Norah O’Donnell on MSNBC just now did a very aggressive job of interviewing Steve Berman, one of the Jews who resigned from the Carter Center advisory board in protest of Carter’s book. O’Donnell asked whether he had been “lobbied” by Jewish groups to do so. Berman said he hadn’t. She didn’t seem to believe him, virtually repeating the question, this time adding “AIPAC”, and then bridled at the fact that these so-called friends of Carter did all this without even talking to their former leader ahead of time. Didn’t you owe the former President that? she asked.
O’Donnell made her own point of view clear when she showed footage of Carter, on Hardball, saying that the United States has been deprived (by the lobby) of the vigorous debate about the Occupied Territories that goes on every day in Israel itself. I applaud her for being a tough journalist who knows a smokescreen.
O’Donnell’s stance is significant. It demonstrates that, 10 months on, and notwithstanding the inability of the New York Times to cover the matter and the smearing of the authors by the Washington Post, Walt & Mearsheimer have mainstreamed the lobby as an issue in our public life. The battle is on. American attitudes on Israel are changing. More and more Americans recognize a simple truth: the hateful Israeli occupation has undermined our image across the Arab world.