Thursday, March 23, 2006

AIPAC and US Foreign Policy

"The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in a Harvard Kennedy School Study is hardly the collection of snippets collected from "hate websites" that hysterics like Prof. Alan Dershowitz call it.

One fact is that Israel has been useful to American foreign policy. Another is that US support for Israel has harmed American interests in other parts of the Middle East and remains a sore point with many Arab and some Muslim governments.

AIPAC remains the algo for organizing an effective and powerful lobby in Washington. Its overall strategy and tactics have been successful. Many observers claim it has sometimes acted in a high-handed and deceptive fashion.

Long ago, I had lunch on the Hill with Douglas Bloomfield, who is mentioned in the paper, and one of his deputies. DB was uncommunicative and unresponsive, except to support Israel in several topical policy debates.

Yesterday, theNew York Sun has an article which focuses on the withdrawal of the Harvard logo from the "Faculty Research Working Paper Series" and its demotion to a mere "Working Paper."

The Wall Street Journal has had several pieces in its editorial section severely disparaging of the Walt-Mearsheimer paper.

Like the kerfuffle on the left with the WaPo over the installation of a conservative in the Post's .com section, this brouhaha will change few minds and generate a lot of exaggerated hyperbole concerning the two professors' motives and scholarship. Their general pitch, though I haven't had time to finish the eighty-plus pages, appears to be straightforward and free of exaggeration, and even fair and balanced.

Much of the excitement generated by supporters of Israel comes from the fact that some of the professors' assertions go unreported or under-reported by the MSM, always careful to avoid offending influential elites.

Actually, they have raised a topic which needs airing out just as earmarks and lobbyists of other stripes also need transparency to reveal just what is going on.

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