Stuff You Won't Find in the History Books
The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
And we might now also include the apparent determination to "democratise" Iran in the same way as was done with Iraq - in other words, destruction and emasculation of the only remaining military challenge to Israel in the Middle East.|
Introduction from Paper:
The U.S. national interest should be the primary object of American foreign policy. For the past several decades, however, and especially since the Six Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.
This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives.
As we show below, however, neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel.
Instead, the overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics, and especially to the activities of the "Israel Lobby."
Other special interest groups have managed to skew U.S. foreign policy in directions they favored, but no lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical.
In the pages that follow, we describe how the Lobby has accomplished this feat, and how its activities have shaped America’s actions in this critical region. Given the strategic importance of the Middle East and its potential impact on others, both Americans and non‐Americans need to understand and address the Lobby’s influence on U.S. policy.
Some readers will find this analysis disturbing, but the facts recounted here are not in serious dispute among scholars. Indeed, our account relies heavily on the work of Israeli scholars and journalists, who deserve great credit for shedding light on these issues. We also rely on evidence provided by respected Israeli and international human rights organizations.
Similarly, our claims about the Lobby’s impact rely on testimony from the Lobby’s own members, as well as testimony from politicians who have worked with them. Readers may reject our conclusions, of course, but the evidence on which they rest is not controversial.
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The paper was written by John J. Mearsheimer, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago; and Stephen M. Walt; John F. Kennedy School of Government; Harvard University; March 2006
An edited and reworked version of this paper was published in the London Review of Books Vol. 28, No. 6 (March 23, 2006), and is available online at www.lrb.co.uk
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE GREAT BENEFACTOR
A STRATEGIC LIABILITY
A DWINDLING MORAL CASE
THE ISRAEL LOBBY
THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG