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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 (36 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: 2.8 x 13 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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, Mondoweiss.com "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 Journal.com""Promises controversy on a scale not seen since Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" sought to reframe a new world order." --Stefan Halper, National Interest.com"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
13 of 13 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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42 of 45 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
Format:Paperback
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful study of the Israel lobby in the USA 25 Jan 2008
Format:Hardcover
In 2006, John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt, Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, wrote an essay in the London Review of Books on the Israel lobby. This generated a huge controversy, so they wrote this book to provide more evidence for their claim that the lobby harms US and Israeli interests.

Chapter 1 details the US state's aid to Israel: $154 billion, mostly grants, 75% military. Israel is the largest recipient of US aid ($500 per person per year), even though Israel ranks 29th in the world by income.

Chapter 2 asks whether Israel is a strategic asset to the USA, and concludes that it may have been during the Cold War, but is now a liability. Chapter 3 asks whether the US state backs Israel because of their shared values, or because Israel is `for peace', and answers no to both. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 examine the lobby's members, activities, funding and its influence on policy-making in Washington and on the public through the media and academia.

Part II studies the lobby's role in shaping recent US policy in the Middle East, and its effects. Chapter 7 examines the lobby's hostility to the Palestinians and shows how it has neutered any hints of US support for the two-state solution. Chapter 8 looks at how the lobby, among others, urged the disastrous attack on Iraq. Chapter 9 examines the lobby's hostility to negotiations with Syria and Chapter 10 looks at its threats to Iran.

Chapter 11 studies the US state's unconditional support for Israel's attack on Lebanon. War supporters lied that US policy `reflected the will of the American people', but most Americans did not back the war, though the Clintons did.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 4 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 10 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 20 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 22 months ago 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Source packed and very informative. Must read for those who are...
This book that has its origins in 2002, before getting published in 2008 in paperback, is a must read for those who want to understand how US Foreign Policy operates. Read more
Published on 19 May 2012 by The Establishment Fears Investigation
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