Article Review: The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

The Israel Lobby is an article written by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. This article describes Lobby as the weak coalition and people and some institution that are try to turn the direction of American foreign policy in favor of Israel. This article discusses the influence of Lobby over American foreign policy and how this influence has negative impact on interest of Americans. According to authors of this book, Lobby’s activities have been, unintentionally, harmful for Israel.

This article was commissioned initially in 2002 by “The Atlantic Monthly” but it was rejected later because the claims that were made by the authors in the paper were never proved through evidences by authors or “The Atlantic Monthly”. A compact version of this paper was published by the London Review of Books in 2006 and, later on, a revised version was again published in Middle East Policy in late 2006 in which authors had addressed some of the criticism that was made on the previous version of the article.

According to both of the authors, “No Lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American National Interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israel interests are largely identical”. According to them, Lobby has similar operations like workers of steel and textile, farm lobby, ethnic lobbies and other interest groups. Mearsheimer and Walt argue that the only difference between U.S. and Israel Lobby is that Israel Lobby is far more effective as compared to U.S. in achieving its goals and objectives.

They argue that the weak coalition in individuals and institutions has significant impact on American Legislator and Lobby has the ability to highlight the perspective of Israel on mainstream media. Authors’ main argument is that American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has significant influence over the candidates of congress and legislators. These candidates support the interest of the Lobby and if any of the candidates disregard the interest of the lobby may have to face the consequences.

Another major argument of this article made by the authors is that “the charge of anti-Semitism” is misused for Lobby and pro-Israel groups in America have a great influence on Academics of America and they are trying to control it though. According to them, when the Lobby will achieve its target, it will be able to shape American foreign policy for Middle East countries. As a result of this policy, the Middle Eastern countries will be defeated by America and Israel will be free to achieve its targets in Palestine.

Mearsheimer and Walt argued, “It is not surprising that Israel and its American supporters want the US to deal with any and all threats to Israel’s security. If their efforts to shape US policy succeed, Israel’s enemies will be weakened or overthrown, Israel will get a free hand with the Palestinians, and the US will do most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying”.

The main points focused by the authors are not convincing because it seems that authors has exaggerated the influence of the Lobby at several places in the article while at some places, the Lobby seems to be begging for the question of its influences. According to former director of CIA, the claims made by both of the authors are highly deceptive and he considered this book as an effort to distort the historical records. The book is full of such claims but no hard evidence is provided for such evidence. The book has been criticized for this by many experts and practitioners of the field. It seems that both of the authors are obsessed with the views of most of the Jews but they do not seem to be as smart as American Imperialists are.

These American Imperialists have been trying to streamline the relationships with Saudis and Middle Eastern nations because of the business opportunities in those countries especially regarding business of oil. If the both of the authors, and Jewish community were smart enough, they would be trying to streamline the relationships with Saudis rather than aggravating their rage against Zionism. The claims do not seem to be realistic or something having relationship with reality.

This book will be a huge question over American think tanks and decision-making. This book is also a huge question mark on American foreign policy that favors Saudi Arabia and Middle East countries and huge investment of Americans in those countries. The book is not only criticized by the American reviewers but also by European practitioners and academic researchers who are usually interested in studying and understanding the relationship of America and Israel and influence of Israel on American foreign policy.

Letters that have been included in this book will be used for the purpose of highlighting the key points and claims made by Mearsheimer and Walt. One of the most convincing letters of the article was written in April 6, 2006, Vol. 28, No. 7. This article has also criticized the argument of both of authors when they say that Israel Lobby influences U.S. foreign policy.

It is written in the article that, “John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s piece (LRB, 23 March) boils down to a simple argument, despite copious circumstantial detail and politically correct evasiveness. The ‘Israel Lobby’, spearheaded by AIPAC, is a coterie of Jews, neo-conservatives and Christian Zionists that dominates US foreign policy”. This letter explains that effectiveness of the Lobby can be judged from its influence in American public.

But one of the major weaknesses of this article is that it fails to explain the reason of anti-Western movements in countries like Algeria, Philippines and Israel. Lobby fails to reduce anti-western movement and minimize the issues in the in Israel that are going against the relationship of America and Israel.

The lobby does not accept that they created hegemony in Islamic States on their own and shaken the self-esteem and footings of Islamic State of Iran during 1953 and 1979, without American help. The Lobby was also able to do the same during the war in Lebanon in 1958 when American members in the Lobby decided to make their own decisions regarding the Middle Eastern situation.

It is evident that the situation went out of control when some of the Danish cartoonists made cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in late 2005. This is the evidence of how Europeans are stimulating the violence and outrage of Muslims through such activities. This letter actually justified its content because it presented the truth about the Lobby. It has truthfully stated that the Lobby has decided to stimulate the war in Muslim Countries.

The letter is also very convincing and its content is effective because it states the way the Lobby will create divisions and how the war among the Muslim countries will be used by the Lobby and its partners to achieve specific goals and targets. This letter reveals the propaganda of the Lobby and the methodology followed by the Lobby in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the Lobby. The letter has revealed the patterns of stimulating the war and how these processes will be used in the future to stimulate war in Muslim countries.

This letter states that, “They (Mearsheimer and Walt) present themselves as hard-headed realists dispassionately guarding America’s national interest, which is surprisingly not compromised by nuclear weapons in North Korean or Iranian hands. They then catalogue Israel’s moral flaws, refusing to give equal time to Palestinian extremism, maximalism and truculence”. In this way, article has revealed the hidden agenda of the Lobby to general public but this agenda have been carried out it most impending fashion. The authors’ attempt of writing this article about what they tried to portray the responsibility of America and the Lobby’s members is hardly related to truth.

Individuals, institutions and countries have been using this racket for the purpose of initiating and prolonging the war in the Middle Eastern countries. According to Joseph Joffre who made an argument about foreign policy of United States and said that Israel has more antagonism than what is visible to world and it has negative impact far more than what it has caused to the world. Americans have been looking for the answers since they have decided to continue the associations with Israel and putting stability of world on stake. There are people out there who still think that Iran possesses nuclear weapons but there is no evidence on the argument that Iran has been making these bombs in the countries.

Government in Iran has refused to tell American government about where they have located their nuclear development plants. According to major think tanks and officials of the government of United States, United States is far from achieving this information because of limited resources. Leaders of both countries, United States and Israel, have long discussed the matter but they are still not sure about the existence of nuclear bombs in America. The letters added in the article seem to be far from associated with the actual history but they are based in the current situation and they argue about the activities of the Lobby.


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