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Walt and Mearsheimer go to Israel

The authors of the controversial book on the influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy have made their first trip to Israel since the book was published. A few hundred students and faculty at Hebrew University turned out to see Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer argue their case. The result? A lively and ...

The authors of the controversial book on the influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy have made their first trip to Israel since the book was published. A few hundred students and faculty at Hebrew University turned out to see Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer argue their case. The result? A lively and largely cordial debate. Their visit had its fair share of detractors, but a threatened boycott failed to materialize. In fact, this is about as heated as it got:

International relations student Liad Gilhar, 25, accused the professors of distorting facts and providing fodder for anti-Semites.

"You need to choose your words carefully," Gilhar said.

Walt shot back: "With all due respect, I don’t think it is my words that harm Israel, but rather Israel’s actions."

A professor criticized the authors for failing to condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. "I don’t think he is inciting to genocide," Walt responded.

The authors of the controversial book on the influence of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy have made their first trip to Israel since the book was published. A few hundred students and faculty at Hebrew University turned out to see Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer argue their case. The result? A lively and largely cordial debate. Their visit had its fair share of detractors, but a threatened boycott failed to materialize. In fact, this is about as heated as it got:

International relations student Liad Gilhar, 25, accused the professors of distorting facts and providing fodder for anti-Semites.

"You need to choose your words carefully," Gilhar said.

Walt shot back: "With all due respect, I don’t think it is my words that harm Israel, but rather Israel’s actions."

A professor criticized the authors for failing to condemn Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map. "I don’t think he is inciting to genocide," Walt responded.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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