Sept. 21, 2007
Last night I bumped into Congressman Nadler (who is pro-Zionist and Jewish) as we were both walking down a long city block to get to our apartment buildings; we live in the same neighborhood and he is also my Congressman.
I brought-up the Mearsheimer and Walt book: The Israel Lobby. I asked if he agreed with Abe Foxman's response to the book and he said he did not know what Abe Foxman wrote on the subject but probably would agree with whatever he has to say.
Then he continued with a disoriented response starting with "the book is bullshit!" And when on to say:
"Aipac does not influence US foreign policy in the Middle East. The book is no different from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and these two guys are anti-Semites just like Henry Ford's writings."
I could not believe what I was hearing!!!
I intentionally digressed away from his emotional response by congratulating him for voting against the war. Then he told me him he found it fascinating he was the only White Congressman in New York City that voted against the war. As he told it:
"All the Black and Hispanic congressmen voted against the war and all the White ones voted for it. And I was the only White that voted against it. I am mesmerized how the vote is split along racial lines."
I went back to talking about the book and asked if he was going to read it. "Why should I," he continued "give them my money for their ant-Semitic ranting. I will never buy that book!"
Then we said our good-byes.
Talk about being in denial.
From my friend Charles:
Sept. 20, 2007
Last night I drove up to the UCLA Hammer Museum to hear Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt discuss the Israel Lobby and its deleterious effects on US Middle East policy. When we got there (a prominent activist was with me) we were greeted by some Hillel types who handed us brochures decrying the speakers' views and comparing them to the Protocols and Henry Ford's work. My friend's picture appeared on the back of the brochure as a virulent anti-semite who endorsed the authors. Fortunately, with his glasses on, no one recognized him!
When we got to the window we were told that the event had sold out and we were directed to a gallery where we could watch the talk on a movie screen, which worked out fine. I estimated that there were about 300 in attendance and maybe half were Jewish.
The speakers were excellent and on-message. It was clear that they've honed their presentation skills and they came across as likable, engaging intellectuals while being committed to their positions. They refer to one another as Steve and John, so I will too. Steve spoke first and described the Lobby and its influence. He stated that he was a supporter of Israel but regretted that he and Prof. Mearsheimer had been condemned as anti-semites but acknowledged that was the price one had to pay when critiquing the Lobby and its influence. He described the Lobby's activities as "American as apple pie" and compared it to the NRA, the oil lobby and AARP! But, after uttering the required bromides, he described how the Lobby controls discourse on Israel, rewards its friends and ruins its detractors. He said that, while candidates may differ on affirmative action, immigration, taxes, etc., they are uniformly in favor of a strong and continuing US commitment to the Jewish State. Steve is the younger of the two and has an extremely engaging and attractive speaking style. He's hard to demonize as a raging anti-semite.
Next up was Prof. Mearsheimer, the more professorial and older of the two. John spoke about the key role the Lobby played in the run-up to the Iraq War and quoted many sources proving the connection. He implied that the Iraq War was waged primarily for Israel's sake and downplayed the Wilsonian and oil-related rationales. He talked about the reasons for 9-11 and asserted that our actions in the Middle East and our diehard support of Israel were the main causes of the 9-11 attacks. As in the book, I was amazed at how strongly and convincingly they attacked the Lobby and how incendiary these comments are in today's environment.
After the professors' presentations, the Q and A session began. The first three questioners were Jews. The first was a female who stated that she, as a historian, was appalled by the shoddy research and citations they used. John and Steve dispatched her accusations deftly and received applause. The next questioner was a rabbi who rambled on for about ten minutes before finally asking his question. The third was a a self-described Israel supporter and Jew who stated that he was a professor at UCLA and agreed with some of the speakers' positions. The rest of the questions were from Gentiles and generally were supportive of the two. All in all, a fairly mild reaction to speakers who have been demonized in the press, most recently by Los Angeles Times columnist Tim Rutten. There was no Jewish wailing about anti-semitism or hissing and booing.
After the session, the authors signed books and I was delighted to speak with them briefly and get their signatures.
My impression is that these two are formidable opponents for the Lobby, if they can gain a wider audience. They are affable, glib and approachable. They resolutely stand their ground and can parry with the best of the Talmudists. They're not ready for our circle yet and their paeans to Israel's right to exist and the need to defend it are probably necessary inoculations to the baser charges of hate that are leveled against them. We have to be happy that these brave scholars and Jimmy Carter have taken such heat for their recent publicized positions and support them as they get their message out. They will prepare the way for more open debate about the Lobby and Jewish control in general.
From my friend Mark Weber
Sept. 20, 2007
On Tuesday evening four of us drove from our office in Costa Mesa to attend a meeting in Los Angeles at which professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer were to talk about their new book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. (By the way, the book is now on the Los Angeles Times best-seller list.)
In their prepared presentations, Walt and Mearsheimer summarized the content of their book, and emphasized its main points, with Walt presenting the work's first half, and his colleague the second. Each man was in good form and each spoke with authority and confidence. They also handled themselves calmly and knowledgeably during the sometimes contentious question and answer session.
The main hall of the Hammer Museum where the meeting took place was packed, and many of those who had come to hear the authors were directed to an adjacent hall where they followed the proceedings on a large screen. Although there was a minority of unhappy Jews among the attendees, the audience was overwhelmingly sympathetic and supportive. Among those who attended was Tom Hayden.
At the book-signing session afterwards, the authors autographed copies of their book, including one I had bought (and read) a few weeks earlier.
An amusing sidelight: Jewish activists handed out to attendees flyers denouncing Walt and Mearsheimer. One of the hand-outs was an eight-page, full-color brochure that included, on the last page under the headline "Extremists Endorse `The Israel Lobby'," a photo of me and a quote from me about the book. (This brochure is posted in pdf format at:
Last week I was interviewed about the Walt-Mearsheimer book for a broadcast on Iran's English-language external radio service. And tomorrow I'm scheduled to speak about the book as a guest (again) with James Edwards on his "Political Cesspool" radio show:
Institute for Historical Review