The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy

( 40 )


The Israel Lobby," by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for challenging what had been a taboo issue in America: the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy.

Now in a work of major importance, ...

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The Israel Lobby," by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for challenging what had been a taboo issue in America: the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy.

Now in a work of major importance, Mearsheimer and Walt deepen and expand their argument and confront recent developments in Lebanon and Iran. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America's posture throughout the Middle East--in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--and the policies it has encouraged are in neither America's national interest nor Israel's long-term interest. The lobby's influence also affects America's relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror.

Writing in The New York Review of Books, Michael Massing declared, "Not since Foreign Affairs magazine published Samuel Huntington's 'The Clash of Civilizations?' in 1993 has an academic essay detonated with such force." The publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is certain to widen the debate and to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

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  • Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy
    Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Perhaps no scholarly article published in 2006 was more controversial than "The Israel Lobby," a London Review of Books piece written by the authors of this book. The essay argues that powerful political groups have helped create a situation in which the United States neglects its own security in order to advance Israel's. This book is a comprehensive expansion of that fiercely debated working paper, the digital version of which has already been downloaded more than 100,000 times. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy contends that America's national interests throughout the Middle East are being undermined by flawed ideas about Israel's long-term prospects. Two mainstream academics tackle a hot-button issue.
From the Publisher

“Controversial.” —Terry Gross, Fresh Air, NPR

“It could not be more timely.” —David Bromwich, The Huffington Post

“The strategic questions they raise now, particularly about Israel’s privileged relationship with the United States, are worth debating.” —David Remnick. The New Yorker

“Ruthlessly realistic.” —William Grimes, The New York Times

“The argument they present is towering and clear and about time.” —Philip Weiss,

“Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, and Walt, on the faculty at Harvard, set off a political firestorm.” —Jay Solomon, The Wall Street

“Promises controversy on a scale not seen since Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations sought to reframe a new world order.” —Stefan Halper, National

“Deals with Middle East policymaking at a time when America’s problems in that region surpass our problems anywhere else . . . People are definitely arguing about it. It’s also the kind of book you do not have to agree with on every count (I certainly don’t) to benefit from reading.” —MJ Rosenberg, Israel Policy Forum Newsletter

Publishers Weekly

Expanding on their notorious 2006 article in the London Review of Books, the authors increase the megatonnage of their explosive claims about the malign influence of the pro-Israel lobby on the U.S. government. Mearsheimer and Walt, political scientists at the University of Chicago and Harvard, respectively, survey a wide coalition of pro-Israel groups and individuals, including American Jewish organizations and political donors, Christian fundamentalists, neo-con officials in the executive branch, media pundits who smear critics of Israel as anti-Semites and the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, which they characterize as having an "almost unchallenged hold on Congress." This lobby, they contend, has pressured the U.S. government into Middle East policies that are strategically and morally unjustifiable: lavish financial subsidies for Israel despite its occupation of Palestinian territories; needless American confrontations with Israel's foes Syria and Iran; uncritical support of Israel's 2006 bombing of Lebanon, which "violated the laws of war"; and the Iraq war, which "almost certainly would not have occurred had [the Israel lobby] been absent." The authors disavow conspiracy mongering, noting that the lobby's activities constitute legitimate, if misguided, interest-group politics, "as American as apple pie." Considering the authors' academic credentials and the careful reasoning and meticulous documentation with which they support their claims, the book is bound to rekindle the controversy. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374531508
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 225,609
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago. He has published several books, including The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.

Stephen M. Walt is the Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and was academic dean of the Kennedy School from 2002 to 2006. He is the author of Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy, among other books.

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Read an Excerpt


America is about to enter a presidential election year. Although the outcome is of course impossible to predict at this stage, certain features of the campaign are easy to foresee. The candidates will inevitably differ on various domestic issues—health care, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, education, immigration—and spirited debates are certain to erupt on a host of foreign policy questions as well. What course of action should the United States pursue in Iraq? What is the best response to the crisis in Darfur, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Russia’s hostility to NATO, and China’s rising power? How should the United States address global warming, combat terrorism, and reverse the erosion of its international image? On these and many other issues, we can confidently expect lively disagreements among the various candidates.

Yet on one subject, we can be equally confident that the candidates will speak with one voice. In 2008, as in previous election years, serious candidates for the highest office in the land will go to considerable lengths to express their deep personal commitment to one foreign country—Israel—as well as their determination to maintain unyielding U.S. support for the Jewish state. Each candidate will emphasize that he or she fully appreciates the multitude of threats facing Israel and make it clear that, if elected, the United States will remain firmly committed to defending Israel’s interests under any and all circumstances. None of the candidates is likely to criticize Israel in any significant way or suggest that the United States ought to pursue a more evenhanded policy in the region. Any who do will probably fall by the wayside.

This observation is hardly a bold prediction, because presidential aspirants were already proclaiming their support for Israel in early 2007. The process began in January, when four potential candidates spoke to Israel’s annual Herzliya Conference on security issues. As Joshua Mitnick reported in Jewish Week, they were “seemingly competing to see who can be most strident in defense of the Jewish State.” Appearing via satellite link, John Edwards, the Democratic party’s 2004 vice presidential candidate, told his Israeli listeners that “your future is our future” and said that the bond between the United States and Israel “will never be broken.” Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke of being “in a country I love with people I love” and, aware of Israel’s deep concern about a possible nuclear Iran, proclaimed that “it is time for the world to speak three truths: (1) Iran must be stopped; (2) Iran can be stopped; (3) Iran will be stopped!” Senator John McCain (R-AZ) declared that “when it comes to the defense of Israel, we simply cannot compromise,” while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) told the audience that “Israel is facing the greatest danger for [sic] its survival since the 1967 victory.”

Shortly thereafter, in early February, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke in New York before the local chapter of the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), where she said that in this “moment of great difficulty for Israel and great peril for Israel . . . what is vital is that we stand by our friend and our ally and we stand by our own values. Israel is a beacon of what’s right in a neighborhood overshadowed by the wrongs of radicalism, extremism, despotism and terrorism.” One of her rivals for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), spoke a month later before an AIPAC audience in Chicago. Obama, who has expressed some sympathy for the Palestinians’ plight in the past and made a brief reference to Palestinian “suffering” at a campaign appearance in March 2007, was unequivocal in his praise for Israel and made it manifestly clear that he would do nothing to change the U.S.-Israeli relationship. Other presidential hopefuls, including Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, have expressed pro-Israel sentiments with equal or greater ardor.

What explains this behavior? Why is there so little disagreement among these presidential hopefuls regarding Israel, when there are profound disagreements among them on almost every other important issue facing the United States and when it is apparent that America’s Middle East policy has gone badly awry? Why does Israel get a free pass from presidential candidates, when its own citizens are often deeply critical of its present policies and when these same presidential candidates are all too willing to criticize many of the things that other countries do? Why does Israel, and no other country in the world, receive such consistent deference from America’s leading politicians?

Some might say that it is because Israel is a vital strategic asset for the United States. Indeed, it is said to be an indispensable partner in the “war on terror.” Others will answer that there is a powerful moral case for providing Israel with unqualified support, because it is the only country in the region that “shares our values.” But neither of these arguments stands up to fair-minded scrutiny. Washington’s close relationship with Jerusalem makes it harder, not easier, to defeat the terrorists who are now targeting the United States, and it simultaneously undermines America’s standing with important allies around the world. Now that the Cold War is over, Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States. Yet no aspiring politician is going to say so in public, or even raise the possibility.

There is also no compelling moral rationale for America’s uncritical and uncompromising relationship with Israel. There is a strong moral case for Israel’s existence and there are good reasons for the United States to be committed to helping Israel if its survival is in jeopardy. But given Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, moral considerations might suggest that the United States pursue a more evenhanded policy toward the two sides, and maybe even lean toward the Palestinians. Yet we are unlikely to hear that sentiment expressed by anyone who wants to be president, or anyone who would like to occupy a position in Congress.

The real reason why American politicians are so deferential is the political power of the Israel lobby. The lobby is a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively works to move U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. As we will describe in detail, it is not a single, unified movement with a central leadership, and it is certainly not a cabal or conspiracy that “controls” U.S. foreign policy. It is simply a powerful interest group, made up of both Jews and gentiles, whose acknowledged purpose is to press Israel’s case within the United States and influence American foreign policy in ways that its members believe will benefit the Jewish state. The various groups that make up the lobby do not agree on every issue, although they share the desire to promote a special relationship between the United States and Israel. Like the efforts of other ethnic lobbies and interest groups, the activities of the Israel lobby’s various elements are legitimate forms of democratic political participation, and they are for the most part consistent with America’s long tradition of interest group activity.

Because the Israel lobby has gradually become one of the most powerful interest groups in the United States, candidates for high office pay close attention to its wishes. The individuals and groups in the United States that make up the lobby care deeply about Israel, and they do not want American politicians to criticize it, even when criticism might be warranted and might even be in Israel’s own interest. Instead, these groups want U.S. leaders to treat Israel as if it were the fifty-first state. Democrats and Republicans alike fear the lobby’s clout. They all know that any politician who challenges its policies stands little chance of becoming president.

The Lobby and U.S. Middle East Policy

The lobby’s political power is important not because it affects what presidential candidates say during a campaign, but because it has a significant influence on American foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. America’s actions in that volatile region have enormous consequences for people all around the world, especially the people who live there. Just consider how the Bush administration’s misbegotten war in Iraq has affected the long-suffering people of that shattered country: tens of thousands dead, hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes, and a vicious sectarian war taking place with no end in sight. The war has also been a strategic disaster for the United States and has alarmed and endangered U.S. allies both inside and outside the region. One could hardly imagine a more vivid or tragic demonstration of the impact the United States can have—for good or ill—when it unleashes the power at its disposal.

The United States has been involved in the Middle East since the early days of the Republic, with much of the activity centered on educational programs or missionary work. For some, a biblically inspired fascination with the Holy Land and the role of Judaism in its history led to support for the idea of restoring the Jewish people to a homeland there, a view that was embraced by certain religious leaders and, in a general way, by a few U.S. politicians. But it is a mistake to see this history of modest and for the most part private engagement as the taproot of America’s role in the region since World War II, and especially its extraordinary relationship with Israel today. Between the routing of the Barbary pirates two hundred years ago and World War II, the United States played no significant security role anywhere in the region and U.S. leaders did not aspire to one.6 Woodrow Wilson did endorse the 1917 Balfour Declaration (which expressed Britain’s support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine), but Wilson did virtually nothing to advance this goal. Indeed, the most significant U.S. involvement during this period—a fact-finding mission dispatched to the region in 1919 by the Paris Peace Conference under the leadership of Americans Henry Churchill King and Charles Crane—concluded that the local population opposed continued Zionist inroads and recommended against the establishment of an independent Jewish homeland. Yet as the historian Margaret Macmillan notes, “Nobody paid the slightest attention.” The possibility of a U.S. mandate over portions of the Middle East was briefly considered but never pursued, and Britain and France ended up dividing the relevant portions of the Ottoman Empire between themselves.

The United States has played an important and steadily increasing role in Middle East security issues since World War II, driven initially by oil, then by anticommunism and, over time, by its growing relationship with Israel. America’s first significant involvement in the security politics of the region was a nascent partnership with Saudi Arabia in the mid-1940s (intended by both parties as a check on British ambitions in the region), and its first formal alliance commitments were Turkey’s inclusion in NATO in 1952 and the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact in 1954. After backing Israel’s founding in 1948, U.S. leaders tried to strike a balanced position between Israel and the Arabs and carefully avoided making any formal commitment to the Jewish state for fear of jeopardizing more important strategic interests. This situation changed gradually over the ensuing decades, in response to events like the Six-Day War, Soviet arms sales to various Arab states, and the growing influence of pro-Israel groups in the United States. Given this dramatic transformation in America’s role in the region, it makes little sense to try to explain current U.S. policy—and especially the lavish support that is now given to Israel—by referring to the religious beliefs of a bygone era or the radically different forms of past American engagement. There was nothing inevitable or predetermined about the current special relationship between the United States and Israel.

Since the Six-Day War of 1967, a salient feature—and arguably the central focus—of America’s Middle East policy has been its relationship with Israel. For the past four decades, in fact, the United States has provided Israel with a level of material and diplomatic support that dwarfs what it provides to other countries. That aid is largely unconditional: no matter what Israel does, the level of support remains for the most part unchanged. In particular, the United States consistently favors Israel over the Palestinians and rarely puts pressure on the Jewish state to stop building settlements and roads in the West Bank. Although Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush openly favored the creation of a viable Palestinian state, neither was willing to use American leverage to make that outcome a reality.

The United States has also undertaken policies in the broader Middle East that reflected Israel’s preferences. Since the early 1990s, for example, American policy toward Iran has been heavily influenced by the wishes of successive Israeli governments. Tehran has made several attempts in recent years to improve relations with Washington and settle outstanding differences, but Israel and its American supporters have been able to stymie any détente between Iran and the United States, and to keep the two countries far apart. Another example is the Bush administration’s behavior during Israel’s war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006. Almost every country in the world harshly criticized Israel’s bombing campaign—a campaign that killed more than one thousand Lebanese, most of them civilians—but the United States did not. Instead, it helped Israel prosecute the war, with prominent members of both political parties openly defending Israel’s behavior. This unequivocal support for Israel undermined the pro-American government in Beirut, strengthened Hezbollah, and drove Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah closer together, results that were hardly good for either Washington or Jerusalem.

Many policies pursued on Israel’s behalf now jeopardize U.S. national security. The combination of unstinting U.S. support for Israel and Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory has fueled anti-Americanism throughout the Arab and Islamic world, thereby increasing the threat from international terrorism and making it harder for Washington to deal with other problems, such as shutting down Iran’s nuclear program. Because the United States is now so unpopular within the broader region, Arab leaders who might otherwise share U.S. goals are reluctant to help us openly, a predicament that cripples U.S. efforts to deal with a host of regional challenges.

This situation, which has no equal in American history, is due primarily to the activities of the Israel lobby. While other special interest groups—including ethnic lobbies representing Cuban Americans, Irish Americans, Armenian Americans, and Indian Americans—have managed to skew U.S. foreign policy in directions that they favored, no ethnic lobby has diverted that policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest. The Israel lobby has successfully convinced many Americans that American and Israeli interests are essentially identical. In fact, they are not.

Although this book focuses primarily on the lobby’s influence on U.S. foreign policy and its negative effect on American interests, the lobby’s impact has been unintentionally harmful to Israel as well. Take Israel’s settlements, which even a writer as sympathetic to Israel as Leon Wieseltier recently called a “moral and strategic blunder of historic proportions.” Israel’s situation would be better today if the United States had long ago used its financial and diplomatic leverage to convince Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, and instead helped Israel create a viable Palestinian state on those lands. Washington did not do so, however, largely because it would have been politically costly for any president to attempt it. As noted above, Israel would have been much better off if the United States had told it that its military strategy for fighting the 2006 Lebanon war was doomed to fail, rather than reflexively endorsing and facilitating it. By making it difficult to impossible for the U.S. government to criticize Israel’s conduct and press it to change some of its counterproductive policies, the lobby may even be jeopardizing the long-term prospects of the Jewish state.

Excerpted from The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. Copyright © 2007 by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. Published in September 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
Introduction     3
The United States, Israel, and the Lobby
The Great Benefactor     23
Israel: Strategic Asset or Liability?     49
A Dwindling Moral Case     78
What Is the "Israel Lobby"?     111
Guiding the Policy Process     151
Dominating Public Discourse     168
The Lobby in Action
Introduction to Part II     199
The Lobby Versus the Palestinians     204
Iraq and Dreams of Transforming the Middle East     229
Taking Aim at Syria     263
Iran in the Crosshairs     280
The Lobby and the Second Lebanon War     306
Conclusion: What Is to Be Done?     335
Notes     357
Acknowledgments     465
Index     467
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Reading Group Guide

About this Guide

The questions and discussion topics that follow are designed to enhance your reading of John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. We hope they will enrich your experience as you explore this timely examination of America’s pro-Israel lobby and its
far-reaching impact.

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Customer Reviews

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( 40 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2008


    This is the book that every congressman should be required to read - It might prevent us from being pulled into an unnecessary war with Iran.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    Page 12. Arab world is idealized by the authors. Jews were oppressed in the entire Arab world, in fact in the entire Muslim world.

    From time to time Jews were not oppressed in parts of the Christian (Communist) world (Modern era only).
    Page 16-17
    Arab national aspirations in Palestine are sufficiently satisfied by the viable Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan (Jordan is the river bisecting Palestine) and by the full autonomy of Gaza, Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem and other Arab-speaking areas in the Western Palestine. Arab-speaking areas in Nazareth, Lod, Jaffa, Umm el Fahm are protected
    Page 18
    Nuclear Iran will dominate the Persian Gulf which Arabs call the Arab Gulf.
    The response to the Hezbollah bloody attack on the Israeli soil (violating the international boundary approved by the UN between Lebanon and Palestine) was morally right. Its scope was "called to life" (to death and destruction) by Hezbollah planners and executives.
    Page 342
    "Ending the Israel-Arab conflict" is not written in a balanced way.
    The authors should have known that the Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan attacked Israel in spite of Israeli request not to do so in 1967.
    In 2005 Israel vacated all the Egyptian conquests made in Palestine in 1948. Since the aggression of the Palestinian Kingdom, Syria and Iraq Israel has no moral obligation not to settle the lands where Palestinian Jews were not allowed to live under Ottoman, British or Arab government.

    The following haibun may help to see another angle.
    Haibun for BBC World Service (April 22, 2010 broadcast about Gaza).

    slanted sunbeam
    her nostrils divider
    becomes translucent

    On the day when the missiles operated by the infiltrators from the Free Gaza State landed in Aqaba (Palestinian Kingdom of Jordan) instead of its sister city of Eilat (Palestinian State of Israel) the British Broadcasting Corporation aired its segment about a Californian Jew bringing his gift of surfing boards to the Gaza kids.
    The mighty radio station mentioned the "Israeli blockade" of Gaza twice!
    But what about the Gaza border with Egypt?
    Almost anything can be delivered in and out of the Gaza Strip there.
    The Egyptian government issues visas and permits to enter the Sinai Peninsula and to enter Gaza liberated by the Egyptian army in 1948.
    The Free State of Gaza got the border with the Sinai where Egyptian soldiers and police are stationed. The following military personnel are guarding the Sinai Peninsula:
    Australia - 25 personnel based at Force HQ (departing in 1986 and returning in 1993 replaced in the interim by a contingent from the United Kingdom)
    Canada - 28 personnel within the Force and Contingent HQs in addition to the Operations, Liaison, V.I.P. Visit Office, Air Traffic Control, Transport, Support and Personnel Branches .
    Colombia - Infantry battalion (COLBATT) - 358 personnel
    Fiji - Infantry battalion (FIJIBATT) - 329 personnel
    France - 15 personnel based at Force HQ and with the fixed wing unit
    Hungary - Military Police Unit - 41 personnel
    Italy - Coastal Patrol Unit with 75 personnel and 4 ships: ITS Vedetta, ITS Sentinella, ITS Staffetta and ITS Esploratore
    New Zealand - 27 personnel divided between support battalions and Training and Advisory Team.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2009

    The most reveling book for those who ignore a lot of truths

    This book is written by people I know, I am glad one of them is a jew, who wants peace and loves America first. A must read

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2008

    Refreshing call for honest discussion

    Superbly researched and well written, the book is the long overdue start of an open, rational debate on US foreign policy towards Israel, a topic that is sadly discussed far too little given the magnitude of its global importance.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2008

    Appallling and Obvious & Israel's Bogus Iraqi WMD reports

    It's a slwo political read. But it keeps tweaking you with anger. How can this be happening. Are the writers making this up _ NO!!! The book was very well written and factually cited. It's ironic. If certain groups get criticized, you become a racist, antisemite,etc. A very good offense to avoid anyone questioning what they're doing. We turn a blind eye to so much we shouldn't (e.g. human rights violations, war crimes, Israel's own nuclear weapons program, etc.) and no country could see us as being fair and unbiased where Israel is involved. A little objectivity with Israel's actions would go a long way towards US influence as a truely fair world leader. Startling is the circumstance that the US is so politically and willfully ignorant it blindly rubber stamp EVERYTHING Israel does. It's like no other US ally nation. The Arab population living in the militray superpower of the area nuclear-armed Israel and are officially treated as 'filthy people' with inferior citizenship rights 'denial of property ownership rights' just for the Arabs living in Israel. The Israeli government and many of its people are institutionalized hypocrites on human rights on its own Arab citizenry. Israeli attrocities like the recent Lebanon invasion and the military's civilian overkill of Arabs get frwoned upon by the US. That's it as the US $ keeps rolling in. Israel's forbidden use of US supplied cluster bombs are STILL killing the Arab civilian population, many children, in Lebanon proves the US uses absolutely no influence despite our $ billion unconditionally sent year after year. Accordingly the US loses all credibility in the Middle East due to this. PREDICTION: We are in Iraq TO STAY, if Israel has its way. We ignored our own intelligence telling us Sadam had NO WMD's. And used false and self-serving Israeli Intell reports of Sadam's biological weapons of mass destruction. We invaded and we got had by Israel. No wonder Collin Powell quit. And if this all holds true. We will be keeping a strong military prsence in Iraq indefinitely no matter who is elected president. This has been Israel's desire for more than a decade. I'd like to re-read this PREDICTION 2 years from now with either McCain, Hillary or Obama in the White House and say- SEE WE ARE STILL THERE! Oye!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2008


    This is a disturbing book. The writers insist upon -- repeatedly -- their commitment both to Israel's survival and to America's support for that survival. They also, however, question the extent of that support and the bases for it. Israel's strategic value, they claim, has evaporated in the post-Cold War world. Its claim of moral superiority -- always questionable, given the role of Jewish terrorists in creating the State of Israel -- is undermined by its oppression and atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank. Its claim to be a democratic state is refuted by its denial of equal rights to non-Jews. And its support of espionage against the United States, as well as its sale of American military technology to Communist China, suggest it is not a reliable ally. The writers expected charges of 'anti-Semitism' for criticizing America's uncritical support of Israeli militarism and indiscriminate killing of Palestinians. They've received it -- in spades. It's undeserved. This is a moderate, well-reasoned, and heavily documented study. It includes over 100 pages of small-type notes documenting its findings. The book, in fact, spends little ink on the most damning incident in US-Israeli relations: the bombing of the USS Liberty, an action approved at the highest level of the Israel government and designed to hide evidence of Israel's responsibility for starting the 1967 'six day war.'

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2008

    Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

    I love the way W&M set the record straight, notably, that US support of Israel was the reason for the 9/11 attacks. It's also great to see that this book has gotten a much higher rating that Foxman's book. Talk about lies! People like Foxman want to preserve their power by hiding it. They think we are deaf, dumb and blind. Thanks to W&M for opening our eyes to the truth. Btw, isn't it about time the opponents of the zionist lobby got together and formed our own countervailing groups? Join the MSN group The New American patriots.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2007

    Its aim is to destroy a friendship

    The aim of this book is to undermine the close relationship between Israel and the United States. The authors try to do this by focusing on the Israel Lobby in Washington and by claiming that it is responsible for the problematic state of American relations with the nations of the Middle East, and in fact the rest of the world. The authors in attempting to achieve their aim present a false picture both of Israel's relation with the U.S. and the U.S.'s with the rest of the world. They accuse the Israeli lobby of being responsible for the U.S. undertaking the second Iraq war. And this when the major lobby working for this war was that of Saudi Arabia. They blame the Jewish neo- cons for the war though all the major leaders Bush Cheney Rumsfeld Powell Rice who decided on the war are not Jewish. They blame Israel for radical Islamic hostility to the U.S. But that hostility goes way beyond the Middle East, and in fact is a product of a totalitarian Islamic ideology which opposes all democracy, not simply those of the United States and Israel. The authors speak of Israel blocking U.S. accomodation with totalitarian Iran and Syria, when these two countries define the U.S. as the Big Satan, who must eventually be toppled from world - leadership. They too totally downplay the strong opposition to Israel which there has been within the State Department. They claim there has been no debate on pro- Israel policies when many American policies have not at all worked in favor of Israel and have in fact opposed Israel's security interests, as for instance in the Reagan Administration's sale of AWACS to Saudi Arabia, or the training of PLO forces which used this in terrorist actions against Israel. They also in a quite low and immoral way try to undermine the strong historical and moral connection between the United States and Israel. The Biblical heritage, the democratic love of freedom, the focus on individual rights- are shared values which have long made the two nations natural allies, and explain Israel's long- term and continued popularity with the American public. They also fail to mention the many benefits which come to the U.S. from strategic cooperation with Israel. Israel may not be worth 'five C.I.A.'s as former Air Force Intelligence chief George Keegan once said, but the 'intelligence' it has provided to the U.S. has proven invaluable in sustaining pro- American regimes in the area. Even today the 'intelligence' provided by Israel is a key element in the struggle against radical Islamic terrorism. The numerous misperceptions and misconceptions contained in this work raise the question of whether Walt and Mearsheimer are not too guilty of dishonesty in claiming that they have the long- term interests of the United States, and also Israel at heart. For you do not care for the long- term interests of a friend by cutting it off from its chief ally, and by unfairly blaming it for half the evils in the world.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    Outright propaganda

    This poorly researched screed against Israel is typical of a number of books that rely on hyperbole, distortion, omission and outright lies to make a political point about Israel. Walt and Mearsheimer don't like Israel, that much is clear, but their reasons read like an Op-Ed from a Syrian newspaper. The book has the veneer of a research paper but closer examination of the hundreds of cited sources reveals that they relied heavily upon dubious web sites, some of which border on racist. The book has a dearth of hard documentation to support there theory and virtually no interviews of any persons either within this alleged lobby nor those allegedly influenced by it in Washington. There is little in the way of fact in this book. Most disingenuous by the authors is the fact that the completely omit the power of oil economics and oil lobbies in shaping middle east policies over the last 70 years. It is no wonder that Harvard ordered the removal of the Harvard seal from original paper. It fails to meet any academic standard of honest research.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007


    When I was in college, we were told the rules for serious academic work. We had to do original, primary research. M&W do not think those rules apply to them. They rely soley on secondary sources, in translation, since they do not seem to speak either Arabic or Hebrew. They choose every bit of bad news about Israel, and ignore any bad news about Hamas, Fatah, the Arab states, or Iran. The result is highly derivative and--for a supposedly controversial book--surprisingly boring. Even conspiracy-theorists will find this book a slog. Whatever your point of view on the Middle East, there are so many other books that are much better researched and written. Don't bother with this lazy attempt at sensationalism.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    a disgraceful antisemitic screed

    The book is poorly written, full of distortions and totally unbalanced in its analysis of Israel's history. The conspiracy theory regarding AIPAC, an American lobby for the Israel-USA relationship is patently absurd. Don't bother with this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2007

    A reviewer

    The book is a repetition of all ancient accusations against the Jewish people which may also be found in Hitler's Mein Kampf (My strugfgle) or any Nazi web site on the internet. This book has nothing to do with foreign policy. It is merely hatred clothed in academic language.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2007

    Argumentum ad Populum

    This book, an expanded version of a recent and controversial article by the same authors (which was published in 2006 is guilty of two errors: one of omission and one of commission. First, the errors of omission: the book vastly oversimplifies two immensely complex topics, viz., the Middle East situation and the role of political/ethnic lobbies in a democratic republic. To suggest, as the authors do, that all would be essentially 'sweetness and light' for the USA in the troubled Middle East were it not for adverse and malign influences from the 'Israel Lobby' 'an aggregate of several groups with a possible commonality of interests' is, to put it simply, absurd. Acceptance of that assertion requires a certain anhistorical perspective and general ignorance of the topic. For example, the authors vastly inflate the power of the Lobby vis-à-vis it's adversaries 'oil companies, defense contractors and many others' and simultaneously cast aspersions on the US government and it's legislators by stating that they would 'sell out' US interests for a disadvantageous geopolitical position, the motive being personal gain. Along the same lines, interest groups and 'identity politics' is the currency of modern American society, especially with it's recent acceptance of 'multiculturalism'. While acknowledgement of this is made, it is 'at best' a glancing aside. The perception of the USA in the Middle East as an inimical entity antedates 'in some cases by many decades' the appearance of the Israeli State. For example, the Western/American democratic ideal has been reviled by numerous Islamic thinkers, amongst them, Hassan al- Banna in 1928: he was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sayyid Qutb, a prominent Muslim Brothers intellectual wrote in 1949, after his sojourn in Colorado, that Western society was anathema to Islam. The bitter and deadly conflict between Shia and Sunni and it's impact on the stature of the USA in the Middle East is also ignored: instead, the blame for the current mess is largely attributed by the authors to the Israel Lobby. Were the Lobby to cease to exist, all these problems 'internecine and directed toward the West' would remain, along with their violent collateral manifestations. Second, the book is, in essence, a polemic with a pronounced and cynical appeal to the reader's prejudices and emotions 'a so-called, 'argumentum ad populum'. It is a classic canard to invoke disproportionate and malevolent power covertly exercised by Jews. This is unworthy of two scholars who trade their institutional affiliations for credibility. In summary, for those who seek a better and more nuanced understanding of the role of identity politics, lobbying, 'realpolitik' and the general situation in the Middle East, there are many fine books available: this does not happen to be amongst them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2010

    Nobel material

    These authors should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

    This book is courageous and informative and far too little read by the public.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    Useful study of the Israel lobby

    In 2006, John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, wrote an essay in the London Review of Books on the Israel lobby. This generated a huge controversy, so they wrote this book to provide more evidence for their claim that the lobby harms US and Israeli interests. Chapter 1 details the US state¿s aid to Israel: $154 billion, mostly grants, 75% military. Israel is the largest recipient of US aid '$500 per person per year', even though Israel ranks 29th in the world by income. Chapter 2 asks whether Israel is a strategic asset to the USA, and concludes that it may have been during the Cold War, but is now a liability. Chapter 3 asks whether the US state backs Israel because of their shared values, or because Israel is `for peace¿, and answers no to both. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 examine the lobby¿s members, activities, funding and its influence on policy-making in Washington and on the public through the media and academia. Part II studies the lobby¿s role in shaping recent US policy in the Middle East, and its effects. Chapter 7 examines the lobby¿s hostility to the Palestinians and shows how it has neutered any hints of US support for the two-state solution. Chapter 8 looks at how the lobby, among others, urged the disastrous attack on Iraq. Chapter 9 examines the lobby¿s hostility to negotiations with Syria and Chapter 10 looks at its threats to Iran. Chapter 11 studies the US state¿s unconditional support for Israel¿s attack on Lebanon. War supporters lied that US policy `reflected the will of the American people¿, but most Americans did not back the war, though the Clintons did. Finally, in Chapter 12 the authors note that US interests are to keep the oil flowing, discourage the spread of WMD and reduce anti-US terrorism. Current US policies, promoted by the lobby, fuel anti-Americanism, increase the terrorist threat and encourage the spread of WMD. These policies have not been in either US or Israeli interests. As the authors write, ¿Enabling Israel¿s refusal to recognize the Palestinians¿ legitimate aspirations has not made Israel safer.¿ Unfortunately, none of the presidential candidates wants any change in US Middle East policy. All uncritically support Israel. The authors propose a better policy: withdraw US forces from the Middle East and press Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestine. They urge the USA to treat Israel as a normal state, reduce its aid dramatically, and oppose its settlement policy and apartheid `wall¿. Mearsheimer and Walt make a very good case that the Israel lobby is both effective and counter-productive.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007

    Courageous and long overdue

    This book is courageous, honest and way over due!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2007


    A refreshing and well researched perspective on an issue largely ignored or covered up by our media and goverment. A breath of fresh air after listening to our elected political hypocrites.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2008

    Very good read

    I was uninformed and curious about the ongoing conflict between the Jews and Palestinian cause in Israel and wanted to gain a broader prospective and opinion of the struggle. This book furnishes an unbiased assesment of the hypocrisy of the US and the unehtical behavior of the Jewish state towards Arabs in the last 60 years. I'm impressed with the research and dedication put into the work and the courage to present the facts to the American people. I encourage everyone to read this to get a complete perspective of our foreing policy in the Middle East. Great read!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2007

    Long Overdue for Public Discussion

    Some think the authors went too far but this subject needs to be out in the open.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    Finally The Truth Is Told

    Considering the power the Jews hold in America it is amazing this book was published. The Jews make up only 3% of the American population, but hold a greatly disproportion of power over and in our government. This power cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars and involves America in an arrangement with Israel that does not serve America's interest and in fact is unhealthy! This book is way over due and needs to be read by every American. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy tells it like it truly is and backs up what it says. After reading this book I think we all know who the negative reviewers are and why they would rather the truth remain hidden. As for myself: Five Stars

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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