Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Israel Lobby Controversy

The controversy generated by the essay by John Mersheimer and Stephen Wall on "The Israel Lobby" that I have written about earlier just continous and continous.

The flight back from London today gave me the time to catch up with some of the latest contributions to the debate.

It's an important debate because it now seems to engage a very significant portion of all those seriously discussing foreign affairs in particular in the United States.

The one way or the other, it is a debate that will have a lasting influence.

Among the most readable contributions to the debate that I have come across is the piece by Tony Judt in Haarets.

He is a professor and the director of the Remarque Institute at New York University, and his book "Postwar: The History of Europe Since 1945" has been reviewed very favourable and is most readable.

He vividly describes the change in the public perception of Israel that, in his opinion, has occured:

"We can see, in retrospect, that the victory of Israel in June 1967 and its continuing occupation of the territories it conquered then have been the Jewish state's very own nakba: a moral and political catastrophe. Israel's actions in the West Bank and Gaza have magnified and publicized the country's shortcomings and displayed them to a watching world. Curfews, checkpoints, bulldozers, public humiliations, home destructions, land seizures, shootings, "targeted assassinations," the separation fence: All of these routines of occupation and repression were once familiar only to an informed minority of specialists and activists. Today they can be watched, in real time, by anyone with a computer or a satellite dish - which means that Israel's behavior is under daily scrutiny by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The result has been a complete transformation in the international view of Israel."

But I would recommend those interested to read the the entire piece. It's an important one.

And those more interested in the debate as such might find interest in Mersheimer's and Wall's reply to some of their more virulent critics in the latest issue of the London Review of Books.