UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper: May 7, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
John J. Mearsheimer & Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. ForeignPolicy,” Working Paper RWP06-011, Harvard University (“edited andreworked version” published in the
London Review of Books
“The U.S. national interest should be theprimary object of American foreign policy.. . . however, and especially since the SixDay War in 1967, the centerpiece of U.S.Middle East policy has been itsrelationship with Israel” (1). This is “duealmost entirely to U.S. domestic politics,and especially to the activities of the‘Israel Lobby’” (1). Facts in this paper“are not serious dispute among scholars”(2).
The Great Benefactor.
Israel thelargest benefactor of U.S. economic andmilitary aid since 1976 (2). U.S. allowsIsrael to spend 25% of military assistanceon subsidizing its own defense industry,turns blind eye to nuclear weapons,offers consistent diplomatic support,rescues Israel in wartime and supports itin peace (3).
A Strategic Liability.
AIPAC claimsthere is a “unique partnership” betweenthe U.S. and Israel (3). Israel “may havebeen a strategic asset” during the ColdWar, but this should not be overstated(4). Gulf War “revealed that Israel wasbecoming a strategic burden” (4). The“shared terrorist threat” argument isweak (4-6). Israel “does not act like aloyal ally” (6-7).
A Dwindling Moral Case.
Moralarguments are “unpersuasive” (8).
Backing the Underdog?
In fact “Israelis the strongest military power in theMiddle East” (8).
Aiding a FellowDemocracy?
Israeli democracy “at oddswith core American values” because itdenies equal rights and refuses aPalestinian state (9).
Compensation forPast Crimes.
Granted that theHolocaust justified the creation of Israel,nevertheless “the creation of Israelinvolved additional crimes against alargely innocent third party: thePalestinians” (10). Expulsion of largenumbers of Arabs (10). Israel leadershave recognized this: Ben-Gurion, GoldaMeir (10-11).
“Virtuous Israelis”versus “Evil Arabs.”
Historical recordbelies this myth (11-14).
The Israel Lobby.
Given this fact, only“the unmatched power of the IsraelLobby” explains continued Americansupport (14).
What Is The Lobby?
“[A]convenient short-hand term for the loosecoalition of individuals and organizationswho actively work to shape U.S. foreignpolicy in a pro-Israel direction” (14). “Butnot all Jewish-Americans are part of theLobby” (14). Among “American Jewishleaders” there is “a strong norm againstcriticizing Israeli policy”(15). American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC)is “the most powerful and well-known” of “an impressive array of organizations”(15). Prominent Christian evangelicalsare a part of the Israel Lobby (15).
Sources of Power.
An “unmatchedability to play this game of interest grouppolitics” (16).
Strategies for Success.
Pressures Congress and the executivewhile seeking to ensure that publicdiscourse is pro-Israel (16-17).
By influencingkey members and staffers and especiallythrough AIPAC, “Israel is virtually immunefrom criticism” in the U.S. Congress (17-18). “AIPAC, which is a
agent fora foreign government, has a strangleholdon the U.S. Congress” (18).
Due in part to influenceon presidential elections throughcampaign contributions (60% of moneyfor Democratic presidential candidatesacc. to