A London Review of Books article written by two American academics has created a row on both sides of the Atlantic and provoked accusations of anti-Semitism.
LRB editor Mary-Kay Wilmers defended the publication of the piece in The Observer last Sunday, rejecting claims that it was anti-Semitic following reports from the US that the article had been praised by former head of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke.
Wilmers told The Observer: "I don’t want David Duke to endorse the piece.
It makes me feel uncomfortable, but when I reread the piece I did not see anything that I felt should not have been said. Maybe it is because I am Jewish, but I think I am very alert to anti-Semitism. I do not think that criticising US foreign policy, or Israel’s way of going about things is anti-Semitic."
John Mearsheimer and Harvard professor Stephen Walt originally wrote an article for high-brow US magazine Atlantic Monthly in an attempt to list ways in which American foreign policy had been co-opted by an "Israel Lobby"
of journalists, academics, pressure groups and pro-Israeli activists in the US government. Atlantic Monthly rejected the piece before it was picked up by the LRB.
The article was also criticised by Vanity Fair and national columnist Christopher Hitchens on the rightwing newspaper the New York Sun, who compared it to the views of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and academic Noam Chomsky.