by Will Banyan © 2008
Author’s Note: This is an extended and slightly revised version of an article which originally appeared in PARANOIA (issue 44) Spring 2007.
The publication in March 2006 of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, as a working paper for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and as an article in the London Review of Books, aroused much comment in the American media and academia—most condemnatory. The authors, academics John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt from Harvard University, have had their work widely dismissed as being both conspiratorial and anti-Semitic.
“[T]his paper is anti-Semitic” declared Professor Eliot Cohen from Johns Hopkins University, in the Washington Post (April 5, 2006); nor was it “research in any serious sense,” claimed Marty Peretz in The New Republic, but “the labor of obsessives with dark and conspiratorial minds.” According to Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, the authors shared with white supremacist David Duke “the same interest in vilifying Jewish leaders and spouting conspiracy theories about Zionist plots against American interests” (Dershowitz, p.41). Even Stephen Zunes, a left-wing critic of U.S. support for Israel, implied that in subscribing to an “exaggerated claim of Jewish clout,” Mearsheimer and Walt were “flirting with anti-Semitism” (Zunes 2006b, p.15).
At the same time, there were some observers who were clearly overjoyed at the appearance of The Israel Lobby as it seemed to confirm their belief that the U.S. is, in fact, ruled by a “Zionist Occupation Government,” or some other sinister Jewish cabal. David Duke, for example, praised it for having “told the truth about the proverbial gorilla in the room: the Zionist lobby and its enormous political and media power” (Duke 2006). The Israel Lobby, claimed a commentator for Rense.com, left “absolutely no doubt that Israel not only controls our entire government, our Pentagon, our foreign policy and our political parties, but our media as well” (Lang 2006).