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  • The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

    As a disclaimer, I'm only putting this out because of the controversial nature of the subject. I haven't read the whole report, but I think it's way out there, and puts together far too many assumptions. None the less, I like reading alternative views, and this paper certainly falls within that category.

    Abstract:
    The centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. Though often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the "Israel Lobby." This paper describes the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.


    Synopsis:
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

    Full paper:
    http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011/$File/rwp_06_011_walt.pdf

  • #2
    Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

    I find it quite rude that 2 people gave this thread a 3.0 rating yet never responded, their comments would be welcomed on this controversial issue.

    It was an interesting read, and sometimes it helps to try and see the debate from the other side of the table. The report is correct in that people are afraid to be critical of Isreali policies in fear of being intimidated by being labled "anti-semetic", or the public sentiment of "they were murdered in the holocaust, how can you be against them now!"
    I haven't read the whole report, but I think it's way out there, and puts together far too many assumptions
    Can you please give some examples out of interest?
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    • #3
      Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

      I haven't read the paper yet, but I have read a lot of other materials on this very issue. I'll try and take a look at it tomorrow and see what it says. Personally I think the US should cease support for all middle eastern countries including Israel.
      Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

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      • #4
        Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

        Alan Dershowitz was on Scarborough last night (no, I don't know why I was watching it :() and he was ranting about how awful and anti-semitic the paper was. Which was funny, because one of the major arguments of the paper was that any criticisms of Israeli policy is invariably met with claims of anti-semitism. He also pulled this weird rhetorical fake out. He said the paper was false and bad and that he had offered to debate the authors. The authors gave him a non-committal maybe/probably not. Dershowitz then claimed that, since they refused to debate, he won by default, and therefore the paper was without merit. Without, you know, actually countering any of the points of the paper with facts or anything.

        What a butthole. I hate pundits.

        As for the paper itself, they have some excellent points. The Pollard and Franklin spying scandals, for example, are events that have never really been adequately discussed in a public forum. More than a few clear-thinking open-minded people have questioned the wisdom of linking our foreign policy so closely to an ally that frequently acts against our bests interests.

        The paper seems most concerned, however, with our old friends Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz and their crusade against professors who disagree with them. Even outside the context of our relationship with Israel, that is a disturbing and potentially poisonous trend in politics and academia.
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        • #5
          Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

          While Al Queda remains a concern and while Israel remains most definitely NOT infiltrated by Al Queda sympathizers, we will remain strong allies, and rightly so.

          Yes they have spied on us. Who doubts that we have had spies in Israel? Or Britain? Or Australia? Or vice-versa?

          Israel has been on the whole a strong and good ally of the United States. It would be a shameful and disasterous policy to abandon them to their nieghbors, who have attempted to invade three times, and to withdraw from the region.

          Traditionally Israel-bashing has been relegated to the likes of David Duke and Patrick Buchanan. Odd bed-fellows.

          We are and have been strategic partners with Israel. They aren't perfect. Neither are we. But both sides have worked together to make the partnership work. Surely us married folks understand that.

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          • #6
            Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

            Originally posted by leejo
            While Al Queda remains a concern and while Israel remains most definitely NOT infiltrated by Al Queda sympathizers, we will remain strong allies, and rightly so.

            Yes they have spied on us. Who doubts that we have had spies in Israel? Or Britain? Or Australia? Or vice-versa?

            Israel has been on the whole a strong and good ally of the United States. It would be a shameful and disasterous policy to abandon them to their nieghbors, who have attempted to invade three times, and to withdraw from the region.

            Traditionally Israel-bashing has been relegated to the likes of David Duke and Patrick Buchanan. Odd bed-fellows.

            We are and have been strategic partners with Israel. They aren't perfect. Neither are we. But both sides have worked together to make the partnership work. Surely us married folks understand that.
            The report focuses more on the power that Isreali lobbying has over the US Congress and Executive branch, especially with the neo-conservatives. It's more of an issue of who has more influence over our foreign policy, the american government and public opinion or a foreign entity's lobbying group (Isreal).

            I wouldn't advise completely abandoning Isreal either, but I would want a sincere and open debate about Isreal's policies and actions in the middle east and if those advance what america really wants, without intimidation and the fear of being labled anti-semetic.

            And didn't Isreal invade neighboring countries under an expansionist agenda, not the other way around?

            The paper seems most concerned, however, with our old friends Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz and their crusade against professors who disagree with them. Even outside the context of our relationship with Israel, that is a disturbing and potentially poisonous trend in politics and academia.
            Agreed, this didn't settle well with me either.
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            • #7
              Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

              Originally posted by aeroripper
              And didn't Isreal invade neighboring countries under an expansionist agenda, not the other way around?
              Depends who you ask. ;)
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              • #8
                Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                Originally posted by AMosely
                I haven't read the whole report, but I think it's way out there, and puts together far too many assumptions
                I agree. It's hard...well maybe not...it's depressing that this paper passes as being the product of good academic thought.

                Aeroripper, I'm not going to pull out a highlighter for you, but I bet that AMosely is suggesting that whenever you see an unqualified term like "Israel’s backers also argue that it deserves unqualified U.S. support because..." you should run for your fact-checking. Imagine the howls if Bush said something like that. Talk about straw man!

                But here's a point for starters:

                Most recently, the Bush Administration’s attempt to transform the region into a community of democracies has helped produce a resilient insurency in Iraq, a sharp rise in world oil prices, and terrorist bombings in Madrid, London, and Amman.
                This supposes that the Saddam Hussein regime would be preferable to the insurgency, that Bush’s intervention in the middle east has more to do with the rise in oil prices than Hugo Chavez’s election in Venezuela, Iran’s nuclear policy, and China and India’s economic growth, and that the bombings in London, Madrid, and Amman wouldn't have happened had the USA not lead the invasion in Iraq. Perhaps not. Maybe the bombings would have been more numerous. Who knows? Certainly not Mearsheimer and Walt.

                FWIW I reject those suppositions. This paper reads like someone out to do a hatchet job on Israel and looking for data to support their position rather than someone who'd done a serious study on the relationship between the Israeli lobby and US foreign policy. Read Hans Blix's reports to the UN if you want to see someone working hard not to jump to conclusions.

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                • #9
                  Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                  Anti-Jew deja-vu has some interesting points relevant to this discussion.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                    Originally posted by aeroripper
                    And didn't Isreal invade neighboring countries under an expansionist agenda, not the other way around?
                    Originally posted by Steeler
                    Depends who you ask. ;)
                    What parcel of land, if any, do you think Israel holds as the result of an aggressive war that they started?

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                    • #11
                      Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                      Most recently, the Bush Administration’s attempt to transform the region into a community of democracies has helped produce a resilient insurency in Iraq, a sharp rise in world oil prices, and terrorist bombings in Madrid, London, and Amman.

                      This supposes that the Saddam Hussein regime would be preferable to the insurgency, that Bush’s intervention in the middle east has more to do with the rise in oil prices than Hugo Chavez’s election in Venezuela, Iran’s nuclear policy, and China and India’s economic growth, and that the bombings in London, Madrid, and Amman wouldn't have happened had the USA not lead the invasion in Iraq. Perhaps not. Maybe the bombings would have been more numerous. Who knows? Certainly not Mearsheimer and Walt.

                      FWIW I reject those suppositions. This paper reads like someone out to do a hatchet job on Israel and looking for data to support their position rather than someone who'd done a serious study on the relationship between the Israeli lobby and US foreign policy. Read Hans Blix's reports to the UN if you want to see someone working hard not to jump to conclusions.
                      Iraq was stable under saddam pre-invasion, even if he was a brutal dictator. I don't recall civil war breaking out in Iraq a possibility, or the fear that it could draw other regional countries into the war. Saddamns threat to the US was highly exagerrated.

                      We can't say the bombings would or wouldn't have happened anyways, but I'd imagine the Iraq war isn't helping things. The report makes the same assumptions you are, how would we get answers for these hypotheticals without having a time machine?

                      Originally posted by leejo
                      Right! Feeds right into your world view, doesn't it?
                      Nope, straight out of the article. Snappy comeback though, I'm highly aroused!

                      Originally posted by leejo
                      What parcel of land, if any, do you think Israel holds as the result of an aggressive war that they started?
                      Gaza, Golan Heights, and the west bank.
                      Last edited by aeroripper; 03-22-2006, 10:31 PM.
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                      • #12
                        Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                        And during which war did they take this land?

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                        • #13
                          Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                          Originally posted by leejo
                          And during which war did they take this land?
                          The six day war in 1967.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War
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                          • #14
                            Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                            Right. And you consider Israel to be the aggressor in that conflict, even though Egypt closed the straits, a legal justification for war under international law? And you consider Israel to be the aggressor by responding to the subsequent Syrian and Jordanian attacks?

                            Bear in mind that the Six Day war happened after the War of 1948, when Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon invaded Israel and the subsequent 20 years of terror attacks on its citizens and other hostile acts by its neighbors.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

                              They still hold these territories, although the aggressor countries were not a match against Israel once their launched their attack.

                              You win this round leejo.
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