Anti Israel-lobby authors to speak at Hebrew U.

Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to deliver a lecture at Hebrew U. and to a Gush Shalom forum.

walt john 224 (photo credit: )
walt john 224
(photo credit: )
Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, whose book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy has become a bible for Israel-bashers in the US, will arrive in Israel Thursday and deliver a lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and to a Gush Shalom forum in Tel Aviv. In the book, published last September amidst a wave of controversy, Walt - a Harvard University political science professor - and Mearsheimer, from the University of Chicago, argue that AIPAC and the Israel lobby have essentially hijacked US foreign policy. The two argue in their book that Israel and its supporters in the US "have been able to stymie any détente between Iran and the United Sates, and to keep the countries far apart." They also argue that "many policies pursued on Israel's behalf now jeopardize US national security." Hebrew University professors Arie Kacowicz, chairman of the international relations department, and Gabi Sheffer, of the political science department, signed off on an invitation and abstract inviting students and colleagues to a lecture by the duo entitled "Is the 'Israel lobby' good for Israel?" Sheffer said that the university had not invited the two professors to lecture, but that Walt and Mearsheimer had turned to the political science department and asked to do so. Since the two were known by many in the department, their request was accepted, Sheffer said. The lecture at the university has not been widely publicized. Sheffer said he had no hesitations about having the two controversial professors speak at the Hebrew University, even though he didn't agree with their positions, because if Israel was fighting against academic boycotts abroad, it could not apply one here. Hebrew University spokeswoman Orit Sulitzeanu said that Walt and Mearsheimer were two internationally known scholars whose book was academically controversial, and whose thesis was that the Israel lobby is unintentionally bad for Israel itself. She said that the purpose of the lecture was to have a "dialogue" and "academic argument" with them. The two were invited to Israel by Gush Shalom, an left-wing group headed by Uri Avnery. They are scheduled to deliver a lecture at a Gush Shalom forum on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Beit Sokolow in Tel Aviv. Avnery, in an article on the Gush Shalom Web site following US presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech at the AIPAC policy conference last week, wrote that "The most extreme conclusions of professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were confirmed in their entirety [at the AIPAC conference]." Neither Foreign Ministry or AIPAC officials would comment on Walt and Mearsheimer's upcoming trip.