Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (revisited)

On September 27, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt were invited to the University of Chicago to speak about their book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. On October 8 they were invited to deliver the same speech at Columbia University. Both lectures were recorded and published in the University Channel Podcast. (Chicago. Columbia) The talk is the same, obviously the questions by the end are different, but I cannot vouch for those in the second lecture as I couldn't sit through the same lecture twice especially since the second time round sound quality dropped dramatically. I will repost the review I wrote on the first appearance:

The University Channel Podcast published the audio of a lecture by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, about The Israel Lobby in the US, after their book about the same subject. This is a very vivid lecture with a good question round in the end. The authors get to make their point that there is a very effective Israel Lobby. The Lobby is not a lobby of the Jews, neither of the State of Israel, but rather an American interest group, backed by Jews and also Evangelical Christians. They claim that the lobby has a great influence on the US foreign policy and that this influence at times turns out to be neither beneficial to the US nor to Israel.

The Israel Lobby neither reflects the opinion of the vast majority of American Jews, nor, so it seems to me, represent the opinion of the Israeli government or even the majority of Israeli's. The lecture confirms my impression that those who are actively lobbying for Israel in Washington - or claim to do so - tend more to the hawkish, nationalistic side of the spectrum. This goes as well for the Jews involved as well as the Christians. It means for me, as an Israeli in favor of a peaceful Middle-East policy a lose-lose situation. Either one has this hawkish lobby or there is no lobby at all and in both cases my interests are not served. It calls for a lobby inside the lobby.

My stomach turns especially when I hear Mearsheimer and Walt claim that the Lobby was not particularly in favor of the Oslo agreements. They say that the Lobby 'grudgingly' went along. I would expect that an movement that grudgingly goes along with a certain development, will jump of the train at any moment. Was that what happened when Rabin was murdered? How bad was the grudge of the Lobby for the peace process at that turn of events and in how far could it have saved the process afterwards and maybe chose not do so? I would have loved to ask THAT question.

Authentic living - Eric May-Sell

Your Purpose Centered Life diligently goes on teaching lessons in what is called Authentic Living. The unctuous speaker is Eric Maisel accompanied with squeamish sound-effects. I had my misgivings about this podcast and I still agree with much of the content, but the presentational style is too sweet, too evangelic, too much of Jesus speaks to you. Hark hark hark.

And now that I am spilling my gall (is that an expression, or have I been literally translating Dutch again? EDIT: yes it is. RvdB helped me: venting one's spleen), let's talk about Eric Maisel. Who is he anyway?
you may know me from one of my books, shows, or public appearances. My special interests are creativity and creativity coaching, mindfulness and mindfulness training, the art of making personal meaning, existentialism and freethinking, and the psychology of the creative person.
I offer many trainings and workshops and there are special ebooks and MP3 audios available only at this site that may interest you.
So, this is philosopher, psychologist, prophet Maisel, who is mainly in the business selling you his work? My hackles are getting up some more.

By the way, my German language lobe pronounced Maisel not as Maisel proposes on the podcast. Not Meizl, but May Sell, French interpretation. Well whatever Eric may say in the podcast and whatever interesting thoughts he may provoke, it is between the lines mostly about what Eric may sell. Because that is what this is: a promotional podcast. And also if you like what is being promoted, good for you, but promotional it is.

Maternal bonding

Tony Madrid relates an experience of his, that sounds like a near miracle. He was treating a patient with hypnosis in order to add a vision of a pleasant birth, to the memories of the actual birth of her daughter that was wrought with stress, bad circumstances and an eventual long separation from the baby. Madrid speaks on the podcast Shrinkrapradio with Dr. David van Nuys on the subject of repairing maternal relations to their kids. In the related story, the hypnotic treatment had an immediate result. Not only did the mom open up to loving her child, the little girl's asthma, disappeared over night. This experience caused Madrid to study Maternal bonding and the effect on the kids.

He rushes to point out the mother is not 'guilty' of whatever adverse health they have (notably asthma). It is his opinion, the occurrences around the birth, have caused the bond to be problematic and this is more an accident than anything else. His findings repeat the reported story: hypnosis can insert a pleasant memory to the birth, thus altering the problematic bonding to the child and consequently affect the child's health in a positive way.

In addition to hypnosis, Madrid has proposed EMDR to work. EMDR is short for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a therapeutic approach that is an attempt to allow for proper processing of ugly memories. He is very evocative: This is the most important invention to hit mental health in 50 years. Just when you are getting a little bit itchy. Luckily Dr. Dave comes to the rescue and closes the interview off with a well-balanced perspective.