Tuesday, September 25, 2007

HOLY LAND FOUNDATION TRIAL: how to make up the truth

In case you’ve ever wondered how the “received” wisdom is constructed in the United States, or, in case you’ve ever wanted to be one of the “talking heads” on Fox TV, here’s how to do it:

Think tank “fellows” read newspapers, listen to government officials’ speeches, read government documents (both US and foreign, to which only they have access—and that only if they agree with both government’s policies), and read the writings of other think tank members. Then they write “essays” based on what they have read. None of their writings is peer-reviewed. Their writings are then read by “fellows” in other tanks and become part of the accepted body of information on the subject and are quoted as evidence in articles written by other tanked “fellows” who have read newspapers and magazines and listened to government officials’ speeches, and the body of accepted information grows and grows without any actual scholarly review (or hard evidence), and then these “fellows” become the “talking heads” on TV news programs, and newspapers quote them. Then other tankers read the newspaper articles and quote them. And if one of these “fellows” is forceful enough and photogenic enough and has the right “credentials” (a PhD from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of law can’t hurt), she or he can become the “voice” on a given subject without ever having written a peer-reviewed article with hard evidence. And then everyone, not only the “think tankers,” accepts the “talking head” as the pre-eminent authority on the subject. And some tanker somewhere reads the authority’s writing and quotes the newspapers quoting the authority and finds government documents (the same ones the authority read) and speeches by the Secretary of State and writes an article and is asked to testify before Congress and becomes a sub-authority, and the body of evidence based on unverified and unverifiable evidence grows and flourishes. And then a secret agent from some other friendly country is brought in to corroborate the evidence (which he planted in the government documents to begin with), and the preponderance of evidence gives the Treasury Department “reason to believe” that such and so is true, and the President issues an executive order based on the secret but “true” evidence, and the whole process begins again with all of the “think tankers” quoting the President’s executive order as the proof that what they have been reading in the newspapers is true.

And if you don’t believe me, Mearscheimer and Walt provide some evidence in their book,
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

From Page 152 – section headed “Holding Sway On Capitol Hill”

“The absence of serious deliberation when Israel is involved was revealed in a hearing on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process held on February 14, 2007, by the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia in the House of Representatives. With Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice trying to restart the moribund peace process, the subcommittee sought testimony from three witnesses. Despite some differences on certain policy issues, all three are central players in the (Israel) lobby: Martin Indyk, the former AIPAC official and former U.S. ambassador to Israel who now heads the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution; David Makovsky of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy; and the neoconservative pundit Daniel Pipes, who directs the right-wing Middle East Forum. No critic of Israel, much less a Palestinian or Arab American, was brought in to offer alternative views or suggest the United States take a different approach. M.J. Rosenberg, who once worked for AIPAC and is now a key figure with the Israel Policy Forum, a moderate pro-Israel group that actively supports a two-state solution, nicely summed up the situation: ‘This was a hearing about two sides of a conflict where only one side was allowed to speak,’ adding that ‘everyone who saw an official Congressional hearing that banned the Arab point of view was either hurt by the spectacle or angered by it. And that damages the interests of America, and of Israel.’