In a recent article in Tablet Magazine, Adam Kirsch argues that Walt and Mearsheimer's polemic smear, The Israel Lobby, reshaped debate on the US and Israel. In doing so, he underestimates the preexisting hatred of Israel and the perceived Israel Lobby.
I found that the debate changed earlier. The left has been treating Israel like South Africa since at least the mid-1990s. (Every concession Israel makes is proof of their sin, every Arab action is a response to Israeli evil, every attempt at defense is Nazi like) The anti-Semitic right uses the same language, even if they like South Africa. The real game changer was September 11, 2001 and then the Second Iraq War. Since the left could not hold Islamists responsible, the root causes had to be imperialism and economic oppression. This inevitably led to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Who else would they blame; the USSR or the US for walking away from helping Afghanistan in 1990? The build up to the Liberation of Iraq "proved" Zionist control to many on the left and right. Because of liberal silliness, we lost the ability to defend war in terms of American national interest. A war based on questionable intelligence, Bush family revenge, and the interests of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (and ironically Iran) was preached in terms of Israel. That the Israel government cared more about Iran was irrelevant. Israel because an excuse to get liberal Democrats onto the war. Hence the misappropriation of Israel, and proof that Israel has no control of its purported lobby, instead became ultimate proof of the powerful central lobby. It was at this time that Pat Buchanan and his "Jesus is a Palestinian" heresy believe sidekick, Scott McConnell stated "The American Conservative" in an attempt to undo William F Buckley's mainstreaming of Fusion Conservatism and expulsion of anti-Semites from the mainstream right..
Similar rhetorical mistakes are made today. Iran's government has been killing Americans since 1979, when it sacked and occupied our embassy, an act of war. "Death to America" is a common chant at rallies. The Ayatollah Khomeini called for the end of the "Great Satan". But preventing a nuclear Iran is portrayed only in Israel's interests. This undermines the security of the US and Israel and yet our elites cannot get their heads out of this retarded rhetorical trap. The interests of the US and the Sunni countries go unnoticed by the new anti-Semites. It is all Israel, all the time. And if we are attacked, they will blame Israel.