A few complaints about Steve Inskeep's talk with Dennis Ross on AIPAC. During the interview Inskeep asks, "Why do you think it is that large swaths of the world look at US policy toward Israel and say the US is just overly devoted to Israel, has overlooked so many things that in the point of view of many Arabs are terrible things that Israelis have done and that this is a huge liability for the United States." This is inexcusably sloppy and distorted. Notice how Inskeep inserts the qualifying statement "in the point of view of many Arabs" to imply 1) that there is no objective standard by which to judge US-backed Israeli actions over the years, and that 2) only Arabs have any objections to Israeli actions. Inskeep is wrong on both points. Israeli actions since 1967 have ruthlessly and flagrantly defied international law (see Wikipedia's entry on this, or browse the resources on the Foundation for Middle East Peace website). As for his second point Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and BT'selem from Israel hardly qualify as an Arab point of view! Instead of the unsupported statement of "terrible things that Israelis have done," Inskeep/NPR could have done a few minutes of research and simply mentioned a few of the documented acts that the vast majority of the world finds so objectionable.
A few last notes about this interview. Though this piece is presented as a rebuttal to the Walt/Mearsheimer interview yesterday (see post below), NPR fails to noted that though Walt/Mearsheimer are scholars with no connection to AIPAC or any pro-Palestinian lobby, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that Ross is with has close ties to AIPAC! I also found it fascinating that though Ross is supposed to dismiss the idea that AIPAC has undue influence on US foreign policy regarding the Middle East he does say that "its weight is mostly felt on the congress" where it has "considerable influence," including the election of members and is a "significant force on the hill." He also makes a slip of the tongue that is quite telling: when asked if he ever met with AIPAC while working for Bush I and Clinton he says yes, but "with American groups as well" (critics of AIPAC have frequently requested that it be registered as an agent of a foreign government).