I would like to draw your attention to an intriguing piece of editing in the Irish Times.
It concerns the (excellent) dispatch from their US correspondent Simon Carswell (Thursday 31st July) regarding the influence of the ‘Israel Lobby’ on US Foreign Policy which included a reference to John Mearsheimer’s and Stephen Walt’s 2007 book ‘The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy’.
A particular point I wanted to highlight to the Irish Times was that the book emphasises that not only does the Israeli lobby not command the loyalty of all of the Jewish community but even more significantly it is critically dependent on unstinting support from the ‘Christian Right’, along with associated neo-conservative etc. elements.
This broad-based support from conservative Christians, across the spectrum from ‘End-Timer’ fundamentalists to more moderate Evangelical churches is increasingly clear and was acknowledged for example in Montefiore’s ‘Jerusalem the Biography’ (2011) which demonstrates its 19th century origins.
However when I went on-line to check any links from the article to the book I discovered that not only was there no link, but that the two paragraphs dealing with Mearsheimer that appeared in the print version had been deleted! The printed version noted:
“America’s unshakeable bond with Israel damages US interests but the power of the lobby weakens Obama’s ability to respond more aggressively, said John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago politics professor, who co-authored a 2007 book with Stephen Walt, called ‘The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy’: ‘Because the lobby is so powerful, and in this system where interest groups punch above their weight, you have a situation where any president is incapacitated when it comes to playing hardball with Israel’, he said”.
But this was not included in the online version. The online version also replaced the final sub-heading “Israeli Lobby” with “Images of Casualties” and inserted the following text below this:
“The circulating of images of civilian casualties in Gaza on social media may in part explain the sympathies of the American youth”.
So in addition to expunging the paragraph quoting Mearsheimer on the power of the Israeli lobby, the suggestion is added that the reason for the less pro-Israeli sentiments of the US youth might be due to their exposure to on-line images!
Having absorbed all this I figured it would most likely be a fruitless exercise trying to get a comment on this onto the Times’ own letters page.
I conclude by saying that my motive in writing this does not come from any anti-Israel paranoia on my part. But I’m convinced that if there is to be a sustainable peace in Palestine-Israel it will be essential for Israel, and indeed those in the media who are well disposed to it, to confront its own fundamentalist roots and colonial origins and develop a much more humble, generous and proactive approach to its dealings with the Palestinians.
Greystones, Co. Wicklow