In the Nation's Interest

Saturday, April 15, 2006

John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt ["Academic Paper Stirs Debate; Report on Effect of Israel Lobby Distorts History, Critics Say," news story, April 3] must have known that their study would unleash a firestorm of accusations of anti-Semitism, but they have placed before us an issue that needs public debate because of the effect on the lives of Americans.

George Washington, in his farewell address of 1796, cautioned about forming "passionate attachment[s]" with other countries to avoid "a variety of evils." He warned of creating the "illusion of an imaginary common interest" where none exists, and he feared that we would be diverted from pursuing our real national interests. Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt are saying that the pro-Israel lobby has done just that.

Accusations of anti-Semitism distract us from the exploring these critical issues. We should not be deterred but should discuss the subject of the study:

Does the pro-Israel lobby encourage U.S. administrations to pursue policies in the Middle East that are contrary to this nation's interests?

MONA A. BASHIR

Harrisburg, Pa.


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