John Mearsheimer

On the Creeping Anti-Semitism Watch


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.

Gerson ends:

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.