As the antizionist Left praises his conspiracy theory, John Mearsheimer endorses a Nazi-like book : Joseph Weissman

When Mearsheimer and Walt started publishing on the “Israel Lobby” many of us thought that their discourse facilitated a slippage from social science into antisemitic conspiracy theory.  Others found that to be insufficiently careful and they took the argument seriously, even saying that there should be further debate on the issue.  Now, Mearsheimer has decided to legitimize an unambiguously antisemitic book.  He started by stumbling into antisemitism but is now openly embracing it. Mearsheimer, and even Gilad Atzmon will be accepted amongst some sections of academia in a way that bigots against black people, Muslims, or women would never be.  Many scholars are nowadays incapable of recognising antisemitism; some others simply don’t care about it; lots of people who do get it will remain silent. [dh]
This is a guest post by Joseph Weissman:

Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer are two American professors who push the theory that a powerful Israel lobby distorts US foreign policy, taking American presidents down dangerous political paths that they could otherwise avoid.

Robert Fine observed of Walt and Mearsheimer on Engage, in 2006,

While the US does the fighting, dying and paying, they write, Israel is the beneficiary. The Lobby’s influence increases the danger of terrorism, fuels Islamic radicalism, raises the spectre of further wars in Syria and Iran, makes impossible any resolution of Palestinian suffering, undercuts US prestige abroad and its efforts to limit nuclear proliferation, and erodes democracy within the US. All for Israel. What is needed is ‘candid discussion of the Lobby’s influence’, a return to reality and the advancement once more of US interests. […]

Slippage from criticism of American foreign policy to wild eyed conspiracy theory punctuates this whole narrative. The question of why Israel should have these maniacal aims and why the Lobby should echo them is simply not addressed. It would seem that this article has no merit beyond that of translating into one academically authenticated product all the conspiratorial clichés of a demonic power exercising its evil behind the scenes.

This week, whilst discussing Middle Eastern politics, the New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman has made reference to a “powerful pro-Israel lobby”:

This has also left the U.S. government fed up with Israel’s leadership but a hostage to its ineptitude, because the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.

In reaction, some antizionists commentators are claiming that this phrase has somehow legitimised Walt and Mearsheimer’s opinion.

See Philip WeissGlenn Greenwald and Stephen Walt himself.

Thomas Friedman has a reputation of being sympathetic to Israel in his writings. Therefore, his sentence about the “powerful pro-Israel lobby” strikes me as rather clumsy and awkward, especially when you consider how antizionist conspiracists understand the “lobby”.

One badly thought-out sentence from a journalist, hardly proves a conspiracy theory. Before antizionist-“progressive” types laud Walt and Mearsheimer, they should stop to consider Mearsheimer’s ringing praise of Gilad Atzmon. Atzmon is a man who has already doubted the gas chambers in Auschwitz, says he “doesn’t know” if the Holocaust happened, and blamed Jews for their persecution at the hands of the Nazis.

We read in Gilad Atzmon’s new book The Wandering Who:

“some may be bold enough to argue that ‘Hitler might have been right after all’

Some Jews are rather unhappy with Charles Dickens’ Fagin and Shakespeare’s Shylock, who they regard as ‘anti-Semitic.’

“Thanks to Weininger, I realised how wrong I was – I was not detached from the reality about which I wrote, and I never shall be. I am not looking at the Jews, or at Jewish identity, I am not looking at Israelis. I am actually looking in the mirror. With contempt, I am actually elaborating on the Jew in me.”

[Weininger] adored Aryan masculinity because he probably lacked that quality in any significant amount in his own being. This revelation probably led Weininger to kill himself, just a month after the publication of his book. Very likely, he had managed to understand what his book was all about.”

Here is John Mearsheimer on Atzmon’s new book:

Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it incredibly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? Should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.’

Far from welcoming Walt and Mearsheimer uncritically, liberals should be alarmed at John Mearsheimer’s recommendation of Gilad Atzmon’s new book, which sees Jewish identity, essentially through a Nazi lens.

18 Responses to “As the antizionist Left praises his conspiracy theory, John Mearsheimer endorses a Nazi-like book : Joseph Weissman”

  1. Comment is not free Says:

    I’m confused. Part of the “Israel Lobby” paranoia is that Zionists are also influential in silencing criticism debate in the mainstream press, especially the formerly Jewish and now Zionist NY Times. This being the case, how did Friedman’s letting the cat out of the bag, get through to the public? For such an organised “lobby” they really are piss-poor!

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      Ah, but you have to understand – the Zionist lobby is silencing these people by allowing their opinions to be heard. By spewing away about how Jews control the world, they will make everyone else believe that they’re a bunch of paranoid anti-Semites, thereby discrediting themselves and making sure that nobody listens to them. This is, of course, what the Zionists what. Presumably.

      • Comment is not free Says:

        Of course! That’s that contradiction explained.
        Gosh, everything is falling into place right now. It’s all so…….so……..damn obvious.
        Transparency at last! Liberty here we come!

  2. Absolute Observer Says:

    “the powerful pro-Israel lobby in an election season can force the administration to defend Israel at the U.N., even when it knows Israel is pursuing policies not in its own interest or America’s.”
    Ah, so that is how politics works! All those years wasting my time reading Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and so many others. What did they know anyway with all their “clever” talk of social relations, of capitalism and of mystification?
    Looks like the nazis and their intellectual precursors got it right after all. – powerful nations really are controlled by Jewish cabals!
    The Truth is Back!

    Now we can all unite under the one True slogan,
    “Free America: Fight the Jews!”

  3. Abductee Says:

    “Walt and Mearshiemer merely voiced a truth which has long been known and obvious but was not allowed to be spoken. That’s precisely why the demonization campaign against them was so vicious and concerted: those who voice prohibited truths are always more hated than those who spout obvious lies.”

    Interesting that this type of formulation is a common tautology of conspiracy theories in general. Write a thesis that claims to unmask where Power really lies and at the same time claim you unmask it you can claim that you are a victim of that same power. The more people complain that you are talking garbage, the more you think yourself vindicated.
    The closed argument and the closed minds of circularity.

  4. James Mendelsohn Says:

    Great post as ever Joseph, well done

  5. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Hitler had good words to say about Otto Weininger for killing himself. According to Weininger, who shot himself in 1903 when he was 23 years old, Men are superior to women. The chapter “Das Judentum” contains a juxtaposition of the “Jew” and the “Aryan”.
    Weininger believed self-overcoming Jews to be a hope of Mankind and superior to Aryans. Theodor Lessing presented in his book published 3 years before he was murdered by the Nazis Weininger as a typical self-hater.
    Encyclopaedia Britannica:
    “Austrian philosopher whose single work, Geschlecht und Charakter (1903; Sex and Character), served as a sourcebook for anti-Semitic propagandists.
    The son of a prosperous Jewish artisan, Weininger became a Christian the day he received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Vienna (1902). The following year he published his partly scientific, partly philosophical study in which he advanced the thesis that all living things combined varying proportions of masculine and feminine elements. The masculine element was positive, productive, and moral, while the feminine was negative, unproductive, and amoral. In the chapter “Über das Judentum,” he denounced Judaism as feminine and amoral in contrast to Christianity. Weininger shot himself at the age of 23, shortly after the publication of Geschlecht und Charakter.”

  6. Benjamin H. Says:

    Will we be getting a review, or more quotes from the book? I want the ability to throw them in the face of Mearsheimer’s fans and defenders. And speaking about Mearsheimer, since when was he an expert, let alone really interested, about Jewish identity outside of ‘The Lobby’?

    • PetraMB Says:

      Oh but sure, Mearsheimer has established himself as a specialist for Jewish identity, sort of, when he gave the Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC, on 29 April 2010.
      The title: “The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. New Afrikaners”.

      I’ll wrote a post about it at the time, the relevant paragraphs here:

      (Mearsheimer’s) message then seems clear enough: The “Future of Palestine” – which Mearsheimer explicitly defines at the outset of his lecture as referring to “the future of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea” – depends on how the battle between “Righteous Jews vs. New Afrikaners” in America pans out.

      So, forget about Israel’s Jews, or the Arabs of Mearsheimer’s Palestine – it’s all about American Jews. Since they get such an important part to play in the “Future of Palestine” as envisaged by Professor Mearsheimer, it’s of course very useful to understand in which flavors American Jews come. So, here goes, the new academic 101 of how to divide American Jews into useful categories:
      “American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories. The first two are what I call ‘righteous Jews’ and the ‘new Afrikaners,’ which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways. The third and largest group is comprised of those Jews who care a lot about Israel, but do not have clear-cut views on how to think about Greater Israel and apartheid. Let us call this group the ‘great ambivalent middle.’”

      Professor Mearsheimer then proceeds to outline the political credo he ascribes to the “righteous Jews” and the “new Afrikaners” respectively, and he even “fleshes out” the categories he suggests by naming names. His “list” of “righteous Jews” includes Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy and Philip Weiss; also on the list are “many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone.”

      By contrast, the Jews who make up Mearsheimer’s “new Afrikaners” list include “most of the individuals who head the Israel lobby’s major organizations”, among them “Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, David Harris of the American Jewish Committee, Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Ronald Lauder of the World Jewish Congress, and Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America, just to name some of the more prominent ones.”
      Mearsheimer also adds to this list “businessmen like Sheldon Adelson, Lester Crown, and Mortimer Zuckerman as well as media personalities like Fred Hiatt and Charles Krauthammer of The Washington Post, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, and Martin Peretz of The New Republic.” And, he doesn’t forget to point out: “It would be easy to add more names to this list.”

      To illustrate what it takes to make Professor Mearsheimer’s “righteous Jews” list, let’s pick the example of Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University, who wrote in 2007:
      “There is little doubt that the Nazi Holocaust was as close to unconditional evil as has been revealed throughout the entire bloody history of the human species. […]Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians with this criminalized Nazi record of collective atrocity? I think not.”

  7. Absolute Observer Says:

    “And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.” (Obama tonight)

    All that power, and this is the best the Lobby can get for their money – a US President calling for an independent Palestine next to Israel!

    Now that is truly evidence of the power behind the power of the world’s most powerful nation.

    • Bill Says:

      All that power, and this is the best the Lobby can get for their money – a US President calling for an independent Palestine next to Israel!

      Which is pretty much what “The Lobby” has accepted and advanced for years. I know of no credible block of The Lobby that has called for total annexation of the West Bank and Gaza in recent years. If only scholars who studied “The Lobby” would just actually, you know… study “The Lobby” instead of just said stuff about it?

  8. Ben Says:

    First off, I don’t think Thomas Friedman should EVER be lumped together with Mearshamer, Walt and PW (Greenwald is an odd mix, because his writings on privacy and national security are superb, but his Israel-related output reads like he wrote it when his brain was being dry cleaned). Mr. Friedman can’t stand Bibi now, he couldn’t stand him back in 1996-99, and I think that his comments about pro-Israel lobbies (which, in contrast to what MWPW and their acolytes are bloviating about, are subjects Mr. Friedman has mentioned often and sometimes done so critically, but never with the ugly edge and hints of disloyalty or treason that they brandish like swords) centered him being disgusted that they still rally to Bibi’s support. I don’t agree with him on this–AIPAC and other pro-Israel orgs support the State of Israel, period, and don’t turn the dial on that because the PM isn’t sufficient Leftist–but it’s not a cruel or bigoted view either.
    Also, I noticed something interesting when I went to the links for Walt and PW’s work. Both commentary sections shared three features: a near-ecstatic glee at the (utterly false) notion that Mr. Friedman had seen the light as shown by their blessed scribe avatars, recurring snide remarks about how the “real America” was anti-Israel and this could be seen in the wave of online comments on the subject, and the usual “we’re not afraid of being called anti-Semitic, Hasbarists!” taunts to commenters who generally neither called the commenters anti-Semitic nor were engaged in Hasbara (unless the commenters had identifying pay stubs on hand showing Israeli payments to the pro-Israel contingent, because as we all know, everyone who disagrees with the pro-Pals is a dual loyalist paid agent, mm hmm, that’s the ticket!). The second point was the funniest because one PW acolyte tried to prove his “wave of comments” note by linking to an article in a West Virginia paper where the anti-Israel comments consisted of 5 or 6 individuals (and almost all of those were linked to a single troll) while the Walt/PW comment base consisted of a handful of people high-fiving each other and being rude.
    I can’t imagine any pro-Israel individual reading those comments and doing anything differently than what they’re already doing, now, or ever.

  9. Goodwin Sands Says:

    Atzmon a few years ago infamously distributed an essay from Paul Eisen saying that the evidence weighed against their being homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, exhorting the reader to come to the defense of Ernst Zündel, and condemning international “Jewish power.” Atzmon has from that point forward refused both to repudiate the essay and to answer the direct question, “were there homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz?”

    By any reasonable standard, Atzmon is at best consciously hanging about the fringe of, and at worst playing a role in, the Holocaust denial movement.

    In an ideal world, Mearsheimer would ask Atzmon, point blank: “Yes or no on the gas chambers at Auschwitz, Atzmon? Why do you have such difficulty with so simple a question?”

    In the US, however, Atzmon is such an absolute nonentity that Mearsheimer may simply hope not to face any significant backlash.

  10. zkharya Says:

    Excellent research and post, Joseph, as ever. Thank you.

  11. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have made the Neonazi slogan “ZOG” (zionist occupied government) acceptable in polite society. They accuse American Jews to prefer their narrow tribal loyalties to National Security of US, the old antisemitic libel of dual loyalty.
    So we can say that their mediocre book about “the lobby” would never have become a bestseller
    without widespread antisemitism . To be fulsome in one’s praise of Atzmon is not just a favour done by John Mearsheimer, but a deliberate action. The more his name is mentioned in media, the more books are sold.
    The fact that some marginal British extreme leftist dissociate themselves from Atzmon is not going to make great impression on mainstream USA media.

  12. Mearsheimer and Walt defend antisemite who thinks Hitler will be proved right | Says:

    […] full post by Joseph here and also story covered on Harry’s Place here Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailDiggLike […]

  13. Carol Gould Says:

    The Atzmon book is soaring to the top of amazon uk bestseller sales.

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