45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
An objective book that everyone should read
, 16 April 2009
This review is from: The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (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. The authors point out that in a democracy a narrowly focused interest group can often get its way; a small number of Americans are passionate about Israel while the overwhelming majority are relatively indifferent either way. Accordingly, politicians find it helpful to appease the Israel lobby; safe in the knowledge that their doing so will not result in any meaningful loss of support from the rest of the population.
The book examines in detail how the lobby operates. One statistic stands out. Between 1990 and 2004, pro-Israel groups contributed nearly $57 million to candidates and parties while Arab American and Muslim Political Action Committees contributed slightly less than $800,000.
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