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March 27, 2006

Ha'aretz Reacts to Study

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Shmuel Rosner, the Washington correspondent for Ha'aretz, follows up on his earlier blog entry criticizing the Walt-Mearshemier study, noting that "it deserves all the ridicule it has been receiving."

And it has been receiving a great deal of ridicule. But it has also been treated as a serious work--by David Duke, a Ha'aretz editorial, and more recently, two Ha'aretz Op-Eds.

Over the weekend, Tom Segev calls the study "arrogant," and takes some minor stabs at it, but overall concludes:

They are right: Had the United States saved Israel from itself, life today would be better. Therefore, the authors are also correct in the most important argument in their essay, which unfortunately is too incidental: The Israel lobby in the United States harms Israel's true interests. It made the continuation of the occupation and the settlements possible. Its influence led, among other things, to missing out on a peace treaty with Syria and to a loss of the opportunities created in Oslo. The effort to suppress the Palestinian national movement did not enhance Israel's security; on the contrary, it brought Hamas to power.

Now there is great excitement there in America on account of this essay, but maybe not really. Israel's influence is based on an ancient anti-Semitic myth about the Jews who rule the world. This is a myth that is self-fulfilling as long as the world believes in it: If you shatter it, you have eliminated Israel's influence. From that point of view, Walt and Mearsheimer are doing the Israel lobby a good service.

Likewise, an Op-Ed contributed by Daniel Levy, a former advisor to the Prime Minister's Office and a lead drafter of the Geneva Initiative, disprovingly calls the tone of the report "harsh," and says it "lacks finesse and nuance." But he too argues that the authors' "case is a potent one," and goes on say why. He writes, in part, that the

response to the Harvard study has been characterized by a combination of the shrill and the smug.

Perhaps he missed the serious responses deconstructing the so-called "scholarship" of the article, taken on by CAMERA and others, including Reuven Pedhatzur in Ha'aretz yesterday.


Posted by TS at March 27, 2006 06:40 AM

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