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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
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The Israel Lobby,¡± by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard¡¯s John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for challenging what had been a taboo issue in America: the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. ?Now in a work of major importance, Mearsheimer and Walt deepen and expand their argument and confront recent developments in Lebanon and Iran. They describe the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel and argues that this support cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds. This exceptional relationship is due largely to the political influence of a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Mearsheimer and Walt provocatively contend that the lobby has a far-reaching impact on America¡¯s posture throughout the Middle East¡ªin Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict¡ªand the policies it has encouraged are in neither America¡¯s national interest nor Israel¡¯s long-term interest. The lobby¡¯s influence also affects America¡¯s relationship with important allies and increases dangers that all states face from global jihadist terror. ?Writing in The New York Review of Books, Michael Massing declared, ¡°Not since Foreign Affairs magazine published Samuel Huntington¡¯s ¡®The Clash of Civilizations?¡¯ in 1993 has an academic essay detonated with such force.¡± The publication of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is certain to widen the debate and to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

Customer Reviews:

  • Shoody scholarship
    These two men had an agenda to sell. In the entire scope of their research, they did not interview even one person from the Israel lobby. If someone was writing a book on Hamas, you would expect them to try to interview officials from Hamas, especially if they lived in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. Walt lives in Cambridge, a mere 1.5 hour flight from Washington DC. Yet, they did not even seek to interview a single person from AIPAC, the AJC, the JNF, or any one of the many Jewish organizations that exist! This shoddy scholarship is meant to perpetuate their hateful view of Israel and its lobby. These men have been trained in how to do proper case study research. They know the importance of primary sources and firsthand interviews. Thus, they made the strategic choice to avoid interviewing a single member of the Israel lobby. The book suffers as a result. ...more info
  • A list of lies and innuendo
    Well, where to start. The book says that the "Israel lobby" engineered the Iraq war. Funny, as Sharon told Bush over the phone not to invade Iraq. He then sent a delegation to tell Bush not to invade Iraq. He then came himself, twice. But Bush invaded anyway.
    The Israel lobby obviously doesn't do a good job of pushing what Israel wants :)
    You have to just stop there with this book, its really all made up and pretty much represents the inversion of the truth.
    I guess "academic" is a license to print money in the way you want it ..........more info
  • I salute these courageous writers for their courage and their outstanding scholarship.
    A book long overdue, "The Israeli Lobby" exposes how pro-Israel Americans work to influence US politics towards policies and decisions that favor Israel at the expense of the United States.

    I could go on in detail about how this book is a veritable jewel that exposes the pro-Israel lobbyists in our country - but I don't want to spoil anything for anybody. Guaranteed to anger, shock, and bewilder you.

    Read it with an open mind - this work may be one of the most important books about US politics and US foreign relations written in many years....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
  • 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
  • Are the Authors Anti-Semites? Maybe Not. But Anti-Semites LOVE this book.
    I just saw a video of Walt. In the course of 30:40 he denied that he was an anti-Semite so many times, I lost count. And perhaps he isn't an anti-Semite, but he is certainly defensive about it.

    Maybe he isn't an anti-Semite. But anti-Semites LOVE this book.

    Many, many reviewers comment that this book is shoddy scholarship. "Shoddy" is not a word generally associated with the Ivy League. But if the aim was to produce something very quickly, so as to be able to market it and attract invitations from the speakers' circuit, then the book did its job well. He will be speaking mostly to "activists," who really don't want "scholarship," but rather need to have their own prejudices confirmed and articulated in pithy slogans. This book will serve well those who, in spite of their affiliation with universities, like to highly reduce complex situations into "good" and "evil." It will certainly please those who usually presume that anything Western is bad and that anything Third World is good. It will be adored by those who define Israel as "right wing," racist" "apartheid" "militaristic" and "right wing," but forgive any Arab infraction as "left wing," no matter how authoritarian, misogynist racist, anti-Semitic, or homophobic. "Political correctness" stops at our shores.

    I'll tell you one thing: he can't pronounce a Hebrew word correctly.

    Of course when he spoke to CAIR, I understand that he used the terms "Jewish lobby" more freely. I suppose he thought there were no Jews there or that it wasn't being recorded.

    After he penned his initial essay in London, he lamented that he couldn't ever publish this in the USA. There would be too much fallout form "the lobby." Of course that was before he signed his lucrative book contract. Now he (nicely) supplements his professor's salary spreading his "warnings" on college campuses from coast to coast.

    But since he is "very scholarly" and "very fair" and since we are supposed to believe that he doesn't have an agenda, why doesn't he also write a book called "The Oil Lobby"? Then he can neurotically deny to everybody that he is not anti-Muslim, too....more info
    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
  • Why so much of the world dislikes America
    In my opinion the book confirms what so many Americans know but refuse to admit - the Israel Lobby is a noose around America's neck. It clearly states the strong and often questionable propaganda tactics used by the lobby to paint Israel in an always favorable light to the American public and convince members of congress to support or not support legislative issues in Israel's favor. The 4 billion plus dollars in "aid" that is given to Israel at the beginning of each year (so they can invest it thereby creating a drain on the US Treasury) instead of in installments, as aid is given to deserving countries, is clearly explained in the book. The authors in fairness state they are not anti Jewish but instead try to point out the unfairness that has for so long been, and continues to be, a deterrent in creating a harmonious relationship in the Middle East, and for that matter throughout the world. And again in my own opinion - what strategic interest does Israel hold for the US anyway??? ...more info
  • Striking!
    Great book on the functioning and effectiveness of the Isrel loby and its dramatic effect on the US foreign policy. I could not find any "anti-semitist" statement in the book. Yet, the accusations to the authors after their article show how untolerating and silencing the loby is. The US public needs to be a lot more aware on the issues discussed in the book and this is a perfect book to get a good idea. To my opinion, improved public awareness is pretty much the only way to bring the power of loby to proportion....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
  • This is a must read for anyone interested in politics!
    Wow! Very impressive! If Mearsheimer and Walt's analysis doesn't convince you of the power of the Israel lobby, one can only conclude that you are either playing without a full deck or you are somehow benefiting from the Lobby's power and want knowledge of the Lobby suppressed....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
  • 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
  • A much needed criticque
    I saw this book at a bookstore and thought that lobby is something on which comment is necessary to promote intellectual honesty. I listened to the recorded version, hence the "only" 4-stars.

    While I've said in other reviews, the jury is still out on recorded books, they're great for those of us with limited time to read a volume as long as this one. The major objection I have of the recorded media is that, while listening, one has less time to absorb the facts, let alone a written page to which one may return and refer. Aside from that, the book is a masterpiece.

    While I don't deny that some ethnic groups have suffered more than others, I've always had problems with a few who base their entitlement on their degree of victimization. (My inlaws insist that they, as Catholics are perpetually victimized. I remind them that we haven't had a candidate in the Know Nothing Party for a few years anyway!) Indeed, I've been afraid that the Israel lobby has triumphed at that art: we were bigger victims than anyone, therefore are entitled, to military aid, to a human rights record to put others to shame, etc., etc., etc. And the moment one challenges that entitlement, s/he is labled as an anti-Semite, even a Nazi sympathizer (!) or (?) a holocaust denier. That always struck me as at least intellectual dishonesty, if not worse.

    (An irony of that too is that, as someone reminded me years ago, most of the Arabs who are shunned and demonized by the lobby are Semites too!)

    The authors start with the fact that they'd been commissioned to write an article on the subject by a noted periodical, which, once the article was completed, turned them down. So eventually they wrote the book.

    Again, I don't have a "text" here to review the specifics--hence my criticism of the "recorded" medium. But I do recall that they repeat several times that they do support a Jewish state. In other words, they're not "anti-Isreal." Yet they too, when critical of the subject which makes up the book's title, are called anti-Semitic.

    The text allows for countless examples of how one-sided the "lobby" tends to be. In the US, we hear constantly of how victimized the Israelis are, yet hear little of the suffering of the Palestinians--colonized by Isreal with little if any regard for the rights of the colonized--or how the PLO, for example, WAS interested in treaties, yet the Israelis refuse to even consider them.

    I wish I had the "hard copy" of the book here to refer to, but it does confirm my suspicion of the lobby. The authors provide ample evidence that even American Jews do not support much of what the lobby represents. And many who're stalwart supporters of the lobby are not Jewish. (There are some reviewers who've mentioned that many of the neocons who make up the spine of the lobby are Jewish, and infer anti-Semitism. I didn't know that many are Jewish, consider the fact irrelevant, and remind many that some of the strongest supporters, e.g., John Bolton, are NOT Jewish, but inflexibly neoconservative. Which label is more significant, Jewish or neocon?)

    I also point out something that the authors remind the reader: that some of the harshest critics of Israeli policy are in the Israeli press. Those in Israel are more exposed to much of the absurdity of the lobby than we are here in the country whose credibility is under attack BECAUSE of our unwavering support of repressive Israeli policies.

    I think it's very important that we be able to open doors to the discussion of the lobby's policies and US support of them, without being labled as evil entities. This book may have begun to open those doors, one hopes anyway. But I recommend you read it rather than listen to it, so you have more specifics in arguing with the lobby--and particularly challenging those many "lawmakers" who succumb to the lobby without challenge (some of those lawmakers are Jewish, many are neocon "Christians.")

    By the way, I don't agree with everything the authors state. For example, they attribute our invasion of Iraq as having more to do with the lobby than that of the oil companies. That claim may be challengable. But let's at least talk about it!

    I'm reminded of a conversation I had with the local Islamic Student Association late in 2001. After Bush gave his rousing speech after 9/11, one of the members of that association, with the agreement of others, said it was a pretty powerful testament, until Bush added, "and our support for Israel." At that point, the students suggested, Bush lost the support of a billion people.

    Perhaps it's about time we're at least honest with each other about the inordinate power of the Israel lobby. Maybe it should fit more tightly within parameters of need--How much aide to we give to a relatively developed and small state?--and of credibility worldwide. Denying the open discussion may at least be a challenge to democracy, and our nation's credibility!...more info
  • everything as promised
    great book. quite thorough and informative and based on factual information in contrast to most nonsense nowadays in the age of cable talking heads and their useless opinions. highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject along with jimmy carter's palestine peace not appartheid. ...more info
  • True to the US, true to Canada
    Walt and Mearsheimer's book is an extremely important and cannily argued exposition of the war that has been waged against academics in the US and elsewhere -- including, to name a few, the late Edward Said, Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein and Michael Scheuer -- who have dared question the uncritical support that Western governments have given Israel as it continues its oppression of Palestinians (and Lebanese). While some of the individuals mentioned above (Pappe, Finkelstein) have seen their careers affected because of their views, Said, Scheuer, Walt and Mearsheimer, for their part, have been accused of being ant-Semitic, in what often was more an emotional response that precluded rational thinking than a well-formulated counterargument. Finkelstein's recent brush with Israeli authorities, which resulted in his deportation from Israel and his being barred entry for 10 years, serves as the epitome of the treatment reserved academics who tell truth to power.

    My own experience, as a Canadian who worked in security intelligence and now as a writer/academic, has been similar. At the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), where I worked as an analyst from 2003-2005, my views on Israel and Canada's unquestioning support for its policies often went against the organizational paradigm, and on more than one occasion I was told, in no uncertain terms, that my career as an intelligence officer would suffer if I continued to criticize that support. The callousness of some Israeli agents I met in the course of my work, or the manner in which they completely overestimated the Palestinian or Hezbollah threat, was nothing less than shocking. As such, the official and tacit Israeli lobby is also very much alive in Canada, a subject I touch on in my book Smokescreen: Canadian security intelligence after September 11, 2001 .

    Now a writer and editor in Taipei, Taiwan, I have published some articles on Israel, which for some reason many like to see as facing a plight similar to Taiwan's -- a false analogy that I have sought to dispel on a number of occasions. There, too, far away from Western circles, the attacks came, more often than not in the form of character assassination rather than arguments worthy of the name.

    It took great courage, I am sure, for Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer to write their article, and then turn it into a book. But it is a worthy polemic which, if heeded not only in the US but elsewhere, would ironically help ensure that Israel faces the prospects of a better, safer future, which its people certainly deserve -- only not at the expense of Palestinians, Lebanese and academic freedom....more info
  • Every myth about Israel fully exposed! A masterpiece!
    I'm not the typical guy interested in politics. In fact, I'm the typical father who goes to work from 9 to 5, comes home really tired and watches whatever CNN dumps on my TV. But based on a suggestion from my brother, I started reading this book. As soon as I finished reading the introduction, I immediately got addicted to it! Not only I bought the audio version but also a copy of the printed version! The audio version has been the radio station in my car for the last two months. I'm already listening to the whole thing the second time.

    Based on this book, I praise Mr. Walt and Mr. Mearsheimer for being two of the most intelligent, open-minded scholars in the world. They're literally human encyclopedias. Rather than empty opinions and vague assumptions, they provide an UNBELIEVABLE amount of facts and evidence to explain the damage that the Israel lobby has been inflicting in the United States, the nation that we, Americans, love.

    Now I understand why it's really hypocritical to see all presidential candidates always praising Israel for its democracy and supposed strategic value, when in fact, it's a country whose government commits many human rights violations against the Palestinians and has helped increase anti-American sentiment around the planet. And based on Mr. Walt's and Mr. Mearsheimer's detailed explanation, including facts and numerous quotes from officials, there's no doubt that (1) 9/11 happpened partially because of Israel's policies against the Arabs, and (2) the United States invaded Iraq more because of Israel than our own national interests.

    But rest assured that Mr. Walt and Mr. Mearsheimer are only criticizing the pro-Israel lobby and our bad foreign policies. This book has nothing to do with anti-semitism and senseless criticism against Jews or any other group. In fact, the authors clearly argue that many Jews in Israel are also against the policies their government endorses. This book is a must-read for everyone worried about the future of our nation in the international arena. ...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
  • CNN reports a Nazi victim says "pursuing war criminals not worth it"
    just when the world finally started to pursue the american war criminals with a little less threat of a certain nuclear / chemical / biological massacre of their people by the US war criminals themselves.

    while CNN never gave a forum for the authors of this book.

    enough said. that's why corporate media which have been the propaganda machine for the fascist war criminals will perish sooner than later, as they should.
    ...more info
  • A book for people who value TRUTH. Condemned by those that wish to conceal it.
    This book is explosive. The fact that it was ever even published is a feat unto itself. This book should be read by anyone who wishes to further their understanding of US policies both here and in the Middle East. The scholarship of this book is thorough and the facts that are set forth have created a firestorm of debate. I would urge anyone to not only READ this book for themselves but to also seek further information about these topics through their own queries and investigations....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