Among the ironies of the intervention in Libya is that those who most bitterly complain about the Israel Lobby were in fact part of a Libya Lobby, as pointed out by David Bernstein earlier this month:
As regular readers know, I’ve been highly critical of Professor Stephen Walt for his shoddy coauthored “Israel Lobby” book.
One response of my critics has been along the lines of “how dare an ignoramus like you criticize a great foreign policy expert like Stephen Walt.”
Call me an ignoramus if you will, but at least I didn’t accept funding– assumedly, directly or indirectly, from the Libyan government–for a trip to speak to Libya’s Economic Development Board, and then write a puff piece about my visit. (It’s not clear whether Walt simply accepted travel funding, which is in itself not objectionable if you, like Michael Moynihan, then refrain from writing a puff piece, or if Walt, like some prominent academic invitees to Libya, accepted a large “consulting fee”.)
One fun irony: Walt, after fulminating about the American domestic “Israel Lobby”, becoming, perhaps unwittingly, a part of the “Libya Lobby” sponsored by the Libyan government.
Added irony bonus: Walt, a leading critic of the friendship between the U.S. and Israel, concludes his piece with the hope “that the United States and Libya continue to nurture and build a constructive relationship.” Because, you know, Israel is so much nastier than Qaddafi’s Libya.
Yeah, all those Libya Firsters created this entire problem, by holding back pressure for reform in Libya and thereby putting U.S. policy second to the interests of a foreign country.
But I will not go the extra yard and accuse the Libya Lobby and Libya Firsters of pledging allegiance to Libya.
That would be too much. For me.