A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Walt-Satloff Feud: All I Plan to Say

The Middle East Journal and its mother ship, The Middle East Institute, have always sought to offer a forum for multiple opinions on the region. We don't tend to give folks like Bin Ladin a pulpit, but we do try to promote civilized discourse.

The Arab-Israeli cockpit being what it is, fierce debate does occur. As anyone following the Middle East blogosphere in Washington already knows (though some of my overseas readers may not), there's been a lot of sniping between Steven M. Walt (of Harvard and Foreign Policy) and Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) over WINEP's relationship to AIPAC, in the wake of Laura Rozen's post at Politico on opposition to Dennis Ross within the Obama Administration. Walt and Satloff are both intelligent and articulate spokesmen for their points of view, which rarely overlap. M.J. Rosenberg of Talking Points Memo, who says he was present at the creation of WINEP within AIPAC, has chimed in as well. This is a very, very inside-the-Beltway sort of fight, even if Walt is in Cambridge. I have my own personal opinions, but officially I don't have a dog in this fight. For the record, though, I thought I should note it for anyone who's missed it so far.

I do suspect many of my readers will lean more towards Walt and Rosenberg than toward Satloff, so to balance the account let me note that, though I missed the premiere, PBS has done a television version of Rob Satloff's book Among the Righteous, a groundbreaking book about Arabs in Vichy North Africa protecting Jews from the holocaust. Rob Satloff can be a polemicist but he can also do solid original scholarship. That said, here's the main course of the food fight so far:

Laura Rozen's original Politico post on Dennis Ross that started it all.

Walt's original post on Ross.

Satloff's response to Walt defending Ross and WINEP.

Walt's response to Satloff on WINEP.

M. J. Rosenberg chimes in on having been present at the creation of WINEP.

And Rosenberg chimes in again on WINEP as an "AIPAC cutout."

I doubt if we've seen the last of this. But at least unless I have to, that's all I have to say. Make your own judgments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why does MJ Rosenberg have any standing in this? He doesn't even remember what happened in that meeting, and now he's just a really nasty smear campaigner.