A well-worn trope of the conspiracy theory is that any evidence brought forward to contradict it is easily manipulated into proof of the theory itself. The 9/11 truther movement, to cite one notable recent example, sees any scientific debunking of the idea that the Twin Towers were brought down by any means other than the planes that were crashed into them as signs of the breadth of the conspiracy to silence alternative explanations.
Perhaps unintentionally, Tom Friedman’s shameful claim that the “Israel lobby” had “bought and paid for” Congress brought out a similar type of thinking in regards to the world’s oldest and most successful conspiracy theory, this time in its anti-Israelist guise.
As reported by Ron Kampeas of JTA, after Steve Rothman, a Democratic congressman from New Jersey, rightfully slammed Friedman for his slur, cudgels were taken up by anti-Israelists of various hues who saw in this proof of the conspiracy dancing in their minds. For Michelle Goldberg, Rothman “exemplified” the Israel lobby because he had slammed Friedman’s “acknowledgment” of its existence. To M.J. Rosenberg, it proved what he has been saying about “Israel Firsters” all along. Glenn Greenwald, so far lost in the Jewish (oops, “Israel lobby”) theory of his own insignificance, found it “simply hilarious” because, well, public confirmations of the dark manipulative secrets you just know to be true always drive one into fits of laughter.
Really, I mean, why would a member of Congress dispute that his support for Israel had been purchased if it hadn’t in fact been? Good money at least buys you both votes and public protestations. Any decent Israel Firster knows that.
To the deep chagrin of the anti-Israelist, the truth is just so much more boring than the fantasy that Jews (oops, sorry again, Israel lobbyists!) are sitting just off camera, shoveling bags of money into politicians’ pockets. When you consider the truth you have to think about all kinds of facts, like the deep-seated American gentile belief in the justice of the restoration of Jewish independence in the Land of Israel. You have to look into 23 years of polling data showing consistently high general American support for today’s extant Israel, with a clear trend of having concluded, despite the protestations of their intellectual superiors in the twittering classes, that it really was the Palestinians who launched a murderous terror campaign in response to Israel’s offers for peace, and so it is they who bear the blame for peace’s continuing failure.
Jonathan’s two posts on Friedman’s column said all that can be said debunking the claims that seemed to underpin its thesis. One can hope that that’s enough for Friedman to rethink what he wrote.
But none of it is likely to move the anti-Israelist partisans. Saying it is, after all, just more proof they were right all along.