Friday, March 24, 2006


"A dangerously wrong study on the Israel lobby"

A lot has been said online about the seriously-flawed Mearsheimer-Walt study. As my own (extremely modest) contribution to the discussion, let me point you to an editorial on the subject from the Metro West Daily News of northern Massachusetts:
In their paper, called "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy," the bias of authors John J. Mearsheimer of Harvard University, and Stephen M. Walt of the University of Chicago is so apparent that it discredits the entire work.

It is a document rife with innuendoes and inaccuracies. Even a cursory revue of the paper reveals sloppy scholarship. The list of errors, misstatements, and faulty logic that run throughout this paper is long and disturbing. One of their underlying assumptions, stated by the authors in a footnote on the very first page, is an excellent example of the carelessness that characterizes the paper: "The mere existence of the [Israel] lobby suggests that unconditional support for Israel is not in the American national interest. If it was [sic], one would not need an organized special interest group to bring it about." The circular reasoning of their argument is incoherent on its face, lacking both logic and common sense.
In a democratic system like ours, the broad spectrum of opinion that defines our way of life demands that we continually discuss and dispute the various positions upon which policy is decided. When we disagree on an issue, we attempt to convince each other of the justification for our position. It is precisely because of this that organizations are created to champion diverse positions. They help to clarify the complex issues that face law and policymakers every day. In this case, the opening assumption of their paper is flawed and misguided.

In fact, the whole paper is full of errors, large and small. A matter as simple as Israel's current population is incorrectly stated at 6,276,883. The number is precise but inaccurate. Israel's population recently reached eight million, a fact that was reported extensively in the press, and could have been verified with very little effort...
There's more in the same vein. Please take a moment to read the whole thing.

(Oh, and the author of the editorial is Ilana Freedman. Good work, Mom!)


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