Opinion: Mearsheimer and Walt, the gift that keeps on giving...


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John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt wrote for us recently, and the impassioned replies are still dropping like the gentle rain from heaven. Mitchell Bard says the special relationship is all about shared values here, and Reps. Artur Davis (D-Alabama) and Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) discuss their own true friendship here. Dig our Primary Source and this extra snippet for the ed board’s own conversations with the controversial authors. And here are two more replies.

Grant F. Smith, director of research at an organization called IRmep, says look to the perils of trade:


Trade is a great example of the ‘benefits’ of Israel to the US. But Texas exports prove nothing. In the late 80’s, US-Israel trade was roughly in balance. In 1984 the US and Israel signed a ‘free trade agreement’ and between 1989 and 2006 the US cumulative trade ballooned to almost a $50 billion deficit with Israel. The FBI investigated AIPAC in 1984 because it had acquired confidential International Trade Organization documents on the US negotiating position. Presumably, AIPAC then used that information against the United States. This unfavorable trade relationship is more symbolic of the huge cost of this relationship to the US and how the lobby does business than Texas exports.

But from San Francisco, Stephen A. Silver says remember the vicious calumny:

Editor: Thank you for publishing Mitchell Bard’s opinion piece ‘Israel’s ties that bind’ (Jan. 10), noting that it is shared values, not lobbies and conspiracies, that are at the heart of American support for Israel. However, Bard missed the opportunity to rebut John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s vicious calumny in their Jan. 6 Op-Ed that Israel is to blame for its ‘control’ of Gaza and the West Bank (‘Israel’s false friends,’ Op-Ed, Jan. 6). Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 as a result of a war of self-defense after being besieged and blockaded by its Arab neighbors. During the monthlong siege that triggered the war, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser publicly stated: ‘our basic objective will be to destroy Israel.’ Nine days after winning the Six-Day War, Israel offered to exchange captured territories for peace, but the Arabs rejected the offer. In 2000, Israel offered the Palestinians a state born in peace encompassing all of Gaza and virtually all of the West Bank. Mearsheimer and Walt laud the proposal, but fail to mention that it was the Palestinians who rejected it and instead launched a war of terror consisting of blowing up Israeli children in schools, buses, discos and pizzerias. They also fail to mention that in 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. Gaza is now controlled not by Israel, but by Hamas. During the past year alone, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza launched more than 2,000 missiles at Israeli cities.