Mearsheimer and Walt Get a Book Contract:

Mearsheimer and Walt, that oppressed Harvard-Chicago duo who authored the "Israel Lobby" paper, a paper that would make a precocious but untutored high-schooler proud, but is an embarassment to the authors, have now received a contract from the prestigious commercial publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux to expand their paper into a book. Obviously, this piece of news is a bit inconsistent with the claim M & W themselves have promoted that the power of the Israel Lobby is shown by the inability of critics of Israel and its ties to the U.S. to get their voices heard. Indeed, I'd wager it was far easier for M & W to find a publisher than it has been for best-selling conservative authors like Ann Coulter and Bernard Goldberg.

In other Mearsheimer and Walt news, the Jerusalem Post quotes Mearsheimer as follows at a debate at Cooper Union: "There is much documentation to support that Israel is not only a force behind the [Iraq] war, but that the Israel lobby was one of the principle driving forces behind the war, and in its absence, the United States would not have gone to war." Shlomo Ben-Ami, a Labor politician from Israel, responded along the same lines as I've noted several times on this blog: "From the beginning, Israel said Iran was the fear, not Iraq."

I'd love to see Mearsheimer's "documentation" that Israel was "a force behind the war," not to mention actual documentation that the war would not have occurred but for the "Israel Lobby." And I don't mean the trite observation that neoconservatives who supported the Iraq war (along with every other American military intervention and belligerent act of the last thirty years) also are usually strong supporters of Israel. I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: In what strikes me as a very tendentious piece about Tony Judt, Michael Powell of the Washington Post writes,

He has, of late, defended an academic paper — co-authored by professor Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and John J. Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago — which argues the American Israel lobby has pushed policies that are not in the United States' best interests and in fact often encourage Israel to engage in self-destructive behavior.

Well, gee, then what's all the controversy about? Put in such relatively innocuous terms, even I would agree with the paper.

[As far as Judt goes, I have no love for the guy, but if the ADL and AJC did, even subtly, try to persuade the Polish embassy to cancel Judt's speech, it was stupid, hamhanded, adn counterproductive. Note that Judt's group was just renting out the embassy; I don't see why the ADL or anyone else should care if the Polish embassy rents its space to Judt, who has what amount to rather conventional extreme left-wing views on everything, including Israel. If the embassy had been honoring Judt, that would be a different story. OTOH, the article's curt dismissal of the case against Norman Finkelstein, along with its misrepresentation of the Mearsheimer and Walt controversy, leads me to reserve judgment on the details of this story.]