Totally Bogus: Walt and Mearsheimer Relate U.S. Support of Israel to 9/11


These guys must be totally naive or worse. The strong causal link they create between U.S. support for Israel and the 9/11 attacks is downright dishonest, echoing Arab propaganda at its worst and dubious far left conspiracy theories. The truth is of course, The United States’ own conduct has been primarily responsible for anti-American sentiment in the region and beyond, far more than its support for Israel. I don’t know why its so hard to for Walt and Mearsheimer to see that. There is no doubt Bin Laden sympathizes with the Palestinian side in the conflict (along with his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri who holds some grievances over the Palestinian issue) and wants the Jews out of Jerusalem due to the city’s status in Islam as the 3rd holiest site after Mecca and Medina, but it was never his cause, nor was it the cause of Al Qaeda. He didn’t spend his millions funding Palestinian militant groups over the years.

His war was against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and later against the Saudi government (and the U.S. by extension) for the unforgivable act of betrayal in which U.S. troops were allowed to station themselves in the Saudi Kingdom (on Muslim holy land as he saw it) during the first Gulf War and after. Bin Laden had no qualms with accepting money and training from the CIA during the Afghan Jihad (according to Middle East analyst Hazhir Teimourian, though it’s disputed by some, nonetheless it was clear to everybody the U.S. was at least indirectly behind training and support for the effort) at a time when the U.S. was supporting Israel, then as now. And during those early years of the Afghan Jihad Israel was busy attacking and driving the PLO out of Lebanon with weapons including American-made weapons. When Bin Laden panders to the Palestinian cause in his speeches, Walt and Mearsheimer should have the capacity to differentiate between truth and propaganda. The references to Jerusalem and the Palestinians serve as a rallying point for gaining broad Arab/Muslim support.

Even Yasser Arafat spoke out about this in 2002 in an interview with London’s Sunday Times newspaper, accusing Bin Laden of exploiting the Palestinian issue when it was never his cause. Thus he said, Why is Bin Laden talking about Palestine now? Bin Laden never, not ever, stressed this issue. He never helped us. He was working in a completely different area and against our interests… I am telling him directly not to hide behind the Palestinian cause.

‘US support for Israel spurred 9/11’ (Jerusalem Post)

US support for Israel was a “major cause” of the 9-11 attacks, according to University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard Professor Stephen Walt, who appeared at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week to promote their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

“A critically important issue when talking about America’s terrorism problem is the matter of how US support for Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians relates to what happened on September 11,” said Mearsheimer, who played the role of attack dog, while Walt set the stage.

Mearsheimer suggested that the notion of payback for injustices suffered by the Palestinians is perhaps the “most powerfully recurrent in [Osama] Bin Laden’s speeches,” who, he said, had been deeply concerned about the plight of the Palestinians since he was a young man. He said that Bin Laden’s concern had been reflected in his public statements throughout the 1990’s – “well before 9-11.” Citing the 9-11 Commission report, Mearsheimer and Walt argued that Bin Laden wanted to make sure the attackers struck Congress because it is “the most important source of support for Israel in the United States,” adding that Bin Laden twice tried to move up the dates of the attacks because of events involving Israel. Mearsheimer and Walt went on to argue that 9-11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experiences in the United States as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with US foreign policy favoring Israel. “Its hard to imagine more compelling evidence of the role US support for Israel played in the 9-11 attacks,” said Mearsheimer


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3 Responses to “Totally Bogus: Walt and Mearsheimer Relate U.S. Support of Israel to 9/11”

  1. Amos Says:

    Right on, Dan. This claim that America’s support for Israel led to 9/11 dates to the period immediately after the attack. It was made then by (mostly) leftist critics of Israel. It was very strange to see it taken up by these self-professed realists. I saw this in the initial article that they published way back in the LRB.

  2. Amos Says:

    By the way, Mearsheimer made this claim here at Berkeley once again.

  3. ‘Israel taking Bin Laden’s threats seriously’ « The Green Line Says:

    […] felt there, had this truly been his cause over the years, and had he wanted to. I have offered my critique on this before. But there may be something more to the latest threats against Israel because they are unusually […]

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