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Israel Lobby: The War over Israel’s Influenc e?=

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  • Zafar Khan
    The War over Israel’s Influence http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3501 Political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt sparked
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 7, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      The War over Israel’s Influence

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3501

      Political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen
      M. Walt sparked a firestorm when they raised questions
      about the power the Israel lobby wields over U.S.
      foreign policy. Now, in an exclusive FP Roundtable,
      they face off with four distinguished experts of the
      Middle East over whether the influence of the Israel
      lobby is ordinary or extraordinary.
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      Unrestricted Access
      By John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
      May/June 2006

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3506

      What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets.

      America’s relationship with Israel is difficult to
      discuss openly in the United States. In March, we
      published an article in the London Review of Books
      titled “The Israel Lobby,” based on a working paper
      which we posted on the faculty Web site at Harvard’s
      John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our goal was to
      break the taboo and to generate a candid discussion of
      U.S. support for Israel, because it has far-reaching
      consequences for Americans and others around the
      world. What followed was a barrage of responses—some
      constructive, some not.

      Every year, the United States gives Israel a level of
      support that far exceeds what it provides to other
      states. Although Israel is now an industrial power
      with a per-capita GDP roughly equal to Spain’s or
      South Korea’s, it still receives about $3 billion in
      U.S. aid each year—that is, roughly $500 per Israeli
      citizen. Israel also gets a variety of other special
      deals and consistent diplomatic support. We believe
      that this generosity cannot be fully explained on
      either strategic or moral grounds. Israel may have
      been a strategic asset during the Cold War, but it is
      a strategic burden in the war on terror and the
      broader U.S. effort to deal with rogue states. The
      moral rationale for unconditional U.S. support is
      undermined by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians
      and its unwillingness to offer them a viable state. We
      believe there is a strong moral case for Israel’s
      existence, but that existence is not at risk.
      Palestinian extremists and Iranian President Mahmoud
      Ahmadinejad may dream of wiping Israel “off the map,”
      but fortunately neither has the ability to make that
      dream a reality.

      The “special relationship” with Israel, we argue, is
      due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a
      loose coalition of individuals and organizations who
      openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a
      pro-Israel direction. The lobby is not synonymous with
      Jewish Americans, because many of them do not support
      its positions, and some groups that work on Israel’s
      behalf (Christian evangelicals, for example) are not
      Jewish. The lobby has no central leadership. It is not
      a cabal or a conspiracy. These organizations are
      simply engaged in interest-group politics, a
      legitimate activity in the American political system.
      These organizations believe their efforts advance both
      American and Israeli interests. We do not.

      We described how the Israel lobby fosters support
      within the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, and
      how it shapes public discourse so that Israel’s
      actions are perceived sympathetically by the American
      public. Groups in the lobby direct campaign
      contributions to encourage politicians to adopt
      pro-Israel positions. They write articles, letters,
      and op-eds defending Israel’s actions, and they go to
      great lengths to discredit or marginalize anyone who
      criticizes U.S. support for Israel. The
      American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is
      the lobby’s most powerful organization, and it openly
      touts its influence over U.S. Middle East policy.
      Prominent politicians from both parties acknowledge
      AIPAC’s power and effectiveness. Former House Minority
      Leader Richard Gephardt once observed that if AIPAC
      were not “fighting on a daily basis to strengthen [the
      relationship], it would not be.”

      We also traced the lobby’s impact on recent U.S.
      policies, including the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
      Neoconservatives inside and outside the Bush
      administration, as well as leaders of a number of
      prominent pro-Israel organizations, played key roles
      in making the case for war. We believe the United
      States would not have attacked Iraq without their
      efforts. That said, these groups and individuals did
      not operate in a vacuum, and they did not lead the
      country to war by themselves. For instance, the war
      would probably not have occurred absent the Sept. 11,
      2001, terrorist attacks, which helped convince
      President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick
      Cheney to support it.

      With Saddam Hussein removed from power, the Israel
      lobby is now focusing on Iran, whose government seems
      determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite its own
      nuclear arsenal and conventional military might,
      Israel does not want a nuclear Iran. Yet neither
      diplomacy nor economic sanctions are likely to curb
      Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Few world leaders favor
      using force to deal with the problem, except in Israel
      and the United States. AIPAC and many of the same
      neoconservatives who advocated attacking Iraq are now
      among the chief proponents of using military force
      against Iran.

      There is nothing improper about pro-Israel advocates
      trying to influence the Bush administration. But it is
      equally legitimate for others to point out that groups
      like AIPAC and many neoconservatives have a commitment
      to Israel that shapes their thinking about Iran and
      other Middle East issues. More important, their
      perspective is not the last word on what is good for
      Israel or the United States. In fact, their
      prescriptions might actually be harmful to both
      countries.

      John J. Mearsheimer is professor of political science
      at the University of Chicago and the author of The
      Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W.W.
      Norton, 2001).
      Stephen M. Walt is professor of international affairs
      at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
      University. His most recent book is Taming American
      Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York:
      W.W. Norton, 2005).
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      U.S. Seen Backing Israeli Moves To Topple Hamas
      By Ori Nir
      July 7, 2006

      http://forward.com/articles/8063

      WASHINGTON — The Bush administration appears to have
      dropped any objections to Israeli efforts to topple
      the Palestinian Authority's democratically elected
      Hamas government.

      Israel's security Cabinet on Wednesday authorized the
      Israeli military to broaden its actions in Gaza and
      further target Hamas, the terrorist organization that
      won January's Palestinian elections and has claimed
      responsibility for the abduction of Israeli army
      Corporal Gilad Shalit.

      Since Israel started moving forces into Gaza in
      response to Shalit's abduction last week, the Bush
      administration has urged Jerusalem to spare civilians
      and to provide for their humanitarian needs.
      Administration officials have also insisted that no
      harm come to P.A. President and Fatah leader Mahmoud
      Abbas, who they view as a dependable alternative to
      Hamas.

      But in sharp contrast to previous communications, the
      White House did not advise Olmert's government against
      taking steps that would lead to the fall of the Hamas
      government. American officials did not attempt to
      intervene when Israel carried out mass arrests of
      Palestinian elected officials affiliated with Hamas,
      which refuses to recognize Israel or to abandon
      terrorism. And they also did not appear to object to
      Israel's bombing of the Gaza offices of Palestinian
      Prime Minister Ismail Haniya and the P.A. Interior
      Ministry.

      Israeli military analysts say that the moves were the
      first step in an Israeli plan to induce the collapse
      of the Palestinian government. Among those arrested
      were eight members of Hamas' 23-member Cabinet and 20
      of the 72 Hamas members of the 132-seat parliament.

      Sources close to the administration said that
      policymakers in the White House and the State
      Department, who in the past advised Israel against
      toppling the government in the territories for fear
      that the collapse of the P.A. would bring about chaos,
      have now concluded that there is no real value in
      keeping Hamas in power. Hamas is not making any
      significant effort to moderate and act pragmatically,
      administration officials recently told Washington
      insiders. The Hamas government's support of continued
      terrorism against Israel — whether it is the launching
      of home-made rockets from Gaza, the kidnapping of
      Israelis or suicide attacks against Israel — is viewed
      by the administration as intolerable and therefore as
      justification for decisive Israeli action, sources
      said.

      "In the war against terror, in 9/11 there was a line
      drawn. As far as this administration is concerned, you
      get our support if you're on the right side of the
      line, and you don't if you're on the wrong side," said
      Aaron Miller, a former senior State Department
      negotiator on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That
      approach was applied to former Palestinian president
      Yasser Arafat when the administration became convinced
      of his support of terrorism, and it is now being
      applied to the Hamas government, said Miller,
      currently a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson
      International Center in Washington.

      In addition, administration officials said that they
      understand the domestic Israeli pressure on Olmert to
      act decisively. The fear, sources told the Forward, is
      that American efforts to restrict Israrel's reaction
      to Hamas-sponsored terrorism could hasten the fall of
      Olmert's government and lead to the demise of his
      plans for an Israeli withdraw from large parts of the
      West Bank.

      The administration is deeply concerned that
      developments in Gaza — whether a continued standoff or
      a massive Israeli military campaign — could lead to a
      humanitarian crisis. Earlier this week, Secretary of
      State Condoleezza Rice called her Israeli counterpart,
      Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, to urge her to take
      action to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,
      Israeli and American sources said. The next day,
      Israel sent truckloads of food — including flour,
      corn, oil, meat, fruit and milk— as well as fuel and
      natural gas into Gaza. A shipment of medicines was
      delayed because it was not deemed urgent by the Red
      Cross, according to a statement by the Israeli
      military spokesman. Israel keeps contact with
      representatives of international organizations to
      assess the vital needs of Gaza's civilian population.

      The Israeli military's efforts to avoid injury to
      Gaza's civilian population has helped Jerusalem secure
      relatively sympathetic coverage for Israel in the
      American press. Unlike the European media, America's
      major news organizations have not given daily front
      page coverage to the drama in Gaza since the abduction
      of the Israeli corporal, even as Israel moved tanks
      and infantry forces into Gaza, bombed military,
      political and infrastructure targets, and left more
      than 100,000 Palestinians without electricity.

      Overall the coverage in the United States was
      positive, said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, a public
      relations expert who heads The Israel Project, an
      organization devoted to improving Israel's image in
      the media. Laszlo Mizrahi specifically cited
      editorials in the Washington Post and The New York
      Times, which squarely held Hamas responsible for the
      current escalation.

      Advocates for Israel in Washington were gratified.
      Only two weeks ago, one of them said with deep concern
      that as a result of several unintended Israeli
      killings of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, the big
      public relations boost that Israel enjoyed when it
      withdrew from Gaza last year would be obliterated.
      That has not happened.

      "What we found is that almost every story [in the
      American media] points out the most important fact,
      which is that Israel left all of Gaza," Laszlo Mizrahi
      said. "It's important to refresh people's memory; our
      polls show that 94% of America's opinion elite know
      that Israel left Gaza and by a ten-to-one margin they
      feel better about Israel as a result," she said.

      David Segal, the chief spokesman for Israel's embassy
      in Washington, agreed.

      "In general, the U.S. press has been understanding and
      supportive of Israel's objective of rescuing Gilad
      Shalit and to make sure that this kind of outrage
      never happens again," he said.

      Still, according to Israeli officials, pro-Israel
      activist and Middle East experts in Washington,
      support for Israel in the administration and the
      American public may erode as the conflict between
      Israel and Hamas escalates.

      The administration may object to Israeli moves that
      could have regional impact, such as an attack on
      Syrian territory, Miller said.

      Israel contends that Hamas leaders in Damascus are
      responsible for the June 25 cross-border attack in
      which Shalit was kidnapped. "If an Israeli action
      threatens to tip the situation to the point where it
      escalates mutually, and it impacts negatively on some
      of the things that the administration does care about
      in the region, then you'd see a much more interested
      administration and a much more serious reaction,"
      Miller said.

      The American envoy to the United Nations, John Bolton,
      called on Syrian authorities to arrest Hamas leader
      Khaled Meshal, who is based in Damascus. Bolton
      dismissed comparisons between the kidnapping and
      Israel's response.

      "There is no moral equivalency to, on the one hand,
      deliberate attacking of civilians, taking lives,
      taking hostages versus the inadvertent and highly
      unfortunate civilian deaths that occur when a country
      exercises its right to self-defense," he said June 30,
      according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. "Those are
      not the same act, they are not motivated for the same
      reasons, they do not carry the same moral weight."
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    • Zafar Khan
      The War over Israel’s Influence July/August 2006 http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3501 Political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 15, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        The War over Israel’s Influence
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3501

        Political scientists John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen
        M. Walt sparked a firestorm when they raised questions
        about the power the Israel lobby wields over U.S.
        foreign policy. Now, in an exclusive FP Roundtable,
        they face off with four distinguished experts of the
        Middle East over whether the influence of the Israel
        lobby is ordinary or extraordinary.
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Unrestricted Access
        By John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
        Page 1 of 1
        May/June 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3506

        What the Israel lobby wants, it too often gets

        America’s relationship with Israel is difficult to
        discuss openly in the United States. In March, we
        published an article in the London Review of Books
        titled “The Israel Lobby,” based on a working paper
        which we posted on the faculty Web site at Harvard’s
        John F. Kennedy School of Government. Our goal was to
        break the taboo and to generate a candid discussion of
        U.S. support for Israel, because it has far-reaching
        consequences for Americans and others around the
        world. What followed was a barrage of responses—some
        constructive, some not.

        Every year, the United States gives Israel a level of
        support that far exceeds what it provides to other
        states. Although Israel is now an industrial power
        with a per-capita GDP roughly equal to Spain’s or
        South Korea’s, it still receives about $3 billion in
        U.S. aid each year—that is, roughly $500 per Israeli
        citizen. Israel also gets a variety of other special
        deals and consistent diplomatic support. We believe
        that this generosity cannot be fully explained on
        either strategic or moral grounds. Israel may have
        been a strategic asset during the Cold War, but it is
        a strategic burden in the war on terror and the
        broader U.S. effort to deal with rogue states. The
        moral rationale for unconditional U.S. support is
        undermined by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians
        and its unwillingness to offer them a viable state. We
        believe there is a strong moral case for Israel’s
        existence, but that existence is not at risk.
        Palestinian extremists and Iranian President Mahmoud
        Ahmadinejad may dream of wiping Israel “off the map,”
        but fortunately neither has the ability to make that
        dream a reality.

        The “special relationship” with Israel, we argue, is
        due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a
        loose coalition of individuals and organizations who
        openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a
        pro-Israel direction. The lobby is not synonymous with
        Jewish Americans, because many of them do not support
        its positions, and some groups that work on Israel’s
        behalf (Christian evangelicals, for example) are not
        Jewish. The lobby has no central leadership. It is not
        a cabal or a conspiracy. These organizations are
        simply engaged in interest-group politics, a
        legitimate activity in the American political system.
        These organizations believe their efforts advance both
        American and Israeli interests. We do not.

        We described how the Israel lobby fosters support
        within the U.S. Congress and the executive branch, and
        how it shapes public discourse so that Israel’s
        actions are perceived sympathetically by the American
        public. Groups in the lobby direct campaign
        contributions to encourage politicians to adopt
        pro-Israel positions. They write articles, letters,
        and op-eds defending Israel’s actions, and they go to
        great lengths to discredit or marginalize anyone who
        criticizes U.S. support for Israel. The
        American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is
        the lobby’s most powerful organization, and it openly
        touts its influence over U.S. Middle East policy.
        Prominent politicians from both parties acknowledge
        AIPAC’s power and effectiveness. Former House Minority
        Leader Richard Gephardt once observed that if AIPAC
        were not “fighting on a daily basis to strengthen [the
        relationship], it would not be.”

        We also traced the lobby’s impact on recent U.S.
        policies, including the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
        Neoconservatives inside and outside the Bush
        administration, as well as leaders of a number of
        prominent pro-Israel organizations, played key roles
        in making the case for war. We believe the United
        States would not have attacked Iraq without their
        efforts. That said, these groups and individuals did
        not operate in a vacuum, and they did not lead the
        country to war by themselves. For instance, the war
        would probably not have occurred absent the Sept. 11,
        2001, terrorist attacks, which helped convince
        President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick
        Cheney to support it.

        With Saddam Hussein removed from power, the Israel
        lobby is now focusing on Iran, whose government seems
        determined to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite its own
        nuclear arsenal and conventional military might,
        Israel does not want a nuclear Iran. Yet neither
        diplomacy nor economic sanctions are likely to curb
        Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. Few world leaders favor
        using force to deal with the problem, except in Israel
        and the United States. AIPAC and many of the same
        neoconservatives who advocated attacking Iraq are now
        among the chief proponents of using military force
        against Iran.

        There is nothing improper about pro-Israel advocates
        trying to influence the Bush administration. But it is
        equally legitimate for others to point out that groups
        like AIPAC and many neoconservatives have a commitment
        to Israel that shapes their thinking about Iran and
        other Middle East issues. More important, their
        perspective is not the last word on what is good for
        Israel or the United States. In fact, their
        prescriptions might actually be harmful to both
        countries.

        John J. Mearsheimer is professor of political science
        at the University of Chicago and the author of The
        Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: W.W.
        Norton, 2001).

        Stephen M. Walt is professor of international affairs
        at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
        University. His most recent book is Taming American
        Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (New York:
        W.W. Norton, 2005).
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        An Uncivilized Argument
        By Aaron Friedberg
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3507

        John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are engaging in a
        stunning display of intellectual arrogance. From their
        Olympian perch, the authors, apparently alone, see
        what is truly in America’s national interest. While
        others cower in silence, they brave accusations of
        antiSemitism to speak truth to power. If the American
        people persist in seeing Israel in a positive light,
        it is because they have been manipulated and
        misinformed. Those who advocate policies with which
        the authors disagree are either unwitting dupes or
        active agents of a foreign power. In response to their
        critics, Mearsheimer and Walt recently lamented the
        difficulty of having a “civilized discussion about the
        role of Israel in American foreign policy.” If that is
        the end they truly seek, they chose a distinctly
        uncivilized way to begin.

        Although the authors say they believe that the United
        States still has an interest in Israel’s wellbeing,
        they do their best to demolish any conceivable
        rationale for continued American support of that
        country. In their view, Israel has become a strategic
        liability, provoking Islamist jihadis and stirring
        antiAmericanism. Morally, Mearsheimer and Walt
        proclaim, Israel is no better than its adversaries.
        That is a distorted accounting. Israel is a democracy,
        and its enemies are authoritarians of various stripes.
        Although the authors choose to ignore it, there is an
        obvious moral distinction between combatants who send
        suicide bombers to kill civilians and those who target
        terrorist commanders.

        That is not to say that everything Israel does is
        right or deserving of American support. For more than
        a decade, Washington has sought to broker a settlement
        that will lead to Israel’s withdrawal to defensible
        borders from virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza
        (territories taken, it should be recalled, in a war...
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The Mind-set Matters
        By Dennis Ross
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3508

        John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt are troubled by the
        power and influence of the Israel lobby in Washington.
        The tone and argument of their essay in this magazine
        is more reasoned than their original working paper,
        but it suffers from the same flawed premise: U.S.
        foreign policy in the Middle East is distorted by this
        seemingly allpowerful lobby.

        According to Mearsheimer and Walt, the Israel lobby is
        governed by its concern for Israel, not America. They
        say it drove the United States into a disastrous war
        in Iraq and is now pushing for a similarly dangerous
        war against Iran.

        Mearsheimer and Walt discuss other maladies caused by
        the lobby, but it’s their concern about U.S. policies
        toward Iraq and Iran that have principally motivated
        them to “expose” the lobby.

        No one questions the propriety of debating our policy
        choices in Iraq, Iran, or anywhere else. But such
        debates should be based on reality. To say that the
        Israel lobby is largely responsible for the U.S.
        invasion of Iraq presumes that elected leaders, their
        worldviews, and extraordinary events such as those on
        Sept. 11, 2001, don’t matter. Mearsheimer and Walt
        should know better.

        Regardless of their position on the war in Iraq, do
        they seriously doubt that the mindset of the man
        sitting in the Oval Office made a big difference? Al
        Gore was against going to war in 2002 and 2003. Yet,
        Al Gore was closer to leaders of the “Israel lobby”
        throughout his career than was President George W.
        Bush.

        The reality is, neither the Israel lobby nor
        neoconservatives convinced Bush to go to war.
        September 11 did. Prior to 9/11, Bush’s Iraq policy
        was one of “smart sanctions”—the containment of the
        Iraqi regime, not its overthrow. His worldview changed
        on 9/11. He came to believe that America could...
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        A Dangerous Exemption
        By Zbigniew Brzezinski
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3509

        Given that the Middle East is currently the central
        challenge facing America, Professors John Mearsheimer
        and Stephen Walt have rendered a public service by
        initiating a muchneeded public debate on the role of
        the “Israel lobby” in the shaping of U.S. foreign
        policy.

        The participation of ethnic or foreignsupported
        lobbies in the American policy process is nothing new.
        In my public life, I have dealt with a number of them.
        I would rank the IsraeliAmerican, CubanAmerican, and
        ArmenianAmerican lobbies as the most effective in
        their assertiveness. The Greek and TaiwaneseAmerican
        lobbies also rank highly in my book. The
        PolishAmerican lobby was at one time influential
        (Franklin Roosevelt complained about it to Joseph
        Stalin), and I daresay that before long we will be
        hearing a lot from the Mexican, Hindu, and
        ChineseAmerican lobbies as well.

        Mearsheimer and Walt are critical of the proIsrael
        lobby and of Israel’s conduct in a number of
        historical instances. They are outspoken regarding
        Israel’s prolonged mistreatment of the Palestinians.
        They are, in brief, generally critical of Israel’s
        policy and, thus, could be labeled as being in some
        respects antiIsrael. But an antiIsrael bias is not the
        same as antiSemitism. To argue as much is to claim an
        altogether unique immunity for Israel, untouchable by
        the kind of criticism that is normally directed at the
        conduct of states.

        Anyone who recalls World War II knows that
        antiSemitism is the unbridled and irrational hatred of
        Jews. The case made by Mearsheimer and Walt did not
        warrant the hysterical charges of antiSemitism leveled
        at them by several academics in selfdemeaning attacks
        published in leading U.S. newspapers. Sadly, some even
        stooped to McCarthyite accusations of guilt by
        association, triumphantly citing the endorsement of
        Mearsheimer and...
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The Complex Truth
        By Shlomo Ben-Ami
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3509

        Mearsheimer and Walt’s focus on the Israel lobby’s
        influence on America’s Middle East policy is grossly
        overblown. They portray U.S. politicians as being
        either too incompetent to understand America’s
        national interest, or so undutiful that they would
        sell it to any pressure group for the sake of
        political survival. Sentiment and idealism certainly
        underlie America’s commitment to Israel. But so do the
        shared interests and considerations of realpolitik.

        President Richard Nixon, no friend of the Jews, sided
        with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War not to
        protect Israel from Soviet invasion, but to serve
        America’s national interest. Israel was just a pawn in
        Nixon’s great game of the Cold War, and it was thanks
        to U.S. arms shipments to Israel that America was able
        to disrupt the SovietEgyptian alliance, eventually
        dismantling Soviet hegemony in the region. Two decades
        later, according to President George H.W. Bush,
        “thousands of lobbyists”—presumably many of whom were
        Jewish—fought his policy, but that did not prevent him
        from dragging then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak
        Shamir to a peace conference in Madrid against his
        will. Nor did “the lobby” prevent Bush’s predecessor,
        Ronald Reagan, from distancing himself from Israel by
        officially recognizing the Palestine Liberation
        Organization. And it did not stop President Bill
        Clinton from offering unconditional sovereignty to the
        Palestinians on the Temple Mount, the holiest of
        Jewish sites.

        The United States, Mearsheimer and Walt would have us
        believe, has failed to force Israel to offer the
        Palestinians a viable state, and it has consistently
        backed the Israeli approach to peace negotiations.
        These uninformed assertions misunderstand America’s
        role. The Palestinians have never really expected...
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        Mearsheimer and Walt Respond
        By John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
        July/August 2006

        http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3511

        We are grateful to Zbigniew Brzezinski for his
        incisive defense of our article. But one point of
        clarification is necessary. Brzezinski says that we
        might be called “in some respects antiIsrael.” To be
        clear, although we are critical of some Israeli
        policies, we categorically support Israel’s existence.
        But we believe the lobby’s influence harms U.S. and
        Israeli interests.

        Regrettably, Aaron Friedberg’s comments demonstrate
        why it is difficult to have a candid discussion of
        America’s intimate relationship with Israel. He
        accuses us of a “stunning display of intellectual
        arrogance,” then labels our arguments “inflammatory,”
        “distinctly uncivilized,” “irresponsible,” and
        “slanderous.” He even invokes the nowfamiliar charge
        of antiSemitism, by hinting that our article contains
        “the most unsavory of historical echoes.” But he
        provides no evidence to support these charges.
        Friedberg does not challenge our claim that AIPAC and
        other proIsrael organizations exert a marked influence
        on U.S. Middle East policy. Instead, he invents
        arguments that we do not make, claiming, for example,
        that we accuse Israel’s supporters of “treason.” We
        make no such charge and never would. Friedberg and
        other supporters of Israel advocate policies that they
        think will benefit both the United States and Israel.
        That is neither improper nor illegitimate. But we
        believe the policies they advocate sometimes clash
        with U.S. national security interests, and that their
        feelings for Israel sometimes color their views of
        U.S. policy.
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