Benjamin Weinthal, a writer living in Germany, reports that Walt & Mearsheimer’s thesis on the Israel Lobby is a big hit, even as the “Iran Lobby” continues to thrive:
The chattering classes in Germany are consumed with The Israel Lobby, and every major newspaper is devoting extensive treatment to the men’s arguments. The book has become an instant best seller and has remained on the influential bestseller list of Germany’s most important weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
The prominent Austrian weekly Profil headlined its cover story: “Why is Israel so powerful?” Journalist Robert Misik parroted the standard leftist rhetoric in the article, namely, American Jewish organizations are waging a worldwide campaign to silence dissent on Israel. He is uninterested in combating anti-Semitism in Austria, where more than half the population believes Jews exert too much influence on world events. The recent $22 billion deal between Iran and the Austrian oil and gas company OMV is also not on Misik’s radar screen.
Germany is the No. 1 trade partner of Iran within the European Union. Lufthansa planes are packed with business representatives from Volkswagen, Mercedes, Siemens, Hermés and Dillinger Steel, to name only a few of the 12,000 German firms, who are involved in an opulent trade relationship with a reactionary regime capable of utilizing German technology to advance their nuclear program.
What is prompting the silence on the German front? Why is the Christian Democratic Union politician Ruprecht Polenz, the chairman of the foreign-affairs committee, opposed to economic sanctions leveled against Iran?
Meanwhile, an article in Der Spiegel examines the Israel Lobby through the lens of the recent congressional vote declaring that the Turkish massacre of Armenians during World War I was an act of genocide:
Stephen Walt is a down-to-earth man who doesn’t like long sentences. He is a professor at Harvard and together with his colleague from Chicago John Mearsheimer he caused quite a fuss earlier this year. They published an article and then a book with the simple title “The Israel Lobby.” Their central thesis: A small group of very influential friends of Israel have forced US foreign policy into an unconditional backing of Israel, which is damaging Americans’ strategic interests.
When SPIEGEL ONLINE recently asked Walt if other interest groups had a similar influence in Washington, the realist wouldn’t hear of it. He said that the actions of Armenian-Americans or Cuban-Americans would never have the same far-reaching effects on US foreign policy.
Really? Two days ago the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee approved a remarkable resolution. The mass murder of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915 was to be named genocide.The result was a medium-level political earthquake. US President George W. Bush reacted with anger. Turkey temporarily recalled its ambassador from Washington, and Turkish newspapers seethed with rage.