinka – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who lied about jews being made into lamp shades and soap during WWII – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who doctored WWII prison camp photos to appear to be belching smoke from crematoria – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who used WWII pictures of dead non jews, claiming they were jews – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who made anti-semitical talk punishable by death in Russia after they took power – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who killed over 20 million Russian Christians – it was jews.
    It wasn’t Arabs who looted and destroyed the Russian economy – it was jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who have amassed an illegal arsenal of over 300 nuclear weapons in the Middle East – it is the jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who brag about controlling America – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who advocate the use of torture by and on Americans – it is jews.
    It isn’t Arabs who twist American laws to punish anti-semitical speech – it is jews.

  13. The president of NBC News is Neal Shapiro. Jeff Zucker is NBC Universal Television Group president. Reporting directly to Zucker is his close friend Jonathan Wald, formerly an NBC program producer, now a senior consultant for CNBC. David M. Zaslav is president of NBC Cable (and also a director of digital video firm TiVo Inc.). The president of MSNBC is Rick Kaplan. All of these men are Jews.

    I’m sorry! You were saying what about NBC????? And if you think that FOX isn’t dominated by the same people out to make US think that Islam/Arabs/Palestinians are evil check this out:

    Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX, is nominally a Gentile, but there is some uncertainty about his ancestry and he has vigorously supported Zionism and other Jewish causes throughout his life. (Historian David Irving has published information from a claimed high-level media source who says that Murdoch’s mother, Elisabeth Joy Greene, was Jewish, but we have not been able to confirm this.) Murdoch’s number two executive is Peter Chernin, who is president and chief operating officer—and a Jew.

    Under Chernin, Jews hold key positions in the company: Gail Berman runs Fox Entertainment Group; Mitchell Stern heads satellite television division DirecTV; Jane Friedman is chairman and CEO of Harper Collins; and Thomas Rothman is chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. News Corporation also owns the New York Post and TV Guide, and both are published under Chernin’s supervision. The primary printed neoconservative journal, The Weekly Standard, is also published by News Corporation and edited by William Kristol, a leading Jewish neocon spokesman and “intellectual.”

    Are you still there? Do you have anything else enlightening to say?? Peter?? Are you there??? Yes, fear people like me because I see STRAIGHT THROUGH YOU! Sooner or later Americans will wake up.

  14. As Zam correctly pointed out, it is the right of every interest group and organization to try and advanced its agenda. But in the case of the Jewish Lobby, no one in the mass media makes any comments about their operations.
    And no politician ever criticizes the human rights abuses that Israel commits in Palestine. They all support Israel and its policies. To even consider mentioning the right of Palestine, the heavy influence Israel has over the US would equate to political suicide.
    Over 30% of campaign contributions to the Republican Party are made by Jewish organizations and up to 60% of campaign contributions to the Democrats are given by Jewish organizations.
    (James Petras has published a very interesting book: The Power of Israel in the United States) you cannot find this book at Chapters (controlled by Jews) they decide what can be sold or not. I got my copy from Amazon.

    America’s interests are not necessarily the interests of Israel. The Lobby tries (succeeds) in making America’s interests congruent with those of the Israel. There was no benefit for the USA to go to Iraq. The oil industry never pushed for this war and would of liked to deal with Saddam (he offers stability). Russia, Germany, France and other countries were doing business with Saddam. American companies could of easily bid for a chance to exploit the oil.
    On the other hand, Israel’s interest groups in the US were all pushing for a war. They released many papers trying to incite the government to action.

  15. Jersey, you cannot put everyone in the same basket. As ‘ScribeMedia.Org February 21st, 2007 11:15 am’ pointed out,
    ” there are good jews and bad jews, good arabs and bad arabs, good muslims and bad muslims, good black people and bad black people, good white people and bad white people… ”

    In the case of Jews, they do not all support zionism and the elimination of Palestine and its people.

  16. oops, forgot. It is true that jews are in positions of power, and many, if not all, use the power associated with their position to support israel and its interests. in the book of James Petras he raises a intersting question about the funds they recieve from america, and how much of that is recycled back to the lobby (US taxpayers would be funding these groups that work in the interest of a foreign state.

  17. Specifics. « The Power of Israel in the united States »

    “What would be interesting to study is the degree to which the 3$ to 10$ billion dollars in US aid to Israel is recycled back to the Lobby via money transfers, lucrative contracts between Lobby donors and Israeli enterprises and banks. In which case, US taxpayers would actually be subsidizing a network of local lobbyists working on behalf of a foreign power.”

  18. I think that Mearsheimer and Walt made a point in their piece, but the key argument was delivered by Shlomo Ben-Ami:

    “It is a question of leadership, a lobby is never an insuperable obstacle”

    Rashid Khalidi’s more broad interpretation of “long term public opinion-modeling”, which is the result of narrowly dispersed or concentrated power/influence, takes us to media coverage, media manipulation and structural constraining of public opinion through limited, selective output,…that’s dangerous for any society, that’s where change needs to be enforced…

    The Iraq War or the war on terrorism is not a Jewish coup, it is the coup of sectors who make money on war. By the way the oil-lobby does profit from the war in Iraq, what else made the oil-price jump? Check out the profits of Exxon since 2003 and then reconsider…

    We should understand that there is a massive correlation of interests, those of hardliners in Israel and the USA, who derive their political legitimacy from violent escalation of conflicting interests and not settlements. Sectors and individuals who make money on war stand behind hardliners, simple is that.

    The AIPAC and “friends” are hardliners, they support hardliners , that’s why Shlomo Ben-Ami feels to some degree offended by the piece of Mearsheimer and Walt, it lacks the notion of differences between Israeli governments (Rabin, Barak) and the Israel-lobby, although he doesn’t say it directly. The extremity of differences is manifested in Rabin’s death…therefore the generalizations about Jews behind this and that is contra-productive, these kind of unspecific accusations play into the hands of the hardliners, it legitimatizes hardliner-policy within the Jewish community in Israel and beyond.

    And for those who think the Fed is the all mighty power, the American government can buy the Fed back any time (actually for a silly price) and it is not only Jews who “own” the Fed,…

    “it is a question of leadership…,” and the nation elects it’s
    leaders

  19. “And for those who think the Fed is the all mighty power, the American government can buy the Fed back any time (actually for a silly price) and it is not only Jews who “own” the Fed”

    WHAT???????

    Please explain! I’m just dying to hear this! While your coming up with your answer let me educate you about a few things. (Not saying this sarcastically)

    The four presidents below have 2 things in common besides being President of The United States.

    Andrew Jackson – Attempted Assasination (Assasins Gun mis-fired)

    James Garfield – Assasinated

    Abraham Lincoln – Assasinated

    John F. Kennedy – Assasinated

    The other MAJOR thing they ALL had in common was their determination to disnantle the “Money Changers”, commonly known as the FED as of 1913. JFK issued Executive Order 11110 which completely dismantled the FED, he was assasinated 6 months later. No, it wasn’t Russians, The CIA or Aliens!!! Just follow the money!!!!!!

    President Lincoln, the creator of “GreenBacks”, the money that was printed by the ACTUAL GOVERNMENT, not the PRIVATELY OWNED system at the time, said “I have 2 enemies, one in front of me as the Confederate Army and one behind me in the form of International Bankers” “The one behind me is far worse!” Now if killing 4 Presidents and NEVER REALLY getting caught ain’t power I must not know what power is!

    Just do some research using books not published by SIMON & SCHUSTER, America’s largest publishing house!

    Jersey

  20. While some of the information Jersey provides may be factual, the vociferousness of his presentation diminishes credibility. It is a fact that Jews represent about 2.5% of the US population : their occupation of senior media positions is probably in excess of 70% of available jobs. Perhaps they are just more talented than everybody else.

    In all events media can only “control” an intellectually lazy population. Who could characterize Americans as such, focussed as they are on Anna Nicole Smith and American Idol….

    Politicians in the US today are, of course, eminently “buyable”. To get elected you need funds which would not be available by opposing Israel ; and huge speaking fees would not come easily during and after a political career.

    I would suggest that the neo con noble objective of bringing democracy to the Arab Middle East is in large part to get installed governments ” corruptable” on the model of the US. Everybody wins.

    Whether you agree or not with the Israel lobby you have got to hand it to them. They have analyzed perfectly how America functions, and grabbed hold of every lever.

  21. I think when someone such as Ephrat Abisor writes such phrases as “OK” “Let me tell you one thing..” “All Arabs are…” then you are going to get a highly subjective, emotive and not very informed piece of writing.
    he pays scant regrard to the fact that both Eygpt and Jordan have piece treaties with Israel, that moderate Arab countires have been subjected to horrific terrorist attacks, Israel itself has consistently broken peace treaties through targetted assasinations, the killing of unarmed civilians.even the assassination of Rithaz Rabin.the denial of human and civil rights to Palestinians. Regardless of who started it all, no-one country should consider itself above international and humanitarian law
    Although no-one would want to deny the Jews a homeland after their appalling persecution throughout the centuries, the partition of Palestine – in some ways, similar to the partition of Kashmir – has remained incomplete (?), tragic and badly handled. The UN had nolegal precedent for the partition of Palestine, the indeigenous inhabitants were not (unsurprisingly) consulted. In such circumstances, it is predictable that such a decision was controversial and disputed. The fallout is still being reaped today – similarily, the kurds etc find themselves in no-mans land.

    With reference to those who believe that the Palestians should be driven out of Palestine (if there was ever such a thing as eponymy, it shoudld be obvious here) becuase it is God’s will (who would want to believe in such a racist, elitist God?) the The Old Testament, most of which was written about 2000 years ago cannot be the basis for modern foreign policy in the 2O century. Nor should it be a manual to real estate in the 21st century. It is almost impossible and unrealisitc to recreate the military entity that was ancient Israel under King David in a modern landscape. Ancient kingdoms merged, were conquered, were taken over, and borders, such as they were, assimilated into different empires.

    Unfortunately, the whole issue brings up notions of who and what we perceive God to be and some idea of how to interpret Biblical texts has to be referred to at a certain stage of a discussion at this level.. In my view, miltant Christianity has fossilized itself at a certain level and refuses to adapt itself to the modern realities of the New testament : it is true that the Jews, in bilical history, were the chosen people at that point in time. They contributed immensely to Western philosophy and religious development, The mistake is to believe that the preference continues for ever – the New Testament states that all nations are equal before God and that God has no favourites – at least ST. Paul tells us. This is a radical departure form the OLD testament, as is indeed is the injucntion “an eye for an eye”….
    So much for a partial analysis of the religious debate, which is also incomplete but as a collective species we are so prone to fallacies. Finally, we are all supposed to be the chosen people journeying towards a symbolic kingdom ….Sure, the Jews deserve justice but so do the PaLestians.
    It is interesting to note that thoughout history the balance of power constantly changes’ hubris lies in believing that is doesn’t. At certain periods the Jews had the ascendancy in Palestine; at other periods the Arabs had the upper hand, who is to say it won’t change again ? This is not based on personal preference, but it is how history unfolds. It is also interesting to note how the oppressed behave when they have the opportunity to wield power.

    Perhaps it is not ver well publicised but Israel does have some contacts with Arab governemnts which it chooses to keep very secret. QATAR, where I am working, happends to be one of those countries.

  22. I would love to know why the real links that are pro-anti semitism, in a purely, for the peace prospective. For instance, the fact that the major movers and shakers pushing for major world government tyranny are Jewish. This is fact. International Bankers, Bankers, Big Business, Big Government, Anti gun, Secret societies and super secrecy, the main force behind this is The Big J word. I’d like an intelligent discussion as to why this is so and what can be done, not “if”, because we clearly see the evidence.

    Unlike those on the side of Pro Israel, Violently Anti- “Any Hint Of” Anti-semitism. It’s perfectly logical for them to argue in favor of their “homeland”, just as it’s perfectly rational for a displaced and assaulted African population would yearn for the ideal “land of milk and honey” away from the persecution they face at present. I would like to have a decisive discussion as to what can be done to inform the public against brainwashing and secularization, such as is the case for the major media driven pro zionism, anti dissent, crush the heretic blaming Israel and Jews by any means necessary.

    These people are powerful, but this is America, the last real bastion of freedom, and i’d like to see International Bankers, Bankers, Big Business, Big Government, Anti gun, Secret societies and super secrecy reduced in size, authority, and power. This is the real issue affecting the 21st Century. Once you see past your own racisms, defense tactics, and all else, then you will see that these are true problems that must be faced despite.

    Reach me for contact at either Frnnkdlxx@gmail.com for further discussion.

    Thank you, Antonio

  23. 1. At a time when Muslim fundamentalists have declared, en masse, their desire for a Caliphate and Sharia law and as the West has been subject to repeated waves of attack against Western secularism, the idea that the US should not support the only SECULAR, PLURALISTIC DEMOCRACY in the Middle East – Israel – is nonsensical.

    2. Moreover, the notion, as expressed by Mearsheimer, and further elaborated upon by the many above entries, that it is Jews, not Muslims, who should have to defend themselves against suspicions of harboring “dual loyalties” not in accord with broader American interests and values, is equally spurious.

    3. US immigration policy has allowed MORE Muslims to enter our country since 9-11, Muslims have a HIGHER standard of living than most Americans, and a NYC public school has been designed to be Arabic-only to accommodate the special needs of Muslim students. Despite international terrorism, Muslims have been welcomed here and time will tell whether they embrace their new home or join those co-religionists who have OPENLY declared their intention to destroy its pluralism and secularism. (Read Sayeed Qutb for details.)

    4. Shall we dismiss an idea or a movement simply because of the involvement of Jews? I sure hope not. We’d have to dismiss the Civil Rights movement (in the US and in South Africa), labor movement, feminism, modern science and punk rock. Are these also part of the vast, Jewish conspiracy?

    5. What is the solution? Shall Jews be the only ethnic group disbarred from participating in our democratic system?

    6. THIS DEBATE ONLY PROVES THAT THE HATRED AND SUSPICION OF JEWS IS ALIVE AND WELL. Sad, but true.

  24. I am ashamed to be called an American just because of America’s support of Israel. Who gave Israel to the Jews? Why are the jews above the law? They do not respect the rights of anyone and don’t follow the law, see President Carter’s book.
    I read somewhere that Israel receives 75% of USD GDP in aid that makes me sick.

    I wish all Americans would really see the truth about who are the terroists and who are the terrozied. LET’S FACE IT FOLKS AMERICA WAS ATTACKED AND IS NOW SO PARANOID BECAUSE OF ISRAEL. IF AMERICAN POLITICIANS AND AMERICANS HAD ANY BALLS THEY would stop kissing Isrtaeli ass and stand up for what is right.

    Sick of AMerica.

  25. I think it is time now America decided if it is ‘with us or against us’ …..why…..because what is about to happen to Israel is a foregone conclusion.

    Pick and side and stick with it.

  26. It is perfectly acceptable and understandable that the American Jewish community is in support of their homeland. The problem is the morally challenged fashion they use to exploit the American political system. This is a debate that should be front and center especially in this 08′ campaign like all the other issues. It is a shame we will not hear ANYTHING about it. That is wrong, and it amounts to anti-Americanism because it puts the well being of America consisting of 300+ million in grave jeopardy for a small “theocracy” of 6 million. This needs to change. I hope to start hearing more about it. For whatever it is worth, I’m calling my Congressman today.

  27. I blame the politicians and the media. New York Times “the world’s greatest paper”? They think we’re all fools. Growing up in NYC, you realize that the minutest “jewish” concern gets big media coverage, not everything else. If LRB had not published the paper being debated, would the NYT now even mention it?

    I believe Phil Donohue, with MSNBC’s highest rated show at that time, was ran-off the station because he gave a voice to the Palestinian side.

    Would I be a fool to criticize Israel if I needed food on my table? It’s that insidious and scary.

    You can’t get elected without money. Hurray for our “democracy”. You won’t get to the starting gate without kowtowing to the Israeli lobby. See what happened to even established, powerful Senators – Percy & Fullbright? Even ordinary people like me understand that. Where will it all lead?

  28. “The Arabs started it. They attacked Israel on the day it was founded”.

    Answer: If someone killed my mother, would I turn around and celebrate? I would like to strangle that person. It takes time for the anger to die down.

    All the Arab states have come together in the Arab League, offering to recognize Israel if the latter would give back Palestinian land (this is in accordance with a UN resolution).

    “They want to throw Israel into the sea”

    Answer: In an interview, NBC-TV’s Tim Russert said to the late ABC-TV anchor Peter Jennings: But they (Palestinians) want to destroy Israel!

    Jennings’ answer: That’s a canard, there are just as many Israelis wanting to destroy the Palestinians as the other way around.

  29. I blame the media and the politicians. New York Times, world’s greatest newspaper? They think we’re all fools. Growing up in NY, you realize that the minutest “jewish” concern will get media coverage, but not everything else.

    I believe that Phil Doonohue was ran-out of its Msnbc top-rated show because he gave a voice to the Palestinian side. This is insidious and scary.

    You can’t run for President without tons of money in this greatest “Democracy” of ours. If you don’t toe Aipac’s line, watch out! Even established and powerful Senators – Percy & Fullbright – have met their come-uppance.

    Would I dare criticize Israel if I wanted to put food on my table? That’s leading to a lot of resentment, people may think that all American-Jews expect as much from other citizens. This aura of oppression is unhealthy. Where will it all end?

  30. I found the video very interesting and informative, despite the rudeness and lack of tact on the side of the moderator.

  31. Well, why don’t we just get down to the facts and the truth about all of this. For the last 90 years the Zionist community has devoted itself to manipulating various governments, ie: German, British, and US, to identifying with their petty pleas and colonist goals at the expense of so many innocent peoples lives. Bottom line is quite simple, these people are just a bunch of self-worshiping fools, shooting themselves in the foot, once again ie: 1930’s, in the history of the world at the expense of so many others. The US has lost almost 4000 Ameicans and ten times as many Iraqies have probably died in the last five years for no other reason then “Israel” and it’s insane goals. I have just one question; How many Israelies have made any contribution to mankind in that the same time period? That number is zero. We, of course, know that the American military is just filled with Jewish American voluntares fighting for their homeland, whatever that is. Boys and girls that number is zero. Israel – When will you deside to become part of the human race? Mike

  32. I am glad that I disccovered the debate, that I listened to each of the speakers and that I was able to see each person articulate their views. Schlomo Ben Ami I feel had a broader understanding (in my opinion) than the other participants. Rashid Khalidi attempted to open the debate to broader issues, I agree with him, I am a firm beleiver in more discussion and most importantly, information.

    In every walk of life we make better decisions when we have more information. By “we” I refer to us, you and me, not elitist opinion.

    Elites, in my opinion beleive in their own view of this world, that somehow they have some given right to discern truth.

    At times each of us beleive we are gifted with better genes, possibly that we discern that a creator is speaking through us or other introverted brain activity. There is something wonderful in each of us, this life which by its very prescence allows us to form any opinion. Opinions differ, hopefully with more information we grow out of our old ideas and realise that the same will happen to our current ideas. Change is inescapable. Finding good in others, seeing the good in others and nurturing the good in others is easier than it’s opposite.

    A byproduct of this is expansionism of our understanding, an accumulation of more knowledge and a lessening of fear. Every time the fear decreases the space for it’s opposite grows. I want to listen and look at other people’s concerns, I choose freely.

    I am from Ireland (I think?), I am neither Jew nor Gentile, I am alive, that’s all. If I were to harm or injure someone I could only do so to another being who is also alive, not to something without life. Life does not discriminate, when the virus of hate infects us, life doesn’t stop.

    I can hate and hurt until stopped by another person, Life will never stop me. I have the power of thought, I have the power of choice I have the power to love. I have the responsibility to act responsibily, nowhere have I seen the right to hurt to steal to lie or ultimately to destroy a being full of life, OH YEAH and Darwinism thats the religion of the strong over the weak, makes it all sound so plausible the slaughter, sort of understandible, we can do nuttin’ about it man, it’s in our genes, so many apologists for disaster.

    I have a silly dream, in this dream journalists tell what they observe without decoration or comment, no editorials, no hair conditioner, no softning or hardening. I entertained the notion of becoming a journalist, I realised, I would if successful, only articulate the owner’s agenda. Yes in my opinon a few acceptable journalists exist, but they are so few, it is as if none exist at all.

    We did have a terrific newspaper here in Ireland many many years ago, full of information, however the editor, a military man, a Captain, resigned, the paper appears to have resigned with him too. I am not looking for balanced comment, look have a few pints of Guinness, find a mirror, look deeply at yourself and didn’t your mother tell you, keep your comments to yourself!, but please if I am going to give you my money to keep you in a job, have some respect, have a few more pints but leave me out of it, all I want is accurate information, quote your sources(but that would stop the secrecy,, good golly that means lots of perceived power would evaporate like a wisp of smoke), let me see if what you print is fair, is this fair?

    Thanks for the video of the discussion a little more information goes a long way. I am not religious nor atheist nor cult nor sect nor nor nor nor, need more knowledge, thats what I need. Hello to you, you who are full of what you most love, beautiful prescious spontaenous, breath. My one true companion, also, yeah we are alike. En joy your self, pull the plug on fear and its spokepersons, down the drain, bye bye, he is such an …….. that fear charachter, life is so much lighter without carrying him on my shoulders, he never saw good in anyone, how the heck did I ever think he was my friend, must have been dreaming again, anyway he’s gone now oh yeah must close the door oh yeah better hang a sign out ‘case he comes this way again, better tell him to go find a wife, Miss Knowledge would suit him perfectly just ease all stresses away.

    D’ont get me wrong, there are viscious beasts in the forest, and I fear for my life. HarryViderchi for now, Chris.

  33. When a people are discriminated against for centuries, such as our fellow travelers of the Jewish persuasion, it takes a lot of Tender Love and Care to get beings to trust. After the slaughter of so many wonderful human beings to some fear laden idea, nurtured by the media of the time, and still nurtured by media today against another persuasion, it is extremely difficult to seeing these beings finding trust easily, indeed the opposite would be the situation for most persons no matter what their persuasion. But I am amazed that so many balanced Jewish voices exist. Arab voices also exist. These voices are only wispers in todays media, if I cannot hear what you are speaking I will never know you or your fears, don’t be afraid of me, I will not fear you. A gang exists, posing as journalists, infesting the media, do you ever get that smell when reading some of these opinions, sorta like bull droppings

  34. I wish to thank Scribe Media for conducting this excellent and rare debate. The quality of the panel was superb. It is truly a shame it had to be sponsored from abroad, for when debate is stifled; ignorance and prejudice take the place of logic and reason. I would argue that all sides benefited from this debate by virtue of the fact that it simply took place. As President John F Kennedy stated, “…the educated citizen knows how much more there is to know. He knows that knowledge is power — more so today than ever before. He knows that only an educated and informed people will be a free people; that the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all; and that if we can, as Jefferson put it, “enlighten the people generally,” “tyranny and the oppressions of mind and body will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

    Vanderbilt University May 1963

  35. Music of Michael Jackson is going to live for ever no matter what, I think It’s became a legendof ‘pop’, He was so stressfullast time and has lots of problems, poor guy – that was probably end for him – so sad all we can do is keep memory of him in our hearts.

  36. @ Phillip… it’s funny how you equate a critic of a country “Israel” as a critic of a race of people, as being anti-semitic! Palestinians are semites!

    AIPAC’s policies have only helped foster the genocide of the Palestinian Peoples. The ugliness that exist here are the truth of Zionist’s manipulations which have only resulted in the death & land theft of the Palestinains! Of course, not all Jewish people are absolute-pro Israeli, or Zionist & not all Jewish people covet the lands of Palestine , it’s just that those justice seeking Jews & Israelis are not as wealthy or influential as those Jews (Zionist!) whcih seek a greater Israel at all cost! Even if it means murder & theft!

  37. Wowww this was excellent! I wish that this had gotten wider coverage here in the states. Reasonable opinions on both sides. Congrats to “London Review of Books” for hosting and “ScribeMedia” for carrying.

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