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Peck on the "Israel Lobby":

Via the Independent Institute, which is unfortunately promoting this dreck, I've come across a thoroughly dishonest article by Edward Peck on the controversy over the Mearsheimer and Walt "Israel Lobby" paper. How dishonest?

Peck: "The expected tsunami of rabid responses condemned the report, vilified its authors, and denied there is such a lobby"

"Shrill insistence that no groups promote Israel is ludicrous."

There are many other flaws in this article, which I'd Fisk more throughly if I didn't have to prepare for two classes tomorrow. But for now, I think it's sufficient to address this challenge to "Ambassador" [I hate using former titles as current titles] Peck: Identify any source that denied that there is an Israel lobby (as opposed to those, like me, who argued that Mearsheimer and Walt's definition of the "Israel lobby" is absurdly broad, and contrary to the normal meaning of the word), or that any groups promote Israel.

Okay, I promised no full Fisking, but I can't resist raising one more point. Peck suggests that the "Israel Lobby" (which he never defines) "prevents" "public knowledge, discussion and debate" on the U.S.-Israel relationship. Really? Has Noam Chomsky been arrested? Has Juan Cole been exiled? Have The Nation and the Village Voice been shut down? Is Jimmy Carter an Israeli mole? Have Mearsheimer and Walt been assassinated? Has any U.S. critic of Israel met with any sort of violence at all? For that matter, aren't Middle East Studies departments in the U.S. thoroughly dominated by academics who favor the Arab position in the Arab-Israeli conflict? It's more than a bit odd for a libertarian outfit like the Independent Institute to promote articles claiming that just because a certain perspective has found only a small popular audience, that the holders of that perspective, who have been subject to no state or private force, have been prevented from promoting their views. And it's especially odd when those views are expressed all the time.

UPDATE: Reader "Brian" points out that antiwar.com has also featured a piece (by Michael Scheuer) claiming that critics of Mearsheimer and Walt have denied there is an Israel lobby (along with a bunch of other wacky nonsense). Brian also points out that the geniuses at the Daily News gave David Gergen's op-ed the title "There is no Israel Lobby", but the piece says the opposite: "To be sure, pro-Israeli groups in this country, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, push hard to gain the support of U.S. political leaders. AIPAC is officially registered as a lobbying group, but that does not mean that its members are engaging in something sinister." So, Messrs. Peck and Scheuer--who has denied that there are organizations in the U.S. that lobby for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship?

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