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The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy [Paperback]

John J Mearsheimer , Stephen M Walt
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Jun 2008

Does America's pro-Israel lobby wield inappropriate control over US foreign policy?

This book has created a storm of controversy by bringing out into the open America's relationship with the Israel lobby: a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape foreign policy in a way that is profoundly damaging both to the United States and Israel itself.

Israel is an important, valued American ally, yet Mearsheimer and Walt show that, by encouraging unconditional US financial and diplomatic support for Israel and promoting the use of its power to remake the Middle East, the lobby has jeopardized America's and Israel's long-term security and put other countries - including Britain - at risk.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st Edition Thus edition (26 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141031239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141031231
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"Controversial." --Terry Gross, "Fresh Air," NPR"It could not be more timely." --David Bromwich, "The Huffington Post""The strategic questions they raise now, particularly about Israel's privileged relationship with the United States, are worth debating." --David Remnick. "The New Yorker""Ruthlessly realistic." --William Grimes, "The New York Times""The argument they present is towering and clear and about time.""" --Philip Weiss, "Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, and Walt, on the faculty at Harvard, set off a political firestorm." --Jay Solomon, "The Wall Street""Promises controversy on a scale not seen since Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" sought to reframe a new world order." --Stefan Halper, National"Deals with Middle East policymaking at a time when America's problems in that region surpass our problems anywhere else . . . People are definitely arguing about it. It's also t

From the Publisher

How a powerful American interest group has created havoc in the Middle East, betrayed Israel itself and now threatens an even more perilous future. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lobby,not a conspiracy 27 Mar 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Walt and Mearsheimer have done the public-in the US and elsewhere-a service by writing about what has been,for far too long,a taboo subject.
Contrary to what some reviewers say,their account of the Israel lobby starts from the view that there is nothing wrong in individuals or groups who support Israel lobbying and trying to persuade politicians,the press or the public of the rightness of their views.It is US democracy in action,good old-fashioned politics,and everyone else does it.It's almost impossible to read an article about US politics which doesn't discuss the farm lobby,the labour lobby,the banking lobby or whatever other lobby.
The problem is that there is,in effect,no opposition to the Israel lobby (not all of whom are Jewish,as the authors point out).Any "Arab lobby" or "Palestinian lobby" in the USA is pathetically weak and poor in comparison with pro-Israeli groups.So,the most extreme and confrontational policies of the Israeli government are tolerated,supported or,at most,attract verbal displeasure from the US government-there's no benefit in supporting Palestinians,no loss in supporting Israel.Same with the financial munificence of the US taxpayers to Israel.
Great work of political analysis,and ignore the cries of "anti-Semitism" you may sometimes hear directed at this book.The authors point out that particular canard has been used so frequently and so loosely by pro-Israeli apologists as their response to anything and anybody that opposes anything the Israeli goverment does.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-defines the term "Special Relationship" 3 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A really sound and constructive analysis of the relationship between the United States and Israel. However, the concluding argument is not necessarily one which you would expect.

The authors cover many topics such as the military, diplomatic, financial and legal aid handed to Israel by the United States over the years. This has ranged from the latest military technology to simple aid to loans which are not expected to be repaid.... ever !! This is a condition they would not accept from the United Kingdom.

However, the most intriguing aspect of the work is just how much the US has been prepared to accept from their "strategic" ally, or is it how little ?? There is documented evidence of how Israel regularly sells on US arms and technology to nations not quite suited to US foreign policy, including China. There is also quite a large amount of data on how much support Israel receives in Congress with the America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) being particularly influential in the forming of US foreign policy.

The book has further dimensions which you will need to explore yourself and I would certainly recommend it to anyone with a historical interest in international relations.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An objective book that everyone should read 16 April 2009
By M. Amin
After first reviewing the extent of US financial and non-financial support for Israel, the authors ask whether Israel is a strategic asset or liability for the USA. They consider a number of arguments:

Helping contain the Soviet bear - relevant during the Cold War but not after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They give the example of the first Gulf War where any Israeli involvement would have been seriously damaging to US interests.

Partners against terror - the authors point out that US support for Israel is itself a prime cause for terrorism directed against US interests.

Confronting rogue states - they remind us that the states usually mentioned present no direct threat to the USA and that US support for Israel makes it harder to deal with rogue states.

Having decided that supporting Israel damages the USA, the authors evaluate whether moral considerations require American support for Israel notwithstanding. After doing so, they conclude that the moral case for the USA to support Israel is not currently justified, regardless of the arguments either way in 1947.

It would be easy to believe that US support for Israel is achieved by a conspiracy, with secret arrangements made in darkened rooms. The authors demonstrate that exactly the opposite is true. The Israel lobby operates in the full glare of publicity; there is no conspiracy.

The book shows how American supporters of Israel organise their campaigning efforts, raise money, lobby politicians and also dominate debate in the media and amongst think tanks. This is achieved by many people dedicating their time and money to promoting the cause of Israel.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valid, well argued analysis 7 Dec 2009
By Benjamin Girth VINE VOICE
Recently I have read several books on Henry Kissinger and I was intrigued by the position of Israel in 1973. With the Yom Kippur War the `complacency of invincibility' was shattered. Confidence has subsequently been eroded amid relentless low and high intensity violence, nasty and cruel. Militarily the Israeli Defence Force has lost the initiative. Pursuing policies of "lebensraum and untermenschen" respect for Israel has declined precipitously. The Israeli and Jewish response has been to create a "very special relationship" with the United States. Since 1976 Israel became the largest annual recipient of American military assistance, a position it has retained since. US diplomatic backing is almost unconditional. Yet Americans "recognize that support for Israel is one of the main causes of anti-Americanism around the world "(p10). This book is a review of this complex, controversial and emotional relationship. It is worth remembering that the American Jewish population is estimated to be 5 to 6m, about 2% while in Israeli the Jewish population is c 5.5m (just 75% of the total). Here is the paradox, such a small number of people having such a massive impact on international politics.

This is a fascinating and informative academic essay, it is not anti Semitic and should not be shouted down which it has. To start with the conclusion nothing done by the Lobby is wrong per se, largely in the open and within the Constitution they exert pressure to advance their own interests. The Lobby is very well organised, any US congressional politician is risking electoral suicide if they oppose Israeli interests. Has the United States become a client state of Israel; is this the sort of plural politics the Founding Fathers envisaged?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Jacopo
5.0 out of 5 stars They have broken the TABOO
Mearsheimer and Walt did something brilliant to their country and their people. They initiated a furious but vibrant debate in the political arena.
Published 7 months ago by Ahmed Elsayed
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of investigation
This took some reading, for the intensity and thoroughness of the work.
One hopes it has got the acceptance so badly needed in the US.
Published 13 months ago by rob
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and well written. Books like this are rare and the...
If the average American taxpayer knew the full story of where their taxes were going, they'd put a lot more pressure on their government. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Alan Holman
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes for very interesting reading.
I read this as extra background reading for my A-level Politics course, and found it to be hugely useful and interesting. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ellie Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for All Thinking People in the West
This excellent book should be required reading for all those interested in the politics of the Middle East and the often baffling foreign policy of the United States towards the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dr. R. Brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
Indescribable! Great, best, interesting, different, novel, innovative, striking, sharp, terrific, to the point, worth ut, had to have it! Wow!
Published 18 months ago by IMAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody should ever debate mideast politics without having read this...
THis is a compelling and eye opening work; especially relevent for the intelligent American voter, but really for anyone who has the intellect to go beyond the junk media directed... Read more
Published 23 months ago by blahhhh
5.0 out of 5 stars Great on many levels
I wont re-describe what others have said but the reasons I liked this book is because it taught me a lot about - middle east history and the way the american political system... Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2012 by jamo
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched, relevant, not always completely convincing
The central argument of the book "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by J. J. Mearsheimer and S. M. Read more
Published on 8 July 2012 by Alexander Sokol
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