30 October 2007

30 October 2007 - A Mearsheimer & Walt Halloween



You know it’s Halloween when John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt show up in Harvard Square to tell ghost stories about the evil Israel lobby. Last night the pair of jack o’ lanterns appeared at the First Parish in Cambridge. I couldn’t make it to the whole talk—I was speaking at another event—but my girlfriend braved the crowd of Cambridge crazies and went to hear them speak.

The drum M & W are beating now, she said, is that the Israel lobby was responsible for the Iraq war. And the crowd loved it. They loved it so much that when the question-and-answer began the moderator had to discipline the zealous fans at the microphone. Not a single pro-Israel voice, my girlfriend noted. But she also noticed that W & M seemed a disappointed. No one serious comes to their lectures anymore.

You know you’re on your way out when no one cares enough even to attack your view. On my way back home, I stopped at the church to peek in. The church was half-empty and it had apparently been that way the whole evening. I thought of asking them one of several damning questions, but my girlfriend said: why bother? They shift their ideas to duck challenges. It’s propaganda, not intellectual debate.

Outside, in the Square, a group of fire-and-brimstone missionaries had gathered, preaching against homosexuality. One man stood holding a huge sign: “HOMOSEXUALITY IS A SIN. CHRIST SAVES YOU FROM HELL.” No one paid them any attention until a pair of gay activists came along with signs of their own: “HEY LESBIAN LADIES: FREE KISSES IN THE SQUARE TONIGHT,” etc.

It was sort of funny, but no one really noticed them, either. There’s a lesson in that, I thought. You can stand up to these completely marginal figures with their nutty ideas, but then again, why bother? There’s an old saying in politics: “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it.” It’s gratifying to realize that when it comes to M & W, most sensible people have already come to that conclusion.

68 Comments:

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Well, Joel, yes and no. You can't overlook them entirely because they won't go away, especially since, as it appears to me, their book [if we may call it that] was probably an assignment from others, and was meant to be part of an anti-Israel psywar campaign [maybe along with carter's book, the baker report, etc] to ease the way in public opinion for the State Dept's usual anti-Israel policy.

On the other hand, it's more important in the long run to say what's right and true about Israel and in favor of Israel and to know the real history thoroughly, not merely to respond to their gross lies about the Israel Lobby controlling policy. I have put up several posts on w & m lately on my own blog, which you are welcome to comment on. My posts try to stress the false history in the book.

By the way, do you or your girlfriend know about Mearsheimer's admission during an interview on NPR that in fact Israel didn't even know about the proposal to go to war in Iraq until after the decision had been made?? When the Israeli officials found out, they told the Washington crowd: If you're going to go to war, then why not Iran instead of Iraq. Iran is more dangerous. This story is on the CAMERA site with audio.

 
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