A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an “Israel lobby” is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke.
The Palestine Liberation Organization mission to Washington is distributing the paper, which also is being hailed by a senior member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization.
Duke, a former Louisiana state legislator and one-time Ku Klux Klan leader, called the paper “a great step forward,” but he said he was “surprised” that the Kennedy School would publish the report.
“I have read about the report and read one summary already, and I am surprised how excellent it is,” he said in an e-mail. “It is quite satisfying to see a body in the premier American University essentially come out and validate every major point I have been making since even before the war even started.” Duke added that “the task before us is to wrest control of America’s foreign policy and critical junctures of media from the Jewish extremist Neocons that seek to lead us into what they expectantly call World War IV.”
An author of the report has distanced himself from the Duke praise. The paper’s approach was a predictable smear on a scholarly text. Norman Finkelstein has faced similar criticisms. A number of neo-Nazis and anti-Semites have supported his thesis on Israel and Zionism so critics charge Finkelstein, ipso facto, as an anti-Semite. I have faced similar irrational charges.
Finkelstein is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israel. He is merely critical of the Israeli establishment and its gross human rights abuses. If one’s work is appropriated by others as a weapon against Jews, I believe it is the job of the writer to explain his position and defend himself. After all, many far-right Christians support George Bush, as do many dictators around the world. Do we therefore say that every Bush supporter is an anti-abortionist and Uzbekistan-style autocrat? Hardly (though it is pretty hard to find sane Bush supporters in 2006.)
UPDATE: Angry Arab responds to the Harvard study and criticises its findings:
The authors seem intent on blaming all the ills in US foreign policy on the Israeli lobby. There are obvious problems with that approach: it seems to ignore or deny the ills of US foreign policy in regions outside the Middle East. It also absolves the US administration, any US administration, from any responsibility because they (the administrations) become portrayed as helpless victims of an all-powerful lobby. Thirdly, the approach does not take into consideration the interests that certain elements of the US establishment see in maintaining US foreign policy toward Israel. Fourthly, the approach does not situate US foreign policy in the Middle East into the context of the global role of the US, especially in the ear of Bush – and Clinton.