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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Overview

The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt

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 in foreign policy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374531508
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Sales rank: 497,083
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.

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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
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.
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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
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A courageous and well written book, great research, great read. An eye opener to the intelligent, and moderate Jewish community, bombarded by the Isreali propaganda machine. this book helps to to see through the predicable expected howl that anything that criticizes isreal is antisemitic. I found it thoughtful, and interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is courageous, honest and way over due!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This may not be the first example of courageous resistance to the pro-Israel lobby see They Dared to Speak Out. But it is undoubtedly the best. I've noticed that critics of the book tend to be Jews or Israelis. Those with a vested interest in trying to discredit it can hardly be fair or objective. But at least one Israeli, Avnery, wrote an excellent, favorable review in The American Conservative. I consider it prophetic. By the way, readers sympathetic to the Arabs and interested in history--and the future-- should check out EGYPT AT WAR 1973.