Yesterday I mentioned the parallels among the lobbying efforts and influence of three special interest groups, or "factions": the (mainly Orthodox) Armenian-Americans who pushed the Armenian Genocide resolution; the (mainly Catholic) Cuban-Americans who have pushed the US embargo of Cuba; and the (mainly Jewish) supporters of AIPAC who have been making a case for a military showdown with Iran.

Today Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary Magazine quotes only the part about AIPAC -- and then asks why I am singling out the Jews!?!?! "Why is this game played only one way, with America’s Jews the primary target?" (Full text after the jump)

Not much amazes me any more, but....

I wonder which is the more plausible interpretation: That the author heard I'd written something objectionable and attacked it without reading it? Or that he did read it -- and deliberately left out everything that didn't fit his case, including through artful cutting of quotes?

I took it for granted that Commentary wouldn't see the Iran issue the way I do, given their recent cover story on "The Case for Bombing Iran" etc. But wow, this makes me nostalgic for the comparative "honesty" of the Chinese state media I've been dealing with recently.

Here goes:

Taking up the ideas of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt about the inordinate influence of the “Israel Lobby” on American foreign policy, James Fallows of the Atlantic writes that “[t]o the (ongoing) extent that AIPAC–the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which calls itself “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”–is trying to legitimize a military showdown between the United States and Iran, it is advancing its own causes at the expense of larger American interests.” The people behind this cause, he continues, “are not from one ethnic group in the conventional sense but are mainly of one religion (Jewish).”

To observe this, writes Fallows, and to warn against it, “including the disastrous consequences of attacking Iran” that it is seeking to bring about, is not to be anti-Semitic. And noting the “power and potential” of groups like AIPAC “to distort policy” simply means “recognizing that James Madison’s warnings about the invidious effects of ‘faction’ apply beyond the 18th century.”

I agree with Fallows that there is nothing wrong with observing the operations of “factions” in our politics, just as there is nothing wrong with warning against the consequences of their operations.

But why is this game played only one way, with America’s Jews the primary target?

Isn’t Fallows himself part of a faction? To be sure, it is not one organized on ethnic lines. It is a far more cohesive body than that, consisting of liberals who in almost all instances oppose the use of American power abroad. This faction, too, might be thought of as invidiously “advancing its own causes at the expense of larger American interests.”

All loyal Americans–including those, “mainly of one religion (Jewish),” whom Fallows brazenly tries to delegitimize as part of a faction pursuing interests running counter to those of our own country–need to observe carefully his faction, and to warn against its activities, lest it bring about the disastrous consequences of not attacking Iran should that state forge ahead with its nuclear ambitions



Obviously there is a point in here, about the inevitability that a big, plural democracy will -- and should -- involve a contest among many partial, "factional" views. But it's not a point I care to address when set up this way!