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The Paranoid Lobby

7:56 AM, Mar 30, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Here are two pieces worth reading on the Mearsheimer-Walt paper on the "Israel Lobby" in the U.S.

From Max Boot in the LA Times (reg. req'd):

IN HIS CLASSIC 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," the late Richard Hofstadter noted: "One of the impressive things about paranoid literature is the contrast between its fantasied conclusions and the almost touching concern with factuality that it invariably shows. It produces heroic strivings for evidence to prove that the unbelievable is the only thing that can be believed." As examples, he cited a 96-page pamphlet by Joseph McCarthy that contained "no less than 313 footnote references" and a book by John Birch Society founder Robert Welch that employed "one hundred pages of bibliography and notes" to show that President Eisenhower was a communist.

For a more recent instance of the paranoid style, a modern-day Hofstadter could consult "The Israel Lobby and American Foreign Policy," a "working paper" by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. With 83 pages of text and 211 footnotes, the Mearsheimer-Walt essay (part of which appeared in the London Review of Books) is as scholarly as those of Welch and McCarthy - and just as nutty.

And from Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe.

Walt and Mearsheimer are not the first to wade into these swamps. In March 2003, US Representative James Moran inveighed against Jews at an antiwar rally: ''If it was not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq," the Virginian Democrat fumed, ''we would not be doing this." It was at about the same time that Professor Edward Said of Columbia University was writing, ''Wherever you look in the Congress there are the tell-tale signs either of the Zionist lobby, the right-wing Christians, or the military-industrial complex, three inordinately influential minority groups who share . . . unbridled support for extremist Zionism." A year earlier it had been South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lamenting that ''the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal" in the United States; no one dares oppose Israel ''because the Jewish lobby is powerful -- very powerful."