In an apparent acknowledgment that the Freeman controversy has once again confirmed John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s thesis, apologists for the Israel lobby have renewed their assault on the two professors who first drew attention to its power. The effort I believe is meant to preempt people turning to their book for answers by tainting their reputation. Since the right has little credibility on this, the charge has been led this time by ‘liberal’ Zionists such as David Rothkopf and Jonathan Freedland. My friend Phil Weiss recently posted a brilliant defence of Rothkopf’s scurrilous attack on M&W by Middle East scholar Jerome Slater. I am hoping to find some time so I can respond to Freedland’s equally specious arguments.
Phil Weiss writes: ‘What I have urged more than anything else in the Israel lobby discussion is: discussion! Because only with open discussion can the true extent of the Israel lobby be understood. Chas Freeman’s ouster has had a huge effect, of course. A week or so back David Rothkopf published a vicious attack on Walt and Mearsheimer at Foreign Policy suggesting the lobby is a figment of their gentile imaginations. Below, Jerry Slater, a friend of this site who has published his own critique of Walt and Mearsheimer and is distinguished for practicing the new history of Israel/Palestine in our country, leaps to the scholars’ defense re Rothkopf. An ardent, sincere, and moving argument.’
In the year and a half since the publication of John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s Israel Lobby, the attacks on the book’s main arguments as well as personal attacks on its authors have intensified–even as Israeli policies and behavior towards the Palestinians have become more disastrous than ever, and even as the lobby demonstrated its muscle in its successful effort to induce Obama to abandon support for the appointment of Charles Freeman as Director of the National Intelligence Council.