Here’s the sequence of events, boys and girls. Two prominent non-Jewish academics, one from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government whose chair is funded by a Jewish benefactor and another from University of Chicago write a lousy academic paper. The paper, so shoddy that it is replete with factual errors, not to mention errors of omission intended to buttress a poor thesis, receives tremendous international play because it mines deeply into conspiracy theories accusing a powerful cabal of Jews – which includes virtually every American Jew who supports Israel – of war-mongering, immorality on a war-criminal scale, control of the world’s sole superpower, control of finance and control of media. To thicken the soup, the two prominent academics conduct a smear-job on Israel and Israel’s history that would make a Hamas member flush with joy. What follows? Attention, public speaking engagements, TV talk show interviews…and now a book.

The two academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, published their paper, The Israel Lobby, in England in the London Review of Books after the wise editors at The Atlantic rejected it. I have to think the mayor of London at least absolutely loved the paper. Lending credibility to their paper is the fact that both men not only come from prestigious universities, but are well respected in their field of International Relations where they are proponents of the school of Neorealism. Apparently they hold a right wing view of the world, dear readers.

The paper resonated, however, with some deeply held conspiracy theories of the international Left which hates the Bush Administration and now had an academic theory relating Jewish pressure from within and without the corridors of power in DC as a key factor in the disastrous war in Iraq. Never mind that 75% of Jews vote Democratic and a slightly higher percentage oppose and opposed the war.

The paper also resonated with the far Right because, well, because they think Hitler was a good person. One of the first public personas to heap praise upon the paper was none other than David Duke. It didn’t stop with him, however. The pro-Palestinian forces in the US latched on to the paper right away and within days the international media and Internet were awash with discussions about Jewish power. In fact, the greatest achievement of these two men, Walt and Mearsheimer, was to bring back to polite and not-so-polite society the false topic of Jewish power and influence and the purported evil to which it is directed.

Well, apparently we are about to witness nothing less than the mother of all hatchet jobs, dear readers, because a prominent – and I do mean prominent – publishing house with a long and established tradition of publishing superb books and authors, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, has agreed to publish a book version of Walt and Mearsheimer’s mediocre but tittilating paper.

To those who don’t know, here’s a little information about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a book(let) that has been an efficient vehicle throughout the world for dissemination of outright antisemitic conspiracy theories throughout the 20th Century. I guess it is fitting that at that time Russia had perhaps the largest Jewish population in the world and produced that book, and now that the largest Jewish population outside of Israel resides in the US, we are about to watch “The Israel Lobby,” Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper, become a book that updates and modernizes the Protocols.

It is truly incredible to me that I’m writing these lines in 2006, but this book is going to put the imprimatur of Harvard, U. of Chicago, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and two senior academics on a shallow and weak but resonant stew of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. It’s a free country and all, but one can only wonder in amazement on the one hand while also feeling that we’ve seen this story before…and it never ends well.

Hey, editors at Farrar, Straus and Giroux or any other enterprising publisher, if you want to simultaneously publish the antidote to this upcoming poison, I’m at the following email: themiddle [ at ]

Here are our previous discussions of these two. The comments include relevant points.

A comment Juan Cole won’t publish about Walt and Mearsheimer 1

A comment Juan Cole won’t publish about Walt and Mearsheimer 2

Benny Morris wipes the floor with Mearsheimer and Walt

Mearsheimer and Walt Respond!

This man headed MESA and is a tenured professor who was almost hired by Yale

One paper gets it, the other doesn’t (the other being the Israeli paper)

If you want to read how Mearsheimer was taken apart by some folks who know better, here is a report about a debate held with him, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Shlomo Ben Ami and Tony Judt last week.

Oh, and folks, don’t worry, this will also end up on Broadway as a musical.

About the author



  • It’s worth noting also that its not being published by an academic press but a general one (albeit a high quality one) both meaning wider readership but also if it had more academic merit it would have been published by an academic press

  • I don’t think they would have had a problem finding an academic press. They are seeking to make this accessible to the wider public. They hoped to tap a vein, it seems, with their paper, and they have seen the popular impact it had. If you were a noted academic already, rather than writing yet another book to be read by your colleagues and sold to a few thousand libraries, why not have a real impact on society? Unfortunately, they are doing it with this disgusting poison.

  • And they think we’re the ones organizing the cabal.

    The chair of my Master’s thesis on Jewishness read over my rough draft, looked over the top of his glasses at me and asked, “You’re not thinking of getting a PhD with this, are you?” When the graduate thesis reader passed me with flying colors, I knew my chair’s comment had nothing to do with my writing skills.

    Wow am I glad I’ve finished school.

  • “As it stands, other than being told over and over that I shouldn’t call some people or their work product antisemitic, I haven’t seen a substantive response as to why I shouldn’t.”

    Try this one TM. If you are known to the reader as a Jew, the antisemitic label in your critique would be automatically suspect because of an assumed bias, causing them to read an otherwise fair and logical critique with a suspicion. Unless the author’s piece was blatantly antisemitic, in which case there would be no need for an intelligent critique at all.

    Btw. You do tend to respond in length TM. If you want to be sure your comments get read, summarize.
    Read Robert Frost’s poetry as a classic example of conciseness.

    Hope this helps and not hurts 🙂

  • Jim, I’ve provided plenty of criticism of their paper beyond calling it antisemitic.

    However, while these two men may not be antisemitic, there’s no question that their little theory is. If my being Jewish leads you and others to assume that my claim of antisemitism is suspect, there’s little I can do about that. I’m still going to voice my opinion. In fact, to be honest with you, this was the successful strategy used by Mel Gibson with The Passion, where he took advantage of some bias on the part of a particular larger population of Christians by making it seem that the Jews were out to get him and his movie had little to do with antisemitism.

    As for length, I actually want these posts and comments about Walt & Mearsheimer to be lengthy and detailed. Many of our visitors aren’t regulars but people who find us through Google and Yahoo searches. As such, shorthand doesn’t always provide the necessary background. If it causes eyes to glaze over and posts not to be read, I suspect it has more to do with writing skills of the author than anything else.

  • “If my being Jewish leads you and others to assume that my claim of antisemitism is suspect, there’s little I can do about that.”

    Geesh TM. My comment was not about W&S, their theory, nor the validity of your opinion of it. I believe their work, and they, are antisemitic btw.

    You asked for a ‘substantive’ response, I provided one IMO. Don’t feel bound by it BAM.

  • Nobody pressured anybody to cancel speakers. The ADL called the Polish consulate and spoke to them. They are adamant, and have sent out a press release to this effect and the Polish consulate has concurred, that they did not seek or press for this cancellation. Same with the French embassy’s cancellation of the fete for that author. Apparently somebody wrote an email simply bringing it to their attention and their response was to cancel the event. It had nothing to do with pressure or even a desire on the part of the email sender to have this happen. Let’s not see a cabal where there isn’t one and let’s not blame those who aren’t to blame. The French and Polish diplomats know what they’re doing.

    With respect to JJ Goldberg, I believe the problem here is that Judt isn’t stupid. When he wrote his essays in the NY Review of Books and the NY Times, and when he appeared on stage with W&M ostensibly on their side (since he defended them in the NY Times), he took a strong and specific set of positions. It seems a little weak to proclaim that he is unaware of the impact these moves have made or were making. It’s doubly true now that he is using his reputation to smear the ADL as if they pressured the cancellation of his two talks. He’s either naive or a liar.

  • Yeah, DK. Really pisses the goyim off when a Jew says something in defense of the Jews. And everybody knows that pissing off the goyim is dangerous. Better not to take offense.

    You really are a gollus Yid.

  • Ephraim, I understand why you see it like that, but there is a difference in what being a Galus Jew means to me, as opposed to you.

    My ancestor fought off the pogroms by all the men in the extended family attacking anyone who attacked a family member. My great-great grandfather pulled a gun on a soldier who tried to inspect their home during plague time (yes, a little girl was sick.) His gamble paid off. The girl survived.

    If more Jews had acted like my ancestors, Jews would not have a reputation for pacifism under violence.

    But that doesn’t mean screaming and whining is effective in these circumstances. I just don’t see how it is always called for. What is the plan, what is the goal, and how will this approach succeed?

    Those are the communally responsible questions.

  • Screaming and whining are inalienable human rights. One man’s screaming and whining are another man’s forceful reasoning and spirited objection.

    You know, “my precious possessions, your miserable junk”. “My little angel, your brat. ” When it’s mine, it’s great. When the same thing is yours, feh.

    Scream and whine all you want. Those are just sneer words for somebody else’s thoughts.

  • Good to know that your ancestors stood up for themselves, DK. Kol ha kavod.

    You could learn a thing or two from them.

  • Why would write that bit about Hitler and the Right but give the Left a free pass? I’m with you; the whole blame-the-jews thing needs to stop… but the Left is just as guilty (perhaps even more so in this case) than the right.