Anti-semitism. It's not just for the alt-right!
You may have heard that there is some interesting business going on at the DNC, with a leading candidate having been accused of anti-semitism. Specifically, Keith Ellison, who made some remarks about US foreign policy basically being controlled by Israel. So, is that really anti-semitism?
There is some academic history here. About ten years ago, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published an absolutely atrocious book called The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. Normally, I link to books, but this one, nope. I ain't linkin' to that piece of shit. Walt and Mearsheimer were actual academics rather than your usual nazi scumbags, but if you want an idea of what they did, here it is: take a neo-nazi screed about how the jews and their filthy, filthy money run the world and replace "jews" with "Israel lobby," and there you go. The "Israel lobby" controls everything. With their filthy, filthy money. Instant classic in the realm of pseudo-intellectual, anti-semitic, conspiracy theorizing.
If you want to go deep down the rabbit hole Googling critiques of that garbage, that's your wasted time. Mearsheimer and Walt were never actually scholars of interest groups in American politics, though, and they never bothered to dig deeply into the literature, so they never bothered to learn anything about how shit actually works. If you want the short version about why US foreign policy is so pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian, here it is: there is a relatively large contingent of Americans who are pro-Israel. The pro-Palestinian contingent is tinier than Donald Trump's hands and support for their cause among the public is thinner than his skin.
1) Americans don't like terrorists. It's sort of an open question what public opinion would be if Palestinians went the Gandhi route, but they haven't. The rest of the world gets their hackles up when Israel responds with asymmetric force. That kind of argument doesn't hold weight with Americans.
Americans cheer for this kind of stuff.
2) Evangelicals support Israel. This is a weird thing that people don't want to talk about, but it has something to do with bringing about the apocalypse. Yes, seriously. Back when we had an actual evangelical in the White House, this led to some complicated politics. Here is a fun, but quick old read.
3) Neo-conservatives oppose the non-democratic (small-d) states throughout the Middle East based on the "democratic peace hypothesis." Democratic states don't fight each other, so we should spread peace in the long run by toppling non-democratic states, even if that means fighting wars in the short run. So, neo-conservatives back Israel as an opponent to the worst states in the Middle East, and it is more democratic than they are, even if you object to its treatment of Palestinians. (Many don't.)
4) Anti-islamic sentiment. Yeah, this is mixed in here too. Let's not pretend otherwise.
So, yes, American foreign policy has a clear pro-Israel slant. And it doesn't have a fucking thing to do with the power of AIPAC, or lobbyists, or money, or any of that nonsense.
Mearsheimer and Walt (nice, German-sounding names) wrote a horrible book that simply didn't bother to do any real reading on how interest group politics work, or how policy-making works, so they wrote something that sounded like what happens if you take an anti-semitic screed and replace "jews" with "the Israel lobby."
Funny, but people got upset about that. I still remember the dust-ups.
Now, for context, here's what got Keith Ellison in trouble: "The United States foreign policy in the Middle East is governed by [emphasis added] what is good or bad for a country of 7 million people."
In the context of Walt and Mearsheimer, this sounds a lot like "AIPAC runs our country," which sounds a lot like "we are controlled by the jews and their filthy, filthy money."
We have long since accepted the concept that anti-black racism has gone into code because simply throwing around the n-word just doesn't work anymore. What Ellison said was basically what Walt and Mearsheimer said. Walt and Mearsheimer have basically been ex-communicated from real academic discourse for writing a book that was anti-semitic and stupid.
I didn't pay money for Walt & Mearsheimer's book because, FUCK them, but I've read it, so I've heard Ellison's schtick before. If you want to read that fucking book, that's your choice, but at least now you know some history behind the kind of shit Ellison says.