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May 18, 2016 6:08 pm

Conference Hosted By Billionaire Koch Brothers Gives Platform to Notorious ‘Foes of Israel’ Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer

avatar by Lea Speyer

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John Mearsheimer (L) and Stephen Walt (R). Photos: Wikipedia and Harvard.

John Mearsheimer (L) and Stephen Walt (R). Photos: Wikipedia and Harvard.

A prominent Washington think-tank backed the billionaire Koch brothers hosted two of the most “virulent foes of Israel” at a Wednesday conference, a Bloomberg View columnist reported.

The Charles Koch Institute conference — titled “Advancing American Security: The Future of US Foreign Policy” — featured on separate panels Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, co-authors of the controversial 2007 book “The Israel Lobby,” which, among many of the arguments it lays forth, says that US support for Israel cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds.

The book was widely criticized within and beyond the Jewish community and even prompted the Anti-Defamation League’s national director at the time, Abraham Foxman, to write his own book countering Walt and Mearsheimer’s claims. Foxman’s book, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control,” argues against the co-authors’ stereotypical claims of undue Jewish power. 

According to Bloomberg View politics and foreign affairs columnist Eli Lake, brothers Charles and David Koch, “scions of the Koch Industries fortune, have always leaned libertarian in their political giving and  nonprofit work…In foreign policy, the Kochs have stayed away from the uglier fringes that blame Israel and its supporters for hijacking US foreign policy. That is, until now.”

The decision to feature Walt and Mearsheimer signals a shift in policy and politics among conservatives, Lake asserts. “Under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, conservatives have embraced Israel and accused their partisan foes of not supporting the Jewish State, but this year has brought a shift,” he wrote.

Citing a recent Breitbart controversy in which contributor David Horowitz accused Weekly Standard editor William Kristol of being a “renegade Jew,” Lake contends that conservatives are now starting to turn on themselves.

Walt and Mearsheimer’s anti-Israel activism extends beyond their book. In 2011, both were featured speakers at a conference sponsored by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Code Pink, the report notes. The event, called “Move Over Aipac,” took aim at the pro-Israel lobby. In 2011, Mearsheimer endorsed a book written by an author known for Holocaust revisionism and disseminating antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Will Ruger, the vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute, defended his organization’s invitation to Walt and Mearsheimer, telling Bloomberg View, “They are all very respected members of the foreign policy community and the academy.”  

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  • Jypsy Queen

    Hate it on down the Highway to Hell-wandering where it’s going to go? Down the brain drain. You or money don’t scare the masses. Go hide, it would be better for you, for your estate blinds you to thinking on a worldly level without fear of G-d. You really took the gamble straightaway to enemy stance, quite obviously as you desired a podium of raucous rant and deviant behavior enticing through a foghorn. The fog will settle as will a millstone thrown into the depths. You do not know the G-d of Israel and His great and glorious deeds?

  • Ayatollah Ghilmeini DD

    Hey, “Shank” didn’t you get the memo, Israel won, Israel is winning and Israel will keep on winning despite all the bilge at Mondoweiss.

    As for the Koch Brothers inviting Walt and Mearsheimer, when you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas!

  • Jews go after these Jew haters and terrify them as they would do unto you.

    Jew haters are all cowards who think that Jews are all cowards so they never have to fear any repercussions.

    Once you hit them in the head they’ll never pick on Jews again.

  • Harvard

    Walt and Mearsheimer are foreign policy “realists”, people who think foreign policy should be based exclusively on “real” factors like access to natural resources and strategic considerations. That makes them natural allies of the oil companies and their Arab friends who would put access to oil ahead of everything else. If the Arabs say they are opposed to Israel, then Walt and Mearsheimer will find a way to demonstrate that that is the proper policy position. Their book is basically an attempt to explain why the preferences of the oil companies should be given priority over the views of the American people.

    Unlike many “realists”, Walt and Mearsheimer appear to be aware that history and the reality of international life demonstrate that their ideology is wrong, which is why they have been so vehement in pushing it forward. The alternative is to admit that their careers, and the considerable income they get from their anti-Israel advocacy, has all been a fraud.

  • Good reporting on the planned Koch conference. But a follow-up is needed, reporting on the contents of Walt & Mearsheimer’s expressed views.
    Bill Hirsch

  • Oscar Shank

    Will Rutger’s acknowledgement of the credibility & expertise of foreign policy realists Walt & Mearsheimer is well earned–he also included other speakers such as Chas Freeman. Mearsheimer’s blurb for Atzmon’s book is sincere and also well-earned.

  • Oscar Shank

    How Eli Lake tricks readers so as to cast realists Walt, Mearsheimer and Freeman as anti-semites via @sharethis

  • Your mention of David Horowitz’identifying the editor of the Weekly Standard as a “renegade Jew” brought home the injustice of a tag, “Retired Terrorist,” a term used against me (and subsequently used as the title of my third memoir). It is surprising the power of name calling! The book was published in the US (Trafford, 2011) after UK and NZ publishers declined it (despite two earlier successful memoirs there).
    I was called “terrorist” for my part in a raid to get and destroy guns that might have been used against Scottish nationalist demonstrators!
    Can we identify bad (or good) guys by national origin or religion? I was motivated simply by a belief in democratic independence. In Scotland, as WWII ended, an ongoing hatred between some Catholics and Protestants complicated things, especially for part Irish folks like me. My classroom had many young Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe hoping to be relocated in an independent Israel (I wrote about these in my memoir). And there were American evangelists trying to make people’s faith more important than any political conviction. I considered many of these people friends, despite their view of me as a juvenile extremist.
    After the raid on the armory, however, I was threatened with arrest. I escaped to Germany, and subsequently to the US, then finally to NZ (where the peoples’ principal prejudice seems to be against having strong feelings – which sometimes concerns me!). I read Algemeiner in the hope of seeing civilization embrace a humanity which does not rely upon race-based spirituality.

  • Stephen Walt is an automatic homosexual!

  • John Galt

    Walt and Mearsheimer are “very respected members of the foreign policy community” like Joseph Mengele was a very respected member of the Medical profession.

  • “….. all very well respected members of the foreign policy community and academy.”

    Seems to me, if they engage in supporting Holocaust revisionism and attempt to advance the Protocols Of The Elders of Zion as authentic, then a few things come to mind:
    Either the attempt of the Koch brothers to legitimize Jew haters is clearly seen by most people(Jews and nonJews),
    Or, out of ignorance most people don’t see it.
    Or, most people agree with Walt and Mearsheimer; and with this change of policy instituted by the Koch brothers.

    Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

  • No person, company, organization, nor nation has ever been successful after opposing the right of the Jewish people and Israel to live their lives in peace.

    “The curse does not alight without a reason” Proverbs.

    “The name of the wicked shall rot” Psalms

  • brenrod

    koch bros coming out of the closet.

  • Marco Redwolf

    These are the same Koch Brothers that are ” Anyone But Trump” backers. Most Conservatives support them because the liberal left constantly demonizes them. Its an enemy of my enemy is my friend thing, a philosophy that almost always has a bad ending. I have always looked at the Koch Brothers with a squint, not sure of what I was seeing or hearing through the mist was real. Maybe its time we take the brothers outside into the sunlight and open our eyes instead of the knee jerk support they have been given.

  • dante

    there is no question that, for whatever reasons, including, one assumes, scholarly writing (NOT including the attack on pro-Israel advocacy in the US), walt and mearsheimer have generally good academic reputations.

    nonetheless, after their attack on Israel and its supporters, their adamant animus against Israel is well-known. virtually every speaking invitation that w/m receive is offered precisely because they are known to be enemies of Israel and the Jews.

    if the kochs or one of the groups with which they are associated makes a forum available to w/m it is unlikely to be the result of ignorance. it is more plausibly an expression of support for revolting w/m.

    it is strange that the kochs, who are, themselves, the subject of hysterical, paranoid, conspiricism should provide a forum for w/m. much of the w/m crowd are enemies of the kochs. but, the kochs can protect themselves. one need not worry about them. Israel, on the other hand, is a nation in peril.

  • The rural bigots can’t stop minorities from moving to their states

    The rural bigots can’t stop minorities from moving to their states