Evolution of Dispossession

Evolution of Dispossession
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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Best Panel Discussion Ever on The Lobby

I stumbled upon this panel discussion where the topic was the thesis of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer and their controversial paper of '06 on the Israeli Lobby and its ability to shift US foreign policy with respect to Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East.

This discussion is quite good, and rational, and it does demonstrate that important issues can be discussed without nasty ad hominem attacks (vis a vis finkelstein and dershowitz) and even thought it is a long video, it perhaps is the best 2 hours one can spend if one is really interested in learning about AIPAC and the incredible power it undeniably wields (which even the paper's critics acknowledge in the discussion).

10 comments:

Liberal White Boy said...

I will do that in a few weeks. I seem to be under attack lately by spammers that do not like my message. I don't think their going to like yours either. Maybe in a few weeks they will get bored and go away.

wdporter said...

LOL...let me get this straight, you wait until you divulge yourself of active LogiPundit status before you post such a reasonable and balanced link.

In between phone calls today, I've watched most of this video (and will watch the Q and A sessions tonight) and I love the discussion. Both sides make great points, and in the end I believe the argument is semantical...

Meaning, I'm not sure there were any apologists on the stage for current Middle East Foreign policy, but instead the discussion was about who the "Lobby" really was, and whether they were the cause or simply an influence. I would like to have seen some good ole' Machiavellian Evil NEOCONS in the mix, but perhaps they wouldn't have been quite welcome. Even without that perspective, it was a good conversation.

The only thing I vehemently disagree with in the whole discussion is the subtle little defense of Hamas in the beginning. I think they are indefensible in how they have taken advantage of the Palestinian people, and I pray to God (as I posted on last week) that Israel and Fatah seizes a rare opportunity to take advantage of a common enemy and find solutions to the problems at hand.

scottie said...

liberal white boy, all you need to do is enable moderation of comments. some bloggers use this feature to censor remarks, like deborah lipstadt who has not published any of my comments on her site because she could not respond intelligently to my remarks, but you can use moderation of comments to filter any unwanted spam as well.

just set it up and no worries from spammers.

scottie said...

martin indyk was former us ambassador to israel, but he stops short of being an apologist, similar to dennis ross, who had the weakest arguments of any panelist.

i think schlomo ben-ami made many good points, as well as mearsheimer and khalidi. i was most impressed by tony judt's comments. i had read an essay he wrote contained in a book on jewish criticisms of zionism, and thought he wrote a great essay. but this panel discussion was the first time i heard him speak, and i thought he had much to offer on the issue.

i wish one audience member would have asked the key question which would basically prove the true power of the lobby :

if larry franklin was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison in 2006 for passing classified info to Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman of AIPAC, who are currently under indictment, and the mainstream media does not touch this issue with a 10 foot cattleprod, then some entity must account for this issue being swept under the rug.

but a very good discussion!

wdporter said...

Dennis Ross had the "weakest" arguments because you disagree with him, man...c'mon. LOL.

All he could relay was what he did in the Bush 41 and Clinton Administrations. He made a logical point that Bush 41 "stood up" to Israel on issues and got what he demanded. Mersheimer never really effectively refuted that argument.

Mersheimer actually said that Bush 43 had made a great effort to "stand up" to the Lobby...wow.

the point that Ross was making and Schlomo (who was my favorite)too, was that the NEOCONS and the Israel lobby don't necessarily have the same agenda, even though supporting Israel often happens to be part of their agendas that they have in common.

As a result, an article like Mersheimer's misses the point of actual policy and instead focuses on a nefarious conspiracy, actually trying to take some of the blame AWAY from national leaders (?!?) and put it squarely on the shoulders of the EVIL Lobby.

The reason why Schlomo and Khalidi made so much sense (on opposing sides of the issue) was that they desperately wanted to talk about issues and not conspiracies.

I would love to see approximately this same group (maybe minus Mersheimer and the Brookings guy and plus another Arab/Muslim expert or two), and get past the whole "IT'S THE JEWS!" talk (right or wrong) and actually have an identically mediated discussion on middle east issues.

Because the Brookings guy made an excellent point (at the VERY end) that the role of Arab/Muslim State decisions and actions played no part in this conversation and it obviously should.

Overall, I enjoyed the discussion, and wish that the lady mediating the debate would do the same for the Presidential debates...

Anyone would be better than Wolf Blitzer:

"Ok, Mr. Senator...Thank you...thank you thank you thank you mr senator...ok thank you...

scottie said...

Well Mearsheimer represented the arguments of the original paper very well, and they spent several minutes discussing a "cabal", the point that Indyk made, which Mearsheimer countered by saying that he and Walt were very clear that they were not arguing about a conspiracy.

Dennis Ross said one thing that really bothered me, but all in all, all the participants were rational, made good points, some which introduced other issues, some which presented obstaclles to opposing arguments, but it was a success in that the issue was discussed at a high level.

Now big picture snapshot of the Israeli Lobby :


Our elected Congress should not be influenced by ANY special interest group. If our Congress had any semblance of mission, they would not be meeting with any member of the 67,000 registered lobbyists in Washington as the duty of serving one's constituency becomes questionable when a third party enters the scene, and basically extorts political influence.

I tend to be more critical of AIPAC because of how influential it is in foreign policy matters.

In the 9-11 commission report, KSM was quoted as having said the principal reason behind the 9-11 attacks was the US's one-sided support of Israel. The Iraq Study Group echoed this sentiment, when it concluded that military forces retreating from Iraq would not solve the chaos in the Middle East ; that the US must work towards a solution to the I-P issue simultaneously. To echo Scott Ritter's comments that one of the greatest successes of AIPAC is that it has effectively blended US national interests with Israeli national interests, and citizens are not supposed to question this marriage.

The panelists did speak of "forcing" Israeli compliance, which we could do instantly. The 39 resolutions in the SC we have vetoed (the lone veto mind you) to protect Israel from criticism/isolation/sanctions speak volumes. If Israel knew that we would not protect its reckless and criminal behavior, it would certainly stop it and come into compliance with 242, 338, and the other resolutions concerning the occupied territories.

Liberal White Boy said...

Wow. The Rosen and Weiss Aipac treason trial. Why the dearth of media coverage you wonder? Is this a conspiracy? Is there some sort of cabal out there intent upon keeping this matter quiet? Now each time these terms are thrown around we are suppose to recoil in terror. I'm no anti-Semite. Better to remain silent. How dare we even think such things? Didn't I just get my Holocaust reminder from the New York Times this week. Hey, this worked pretty well for a long time. Until 9/11 I pretty much bought into Israel's fairy tale hook line and sinker, like most Americans. I am embarrassed to say though; I was not paying much attention. This I think is what someone was counting on. And it is very important. But slowly many of us are beginning to come out of our slumber. You find these signs on the internet, on C-Span, but very rarely of course in main stream media. Walt and Mearsheimer publish a paper on the Israeli lobby (they have to find a publisher over seas). It is of course, to hot to handle. These guys are on the opposite end of the political spectrum as me. Conservatives. (No, not the delusional fascists currently occupying the White House,real conservatives. Sitting around all the time worrying about what's in America's self interests. Now if you truly want to know if there is a cabal in America just do a Google search. Scarborough, Walt, Mearsheimer, David Duke and Alan Dershowitz. http://www.vidilife.com/index.cfm?f=media.play&vchrMediaProgramIDCryp=A842CC7D-F9D1-4B1B-AE76-5&action=10
See how MSNBC covered the paper. Listen to the video clip and tell me. Were you in Scarborough Country or the land of Zion? No Cabals? No conspiracy? Aipac, Jinsa, MSNBC and others? That is just silly. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, well you get the picture.

Cabal…a small group joined in a secret intrigue.

Conspiracy…a conspiring group

I think I’ll go with conspiracy Scott.

scottie said...

well, there are definitely some zionists within our government that arguably put israel ahead of the us in their actions.

perle, wolfowitz (formerly), feith

there are many in prominent pro-israel think-tanks (the heritage foundation, washington institute for near east policy, pnac, the hudson institute) like the wurmsers, eliot abrams, michael ledeen et al who espouse pro-israel positions, and unfortunately our government is heavily influenced by these think-tanks

but remember that only 37% of american jews identify closely with the state of israel, so we mustn't let the actions of a few hard-core likudnik zionists spoil our opinion of the entire group. of course this is what the nazis did.

but you bring up a good point on media coverage of israel, and it is true that you will not find a pro-palestinian voice within the mainstream, you can find very good coverage from the underground media, like commondreams.org, normanfinkelstein.com, guerillanewsnetwork, muckrakerreport.com, mediamonitors.net, haaretz.com, and if one spends enough time reading articles from these places, a better understanding of media agendas, think-tank agendas, historical grievances, shortcomings on both sides (israel and palestinian), mainly the israeli side, will emerge.

but many people were asleep pre 9-11 and 9-11 was also my wake-up call, and one day this will all change, as long as the homeland security does not shut down the internet !

Liberal White Boy said...

No Scott the assault on the internet will come after the assault on dissent on college campuses. (Finkelstein tenure denial, etc.)But don't step in the fly paper. It doesn't take all of a group or even a majority to conspire and of course I didn't say that was the case above. The media is constantly reminding us that the majority of America's Jews didn't support the war in Iraq. Why do you feel the need to remind me that most American Jews are really ...Americans who do not spend every waking moment worrying about Israel or any other foreign power? We have been socialized by our media to place one ethnicity above all others. By the way there is some good back and forth between Professor Finkelstein and Professor Petras about the lobby. A little googling with the names and the lobby and you I'm sure can find it. It is the first time I've seen someone get the better of Professor Finkelstein in a debate.

scottie said...

LWB,

Just read the exchange between Norman and Petras.

I am a huge fan of mNorman Finkelstein, having read all his books except one, and I have contributed many letters on his site.

In this instance, I agree 100% with you, that Petras certainly made the better points, points I have been making on my blogsite since I put it up this spring.

It's weird because Chomsky is very dismissive on the role of the Israeli Lobby, and I think that Finkelstein does have a blind spot on this issue, as Petras suggests, partly because of his relationship with Chomsky. They are very good friends, and Chomsky was a mentor to Finkelstein, and they do disagree on some minor points on the I-P issue, but Norman's stance is open to criticism, because the strength of the Israeli Lobby and the element of dual-loyal Zionist plants in our government is undeniable.

Thanks for the reference. I was unaware of this debate.