Friday, November 03, 2006

More on the Israeli Lobby

Despite the uproar and where you may fall in the debate, the paper published by two International Relations gurus, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, earlier this year did achieve one important feat.... It broke the taboo on the debate itself, breathing life once again into the 1st Amendment. We can at least now ponder the impact of the Israeli policy on our foreign policy without worrying about the stigma of being branded with the big anti-"S" word. (By the way, semitism is not exclusively synonymous with Judaism.)

More importantly, the main point made by M and W is that the Israeli lobby may not be doing either the US or Israel any favors.

I do think that perhaps we can all agree that the Israeli lobby, while perhaps not homogeneous or monolithic, is sizable, effective, and real. And we can openly question and debate whether US foreign policy in the Middle East has been wise and whether this wisdom or lack thereof was/is at all impacted by the Israeli lobby's formidable reach in the US democratic process.

The abstract of the M and W paper reads:

In this paper, John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although 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 goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.
Well, this debate may be getting even larger. This weekend, the Council on the National Interest is running a full-page ad in the New York Times on this very issue. Whether this is a smart move the weekend before we all go to vote on Tuesday depends on how you intend to vote....

From the advert:
By its refusal to deal with Hezbollah as an insurgency that has converted to governance in Lebanon, the United States gave a blank check to Israel, allowing her to attack Lebanon for 34 days and destroy much of the rebuilding that had occurred in the last ten years. The absence of dialogue with emerging Islamic nationalist movements continues to erode our credibility in the region. Congress, under the encouragement of the Lobby, supports the muzzling of sensible diplomacy in favor of confrontation in Lebanon, in Palestine, and with regard to Iran.

While Lebanon burned, so did Gaza and the West Bank. Following the war, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immediately announced plans to expand the largest settlement in the West Bank and canceled plans to withdraw from smaller settlements. The U.S. made ineffective efforts to persuade him to delay the construction announcement. We are doing even less to promote a real peace process in the Middle East. While Palestine collapses into chaos and civil war, neither we nor the Israelis have a policy that leads to defining Israel’s final borders and ending the vindictive and humiliating occupation.



Blogger Renegade Eye said...

See: .

6:38 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Try again.

See: Mearsheimer and Walt give too much credit to the Israeli lobby.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Dahlia said...

Yes, I read that piece plus quite a few others. The point is not really whether or not M & W are right, but rather that we can now have the debate. The more pertinent and wider debate is around how US foreign policy is formed and how susceptible it may or may not be to being hijacked by an interest group representing a small percentage of Americans. The important issue to address is how to protect our democracy from being subverted. I think that a plausible case can be made that US foreign policy vis-a-vis the Middle East has not been in the strategic long term interests of te US. Of course that conclusion assumes a desired end that is in line with conventional thinking and not an end that is more in line with short term corporate interests (think industrial-military complex)

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

أنا لا أحبّ أمريكيات

Well not all of them though :)

I will elaborate later.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Completely off topics.
The USAID is hiring people in Egypt and Lebanon and Palestine to know more about the avian flu. I received this stuff in my email on Friday...

2:19 AM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Your point about the debate is correct.

Actually Democrats are closer to the Zionist state. The debate is not liberal vs conservative.

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The debate is not liberal vs conservative. Could you please elaborate?

10:09 PM  

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