LETTERS

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April 4, 2006

Letter to the Editor

“Israel Lobby”

Alec Brandon writes that the critics of the recently published paper on the influence of the “Israel Lobby” rely “almost exclusively on smearing the authors by accusing them of anti-Semitism.” This is simply false. Though there have been a few references to anti-Semitism here and there, the vast majority of the criticism directed against this study has focused on the shoddy nature of the scholarship underpinning the author’s claims. This includes taking quotes out of context so as to misrepresent the original intent of statements made by many of Israel’s founding fathers, the reliance on secondary sources critical of Israel over primary sources that provide a more complex picture, and a complete lack of any examination of conflicting evidence.

Had the authors confined themselves to an argument that American support for Israel is not consistent with the national interest, there would have been many people that would have disagreed, but few if any who would be talking about anti-Semitism. Such talk, in this instance, has in almost every case been in terms of effect rather than intent. This is not to suggest that professors Mearsheimer and Walt are anti-Semites, but that their poor scholarship dovetails nicely with the agendas of true bigots. Already, and I’m sure to the author’s great dismay, their paper is being widely distributed on hate sites all over the world, lending a scholarly imprimatur to the paranoid rants of David Duke and his ilk.

Aryeh Roskies

First-year in the College