The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,160 ratings  ·  145 reviews
The Israel Lobby," by John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, was one of the most controversial articles in recent memory. Originally published in the London Review of Books in March 2006, it provoked both howls of outrage and cheers of gratitude for challenging what had been a taboo issue in A...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published August 2006)
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Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the Matrix. There is the reality that everyone seems to accept as being real and then there is the really real. What is going on in the Middle East at the moment messes with my mind in exactly that way.

I wrote to a GoodReads friend a week or so ago – can’t quite remember how we got onto the topic, but I was telling her how distressing I was finding what was going on in Gaza. I started off by making sure I stressed I had grown up with Jewish friends and blah,...more
When I encounter something I don't understand, I educate myself.

I didn't understand the automatic support for Israel by the United States. What the United States stands for - liberty and justice for all - could not be further from the agenda of Israel. In that country an exclusive group of people are out to evict, dispossess, imprison, and in general oppress the people who lived there, or are the sons and daughters of those who lived there, before the arrival of Europeans known as Zionists. For...more
We all remember the events of 9/11, but can you remember your thoughts from 9/12? Were you confused, questioning the reason(s) for these attacks? Aren't we the good-guys, fostering human rights, democratic values, and the removal of authoritarian rulers? Clearly, there must be, or must have been, something about our foreign policy in the Middle East to cause such hate and anger toward us. Do you find President Bush's attempted explanation that "... they hate us for our freedom and our democracy"...more
Anoush Dehkordi
Oct 13, 2011 Anoush Dehkordi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anoush by: I found it online, no one recommended this book to me but I reco
"The Israel Lobby" asserts what almost 40% (per the authors) of Americans recognize - that Israel is one of the main causes of anti-Americanism, that the U.S. provides Israel with extraordinary material and diplomatic support, and that many policies pursued on Israel's behalf jeopardize U.S. national security.

Documentation is not wanting for these claims. Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid since WWII, amounting to some $154 billion (2005 dollars), and about $500/citizen today. Since 198...more
Budd Dwyer
Mar 02, 2010 Budd Dwyer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: likudniks
Recommended to Budd by: arabs
Great book! A lot of Americans still have residual respect for Israel, and this book ought to smash that out of their skulls once and for all.
Fantastic book, I could not recommend it any higher to a person who wants to learn about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. The fact that it even exists and that it is known as 'The Israel Lobby' will upset many people, but Mearsheimer goes well out of his way to explain that there is, in fact, no such thing as an Israel Lobby. Instead, the book chronicles all of the reasons why the U.S. supports Israel so strongly and why it is a poisioned topic in the public forum. This book is enti...more
I could barely stomach this book. First of all I have read other accounts of the Lebanon affair. One was an autobiography. The author described life before the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon.She was a Moravian Christian. Before Hezbollah the Christians and Moslems lived side by side peaceably. Her father was killed in the war. Hezbollah would shell Israel from residential neighborhoods (NO mention of that in this book) and that is how her father was killed. She worked as a translator for the...more
For those who want to know why US is always backing Israel for whatever it does.
Alan Geday
Having always been a fan of controversial political books, it wasn't hard knowing that this book would be next on my list. This book definitely grasped the attention of scholars, journalists, associations, and even the notorious "Bin Laden", who recommended this book in one of his many audiotapes.
Mearsheimer unearths some very interesting talking points in his book. Topics that would be too risqué for everyday conversation, but topics that we've all thought about at least once. I found his direc...more
Michael Griswold
There was something about the tone of the Israel Lobby book that kind of turned me off. The general premise is that the United States gives millions of dollars to Israel in aid and weapons systems at special discounted rates or lower than average interest rates as part of a special relationship between The Israeli Lobby and The United States government. According to the authors, this special relationship no longer makes sense for either the United States or Israel, given that Israel now has the...more
If the authors of this work did go slightly overboard in their description of Israel's behavior or show some bias contra-Israel, I'm afraid my response would be that that was what cost them a five star review from yours truly. This book is an excelllent counterweight to:

• The extent to which Israel and its lobbying groups control public discourse within the United States on just about every media channel out there,

• The outlandish sums we send them under the most favorable terms any supposed "a...more
I had really high expectations for this book but unfortunately the authors have managed to write a book full of naivite, incorrect claims and too much good faith in the US government. The book does give plenty of insight into the world of the Israel lobby (AIPAC, WINEP etc) on Capitol hill and elsewhere yet manages to make bizarre conclusions. Maersheimer and Walt claim that the primary reason for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the pressure upon politicians by the Israel lobby. I regard it...more
The authors argue in this book that due to the influence of the Israel lobby on US politicians and the public, the United States supports Israel to a degree that is not commensurate with Israel's importance and which often works against the policies and priorities of the United States. They do NOT argue that Israel should not receive any support from the United States, nor do they argue against Israel's right to exist. They simply challenge the legitimacy of the arguments for supporting Israel u...more
See my full review here:

The authors are determined to think through the loaded topic in clear, plain prose that makes their case in the style of an old-fashioned argument: stating a conclusion, offering evidence for the conclusion, sympathetically engaging with the best of the counter-argument, reaffirming conclusion, offering ideas for alternative strategies. There is something blessedly scientific about this. The first part of the book examines the dome...more
This book takes a much-needed look at the "special relationship" that exists between America and Israel.

First of all, the authors do not question that Israel has the right to exist within secure borders, or its right to lobby Washington for its interests, or that America should aid Israel if it is attacked. But, the current unconditional level of US support for Israel ($154 billion since 1948) cannot be justified on moral or strategic grounds.

Perhaps Israel was a strategic ally during the Cold W...more
I had long wondered why the U.S. and Canada immediately come to the defense of Israel whenever its critics voice a concern, however justified. This book answered my questions and should be read by all North Americans (especially U.S. citizens) as it provides insight into the unique relationship Israel enjoys with the West and the enormous costs associated with it. The authors apologize frequently (too much so) in an attempt to prevent the inevitable accusations that they are anti-Israel but the...more
Peter Chamberlain
This was a very interesting book about the effect that Jewish lobby groups have on the foreign policy of the U.S. It started out with a recitation of the special relationship that the U.S. has with Israel and details the special treatment Israel gets. It then discusses specific instances when the Jewish lobby has influenced U.S. foreign policy in what the authors believe to be detrimental ways. It finally discusses avenues and options to reduce the influence of the Lobby on U.S. politics.

I thou...more
Joseph Lieberman
An outstanding book. well balanced. For me, and most the most important aspect of the book's structure is the frequent use of cross references to hard evidence supporting the author's observations and conclusions.

What is now most disturbing is the discussion on pages 250-260 regarding the dreams of regional transformation and what we now know as the Arab spring. A CHILLING PREDICTION FROM THE AUTHORS WHEN YOU NOW CONSIDER THEIR OBSERVATIONS RE IRAN AND THE DIPLOMATIC SPEAK NOW (NOVEMBER 2011) ur...more
Warren Redlich
I was disappointed. The authors exaggerate Israel's influence by using information selectively. For example they claim that the US provides more aid to Israel than to any other country, when we clearly spend far more on military aid to Western Europe, Japan and South Korea.

The biggest problem is that they completely ignore the fundamental issue - our interventionist foreign policy. US support for Israel is inevitable within an interventionist framework. If instead we had a non-interventionist ap...more
Pam Rasmussen
Since I have read many books on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and recently traveled to the region with Global Exchange, most of the information in this book was not new to me. However, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical of the authors' position that Israeli pressure was a key, decisive force behind the U.S. decision to invade Iraq (and the current pressure to attack Iran). I still am, but they are very persuasive. In addition, this book serves a critical role by bringing together in one...more
Sam Norton
Probably a good bit longer than necessary. Took me almost two months to finish. The make a good point though, something has to change about our unconditional support of Israel. I wish more Americans were aware what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, but unfortunately our media shows us nothing but the Israeli side of the story.
Sometimes it feels like you're going mad. Observing Americas actions with regards to Isreal is, to me, one of those times. This book helped me to understand (as a non-American) how this behavior comes about - that the US does not act in its own interest, nor in the interests of Israel but at the behest of the pro Israel lobby. Over all I found it well balanced and reasoned, relying on facts and reason to make its case, rather than hysterical accusations. Unfortunately this can sometimes make the...more
This book offers an interesting insight into the affect on the United States' international and domestic security standing of its fervent backing of the State of Israel. I recommend this text for anyone interesting in knowing more about U.S. foreign policy or the role of the U.S. in the Middle East.
It's no secret that powerful non-US forces shape domestic and foreign policy for this country. This is a serious description of the way the pro-Israel forces wield their influence.
Kamil Salamah
Must be read by all Americans with a very open mind to be able to understand the real interests of the USA and its citizen.
Insightful on the influence pro-Israel lobbyists wield with Congress through campaign contributions and blocks of votes.
Great read, brings into light Israel's influence in US Foreign affairs.
Nick Lloyd
I feel like Mearsheimer and Walt missed a great opportunity here.

On its face, it is hard to take seriously a book (written in 2007) which claims the likelihood of democracy coming to the Mideast is 'very low'. Still, the authors make several important points about the lengths Israel goes to in maintaining its 'special relationship' with the United States (including, most infuriatingly, pressuring universities to fire or otherwise silence professors who speak favorably about the Palestinians). T...more
In "The Israel Lobby," Mearsheimer and Walt look to the efforts of pro-Israel special interest groups in explaining the unique relationship between Israel and the U.S.

Through scholarly analysis, they show that neither moral nor strategic considerations can justify America's unconditional, and unparalleled, support for Israel. Exploring the many facets of the Israel lobby, the authors suggest that a number of special interest groups exert extraordinary political pressure on the legislative and e...more
If you have any interest at all in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, you should read this book. It is immaculately well organized and extremely thorough.
The authors start of by explaining just how much Israel gets from America in terms of financial, material, military, and diplomatic support which is significant bordering on the completely absurd. They outline the unconditional funds America sends to Israel which can (and are) used for purposes contrary to US policies and interests (like selling...more
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Goodreads Librari...: You guessed it, another wrong page count 3 17 May 06, 2014 07:38AM  
  • The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering
  • The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
  • Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid
  • Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians
  • The Question of Palestine
  • The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World
  • The Invention of the Jewish People
  • Pity the Nation: The Abduction of Lebanon
  • The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood
  • Politics Among Nations
  • Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis
  • Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States
  • The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future
  • Arms and Influence
  • Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons & the Great Pyramids
  • The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge
  • The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
  • The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives
John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago.
More about John J. Mearsheimer...
The Tragedy of Great Power Politics Why Leaders Lie: The Truth about Lying in International Politics Conventional Deterrence: The Memoir of a Nineteenth-Century Parish Priest Liddell Hart and the Weight of History La logica di potenza. L'America, le guerre, il controllo del mondo

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