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Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy By TONY JUDT

Op-Ed Contributor
A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy

By TONY JUDT

The New York Times
Published: April 19, 2006


IN its March 23rd issue the London Review of Books, a respected
British journal, published an essay titled "The Israel Lobby." The
authors are two distinguished American academics (Stephen Walt of
Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago) who posted
a longer (83-page) version of their text on the Web site of Harvard's
Kennedy School.

As they must have anticipated, the essay has run into a firestorm of
vituperation and refutation. Critics have charged that their
scholarship is shoddy and that their claims are, in the words of the
columnist Christopher Hitchens, "slightly but unmistakably smelly."
The smell in question, of course, is that of anti-Semitism.

This somewhat hysterical response is regrettable. In spite of its
provocative title, the essay draws on a wide variety of standard
sources and is mostly uncontentious. But it makes two distinct and
important claims. The first is that uncritical support for Israel
across the decades has not served America's best interests. This is
an
assertion that can be debated on its merits. The authors' second
claim
is more controversial: American foreign policy choices, they write,
have for years been distorted by one domestic pressure group, the
"Israel Lobby."

Some would prefer, when explaining American actions overseas, to
point
a finger at the domestic "energy lobby." Others might blame the
influence of Wilsonian idealism, or imperial practices left over from
the cold war. But that a powerful Israel lobby exists could hardly be
denied by anyone who knows how Washington works. Its core is the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee, its penumbra a variety of
national Jewish organizations.

Does the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course —
that is one of its goals. And it has been rather successful: Israel
is
the largest recipient of American foreign aid and American responses
to Israeli behavior have been overwhelmingly uncritical or
supportive.

But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions?
That's
a matter of judgment. Prominent Israeli leaders and their American
supporters pressed very hard for the invasion of Iraq; but the United
States would probably be in Iraq today even if there had been no
Israel lobby. Is Israel, in Mearsheimer/Walt's words, "a liability in
the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states?"
I
think it is; but that too is an issue for legitimate debate.

The essay and the issues it raises for American foreign policy have
been prominently dissected and discussed overseas. In America,
however, it's been another story: virtual silence in the mainstream
media. Why? There are several plausible explanations. One is that a
relatively obscure academic paper is of little concern to
general-interest readers. Another is that claims about
disproportionate Jewish public influence are hardly original — and
debate over them inevitably attracts interest from the political
extremes. And then there is the view that Washington is anyway awash
in "lobbies" of this sort, pressuring policymakers and distorting
their choices.

Each of these considerations might reasonably account for the
mainstream press's initial indifference to the Mearsheimer-Walt
essay.
But they don't convincingly explain the continued silence even after
the article aroused stormy debate in the academy, within the Jewish
community, among the opinion magazines and Web sites, and in the rest
of the world. I think there is another element in play: fear. Fear of
being thought to legitimize talk of a "Jewish conspiracy"; fear of
being thought anti-Israel; and thus, in the end, fear of licensing
the
expression of anti-Semitism.

The end result — a failure to consider a major issue in public policy
— is a great pity. So what, you may ask, if Europeans debate this
subject with such enthusiasm? Isn't Europe a hotbed of anti-Zionists
(read anti-Semites) who will always relish the chance to attack
Israel
and her American friend? But it was David Aaronovitch, a Times of
London columnist who, in the course of criticizing Mearsheimer and
Walt, nonetheless conceded that "I sympathize with their desire for
redress, since there has been a cock-eyed failure in the U.S. to
understand the plight of the Palestinians."

And it was the German writer Christoph Bertram, a longstanding friend
of America in a country where every public figure takes extraordinary
care to tread carefully in such matters, who wrote in Die Zeit that
"it is rare to find scholars with the desire and the courage to break
taboos."

How are we to explain the fact that it is in Israel itself that the
uncomfortable issues raised by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have
been most thoroughly aired? It was an Israeli columnist in the
liberal
daily Haaretz who described the American foreign policy advisers
Richard Perle and Douglas Feith as "walking a fine line between their
loyalty to American governments ...and Israeli interests." It was
Israel's impeccably conservative Jerusalem Post that described Paul
Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, as "devoutly pro-Israel."
Are we to accuse Israelis, too, of "anti-Zionism"?

The damage that is done by America's fear of anti-Semitism when
discussing Israel is threefold. It is bad for Jews: anti-Semitism is
real enough (I know something about it, growing up Jewish in 1950's
Britain), but for just that reason it should not be confused with
political criticisms of Israel or its American supporters. It is bad
for Israel: by guaranteeing it unconditional support, Americans
encourage Israel to act heedless of consequences. The Israeli
journalist Tom Segev described the Mearsheimer-Walt essay as
"arrogant" but also acknowledged ruefully: "They are right. Had the
United States saved Israel from itself, life today would be better
...the Israel Lobby in the United States harms Israel's true
interests."

BUT above all, self-censorship is bad for the United States itself.
Americans are denying themselves participation in a fast-moving
international conversation. Daniel Levy (a former Israeli peace
negotiator) wrote in Haaretz that the Mearsheimer-Walt essay should
be
a wake-up call, a reminder of the damage the Israel lobby is doing to
both nations. But I would go further. I think this essay, by two
"realist" political scientists with no interest whatsoever in the
Palestinians, is a straw in the wind.

Looking back, we shall see the Iraq war and its catastrophic
consequences as not the beginning of a new democratic age in the
Middle East but rather as the end of an era that began in the wake of
the 1967 war, a period during which American alignment with Israel
was
shaped by two imperatives: cold-war strategic calculations and a
new-found domestic sensitivity to the memory of the Holocaust and the
debt owed to its victims and survivors.

For the terms of strategic debate are shifting. East Asia grows daily
in importance. Meanwhile our clumsy failure to re-cast the Middle
East
— and its enduring implications for our standing there — has come
into
sharp focus. American influence in that part of the world now rests
almost exclusively on our power to make war: which means in the end
that it is no influence at all. Above all, perhaps, the Holocaust is
passing beyond living memory. In the eyes of a watching world, the
fact that an Israeli soldier's great-grandmother died in Treblinka
will not excuse his own misbehavior.

Thus it will not be self-evident to future generations of Americans
why the imperial might and international reputation of the United
States are so closely aligned with one small, controversial
Mediterranean client state. It is already not at all self-evident to
Europeans, Latin Americans, Africans or Asians. Why, they ask, has
America chosen to lose touch with the rest of the international
community on this issue? Americans may not like the implications of
this question. But it is pressing. It bears directly on our
international standing and influence; and it has nothing to do with
anti-Semitism. We cannot ignore it.

Tony Judt is the director of the Remarque Institute at New York
University and the author of "Postwar: A History of Europe Since
1945."

1 Comments:

Blogger Personal Development said...

We all know the effects (and after-effects) of beer. But lifting a glass of cool liquid to your mouth on a scorching hot day, have you ever stopped to consider the processes and ingredients involved in making it? Well maybe not but here is the answer anyway!

Simply, beer is a fermented combination of water, barley, yeast and hops. The major variation in any beer is the type of yeast used in the fermentation process.

Let's look at the properties of this beverage.
Water is the main ingredient of beer. In the past, the purity of the water influenced the final result and was specific to the region of the earth from which it came. Today, water is filtered of these impurities, although pure water supplies are still ideally preferred by elite brewers.

Barley malt is an extremely important ingredient in beer as it is the main source of fermentable sugar. Many new breweries use barley malt extract, in either syrup or powder form, as this form ferments much quicker. It also contains many minerals and vitamins that help the yeast to grow.

Without yeast, beer would not exist. Yeast is a unique single cell organism that eats sugar and expels alcohol and carbon dioxide, two of the more recognizable ingredients of beer. Yeast comes in several variations, of which there are two major categories that determine the type of beer produced; Ale yeast and Lager yeast. If yeast alone were used the beer would be extremely sweet and therefore another ingredient needs to be added to reach the final product.

Hops are the flowers of the hop plant, a climbing vine plant that grows well in many differing climates. Hops contain acids which add bitterness to beer. Adding bitterness to beer helps to balance the sweetness, as well as acting as a natural preservative. Add more hops to the mixture and you will get a more bitter taste. This kind of beer is extremely popular in Britian and is simply referred to as "Bitter" (the original names are always the best!).

Variations of these ingredients create different tasting beers as well as having an affect on the alcoholic content.
When making your own beer many good resources are available which provide home brewing kits. It is important to read the ingredients of the packets in order to ascertain which has the best mixture according to your needs. One quick tip which many home brewers fail to adhere to is this: "Use fresh still water"!

Many have often sought information on how to make beer and the basic homebrewing equipment is not very expensive you can get what you need, for as little as $100.
In order to start making beer, you will need the following: A brewpot, Primary fermenter, Airlock and stopper, Bottling bucket, Bottles, Bottle brush, Bottle capper, and a thermometer.
In addition you can even use items from your kitchen to aid in the beer making. A breakdown of all the equipment is as follows: Brewpot A brewpot is made of stainless steel or enamel-coated metal which has at least 15 litre capacity, but it's no good if it's made of aluminum or if it's a chipped enamelized pot, (these will make the beer taste funny). The brew pot is used to boil the ingredients thus begins the first stage of beer making.

Primary fermenter

The primary fermenter is where the beer begins to ferment and become that fabulous stuff that makes you so funny and charming. The primary fermenter must have a minimum capacity of 26 litres and an air tight seal it must also accommodate the airlock and rubber stopper. Make sure the one you buy is made of food-grade plastic, as it wont allow the bad stuff in or let the good stuff out.

Airlock and stopper

The airlock is a handy gadget which allows carbon dioxide to escape from your primary fermenter during fermentation, it is this process that keeps it from exploding, but it doesn't allow any of the bad air from outside to enter. It fits into a rubber stopper, and is placed into the top of your primary fermenter. The stoppers are numbered according to size, so make sure you use the correct stopper for the correct hole

Plastic hose

This is a food grade plastic hose which measures approximately 5 feet in length. It is needed to transfer the beer from system to system, and it is imperitive that it is kept clean and free from damage or clogs

Bottling bucket

This is a large, food-grade plastic bucket with a tap for drawing water at the bottom, it needs to be as big as your primary fermenter, because you need the capacity to pour all the liquid from your primary fermenter into a bottling bucket prior to bottling up.

Bottles

After fermentation, you place the beer in bottles for secondary fermentation and storage. You need enough bottles to hold all the beer you're going to make, the best kind of bottles are solid glass ones with smooth tops (not the twist-off kind) that will accept a cap from a bottle capper. You can use plastic ones with screw-on lids, but they arent as good for fermentation and dont look as well.

Whether you use glass or plastic bottles, make sure they are dark-colored. Light damages beer, i would recommend green or brown bottles.

Bottle brush

This is a thin, curvy brush which is used to clean bottles because of the the shape of the brush it makes it very affective at getting the bottle spotless. We haven't even gotten into how clean everything has to be, but we will, and the bottle brush is a specialized bit of cleaning equipment that you will require in order to maintain your bottle kit.

Bottle capper

If you take buy glass bottles, you will need some sort of bottle capper and caps, of course, and you can buy them from any brewing supplies store. The best sort of bottle capper is one which can be affixed to a surface and worked with one hand while you hold the bottle with the other.

Thermometer

This is a thermometer which can be stuck to the side of your fermenter, they are just thin strips of plastic which are self adhesive, and can be found in any brewing supplies store, or from a pet shop or aquarium. Not everything costs money though even some household equipment can be used.

Household items

In addition to the above specialized equipment, you will need the following household items:
* Small bowl
* Saucepan
* Rubber spatula
* Oven mitts/pot handlers
* Big mixing spoon (stainless steel or plastic)
So there you have the ingredients and the method to make your home brew, all you need now is to get yourself a beer making kit and your on the way to beer heaven.
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10:20 AM  

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