Thursday, July 31, 2014

Professor Beeson Replies


Recently this blog posted on an article at the Conversation by Prof Mark Beeson of Murdoch University about the IDF operations in Gaza.


Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
"John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s important book may not have earned them many friends, but it did a valuable service in revealing just how powerful and influential the Jewish lobby is in the US."
Actually Mearsheimer and Walt's thoroughly discredited book has earned them an enormous number of friends. This always does. They took the well trodden path from obscure academia to global celebrity by the time honoured method of attacking Israel and the Jews.
American Jews are probably overrepresented in neo conservative and centre or centre right intellectual discourse. Certainly they are in pro-Israel and Zionist activity of all kinds but only the blinkered and worse would draw M and W's conclusions from that. Jews are also over represented among Democrats, charity workers, left wing and revolutionary politics, the professions, universities, British conservatives, those who show up to vote in elections, until recently the ALP, Animal Liberation and for all I know the RSPCA.
So what. What exactly is your point? That a disproportionate number of Jews are activists? You really don't need to write a book to prove that.
People complaining about Jews being "over represented" and therefore having disproportionate influence is the oldest trope in antisemitism. Of course pro-Israel voices in the US are strong, there are many, but only the ignorant think of this as a monolith and only the bigoted see some kind of a conspiracy in this.
One might have hoped we had got past this sort of thing by now.
There are many lobbies in the US just like here. The "Palestinians", Arab Americans, Muslims, teachers, academics, the oil industry all have lobbies. Big Oil has had a bigger influence on American foreign policy than the Jews and it is not at all benign or pro-Israel.
The "gotcha" thesis of these academics about the Jews (remember that American and Israeli Jews are about 90% of the world's Jews) is risible and deplorable. A generation earlier and they would have been clamouring for quotas in the universities to keep the numbers in "proportion". These days I guess they would target east Asians if they could.
American Jews are pro-Israel for exactly the same reasons as most American are pro-Israel. It is because they are pro-American. It is because of the absolute moral clarity of this issue.
The Jews are a tiny minority in the US, less than 2%. To attribute to them some kind of sinister power over the US and the West should be unacceptable in the West even if it is unquestioned orthodoxy across much of the world and especially in the Muslim world.
It should be unacceptable precisely because of that.
Prof Beeson  posted in reply:

Mark Beeson

Professor of International Politics at Murdoch University
In reply to geoffff
Thanks for the thoughtful response, Geoff. The points about the US political system being open to a variety of influences are good ones and well taken. But do you really think that US policy toward Israel and Palestine is even-handed?
Why does nearly every American leader or politician feel obliged to intone to the ritual declaration about Israel's right to defend itself, with little comment about the means? Why is it that a successful middle-income state is the largest recipient of American aid? Surely you would concede that Israel occupies a place in American foreign policy practise and thinking that no other state does?

The blog replies


Human Rights Activist and Animal Protector
In reply to Mark Beeson
All of this is military aid. Much of it must be spent in the US as part of the overall US military and defence investment. .
The glib and simple answer to the question however is that no other successful middle income strategically critical ally of the US faces anything like the existential threat that Israel does
The last time would probably have been 1940. The US did much the same thing then that it does now. Sure Israel receives much energy in Washington but that has little to do with the "Lobby". The "Lobby" sees itself primarily in an educational role and as a counter to a hugely determined and aggressive campaign against Israel out of all proportion to its size or even its relative impact on the Arab world and the "Palestinians".
Nor is it a one way street. Israel projects US influence in the Middle East. It is a major source of intelligence about events in the Arab world, an active partner in anti-terrorist operations and increasingly important economically and as a source of leading edge technology including military technology.
Drones and remote warfare were pioneered in Israel, and if the US funded Iron Dome, the enormous leap in technology it represents is shared.
I do admit to some nerve pain at the constant, and yes, almost ritualistic, affirmations about Israel's right to exist, but not for the reason you infer. I can think of no other state where this needs to be even mentioned, let alone constantly intoned as the root cause of a conflict.
That is the rub with the "Palestinian" cause. At its core it not a genuine national movement, or if it is, it is something new and quite threatening.. Its central drive is not for a state but for the destruction and supercession of a state.
There can be no even handedness between Israel and "Palestine" because "Palestine" is not a state like Israel or any other state.
"Palestine' is an antistate. The first in history. .

And that of course is the end of the conversation.

cross posted Geoffff's Joint


  1. " The glib and simple answer to the question however is that no other successful middle income strategically critical ally of the US faces anything like the existential threat that Israel does
    The last time would probably have been 1940. The US did much the same thing then that it does now."

    You forgot to mention that the US still does this in the form of United States Forces-Korea (USFK). South Korea is in the same or higher income category as Israel. Yet, the US not only spends money on Korea's defense, the US commits a 4-star command with 28,500 troops for Korea's defense. At a cost of $100,000 per soldier, that would bring spending close to $3 billion, in the ballpark of US aid to Israel. Even with Korean subsidization of our military presence there, the US still spends a substantial amount subsidizing the defense of a high-income nation.

  2. We control all media. Which is universally against us.
    We control all governments. Which universally don't support us.
    We control all banks. Which is why we survive on an infinite stream of US aid.

  3. Bravo, my friend.

    Nicely done.

    By the way, I like this notion of Palestine as the anti-state.

    "Palestinianism" as a nation movement is the only national movement in world history that was born strictly out of a desire to destroy another national movement, in this case the movement for Jewish liberation on historically Jewish land.

  4. Gaza or the PLO have, for about a decade been the world's first fully functional terrorist states which use terrorism as legitimate tools of foreign and domestic policy. Not the first states to use it mind you but the first where outsiders accept it as a one for one substitute for civil order and jurisprudence. We complain, in the west about anarchy in places like Somalia and Mali and Nigeria. But in so far as the violence and chaos in Gaza and Judea Samaria are more or less the same as those places, we more than tolerate it more than accept it, we elevate it as a noble and just thing. Permanent revolution.

    Which is fine, as far as it goes. But it will be interesting to see what an 'independent palestine' does to order its own society given that. Don't like your water bill? Blow up the bill collector. Streets not paved? Set fires and murder the paving crew on another street. Mad as the TV news? Kill the news anchor. Can't get your visa approved? Kidnap the minister of visa's cousin and saw her head off on YouTube. A foreign delegation comes to visit and they don't kiss your shoes? Shoot their plane down. And for the government's response to the governed? Did the news insult you? Throw a hundred people in prison, execute 5 of them and close down the studio. The garbage trucks not paying their baksheesh? Take all the trucks away and give them to some other family member. Contract law? No such animal.

    It will be interesting to see how they thrive when their whole country is Klingon Sesame Street.

    1. Klingon Sesame Street


      I'm hearing an echo of a distant voice through the valleys?

      What the Jimmy Carter is Israel doing anyway?

      Excuse my language.

      Why is Israel the first state in history to supply the enemy regime with everything it needs except ammunition during a full scale war in progress?

      Why is Israel the first state in history to be denounced by the international community for delivering for the first time in history a demonstratively much higher duty of care to the civilian population of the enemy regime than the enemy regime itself?

      The questions just keep on pouring