University of Chicago Students Call On Anti-Israel Prof Mearsheimer to Retire
John Mearsheimer, once an appropriately obscure political scientist at the University of Chicago, was little noticed outside academia until 2007. That was the pivotal year his inaccurate, sloppily-written, barely-researched, and venomously anti-Israel book was published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, which paid an astounding $750,000 advance for The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, co-written with an equally unknown Harvard academic, one Stephen Walt.
Overnight, the two professors were rich and infamous. Being rich is the right of all Americans. Infamy brought about through freely-expressed bigotry -- although certainly a right under the First Amendment -- is intolerable in a tenured professor, or in anyone choosing to teach for a living. Like so many before them and since, such as -- no, why give any of them any further publicity? -- the two authors found a mother lode of lucre and like-minded support in the far left academic world of today, as well as among people with similar political views outside the academy.
Because of the principle of academic freedom they were at liberty to hawk their hate-filled book, which claimed falsely and maliciously that a cabal of Jewish interests is responsible for the American government's support of Israel. The truth is, and has been since President Truman's recognition of the state of Israel in 1948, that strong support for Israel is the preference of the overwhelming majority of Americans -- who are not lobbied by anyone.
When, in September 2011, Mearsheimer endorsed a book by a Hitler apologist and Holocaust "revisionist," Mearsheimer escaped the censure that would normally be the fate of anyone outside academia.
Well, his students have now done what no faculty member or university administrator has dared: call for his resignation. In an editorial that is far better-written and more logically-argued than the Mearsheimer-Walt screed, they wrote in COUNTERPOINT: The University of Chicago's Conservative Quarterly, a student publication:
When, after a long career built on a theory that domestic political relationships had a minimal impact on any state’s foreign policy, John Mearsheimer co-wrote The Israel Lobby, a popular book alleging the maximal impact of a small cabal on American foreign policy, we were perplexed at the incoherence. When the book was written without accompanying scholarship on the Turkish lobby which has had a hand in the failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide or push for a Kurdish state, the Irish lobby which greatly influenced the American policy in Northern Ireland for decades, or Arab, Chinese, Tibetan, Greek, Indian, or Pakistani lobbies that have all made their mark on American foreign policy, we were left wondering at the motives of his focus. When the book was finally read and its narrative of the Israeli-Arab conflict rested on shoddy history, a mix of long-ago refuted facts (whose falsehood was easily available over Google) and stark errors of omission, we began to question the animus of Professor Mearsheimer.
For those of you who haven't been in or around academia for several decades, this is unusual: unusually good writing and, far more significantly, unusually clear thinking. The students continue:
The R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago has long been an important academic, but only recently a famous one. He built a robust theory of states seeking security through regional hegemony, no matter their domestic politics. Yet this theory could not explain many of the adventures of the United States in the Middle East. There had to be an exogenous factor. He labeled this factor “The Israel Lobby.” But he did not use this factor to complicate the original model; he did not further examine the role of domestic constituencies in international relations. He left “The Israel Lobby” an outlier, an asterisk. It was a strange Jewish exceptionalism he propagated: only the Jews had dual loyalties. He was attacked. He dug in. More and more of his output was devoted to the dealings of the Jewish State. He began to speak at the events of Palestinian nationalists, groups whose assumptions would have seemed so contrary to realism. He would speak recklessly and accuse Israel of awful motives. This was a different John Mearsheimer. Something was going on.