Mearsheimer's List


In the middle of an otherwise forgettable death-to-Israel speech in Washington last week, the more talented half of the Mearsheimer-Walt Judeophobic combine placed on display, once again, his compulsive need to make lists of Jews. This time, Mr. Mearsheimer (a suspiciously Jewish-sounding name, though I'm told he's German-American) lists those Jews he considers "righteous," meaning that they seek the destruction of the Jewish state:

To give you a better sense of what I mean when I use the term righteous Jews, let me give you some names of people and organizations that I would put in this category.  The list would include Noam Chomsky, Roger Cohen, Richard Falk, Norman Finkelstein, Tony Judt, Tony Karon, Naomi Klein, MJ Rosenberg, Sara Roy, and Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss fame, just to name a few.  I would also include many of the individuals associated with J Street and everyone associated with Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as distinguished international figures such as Judge Richard Goldstone.  Furthermore, I would apply the label to the many American Jews who work for different human rights organizations, such as Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch.

A couple of quibbles, first: I don't think Roger Cohen, of The New York Times, belongs on this list. He is not a death-to Israel sort. I wish he were as sympathetic to his own people as he is to the Poles, but his lack of sympathy for Jews doesn't make him an obliterationist. Also, I don't think Judge Goldstone falls into this category, and nor do the good people at J Street. The others, though, are part of a tiny minority of Jews who believe that the destruction of Israel will bring them the approval of non-Jews, which they crave. Mearsheimer, in this speech, goes on to label the country's American Jewish leadership "new Afrikaners." He does, however, express sympathy for the plight of the Jews caught between these new Afrikaners and the "righteous Jews":

There is no question that the present balance of power favors the new Afrikaners.  When push comes to shove on issues relating to Israel, the hardliners invariably get most of those American Jews who care a lot about Israel to side with them.  The righteous Jews, on the other hand, hold considerably less sway with the great ambivalent middle, at least at this point in time.  This situation is due in good part to the fact that most American Jews -- especially the elders in the community -- have little understanding of how far down the apartheid road Israel has travelled and where it is ultimately headed.

What is interesting about this speech is that Mearsheimer, consciously or not, echoes to a degree the rantings of Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious anti-Semite of the 1930s, who consistently claimed that he was not an anti-Semite, but someone who was sticking up for the average Jew who was being exploited by his people's Communist leadership. Meryl Yourish excavated this quote from one of Coughlin's talks on the role of Jews in society:

The average Jew, the kind we admire and respect, has been placed in jeopardy by his guilty leaders. He pays for their Godlessness, their persecution of Christians, their attempts to poison the whole world with Communism.

My purpose is to help eradicate from the world its mania for persecution, to help align all good men. Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Gentile, Christian and non-Christian, in a battle to stamp out the ferocity, the barbarism and the hate of this bloody era. I want the good Jews with me, and I'm called a Jew baiter, an anti-Semite.

What is most interesting, of course, about Mearsheimer's transformation into a hot-blooded moralist and advocate for Palestinian triumphalism is how his understanding of Jews and their nefarious role in American and in the world has caused him to abandon the principles of foreign policy realism that he advocated in his previous career, the reputable career he had before the Jews conquered his brain.

UPDATE: I thought I linked to Mearsheimer's speech, but hadn't; link is now there.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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