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Tom Friedman vindicates Walt-Mearsheimer?

In what is a practically choreographed media spectacle, a prominent pundit spouts off about the power of the Israel Lobby, Walt and/or Mearsheimer cheer him on for vindicating their thesis that powerful Jews control the American empire, while neocons and the self-appointed guardians of Jewish interests assail him for anti-Semitism. This time it is the New York Times' Tom Friedman, who is his column of Dec. 14, thankfully called out Newt Gingrich's obscene spewing about the non-existence of the Palestinians, but added: 

I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. 

Stephen M. Walt cheers on Friedman in Foreign Policy, congratulating him for waking up to how  "politicians are ignoring the will of the people because of a well-organized minority." The American Jewish Committee, in contrast,  howls that Friedman "crossed a line" with his commentary, while the pro-Israel media watchdog CAMERA takes glee in pointing out Walt's "effusive praise" for Friedman. Elliott Abrams at the Council on Foreign Relations also jumps into the pile-on, calling on Friedman to "withdraw the remark."

As usual, we say a plague on all their houses. Yes, it is a bit reductionist to blame the Lobby for congressional enthusiasm for Bibi and his outlaw state, but certainly the Lobby is a significant chunk of the political equation where this is concerned. However, the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis was much more ambitious—explicitly blaming the Lobby for the Iraq invasion, and dismissing the overwhelming and self-evident factor of Washington's desire to control the world's most strategic oil resources. (See our deconstruction of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis.) A standing ovation comes considerably cheaper than a war...


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