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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 4, 2006 / 6 Nissan, 5766

The paranoid style of politics

By Jonathan Tobin



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The chasm between mainstream academia and main street America grows


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The cliche about academic politics is that it is so bitter because the stakes are so meaningless.


That old saw remains true as far as the rivalries that afflict the competition for advancement at any college or university. But the impact of America's tenured radicals on our nation's politics is not quite so trivial.


Hence the firestorm that rained down on the heads of two prominent academics this month after a lengthy essay that they co-authored in the London Review of Books brought the debate about Israel to a new low.


Simply titled "The Israel Lobby," the piece by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt is, more or less, a compendium of every slander and innuendo that's ever been aired about the supposedly pernicious influence of supporters of Israel on American foreign policy.


As such, it is far from unique. One can find similar screeds, filled with the same sort of obvious factual mistakes punctuated by blatant bias, on any number of extremist Web sites hosted by neo-Nazis or Islamists. Indeed, it is a classic example of what the great American liberal historian Richard Hofstader once labeled "the paranoid style in American politics."

IMPRESSIVE CREDENTIALS
But what differentiates Mearsheimer and Walt from the 19th-century anti-Semitic populists that Hofstader wrote about — or even a contemporary example such as Louisiana Klansman David Duke — is their credentials.


Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, while Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs, as well as academic dean at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Both hold sinecures in the heart of the academic establishment.


Their goal isn't just to attack Israel, but to delegitimize Israel's supporters. The main point of "The Lobby" is to portray the pro-Israel community as a vast conspiracy that controls the media, Capitol Hill and the White House, and which ruthlessly squelches any resistance to Israeli policies.


The truth is less exciting. A consensus of Americans across party-lines and religious affiliation identify with Israel not because they do the bidding of the Elders of Zion, but because they see it for what it is: a democratic state in a sea of Arab tyranny with its roots in a common Judeo-Christian civilization.


No one has to bribe or hornswoggle ordinary Americans to back Israel. Whether they base their support on the Bible (as many American Christians do) or on sympathy with a fellow democracy afflicted by terrorists, the American love affair with the Jewish state has withstood the assaults of a biased media (another point Mearsheimer and Walt get completely wrong) and demagogic attacks from the extreme left or right.


And though the United States is Israel's only real ally, it is far from obsequious in its dealings with Jerusalem. For decades, Washington has placed constant pressure on Israel to make concessions for the sake of an ephemeral peace process.


Though it has lavished Israel with military and economic aid, unlike our European "allies," Israel has not required America to deploy massive armies in its defense. In fact, if only a percentage of the American money spent on NATO deployments during the Cold War were considered foreign aid, then Germany or France — and not Israel — would be considered the chief recipient of American largesse.


Why then should we consider this essay significant enough to require a response?


Mostly because the academic stature of these two men shows how far wacko conspiracy theories about Israel have traveled in the post-9/11 era. This ought to highlight a point that Mearsheimer and Walt hit upon themselves — scrutiny of anti-Israel propaganda in the academy. The two claimed that "The Lobby" has worked to suppress criticism of Israel on the campus, citing a few efforts to respond to intimidation of Jewish students by professors.

BIAS ON THE CAMPUS
In fact, anti-Israel bias at colleges and universities has become so pervasive as to make the views of "The Lobby" authors seem fairly close to the mainstream in the realm of Middle East studies. While Pat Buchanan of the troglodyte right once falsely referred to Congress as "Israeli-occupied territory," it is the American university that has become more and more a place where pro-Israel students and teachers often feel unable to speak their minds publicly.


If anything, the Mearsheimer/ Walt essay ought to engender even more support for efforts such as the protest movement against anti-Israel incitement at Columbia University and Campuswatch.org, the Web site founded by scholars Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer, mentioned in "The Lobby."


Far from suppressing academic freedom, these are merely isolated counter-attacks on the true monolith of the academy: bias against Israel. It is the "Lobby" conspiracy-mongers who wish to repress not only those few academics such as Pipes and Kramer who have the temerity to stand up for the U.S.-Israel alliance, but the free speech rights of American Jews.


What this incident should also do is to once again alert Jewish liberals to the danger to Israel that is growing on the political left, whose stronghold is the American university. Just as the instances of anti-Semitic invective during anti-war demonstrations in the past few years have become more noticeable and even pervasive, so, too, has the willingness of the academic left to focus its venom on Zionism.


While many liberals have focused their attention on the perceived threat to Jews from religious conservatives and deplored the welcome given to right-wing supporters of Israel such as former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Tex.) by some Jews, they have not paid enough attention to the growth of left-wing academic Israel-bashers.


Rather than worrying so much about the popularity of Israel on the right, liberals need to start worrying about how unpopular it is on the left.


The point that so perplexes Mearsheimer and Walt — the pro-Israel consensus — ought to remind us that support for Israel is neither the property of the left or the right. It would be just as illogical to reject liberals who love Israel as it would be to condemn conservatives who do so.


While the authors of "The Lobby" are being justly ridiculed, we would be wrong to think they are the only people with glittering credentials and the ability to influence students who feel as they do. Rather than laugh at them, we should be thinking hard about just how deep the roots of hatred for Israel run in our most prestigious schools. And that is a variety of academic politics where the stakes are very high indeed.

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JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Tobin