What Evidence Dry One-sided Arguments?

In an OpEd in today’s Post, Richard Cohen says he accepts all the arguments in The Israel Lobby against supporting Israel, but he remains unpersuaded because the book is too dry and one-sided: 

A strange thing happened to me while reading "The Israel Lobby" by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. I went from nodding at the obviousness of it all … to a mounting irritation at the supposed unrelenting mendacity of Israel … By the time I put down the book, occasional critic of Israel though I am, I was ready to burst into "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem. …

It is undoubtedly true, as Mearsheimer and Walt argue, that the Jewish state is no longer a strategic asset to the United States, if it ever was. … the so-called Israel lobby … has done Israel no favor by not criticizing West Bank settlements or the harsh treatment of Palestinians. … All these points are made by Mearsheimer and Walt — and bully for them. Where Israel is wrong, they say so. But where Israel is right, they are somehow silent. … They are forbiddingly rational — all mind, no heart. To their credit, they were right about opposing the invasion of Iraq …

Who and what are we as a nation if we abandon our friends, blowing empty kisses to them as we cut them loose? …  For me, the answer is plain. This would be an emotionally arid place. … In the end, Mearsheimer and Walt disappoint. They had an observation worth making and a position worth debating. But their argument is so dry, so one-sided — an Israel lobby that leads America around by the nose — they suggest that not only do they not know Israel, they don’t know America, either.

I wonder, would Cohen really have been more persuaded to support Israel less if the book had offered more arguments for supporting Israel?  If so, does this create perverse incentives for those who think evidence is actually pretty one-sided to give excessively "balanced arguments"?  Would Cohen really have been more persuaded if the book had been less dry and more emotional, but emotional about how badly we have treated our Arab friends in order to support Israel? 

GD Star Rating
loading...
Tagged as:
Trackback URL: