Powerful, But Not That Powerful

[Economist-UK] From the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the 19th century to the charter of Hamas, a common claim by anti-Semites has been that Jews trick great powers into needless wars. That is why an article published in March 2006 by two American academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, caused such outrage. The power of the pro-Israel lobby, so far from being a secret, is legendary. What is new is to accuse Israel's supporters of dragging America into Iraq. The muddle begins when the authors concede that those who pushed for the Iraq war genuinely expected it to benefit America as well as Israel. So the eye-catching implication in the headline - that Israel's supporters knowingly got America into a war that was in Israel's interest but not its own - is withdrawn in the fine print. Next, the authors admit that Israel, considering Iran the bigger threat, did not initiate the campaign for war against Iraq; it fell into line only after it realized that Mr. Bush was already leaning that way. Some argued in favor of the war who were neither neocons nor Jewish nor any part of the Israel lobby - Britain's Tony Blair, say. At one point the authors complain that Israel and its supporters in America are now rewriting history "to absolve Israel of any responsibility for the Iraq disaster." But it was not Israel that invaded Iraq. Their own book feels like an attempt to absolve America of responsibility for a decision it took by, and for, itself.

2007-09-28 01:00:00

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