Barry Rubin Responds to Michael Moskow

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Thank you for your note. The best full critiques of the paper have been done by Alan Dershowitz, Mitchell Bard, Martin Kramer, and Benny Morris, all touching on different aspects. All are available online.
On Halimi, I assume this was put in so that the paper would seem more balanced and sympathetic about “real” antisemitism.
On timing, the whole thing was done in such a shoddy manner as to make one wonder whether these two have lost their minds. Even if they wanted to do the same thing, they had a much better way of going about it. The clue is the insistance that Israel controls all of U.S. Middle East policy, while they easily could have said that Israel has “too much” power. This seems to suggest they have slid into conspiracy theories. In some cases, hatred of President Bush and his administration (I am neutral regarding American politics) really does seem to have driven people mad in which they disregard rational thought and professional standards in the frenzy of their very extreme hatred. (Rather than just being critical as they might have been of Bush’s father or Ronald Reagan). I know of other examples of this phenomenon.
I think they put it out when they “finished” it and I would bet they did so as fast as possible in their hurry to announce “the truth” to the world.
The only other thing I am aware of is that there have been battles on this issue within their own center in Harvard, details of which I will not go into. Perhaps they wanted to rush it on line before some of their colleagues could stop it or even present criticisms which they had to answer. This seems a good theory. In other words, they did the opposite of what they should have done, they should have said: Here, tell me where I’ve gone wrong so I can fix it and not look stupid. This is, of course, totally contrary to the concept of “peer review” and the honest consideration of criticism. At this point, they stopped being scholars and started being politicians. And given both the quality of their work and their methods–even aside from their conclusions and views–they deserve what they got.
Barry Rubin [email protected]
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“Michael G. Moskow” [email protected] wrote:

Dear Dr. Rubin,
Hello, from southeastern Pennsylvania. I discovered SPME’s web site while using the “Clusty” search engine to locate the full text of Robert D. Johnson’s article, from The New Republic, about faculty unions and Israel. And…I was happily surprised with what I discovered in the SPME web site.
I was impressed with your essay about Mearsheimer and Walt’s (updated, Americanized) version of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. I agree with the points you made, especially your comment that, “Many people, including Jews, know nothing about what antisemitism is or has been beyond the image of Nazi Germany.” True. That reminds me of something I think I read in an essay by Hillel Halkin (in Commentary?), to the effect that a consequence of the Holocaust is that any anti-Jewish action stopping short of outright genocide is no longer deemed by “the world” – including many Jews – because of the extremes reached between 1939 and 1945 – to beanti-Semitism.
Anyway, some brief comments about Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper…
Given the inclusion of material about the murder of poor Ilan Halimi, zt”l, I wonder if the paper was undergoing “revision” and “fine-tuning” practically until the moment of its release. Isn’t it far more typical for the text of most any academic paper (well, in the sciences at least) to be “frozen” long before publication? In other words, could the bulk of the thing have composed long ago, ready for release at what was deemed an opportune moment, with minor updates being made en route to keep the thing “topical”? Well, just an idea…
If that’s so, the question to consider is why – why? – was the paper was released, when it was released. Around and concerning what events – real and potential; foreign and domestic – might Walt, Mearsheimer, and those affiliated with or supportive of them (both individuals and organizations) – want to affect directly, or – more likely – influence, the “climate” and atmosphere of public opinion? In that sense, I’ve got the intuitive feeling that the impetus behind the paper’s creation and release may not solely lie between the two professors, themselves – even if they indeed composed it (blogger Dr. S. Silverstein, in his commentary “Walt and Mearsheimer: Gone to the Mattress”, at http://informaticsmd.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_informaticsmd_archive.html suggests the duo may not be the actual authors). Well, just another idea…
Anyway, I’ll stop back again to see what’s new at the SPME web site.
Yasher Koach,
Michael Moskow

Barry Rubin Responds to Michael Moskow

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