Peter Schrank of The Economist

This week the Anti-Defamation League issued an important press release condemning a patently anti-Semitic cartoon published in the globally-renowned magazine The Economist. As you can see above, the cartoon characterizes President Obama being shackled by Congress – and the congressional seal has two Jewish Stars of David.

As ADL National Director Abe Foxman said of the cartoon:

This was nothing less than a visual representation of the age-old anti-Semitic canard of Jewish control. And it conjures up yet another classic anti-Semitic myth — the accusation that Jews have “dual loyalty” and will act only on behalf of Israel to the detriment of their own country. This is the stuff of the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion,” recycled for a modern-day audience with a wink and a nod to Professors Mearsheimer and Walt and Jimmy Carter.

Mr. Foxman’s assessment of the cartoon is spot on, though I would not put former President Carter in the same club as Walt and Mearsheimer, both of whom not only committed one of the worst slanders against the pro-Israel American Jewish community when they published their screed “The Israel Lobby” back in 2007, but have committed massive malpractice of their field: political science.

Seven years after the publication of that wretched book, which is now apparently included in the syllabi of many international relations courses on college campuses, we seem to be approaching an entire generation – on the left and the right – imbued with a “blame the Jews” mentality. Apparently some of them have landed jobs at The Economist.

It’s not surprising that right-wingers would be prone to such conspiracy theorizing and scapegoating. What is tragic is that the left has embraced the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis, even though the two professors are right-wingers. Mearsheimer, for example, is a staunch proponent of nuclear weapons proliferation – hardly a liberal cause.

It goes to show that the unrelenting drive within simple minds to find a scapegoat for a nation’s problems is an equal opportunity disease, spanning the political spectrum.

All citizens, be they people in positions of influence or not, who encourage and indeed cultivate this drive, are throwing rhetorical soot on the inviolable First Amendment rights of all Americans, regardless of religion, to persuade others on behalf of whatever foreign policy platforms they believe in.

American liberalism demands that if one takes issue with the content of their fellow citizens’ policy prescriptions, domestic or foreign, that one challenge them on the merits of the arguments.

American liberalism does not demand that if one disagrees with the content of their fellow citizens’ policy prescriptions that one has an obligation to attack, undermine, or otherwise attempt to scandalize, the latter’s First Amendment rights. That is precisely how the band of AIPAC haters, no doubt emboldened by the Walts and Mearsheimers, are behaving.

If you don’t like the way a member of the United States Congress is voting on Israel, for pete’s sake put your name on the ballot to challenge that person, and use your own First Amendment rights to convince your fellow citizens that you would do a better job on the issue.

That’s the democratic way to do it.

To attack the First Amendment rights of your fellow citizens, or impugn the democratic political process wherein members of Congress grapple with serious war and peace policy decisions from competiting perspectives and constituencies, is nothing but throwing red meat to the simple-minded.

Such an act has nothing whatsoever to do with liberalism.


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