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19 of 129 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No-one would take this book seriously if it was not written by a Harvard and a Chicago Professor, 13 Nov 2007
This review is from: The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (Hardcover)
The book would not be taken seriously if not for Walt and Mearsheimer's reputations. Nowhere in the book is there a sense of complexity, balance, an examination of the variety of factors that cause an event, or of putting individual comments in perspective.

On every issue, they start with unproven, anti-Israel assumptions and then look for isolated examples to justify these assumptions. One doesn't have to take a pro-Israel position to recognise that despite their reputations they have no interest in producing a serious, balanced work. The result is a sloppy diatribe and moral relativism gone mad. They constantly distance themselves from the old anti-Semitic accusations - and then do their best to prove them - like (p169) "Jews control the media"

They pay lip service to the notion that pro-Israel activists have every right to lobby the government and that they are not suggesting any conspiracy resembling that offered by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But this is merely lip service - because the nonstop one-sidedness of their presentation, their gross exaggeration of the power of the "lobby", their disregard for the consistently broad-based American public support for Israel, their omission of the very many interests that the US has in a strong and safe Israel - for example in the fight against terror - and their overriding theme that policymakers are controlled by the "lobby," adds up to an effort to delegitimise the work of pro-Israel activists and has elements of classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

They conduct no primary research - they spoke to no-one inside the Beltway.

Benny Morris, whom they cite frequently on the history of Israel, wrote that their work "is a travesty of the history that I have studies and written" and that they "have a fundamental ignorance of the history with which you deal".

Here are specific comments:

One, they make tendentious statements as if they were facts:
* ix: They say "predictably, reactions to your working paper outside the US were generally favourable" Not in the UK they weren't.
* They speak of the `disastrous' 2006 war in Lebanon, the `debacle' in Iraq, they say "Iraq is a fiasco", they say "the Iraq war has alarmed and endangered US Allies" - not this one! They speak about Israel `colonising' the Occupied Territories. Have they not realised that Gaza has been returned to the Palestinians? They write about `repressive policies'.

Two, page 5: They ask "why Israel and no other country in the world receives such consistent deference from US politicians?" Ignoring the pejorative word `deference' - in November 07 they were in a country (the UK) whose relations with the US are every bit as good as Israel's. Are US politicians deferential to the UK as well?

Three, page 5: They say that US support for Israel undermines America's standing with important allies. That's nonsense. The US has good relations with the UK, France Germany Japan, Spain ....

Four, page 5: They speak about "Israel's brutal treatment of the Palestinians" So why are there Palestinians in Jerusalem queuing up to get Israeli passports because they don't want to be ruled by the Palestinian National Authority post Annapolis, should there be diplomatic progress?

Five, page 7: They speak about the unconditionality of US aid to Israel being unique. How about aid to Pakistan, where there is a military dictatorship and Musharraf has just declared martial law? US aid there continues doesn't it?

They blame the Israel Lobby for terrorist attacks on the US. That's nonsense. Al Qaeda objects to a US presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan where it wants the Caliphate re-established. And are they going to allow the terrorists to dictate US foreign policy?

They say in the book that the Israel Lobby was the principal driving force behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq. They have already pulled back from that statement in their presentation. Now they admit that Israel saw Iran as the greater danger. But they say that American Jewry was solidly behind the invasion of Baghdad. Of course they were. They are patriotic. How about them? And how many more of the so-called `facts' in the book are they going to revise in the light of actual evidence?

Seven: p18: They blame the Lobby for the rise of Ahmadinejad in Iran. Nothing to do with the hardliners in Iran or the rise of Islamic fundamentalism then?

Eight: page 30: They say that Israel's per capita GDP is high. But Israel has one of the highest defence expenditures in the world: 15-20%. It is surrponded by enemies in case you hadn't noticed.

Nine, page 36: They say Israel is a prosperous country. Well one-third of children are poor. 28% of its citizens live in poverty. Those data come from the National Statistical Institute.

Let's turn to the chapter on Israel: Asset or Liability? (Chapter 2).

Ten, page 52: They completely ignore the fact that Israel is in the front line in the battle against the Jihadis as a reason to support it.

Eleven, page 53: Anti-Americanism was not `caused' by the US's relations with Israel. It was the product of the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism which began with the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt.

Twelve, page 54: They blame the Lobby for the rise in the price of gasoline after the Yom Kippur War. Are they saying then that US foreign policy should be that which produces the cheapest gasoline? Regardless of the fate of the only democracy in the Middle East and the US's strongest ally there? And how about raising the tax on gasoline in the US - it's one of the lowest anywhere. Why don't they recommend that?

Thirteen, page 63: They try to pretend that Al Quaeda terrorists are nothing to do with Hizbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad. Nonsense. They all train in the same training camps. Eg Zarqawi of Al Quaeda trained in Iraq.

Fourteen, page 104: They adopt the Palestinian version of Camp David instead of the version of Dennis Ross and President Clinton. Don't they think it is incumbent on scholars to research the full range of views on controversial issues they address so that their work is not full of factual errors?

Fifteen, page 130: "Virtually all neocons are strongly committed to Israel, a point they emphasise openly and unapologetically" What have they got to apologise about? I am strongly committed to Israel - should I apologise for that?

Sixteen, page 142: They say the Arab lobbies are much less important then the Israeli one. But the Arabs don't need a lobby. They have oil.

Seventeen, page 190: They say that charges that Israel is being held to different standards from other countries are bogus. But this was exactly the reason that a Law Lord found that the recent UCU move to a boycott in the UK was illegal.

Eighteen, page 230: "The Iraq War would certainly not have occurred, absent the Lobby."

Page 233: ".... Some Israeli leaders told US officials that they thought Iran was a greater threat"

Page 262: "Yossi Alpher... now maintains that Sharon had serious reservations about invading Iraq and he privately warned Bush against it"

They have already pulled back (in their presentation) on the claim in the book that the 'lobby' was pushing for a War with Iraq. Here is Forward, 12 January 2007: "Yossi Alpher, an adviser to Barak, confirmed that prior to March 2003, PM Sharon advised Bush not to occupy Iraq and AIPAC officials told visiting Arab intellectuals they would rather the US deal with Iran not Iraq."

Nineteen, page 283: They call Israel's warnings about Iran `alarmist and aggressive'. Well Ahadinejad has five times said he wants to wipe Israel off the map. And before they quibble with the translation, see the NYT 11 June 2006 where Deputy Foreign Editor Ethan Bronner confirmed that this was how official translators in Ahnmadinejad's office were translating it.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jan 2010 20:30:08 GMT
Orchard Gate says:
"Benny Morris, ...wrote that their work "is a travesty of the history that I have studies and written" "

I don't think Morris did say that, did he?

Posted on 2 Feb 2010 15:21:29 GMT
[Deleted by Amazon on 30 Dec 2011 23:48:00 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2010 20:14:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 May 2010 20:29:45 BDT
68000 says:
It seems Morris said it in an article entitled "And Now for the Facts" published in The New Republic on 08 May 2006.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2010 14:05:50 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 6 Jul 2011 08:17:44 BDT]

Posted on 27 Jan 2011 23:35:12 GMT
Mr Hoffman seems concerned at the alleged bullying of unconditional apologists of the State of Israel and the "anti-intellectualism" of Walt and Marsheimer.However, a reading of his reviews shows that one does not need to surround the BBC with tanks to stifle any criticism of Israeli policies and actions it may occasionally dare to attempt.Mr Hoffman and others of his ilk simply browbeat any and every critic of the evolution of State policy by successive Israeli leaders. It would appear that Mr Lieberman and the Shas Rabbi now speak for the majority of Israelis; similarly, Benny Morris's stance is revealing, in that he is thought to think that Ben Gurion and his troops missed an opportunity to "cleanse" totally the mandated area of Palestine in 1948. No doubt, such an action could have simplified life for generations of Arab residents of that part of the world, but it would have been, of course, somewhat difficult to reconcile with the myth of Jewish benevolence and the historic yearning for justice (not just for Jews) of the Jewish people.As it is, we now find that the most important aspect of the State of Israel's relations with the rest of the world, especially the US and the UK, is its role in the "security" and war-making industries, which is fairly covert ( few in this country know that the main foreign partner in the UK's "drone" program - for the remote killing of foreigners- is a leading Israeli company) Behind all the disputations illustrated in Mr Hoffman's reviews,the nitty-gritty is that we are being driven slowly into collective paranoia by commercial interests ( the military-industrial complex) which are only too ready to exploit the public's ignorance and the politicians' shady games.Onward the settlements, eh ? Mr Hoffman? Jerusalem undivided and 100% Jewish , yes ? "My country right or wrong", no ?

Posted on 15 Feb 2011 20:39:58 GMT
Newman says:
Johnny, I hope you have had the opportunity to calm down since you wrote your rather lengthy and quite angry review. I think most people would recognise the fact that the USA gives Israel a huge amount of support, financially, militarily and diplomatically. This book attempts to explain the reasons for this behaviour, and I think it does this very well. One of the main thrusts of the book is that any criticism of Israel, no matter how oblique, is usually met with a hugely hostile reception.
Thank you for proving the authors right.

Posted on 2 May 2011 09:11:16 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 2 May 2011 09:13:49 BDT]

Posted on 31 Oct 2011 20:13:45 GMT
ZIONISM = RACISM

THE ZIONIST HATRED EXPOSED

Tzipi Livni:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fL2q4BgmKg

AIPAC: The Voice of America - Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOZZ5zGAWKE

AIPAC: The Voice of America - Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uVGdnOFfRY

Anti-Semitism BUSTED!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZC_4cd1l50

Jim Traficant talks about Jewish control of America:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsVLnaHmMjE

"It's a Trick, We Always Use It.":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGVPBO9_cA

ADL of Evil:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eXTKo05B1Q

ADL Role in U.S. Immigration Law:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTCPg6VYva0

ADL and their Hateful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b6RiGHkhZM

Mocking Jesus on Israeli TV - The Crucifixion of "Yeshu":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA6vRC1xW_c&feature=related

Posted on 10 Dec 2011 14:44:29 GMT
This review proves Walt and Mearsheimer's point quite conclusively.

Posted on 31 Dec 2011 03:12:40 GMT
N. Kennedy says:
Your review is very inciteful, anyone who hasnt read the book needs to understand this sort of Zionist bias, please read this book as it explains exactly the problems of why USA foreign aid to Israel is a problem, because of this kind of retric.
and ps - anyone who has done a little research can tell you that Ahmadinejad never threatened to wipe Israel off the map, this accusation is old, its tired and the minute you use this fact you reveal immediately who you work for!
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