A study in Crimson

In this morning’s New York Sun, Meghan Clyne stays on the case of the execrable “Israel Lobby” paper by University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer and Kennedy School Dean Stephen Walt: “Harvard’s paper on Israel drew from neo-Nazi sites.” Clyne’s story details the efforts of Alan Dershowitz to account for the peculiar qualities of the paper. The Harvard Crimson catches up with Clyne’s story yesterday on the Kennedy School’s efforts to distance itself from the paper: “KSG seeks distance from paper.” As for the professors themselves, the Crimson reports: “According to their assistants, both authors were travelling yesterday and unavailable for comment.” I wonder if Professor Dershowitz will be able to smoke them out.

In her Jerusalem Post column, Caroline Glick attributes the paper’s audacity to Israel’s weakness. Her thesis is weak and her tone is shrill, but her observations on the paper are on the mark:

It is deeply disturbing that two prominent American professors have chosen to attack Israel and its American supporters in this manner. But only one element of their attack serves to signal a broader crisis in Israel’s relations with the US. That aspect is the fact that this so-called “academic” paper does not stand any academic test. It is filled with obviously false assertions, ridiculous statements and idiotic, tendentious and absurd claims that no political science professor would dare to publicly express in any article about any other political lobby or foreign country.

For instance, the “academic” version of the paper’s first footnote maintains, “The mere existence of the Lobby suggests that unconditional support for Israel is not in the American national interest. If it was, one would not need an organized special interest to bring it about.” Every semi-sentient person with even an incidental knowledge of American politics knows that there is no area of human endeavor that is not represented by a lobby in the US. Walt and Mearsheimer’s asinine assertion means is that every American interest group – from the elderly to the insurance industry, from the Muslims to gun owners to organic food lovers – stands opposed to the American national interest simply by existing. Any professor who made a similar assertion about any other interest group would be imperiling his career.

Writing in a more moderate tone, Israeli former UN Ambassador Dore Gold responds to other elements of the paper regarding Israel as an alleged strategic liability of the United States: “The basis of the U.S.-Israel alliance.”