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Reader comment on item: Is Campus Watch Part of a Conspiracy? [On Mearsheimer-Walt and "The Israeli Lobby"]

Submitted by roger wilkinson (Australia), May 18, 2006 at 23:37

Dear Dr Pipes,

Some of what the learned professors say (perhaps most of it) is outrageous. On the specific of what they say about Campus Watch - to 'discourage...open discourse' - their attitude would not itself exactly encourage discourse. Reading their article generally one finds the same tone; they give, for example, a version of the Israeli-Palestinian history which they say is in no way open to controversy i.e you just can't quarrel with it; but I didn't agree with it at all!

Worryingly, however, as I read around what the professors would describe as neo-conservative or right-wing web-sites, books, I'm not sure that I am finding much higher standards. I have read some dreadful diatribes. This is not a charge that could be successfully levelled at you. However the professors do make some claims about one specific group, AIPAC, of which I have no clear account, and wonder if you could make some comment. You tend to stress the high level of Arab lobbying in Washington, but clearly there is pro-Irael activity too.

Reading M and W it would seem important to have a clear working idea of what is meant by anti-semitism. I found Bernard Lewis very clear on this. I think I would accurately summarize him as saying it is not being anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, or even anti-Jew; it is holding a wholly irrational view of Jewish people as pigs, dogs, snakes etc., who need to be eradicated. One hopes that the Lewis view is the prevalent one. I found the M and W notion of the high importance of avoiding being seen in the US as anti-semitic a very odd one.

Yours,

Roger Wilkinson

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