Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Lobby is bad for Israel

Amazing commentary in the Boston Globe (of all places) by Geoffrey Wheatcroft:

“If Mearsheimer and Walt had wanted to show that they were saying the unsayable, then they appear to have made their point-the ferocious response suggests a taboo being broken. And yet the American reaction is puzzling to Europeans: This question is yet another illustration of the great transatlantic rift. On the eastern side of the Atlantic, it has long been recognized that there is an intimate connection between the United States and Israel, in which AIPAC clearly plays a major role. The degree to which this has affected American policy, up to and including the war in Iraq, has been discussed calmly by sane British commentators-though also, to be sure, played up maliciously by bigots.

In America, by contrast, there has been an unmistakable tendency to shy away from this subject. As Michael Kinsley wrote in Slate in the autumn of 2002, both supporters and opponents of the coming war did not want to invoke classic anti-Semitic images of cabals, arcane conspiracies, and malign courtiers whispering into the prince's ear. Such motives are honorable, and yet there is always a danger when something is wilfully ignored. As Kinsley said, the connection between the invasion of Iraq and Israeli interests had become ‘the proverbial elephant in the room. Everybody sees it, no one mentions it’ Until now, at any rate.”

Only in the United States could there be a debate about the Mearsheimer-Walt thesis.  Everywhere else in the world people read the paper, roll their eyes, and say “Duh”.  The Lobby and its malign influence is the most obvious thing in the world.  People who deny it are quite simply lying.

Wheatcroft goes on to make the rather obvious point that, not only is the Lobby bad for the United States, it is also very, very bad for Israel.  The Lobby provides the safety net to allow Israel to defer making the only possible decision it can make,  to allow the Palestinians to have their own viable state with its own borders.  The longer Israel delays making this decision – and the recent election has just delayed it some more – the greater the chance that Israel will find itself in a position which will lead to its eventual complete destruction.