The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374531508
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 177,764
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About 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.

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.

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.

Questions for Discussion

1. How familiar were you with the Israel lobby before reading this book? Did the authors change or reinforce your previous beliefs?

2. Were you surprised by the fact that the authors found it difficult to publish the original article, "The Israel Lobby," in the United States? Would you have suspected such resistance from American editors?

3. The authors argue that the Cold War strategy of backing Israel as a deterrent to Soviet communism was not wholly successful. How did you respond to their summary of this history? In what other ways has Israel's role in the international landscape changed since the Truman administration? What is the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Cold War?

4. What did you discover about the differences between aid and loan packages offered by the United States to various countries? How would you describe the support the United States gives to Israel? What levels of accountability should be in place for any nation receiving this kind of support? Should a country's economic prosperity preclude it from receiving foreign aid? What costs and benefits does this aid to Israel and other countries bring to the United States?

5. How do the authors distinguish between their support for Israel's moral right to exist and their criticism of Israeli policies and lobby groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)? Does the tragic legacy of anti-Semitism entitle Israel to exceptional status? What is the reality of Israel's current military vulnerability?

6. At the heart of the debate captured in The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy is the question of whether someone who opposes the lobby also undermines security for Jews in Israel. Are Judaism and Zionism synonymous? How did the Six-Day War change the nature of this question and redefine what it meant to support Israel?

7. Were you aware of the fundamentalist Christian cohort within the Israel lobby? What common and contradictory goals exist between various Jewish and Christian Zionist organizations? How does this relationship fit into attitudes like those of the journalist Bret Stephens, who wrote, "One must be at least a Jew to tell the goyim how they may or may not talk about Israel" (p. 174)?

8. How did you react to the authors' observations about the lobby's efforts to influence higher education in America? To what degree should academic freedom be unlimited?

9. The book contains commentary from politicians who describe the necessity of securing the support of AIPAC and related groups even though such organizations represent a minority of voters' opinions. What does this say about the power of lobbies in America? How easy (or difficult) is it for the wishes of the majority to be overlooked in our democratic process?

10. Discuss the history of Middle East diplomacy described in The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy, particularly the frustrating experiences of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. What should the role of diplomacy be in current debates about the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank?

11. Chapter eight addresses the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The authors suggest that the support of the major organizations in the Israel lobby and Israeli leaders played a critical role in the decision to invade Iraq. Do you agree with the authors' assessment of Israeli involvement and the impact of the Israel lobby on the decision to go to war? What were your theories about the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

12. What themes recur in the book's chapters on Syria, Iran, and Lebanon? Is the use of cluster bombs against civilian populations ever justified, a controversy discussed in chapter eleven? What is the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. interests in the Middle East? What are the consequences for Israel?

13. How has the Israel lobby shaped U.S. policy toward the Palestinians and the "two-state solution"? How has this policy changed over the past few administrations? Should the PLO be treated differently than other terrorist organizations, such as al Qaeda?

14. In their conclusion, "What Is to Be Done?," the authors maintain that one essential strategy in a new U.S. Middle East policy should be to treat Israel as a normal country. What are the potential ramifications of this approach?

15. The claims made in The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy are supported by more than 1,300 footnotes, many of them derived from books, newspapers, and magazines that are available to the general reader. How do you evaluate the authors' research? Much of this information is in the public domain—how would you describe the public discussion of the U.S.-Israel relationship and Israel's policies? What role does the mainstream media play in shaping this discussion?

16. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who announced his resignation in 2008, is referred to throughout The Israel Lobby. How did his rule differ from that of his predecessors? What do you predict for the future of Israeli leadership?

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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 43 reviews.
Miro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Steven Rosen, the former AIPAC official, illustrates AIPAC's power for the New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg by putting a napkin in front of him and saying, "In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin." As Mearsheimer and Walt make clear, this is no idle boast, and they go on to say, "As will become clear, when issues relating to Israel come to the fore, Congress almost always votes to endorse the lobby's positions, usually in overwhelming numbers".They note AIPAC President Howard Friedman telling the organization's members in August 2006, "AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israel's predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We ask each candidate to author a "position paper" on their views of the U.S.-Israel relationship - so it is clear where they stand on the subject."One congressional candidate (Harry Lonsdale) who went through this vetting process recounts that, "I found myself invited to AIPAC in Washington, D.C. fairly early in the campaign, for "discussions". It was an experience I will never forget. It wasn't enough that I was pro-Israel. I was given a list of vital topics and quizzed (read grilled) for my specific opinion on each. Actually I was told what my opinion must be, and exactly what words I was to use to express those opinions in public..... Shortly after that encounter at AIPAC, I was sent a list of American supporters of Israel..... that I was free to call for campaign contributions. I called, they gave, from Florida to Alaska."AIPAC also keeps track of congressional voting records to direct funds to opponents of congressmen who should step out of line.Dominance of Congress is augmented by Jewish activists in key government positions, particularly from the 1970's onwards, such as, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrahams, David Wurmser and Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the Clinton and Bush administrations. This political combine managed to steer George Bush, sideline Condoleeza Rice and bully Colin Powell into line to initiate the war on Iraq . The authors show the enormous frustration of the CIA as their intelligence was distorted to support the lie of Iraqi WMD and provide cover for a war that Israel wanted, but which they (Israel) required the United States to fight and pay for.From the 1970's onwards the authors show a supine Congress voting for record aid budgets to Israel (currently four billion dollars a year), with loans being converted to grants, and acquiescence to Israeli demands that the aid be paid up front (which meant that the U.S. government had to borrow it to give to them), and to the Israeli refusal to account for how it was spent, both conditions with which other aid recipients have to comply. The whole process is supported by Jewish Think Tank activists such as Daniel Pipes, Michael Rubin, and Joshua Muravchik at the American Enterprise Institute, and prominent journalists such as William Kristol, Michael Ladeen and Norman Podhoretz who are now agitating for America to declare war on Iran (and subsequently Syria and Saudi Arabia although they are not so open about this). In their conclusion, Mearsheimer and Walt ask what can be done about the outlandish failure of the American government to act in the interests of America. They doubt that the Israel Lobby will relinquish its power in the press, campaign finance or government, so they suggest pressure for more open discourse, which seems to be happening. It was initially impossible to publish this book in America but it did eventually happen after an article in the London Review of Books and an unprcedented 275.000 downloads of the working paper from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government website. They equally see the possibility of congressmen being elected on a "Anti Israel" platform but the authors rightly point out that this could easily slide into a
enoerew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clear, comprehensive record of U.S.-Israeli relations in the Middle East during the first decade of the 21st century.
plappen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2007This book takes a much-needed look at the "special relationship" that exists between America and Israel.First of all, the authors do not question that Israel has the right to exist within secure borders, or its right to lobby Washington for its interests, or that America should aid Israel if it is attacked. But, the current unconditional level of US support for Israel ($154 billion since 1948) cannot be justified on moral or strategic grounds.Perhaps Israel was a strategic ally during the Cold War, but now it has become a growing liability. America¿s one-sided support for Israel has helped fuel America¿s terrorism problem, it has reinforced anti-Americanism around the world, and relations with key allies have suffered. The moral case for unconditional US support also is not compelling. Israel is a democracy, but no other democracy gets the same level of US support. Israel¿s policies toward the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors have helped to destroy the myth of Israel as victim and the Arabs as aggressors.Why does Israel keep receiving such one-sided support from America, even when its actions directly contradict US interests? Why is the discussion of Israeli actions more wide-ranging in Israel than in America? The "Israel Lobby" is a loose confederation of groups like AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League and Christian Zionists, with Israel at the center. They don¿t just lobby Washington and write newspaper op-eds, they also publicly smear anyone who says something of which they don¿t approve.An actual discussion of Israel¿s influence in America, free of charges of anti-Semitism, is long overdue here in America. This book does a fine, and non-partisan, job of starting that discussion. It is very much recommended.
FPdC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policyby John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. WaltFarrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2007In March 2006 Mearsheimer and Walt published in number 6 of volume 28 of the London Review of Books a ten page article titled "The Israel Lobby". In that paper, the authors questioned the wisdom of the U.S. close relationship with Israel and the influence that the group of individuals and institutions they termed The Israel Lobby has in shapping that policy. This book, with more than three hundred and fifty pages plus notes, considerably extend the argument and provides a weealth of supporting references for their claim in more than one hundred fine printed pages of notes. The way the Israel lobby has been able to influence U.S. foreign policy is no secret to anyone interested in Middle Eastern and Israeli affairs and the same type of evidence is common knowledge in Europe, and has been repeatedly shown in the U.S. by writers such as Chomsky, Finkelstein, or Findley. But to see this argued by two pillars of the U.S. academic establishment is indeed a novelty, and one that outraged the lobby: after all, they could not dismiss the authors by calling them anti-semites, or member of the radical fringe, and they could hardly honestly contest the carefuly amassed and referenced evidence produced in the book. Is this the first crack on the most taboo issue in the U.S. foreign policy: its unswerving support for Israel? Given the role of the lobby in shapping the U.S. position vis-à-vis Iraq, Syria, Iran, Palestine, and its general regional policies, and given the counterproductive nature of its influence for the U.S. (and for Israel...) standing in the region, I would very much hope the answer to be yes!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
haikai More than 1 year ago
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.
HarvardMe More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.