Sunday, August 31, 2014

Professor Daniel Drezner Speaks at Another Controversial Conference Panel — #APSA2014

Dan Drezner is Professor of International Politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Folks will recall that Drezner's blog was one of the first I used to read on a regular basis, over a decade ago. He quit the blog recently when Foreign Policy moved to a weekly column format for its online writers, and now Drezner's set up shop at the Washington Post as a contributor.

But Drezner's also known for his questionable ethics and intelligence when it comes to conference participation. Earlier this year he appeared on a panel with Holocaust denier William Lind, who has been described by Michael Goldfarb as a "paleoconservative Jew-baiter extraordinaire."

Here's the report on the controversial event from Alana Goodman, "Antiwar Conference Featured Panelist Who Spoke at Holocaust Denial Conference."

So, with that kind of disgusting conference participation, one might expect Professor Drezner to be more choosy in aligning himself with enemies of Israel. (One might be even more likely to think so, as Drezner is himself Jewish.)

But no. It turns out Drezner spoke this weekend at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, at a panel called "Navigating a Career in International Relations." Well, "navigating" an IR career these days apparently means getting on the good side of the most vile anti-Israel academics in the field, Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of the widely condemned book, The Israel Lobby.

At the APSA website, here's the panelist lineup for "Navigating a Career in International Relations":
Date: Saturday, Aug 30, 2014, 4:30 PM-6:00 PM

Location: Only those registered for the meeting can see room assignments. If you have registered, login to see rooms. Subject to change. Check the Final Program at the conference.

Co-sponsored by 18 International Security-33


Leslie Vinjamuri
University of London, SOAS


Helen V. Milner
Princeton University
Helen V. Milner
Princeton University
John J. Mearsheimer
University of Chicago
Daniel W. Drezner
Tufts University
Stephen M. Walt
Harvard University
Colin H. Kahl
Georgetown University
Jennifer M. Lind
Dartmouth College
Drezner, of course, is well-versed in the controversies surrounding Walt and Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby. Indeed, back in 2005, he offered a robust defense of the embattled authors, going so far to argue that "Walt and Mearsheimer should not be criticized as anti-Semites, because that's patently false."

Really? "Patently false."

Well, the widely respected Anti-Defamation League, which describes itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", would beg to differ. Here's this ADL response to Walt and Mearsheimer at the website, from 2006, "A Review of Mearsheimer and Walt's "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" -- An Anti-Jewish Screed in Scholarly Guise."

And then there's the authoritative response from political scientist Eliot Cohen, who is the Robert E. Osgood Professor of Strategic Studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, at the Washington Post, in 2006, "Yes, It's Anti-Semitic."

I could go on listing eminent, reputable voices who have slammed The Israel Lobby for precisely what it is: hatred and bigotry.

But hey, nowadays hate and bigotry are apparently resume enhancers in the political science discipline.

In 2011, Professor Walt spoke at the far-left Code Pink's Move Over AIPAC! Summit, where attendees bestowed honors on the late White House correspondent Helen Thomas, whose later years where mired in controversy over vile comments she made, caught on tape, attacking Israel and suggesting that the Jews should "move back to Europe." Professor Mearsheimer, as well, has done little to clear his name of anti-Semitic aspersions, going so far as writing a book-jacket blurb for vicious Israel-basher Gilad Atzmon, who the ADL describes as:
... an outspoken and prolific promoter of classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish control over American foreign policy, and has written that Jews have a plan for world domination. He has trafficked in anti-Semitic canards such as the notion that Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus.
And here's Jeffrey Goldberg's dramatic headline on Mearsheimer, at the Atlantic, "John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist." And see Commentary, "Mearsheimer’s Anti-Semitism Scandal." [Added: Don't miss Alan Dershowitz as well, at the New Republic, "Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Falk Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?"]

Drezner is no doubt aware of all the latest controversies surrounding Walt and Mearsheimer, although he obviously remains untroubled and unconcerned with his own reputation. It'd be one thing if Drezner had appeared on a panel to debate Walt and Mearsheimer on some topical issue in international politics (Obama's bumbling foreign policy; Israel's third Gaza war). But Drezner's appeared at a professional development panel, and thus gave a disciplinary imprimatur to the views of Walt and Mearsheimer.

I called him out on Twitter yesterday:

In all, a sad statement on the state of the field: Israel-hatred as a career-booster in political science.