The Power of the Israel Lobby: Its Origins and Growth (2006)

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The Power of the Israel Lobby: Its Origins and Growth, a "lengthy, well documented study on the pro-Israel lobby and its influence on U.S. Middle East policy" written by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, University of Chicago and Harvard University political scientists respectively, was published in March 2006.[1]


In May 2006, Juan Cole noted that while Daniel W. Drezner’s "was among the more substantive and thoughtful responses to the paper from an academic supporter of Israeli policies, its arguments seem to me mostly flawed. When the flaws are corrected, most of the points he makes actually support the Mearsheimer and Walt thesis. Still, it is to his great credit that he made arguments instead of calling names."[2]

Writing for Spinwatch in January 2007, Muhammad Idrees Ahmad observed that:

"The ruckus occasioned by the publication of the Mearsheimer & Walt paper in the London Review of Books -- specifically, their claim that the war against Iraq would not have happened absent pressure from the Israel Lobby -- would have one believe that their thesis is in some way novel. It is not. What is new, however, is that for the first time someone from the heart of the establishment is making an argument that had hitherto remained confined to the margins. Many, like Robert Fisk, wrote persuasively about it, but there were few takers. Only old school conservatives, foreign policy realists -- James Baker, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, Anthony Zinni et al -- and sections of the Left recognized that the neocon plan for reshaping the Middle-East had for its primary aim extending Israel's regional hegemony by eliminating a potential Arab deterrent.
"While many welcomed Mearsheimer & Walt's contribution, objections were immediately raised about its provenance. As loyalists of the US imperial project, their conclusions may be accurate, but there are legitimate reasons to be wary of their motivations; as proponents of US 'national interest' they see Israel as a liability insofar as it hampers US relations with right-wing Arab regimes and consequently its hegemonic ambitions. Rather than dismissing their conclusions, therefore, it is necessary that the issue be looked at from the perspective of universally recognized principles of justice and human rights. This service, at last, has been rendered by James Petras in his new book The Power of Israel in the United States.[3][4]

The USS Liberty affair

Writing in October 2007, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern noted that he "was intrigued by the fact that Mearsheimer and Walt made no mention of what I believe to be, if not the most telling, then perhaps the most sensational proof of the power the Lobby knows it can exert over our government and Congress. In sum, in June 1967, after deliberately using fighter-bombers and torpedo boats to attack the USS Liberty for over two hours in an attempt to sink it and kill its entire crew, and then getting the U.S. government, the Navy, and the Congress to cover up what happened, the Israeli government learned that it could-literally-get away with murder." [5]


Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Kathleen and Bill Christison, "The Power of the Israel Lobby: Its Origins and Growth," CounterPunch, June 16/18, 2006. For the full Mearsheimer and Walt report, see "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" (2006).
  2. Juan Cole, "The Israel Lobby: And a Reply to Drezner," Informed Comment Blog, May 2, 2006.
  3. James Petras, "The Power of Israel in the United States," Third World Traveler.
  4. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, "The Power of Israel in the United States: A Review," SpinWatch, January 15, 2007.
  5. Ray McGovern, "So Who's Afraid of the Israel Lobby? New Revalations About the Attack on the USS Liberty," CounterPunch, October 6/7, 2007.

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