When you follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for a while, you begin to see the work of the lobby everywhere. For example, some argue that the lobby’s influence is strong enough that it touches on things as tangential as our policy in Afghanistan. I don’t buy that, but I do think that U.S. media outlets and politicians are extremely skittish about touching anything that might offend the Israeli government or its supporters in the United States.
This may just be another example of that. The following article by Scott Wilson was posted on the Washington Post website late yesterday afternoon (March 16th). It’s a short look at past confrontations between the U.S. and Israel, nothing too offensive. Except for one phrase in the following paragraph:
…the Obama administration shows no sign of cooling off, despite the sense that only masochistic U.S. politicians pick fights with Israel because the powerful Jewish lobby punishes anyone who does so at the polls. Days after Clinton’s call, David Axelrod, a senior Obama adviser, called the announcement an “insult.” And on Tuesday, Clinton reiterated her call for Israel to prove its commitment to the Middle East peace process.
I object to the term “Jewish lobby” because it is too imprecise (not all Jews support the hardline Israeli position that the lobby supports) and too inaccurate (since a growing component of the lobby is made up of non-Jews, namely Christian Zionists). Despite that minor problem, the thrust of statement is completely accurate. Just ask Cynthia McKinney, Pete McCloskey, or Paul Findley.
Later tonight, when I refreshed the page, the Scott Wilson article was gone and in its place was a completely new article by Glenn Kessler. When I searched the archives and Google, it appeared to have completely disappeared. Vanished from the web entirely, save for one mailing list where I was able to capture it for this post. I’m glad I found it, if only to confirm that I’m not making stories up in my head.
It could be that the Post got too much heat for an article that refers to the “powerful Jewish lobby,” or maybe the editors decided the story wasn’t of high enough quality, or maybe it was just a mistake. I would suspect the former, since the item was posted for several hours and then removed without explanation. Perhaps the Washington Post ombudsman can track down what happened. Or Scott Wilson himself can explain, since he will be available for an online chat today at 11 am. I just emailed him my question. I hope his editors give him the question and he’s able to provide an explanation.