Professor Says American Publisher Turned Him Down

By Ori Nir

Published March 24, 2006, issue of March 24, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

John Mearsheimer says that the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful that he and co-author Stephen Walt would never have been able to place their report in a American-based scientific publication.

“I do not believe that we could have gotten it published in the United States,” Mearsheimer told the Forward. He said that the paper was originally commissioned in the fall of 2002 by one of America’s leading magazines, “but the publishers told us that it was virtually impossible to get the piece published in the United States.”

Most scholars, policymakers and journalists know that “the whole subject of the Israel lobby and American foreign policy is a third-rail issue,” he said. “Publishers understand that if they publish a piece like ours it would cause them all sorts of problems.”

In their paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” the two professors accuse “the lobby” of “policing academia,” intimidating scholars and stifling dissent on campuses, mainly through accusing critics of being antisemitic.

Mearsheimer said that he and Walt expected to be accused of being anti-Israel and antisemitic, so they made a point of stating in the study that the establishment of Israel was morally justified and that America’s support of Israel, in principle, is justified as well. He said the paper takes issue with the extent of American support for Israel and the role that the pro-Israel lobby plays in pushing for such assistance.

Asked if the study may have been initially rejected by the American publisher because of poor research, Mearsheimer said that the “evidence in the piece is just the tip of the iceberg,” and that the study’s observations are supported by a large body of evidence. He did concede, however, that none of the evidence represents original documentation or is derived from independent interviews. All the additional supporting material — just like the references footnoted in the paper — is of a secondary nature: citations of books and newspaper articles, Mearsheimer said.

Mearsheimer dismissed accusations and insinuations that people or entities hostile to Israel encouraged him and Walt to write the paper or that they did so to appease Arab donors to their universities. “We did this independently,” he said.

Mearsheimer said that he and his colleague do not intend to become “policy advocates” calling for diminishing the role of America’s pro-Israel lobby in foreign policy.

“We decided to write a really serious piece on what we thought was a very important subject and put it in the public domain and hopefully that would open up the debate or the discussion in a civilized tone,” he said. “But there was no intention to write a piece that was anti-Israel or that would in any way shape or form challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel. That was not our intention.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.