Sunday, April 09, 2006


Mads Kvalsik responds to Dan Drezner on the Walt-Mearsheimer Israel Lobby paper, and includes a lengthy list of logical fallacies employed by the paper's more hysterical critics.

I'll be interested to see how all the criticism affects Walt and Mearsheimer's final product, if at all. One point that the authors have already demonstrated beyond all doubt, or rather that their paper's reception has demonstrated for them, is that anyone who even suggests that a powerful pro-Israel lobby exists in the United States risks being labeled an anti-semite. This is as destructive of open debate as it is intellectually dishonest. There is real anti-semitism in this world, but equating analysis of a particular political lobby's influence with conspiratorial thinking, or conflating criticism of Israeli policy with hatred of Jews, as so many of the paper's critics have done, in the long run only divests the term of any real meaning and power.

It's imperative to understand that arguments like those offered by Walt and Mearsheimer are a regular feature of Israeli media, which have an ongoing and vigorous debate over these issues that puts U.S. media to shame. Beholding the frothing torrent of libelous invective which has greeted Walt and Mearsheimer's work, it's not hard to understand why. Accusations of anti-semitism are (or should be) serious business; no writer wants any hint of that attached to his work. It is, however, unfortunately a risk for anyone trying to construct a more honest and open debate about the U.S.-Israel relationship, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and about the battle between political liberalism and religious fundamentalism.

No comments: