Marty Peretz and the Left: Not Bedfellows

Marty Peretz has recently noted that The Nation ran a critical review of The Israel Lobby.

And for some reason he thinks that this vindicates his own antipathy for the book (or the original 2006 piece, which is available here)

But the idea that the left would disagree with the W/M piece, is hardly unusual. And in fact, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, to name just two of many, were indeed quite critical of the piece when it came out.

Chomsky wrote:

But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. I've reviewed elsewhere what the record (historical and documentary) seems to me to show about the main sources of US ME policy, in books and articles for the past 40 years, and can't try to repeat here. M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don't think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation. Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.
This should not be a real surprise. Realists like Walt and Mearsheimer have a very different view on geopolitics than does most of the anti-imperialist left. And indeed, the left, including Daniel Lazare, who wrote The Nation's review, agree that the lobby is disproportionately powerful, and that critics will be unfairly labeled by the Dershowitz types. They disagree, however, that the lobby is the main force behind US foreign policy decision making, which, they would argue (and so would I) is motivated by efforts to obtain and maintain geopolitical and economic power. Hence, the War in Iraq, which W/M say was driven by the lobby, was actually designed to make sure that the untapped oil reserves in the region were controlled by US Multinationals, and not to economic rivals in China, for example.

But no, Marty, these critiques of the Israel Lobby does not mean your hysterics over these issues are any less cartoonish and simple-minded.