The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
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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 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.



In March 2006, in the London Review of Books, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government published one of the most hotly debated articles in recent memory. "The Israel Lobby" provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for breaking the silence surrounding the most taboo political question: What is the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy—and is it in the national interest?
Including new material on recent developments, as well as deepening and expanding on the arguments presented in their original article, Mearsheimer and Walt describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and contend that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This close alliance is, they argue, 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 conclude that the policies and positions adopted by the U.S. as a result are in neither America's national interest nor Israel's long-term interest—and they have far-reaching implications around the world, from Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon to America's relationships with its allies, to the spread of 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." Mearsheimer and Walt's argument has been widely—and sometimes heatedly—covered in the national and international press and by opinion pages. The publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is certain to expand the debate and to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Customer Reviews:

  • A must read
    This is a must read to understand the political choices of this country. I did not see the bias that some readers claim this book has. ...more info
  • FINALLY!
    Authors present information that's been obvious for years, yet few have the courage to be branded and blacklisted as anti-semitic and write the truth. Zionism is to Palestinians what American pioneerism was to the Native Americans. A terrible blemish on humanity. We should all be ashamed if we support such a cause. ...more info
  • A Must Read!!!
    I truly cannot say enough good things about the book. This book is well-written and well-researched (there are about five endnotes for each page), just the type of high quality scholarship that you would expect from these two well-respected international relations professors (check out their other books too). The authors make an extremely convincing case that the lobby has a huge influence on our executive and legislative branches of government, which has not been a good thing for American foreign policy. ...more info
  • Crucially Important Book For Americans To Read
    Anyone of any political affiliation would do well to read this book as soon as possible. It's thesis, although the authors do not say this explicitly, is that the US has become a pawn of Israel and American Jews. The authors go out of their way to prove their philosemitism and pro-Israel beliefs while presenting their argument. I personally find this kind of boot-licking annoying, especially as it is so common in any literature even remotely critical of Israel, but I also completely understand that without having done so this book would have been gathering dust somewhere, ignored and unread by the masses, if it had been published at all. The fact that it has sold so many copies and received such publicity is a hopeful sign that Americans are starting to wake up and realize that they are being deceived by their government and the media. In addition to shedding light on the specific issues addressed in this book, it will make very clear to anyone with the ability to read between the lines that the Israel Lobby is just the tip of the iceberg. I sincerely hope that this book becomes a stepping stone for everyone who reads it, but is unfamiliar with the Jewish domination of American society, towards further investigation of this century-plus old problem. If the American public does not wake up and demand from its politicians that the Israel Lobby be stopped and vote the Neo-Conservatives out of office (and tried for treason in my opinion) we will further undermine America's already fragile standing in the geopolitical arena. The politicians won't do it, obviously. We, the public, have to. Read this book. Keep investigating Jewish influence in America. Let it make you angry. Tell your friends. Write letters. Protest. Keep going until we have freed ourselves from the stranglehold of Israel. Until then we have no moral authority, less and less political authority and open ourselves up to further acts of terrorism, both physical and psychological, both Islamic and Jewish. I would personally suggest that anyone who agrees with the ideas presented in this book to move on to the works of Kevin MacDonald, especially his "The Culture of Critique". Soon all the pieces of this forbidden puzzle will start to fit together for you. And then keep going further. ...more info
  • PROBLEM? WHAT PROBLEM?
    I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. THE BOOK TENDS TO BE REPETITIVE. I BELIEVE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. I SAW IT IN THE US ARMY 40 YEARS AGO. THE SOLUTIONS PRESENTED AT THE END OF THE BOOK WON'T WORK. NOTHING WILL FIX THIS UNTIL YOUR COUNTRY FAILS. SORRY....more info
  • Shameful anti-Israel bias
    As a PhD candidate in national security policy, I have beceome very familiar with the writings of Mearsheimer and Walt. Until now I had admiored their acumen, but now after reading this muckraking piece of intellectual trash, I have to reconsider all their writings.

    The criticisms are wide and have all been covered by many witers and thinkers of considerable heft. Where do I start? The logical underpinings of this book are baseless. In sorth, U.S. support for Israel is motivated by a commitment to the only established democratic state in the region, widespread sympathy for Jewish suffering in the Holocaust, and Israeli suffering from Palestinian terrorist attacks.

    To the extent that the Israel lobby acts in a cohesive manner (remember that when you get N number of Jews in a room, you always get N+1 opinions), it is undoubtedly a political force to be reckoned with in Washington, but not a force that has any more power than any other lobby. Plus it's a lobby that has no formal organization, no formal communication, and no is apparently made up from anyone who could possible have sympathetic hankerings to Israel.

    Then of course there is the canard that Israel pushed the US to attack Iraq -- not true. Israel would have liked the US to leave Iraq alone and focus on the more iminent threat to Israel, i.e. Iran.

    This "book" (work of fiction?) is so riddled with incorrect facts and poor citations, I can't even get started. I will list a few :

    * Walt and Mearsheimer update the centuries-old "blood libel" by claiming that citizenship in Israel is based on "blood kinship." In fact non-Jews are citizens.
    * The authors intentionally quote David ben-Gurion out of context so as to make it appear that he is saying the exact opposite of what he actually said.
    * The authors claims that "Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists had larger, better-equipped, and better-led forces during the 1947-49 War of Independence...."
    * They insist that "The mainstream Zionist leadership was not interested in establishing a bi-national state or accepting a permanent partition of Palestine." This is entirely false as Israel accepted the original mandate and was attacked at the commmencement of their Statehood.
    * Walt and Measheimer repeat Yasir Arafat's "Bantustan" accusation - that Prime Minister Barak didn't offer the Palestinians a contiguous West Bank in 2000 - concluding, contrary to the published maps, that "no Israeli government has been willing to offer the Palestinians a viable state of their own."

    For more, just look at this extensive rebuttal by an eminent scholar: [...]

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  • Speaking Truth to Power
    An excellent and honest analysis as to why there can never be peace in the Middle East as long as the US is the broker....more info
  • Shoddy scholarship; flawed data = flawed conclusions
    US politicians so often side with Israel because we share common values and common enemies. To think there is some nefarious reason is just a paranoid conspiracy theory.

    Of course the US is biased in favor of Israel. Why would it be desirable to be even-handed between democratic Israel and oppressive, anti-western Arab/Muslim dictatorships? Israel is a democracy with freedom of religion, freedom of press, rights for minorities and women. Israel is a stalwart ally of America and votes more often with the US in the UN than any other country. The Arabs on the other hand have societies whose values we find anathema. Honor killings are rampant. Women are oppressed. Gays are jailed. There is no freedom of religion or freedom of the press. In Saudi Arabia, women aren't even allowed to drive and cannot leave their house without a man's permission. In the Palestinian Authority, religious leaders sermonize that infidels (that's us westerners) are evil, that one should never be friends with a Christian and that all Jews should be killed.

    Now if Walt and Mearsheimer had done a book about the heavy-handed, far-reaching and detrimental effect of the Saudi oil lobby, that would be a book I would want to read. Saudis have funded extremist schools, mosques, professors and chaplains all over the world, including in American universities, highschools, prisons and the military....more info
  • Refreshing call for honest discussion
    Superbly researched and well written, the book is the long overdue start of an open, rational debate on US foreign policy towards Israel, a topic that is sadly discussed far too little given the magnitude of its global importance....more info
  • MUST READ !!!!
    I recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand the influence of the Israel Lobby on US affairs!!!!...more info
  • Excellent Read!!
    The book is a classic!!. It gives a detailed explanation of the currennt U.S policy towards Israel and Palestine..I was shocked to learn about how much influence the Israel lobby wields in the U.S Congress and senate..its a great book..I especially liked the way the authors organized the chapters....and the way the authors make their case and substantiate it with solid evidence and documentation...

    Its about time Israel withdrew from the Occupied Territories and worked towards establishing a Palestine state...



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  • Great Election-Time Reading
    The paperback edition of this book is printed on cheap paper and has a floppy feel, but the content earns it the top rating. The authors give a fine historical background to the current crisis, demonstrating that the U.S. role wasn't problematic until the past 30 to 40 years, during which it gradually worsened. This coincided with the rise of a loose alliance of groups and individuals (not all Jewish) who fostered unconditional support for Israel, which is pretty much the current policy. The book is not anti-Israel, but opposes the unconditional support that hurts the U.S. and perhaps Israel itself (where there is some opposition to the government's policies). The "modus operandi" of the Israel lobby is described, and the vulnerability of politicians to it (such as presidential candidates) explained. The authors make their recommendations for correcting this situation, and document their statements with footnotes that comprise over a quarter of the book (listed at the back, so they don't distract from one's reading.) This extensive documentation was apparently in anticipation of a reflex, blanket accusation of "lies" by the Israel lobby. This book is well worth reading, especially during election season, when the future direction of the U.S. is being determined. ...more info
  • 6, 7, 8, 9...
    In this book there is phenominal research that amazes even academia . In it the authors show the impact of Israel and it's ability to capture the U.S. government. This is a must read for all Americans. Whether you are a supporter of Israel or not this book has important information for all. I have to admit that my opinion was changed after reading this book, and that is no small feat.

    I don't agree with all of the authors' viewpoints, but this book, I have to admit is a phenomenal work that puts to end the controversy of whether there is really an impact from the Israeli lobby or if it is all just made up. They also show the many problems with the U.S.'s system of democracy that allows for its capture by an extreme minority group. Here I wish the the author's had referenced Lowi, but that is ok. They have made history writing this work and I wonder if the Knock out punch is traced back to this publication....more info
  • Well argued and well researched book
    I was intrigued by this book after hearing the authors in an interview on the BBC World Service radio station in which, among other things, they recounted how the lobby had come after them after they published the article that became the basis for this book in the London Review of Books.
    The book is written in a cool, rational style and persuades through carefully accumulated evidence and well structured argument, not assumptions and overheated rhetoric. The section on political fund-raising is particularly shocking, while the statement in the prologue that the 2008 American presidential candidates will disagree on abortion, taxes and a host of other issues, but never gun law or Israel has been proven correct!...more info
  • No longer Taboo
    Let me first start by mentioning that this would be an awfully boring book to someone who is not an Arab-Israeli conflict literature aficionado. It is extremely linear and narrow in scope, but nevertheless argues the point that the AIPAC is considerably influential on US policy towards Israel and other political policies that involve Israel or the Middle East conflict. As well, it argues that this sort of American inclination to Israeli policy, be it fair or not, has not been in the benefit of Israelis, Americans or other countries in the region. The arguments are thoroughly discussed, all statistics referenced, and the analytical inferences made are reasonably logical and...suffice to say I have a completely different view of the role of the U.S. in the Middle East conflict now that I've read this book.

    There book is not offensive in any way, it is not anti-Semitic, and certainly not pro-Arab. In fact, the authors seem to have done their best to filter out subjectivity in the issue and this is truly about as unbiased as you can get discussing an issue that has always been considered Taboo in mainstream media.

    This book is not a treatise and does not have a narrative; rather, it's an extended article. Originally, the topic was summarized in a paper commissioned in 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly, which rejected it (no surprise there). Anyway, a couple of years later the book was published in London and the truth was finally made public.

    The arguments in this book are convincing, the introduction thorough and strives to assure the reader of the author's impartiality, and it closes off with a brilliant conclusion which summarizes the opinions of the authors on how the US should deal with the AIPAC, how the situation in the Middle East and Iraq would've been different if the AIPAC was less influential, and finally they analyze a scenario wherein the roles of Israel in Palestine are reversed, where the Palestinians would have the more influential lobby and the much more generous aid and unconditional diplomatic support of the US.

    Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. It was an eye-opener and a terrific expose on what goes on beyond the doors at Capitol Hill with regards to America's support to Israel....more info
  • It's About Time that the truth of why we are at war with Iraq is fully exposed to the light of day
    The most disturbing thing that this book reveals is that you cannot run for President of the United States and expect to win unless you espouse the views of the lobbies described in this book and that is true whether you are running as a Democrat or a Republican. If you do not believe that this is true you are free to go to youtube and view the recent speeches the candidates for President gave before the most prominent of these lobbies. You can then decide for yourself after listening to the speeches of McCain, Obama and Hillary Clinton. This book is also impeccably sourced and very well written. These two men really did their homework on this subject matter....more info
  • A Road Map to Sanity
    Mearsheimer and Walt have done a great service for public discussion in the US pertaining to Israel and our relationship with that nation.

    They shed a clear light on the existence and influence of the Israeli lobby upon the American government, media, and public opinion. Their view is that this influence has, for the most part, been highly pernicious over the decades. They expose many successful attempts on the part of that lobby and its supporters to besmirch the character and smear anyone who should be so bold as to question the U.S government's fawning support of Israel's policies against the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors.

    Any criticisms directed against Israel are viewed as either: (1) anti-semitic attacks by racist gentile bigots, or (2) self-hating tirades from emotionally and psychologically disturbed Jews. These AIPAC attacks, although crude, Neanderthal in nature, and totally lacking in any creative imagination, are effective enough to strike terror in the wilting souls of our less than totally fearless politicians. When I think of our congressmen and senators hiding under their desks and shaking from the fear of possible AIPAC attacks, I am reminded of a great quote from Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900's about his boss at the time, William McKinley. Teddy commented to the effect that, "...McKinley has the backbone of a chocolate eclair." Actually, Teddy was being a warmonger at the time--McKinley was actually right in his reticence to go to war against the Spanish in Cuba and the Philippines--but Roosevelt's image of political cowardice is timeless.

    The authors' presentation of the facts of the matter and their unfolding reasoned logic is first rate. The book is highly recommended as an exceedingly well-reasoned rejoinder to any and all of your friends and associates who think that our Israeli-Palestinian foreign policy posture couldn't be better. I think they effectively demolish most of the arguments in favor of continuing the failed U.S/Israeli policies of the past into the future.

    They promote the vision of the two state solution for Israel and Palestine with a financial settlement for all of the Palestinians and their families that were displaced by the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. The latter is not a perfect solution, but probably the best available give the deep hostilities between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    Their suggested road map is not guaranteed to get the warring parties to a final satisfactory destination. However, as they point out, the other alternative proposed policies seem only to promise more hatred, bloodshed, war, and despair.

    The one point of view in the book, though, that I would take issue with the authors is the view that oil played only a minor role in our invasion of Iraq. I have no doubt, along with the authors, that the Israeli lobby had a great influence on the Bush administration in helping launch the Iraqi war. However, given the influence of oilmen (Bush, Cheney, etc.) in the Bush administration and the fact that Iraq is rated by many petroleum experts as having the 2nd largest oil reserves in the world (only surpassed by Saudi Arabia), I find it virtually inconceivable that oil was not a major part of the equation for war. It doesn't seem to take a whole lot to corrupt either an oilman or a politician. In this case, we're talking about an enormous amount of oil wealth in Iraq.... Finally, one shouldn't totally dismiss the apparent personal eccentricities and character flaws of Bush and Cheney. Those character traits undoubtedly strongly affected the US's march to war with Iraq.

    The book is well worth your time and money to read. It also would make a great gift to family, friends, and associates that could use a broader exposure to the issues involved in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. ...more info
  • It's boring and full of unsupported assumptions

    I thought this book was going to bring facts and evidence. Instead they just support the majority of their theories on unsupported assumptions; for me it was a waste of time and money...more info
  • A textbook for a logical argument
    I agree with most of the positive review of this book. The notable thing to me is that the book should be a textbook for how to build a logical argument. Rarely in the social sciences and even seldom in the physical sciences has such a thorough case been made for an opinion. The marshaling of evidence and the examination of each alternative explanation makes as solid a logical case as can be imagined. Those who dismiss the book seem to do so based on the acceptability of the conclusions, rather than the evidence. ...more info
  • Stand up knock you to your feet
    The whole point of this book is why do we give so much money to Israel when for many times in history they have lie to us (about having nuclear arms) and why do they do things that are not in our best interest. Congress approves more money in the form of grants rather then loans to Israel then it does for any other country. Many presidents like Carter, Ragan, and Clinton have stood against Congress to not allow these fundings to Israel, yet Congress had continually approved such endeavors that have not only risked security in the middle east but have also undermine our very existence as a Democracy. Israel has yet to prove that they are a Democratic nation because look at their Knesset and ask yourself how many Arabs are represented in their government....more info