Washington Post columnist and former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson takes a hard look at The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by Harvard's Stephen Walt and University of Chicago's John Mearsheimer and finds creeping anti-semitism. According to Gerson, Walt and Mearsheimer argue that the
"Israeli government and pro-Israel groups" have shaped President Bush's "grand scheme for reordering the Middle East."
As a former Bush insider, Gerson doubts that the "Israel lobby" had much influence on Bush Administration policy. He does offer what I think is a very nice rejoinder to the assertion by Walt and Mearsheimer that
"the U.S. has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel"
Gerson retorts that statement is
the equivalent of arguing that Britain had a Nazi problem in the 1930s because it was so closely allied with Czechoslovakia.
Gerson goes on to ask why Americans and our country's policymakers tend to support Israel. To wit:
Perhaps many Americans actually prefer Israel's flawed democracy to the aging autocrats and corrupt monarchies of the region.
Perhaps they root for a reliable ally that is surrounded by nations still committed to its destruction.
Perhaps many Americans recall that the Jews, just six decades ago, lost one-third of their number to genocide and believe that this persecuted people deserves a secure home and sanctuary.
Perhaps Americans understand that anti-Semitism was the greatest source of evil in the 20th century and is not dead in this one.
Communism was the greatest source of 20th century evil, but anti-semitism was a pretty close second.
Every generation has seen accusations that Jews have dual loyalties, promote war and secretly control political structures.
These academics may not follow their claims all the way to anti-Semitism. But this is the way it begins. This is the way it always begins.
True, all too sadly true.
Whole Post column here.