Every hoary old Israeli atrocity tale is trotted out, and the long story of Palestinian terrorism is rendered entirely as a reaction to Israeli oppression.
The failure of every peace negotiation is attributed to Israeli deviousness under the shield of the American Israeli lobby.
Grimes agrees with some of the authors’ arguments, but concludes shrewdly that the general tone of hostility to Israel grates on the nerves, however, along with an unignorable impression that hardheaded political realism can be subjected to its own peculiar fantasies.
Israel is not simply one country among many, for example, just as Britain is not.
S.-Israeli relations cannot be exclusively realist; that oversimplifies a more complex reality.
Tim Rutten’s review in the September 11, 2007 Los Angeles Times focuses precisely on that complex reality: Anyone familiar with the tortuous history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will have a hard time recognizing the history Mearsheimer and Walt rehearse.There is nothing here of Palestinian corruption, division and duplicity or even of this unhappy people’s inability to provide a reliable secular partner with whom peace can be negotiated.Rutten is on target, despite the fact that, to most newspaper readers, the intricacies of the history boil down to an inconclusive “he said/she said” kind of argument.It is an argument advanced by two scholars, both of the realist school of international relations, that "unwavering U. support for Israel" is not in the United States' national interest. interests in the Middle East, they argue, is the fault of a number of domestic pressure groups -- which they lump together as "the Israel Lobby" -- spearheaded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It just might set in motion a useful paradigm shift in the United States' Middle East policy.That is less likely to be the case, however, with Mearsheimer and Walt’s central contention: that the Israel lobby, acting as the Likud Party’s proxy, drove the United States into attacking Saddam Hussein.Here the authors are on the shakiest of ground; even their approach belies the weakness of the argument.Readers are treated to an explication of the religious affiliations of various Bush Administration officials and others, even Howard Dean, that reads as though it was inspired by the Nuremberg Laws.Left unmentioned is the fact that the figure most responsible for pushing the attack on Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney, is neither Jewish nor ideologically neoconservative.Brzezinski was not speaking theoretically of anti-Semitism.Mearsheimer and Walt’s original essay elicited far more criticism than even guarded praise, and some of it did raise charges of anti-Semitism.