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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,496 ratings  ·  156 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 June 26th 1986)
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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,
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
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
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
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
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 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
Harold Citron
A modern day version of the anti-Semitic screed "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion".

Walt and Mearsheimer set out not to just bash Israel, but American Jews. While they lambast Israel a threat to America and supposedly "normal" Americans, it is their self-proclaimed cabal of American Jews who they hunt and label as a fifth column who would eagerly bring down the Republic.

That the two have followed up this disgusting work by attending Palestinian advocacy meetings while holding up their secret
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hanan Kat
While the general idea is nothing groundbreaking, it's the details of the mutual cooperation that are pretty spectacular. The authors go to great lenghts to prove that The US gain nothing from being associated with Israel, and that it's more of a liability than a strategic asset that increases the American superpower. Still,this begs the question as to why? Why do The US keep being the biggest tool this planet has ever seen? And why does their public opinion keep being manipulated like this?
This is overall a very good book, but the authors spend way too much time reiterating the fact that they believe Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state. This right after criticizing just about everything about the country since its founding, yet they still can't drop this point. There's also too much use of the term "terrorism" where it doesn't quite belong. Despite these shortcomings, however, the book is invaluable for anyone seeking to understand this country's pathetic "special relati ...more
In light of 2011 Gaza attack and subsequent unconditional US support for them, this book, sadly, affirms that Obama and future US Presidents due to a desire to remain in power, will not differ from the policy regarding Israel. The lobby, which includes American Israel Public Affairs Committee, American Enterprise Institute, WINEP, due to the hold it has over politicians, will always jump to action if anything negatively by Israel is portrayed in the media, by academics and professors. US’s relat ...more
The special relationship between Israel and USA is well known, and for people who are interested in the Isael-Palestine conflict, no matter how one position themselves in relation to the conflict, this would be a very interesting book to read. But not only for this group, since the book is about so many other things. Also for Americans or anyone interested in getting a better understanding of the modern USA, or Israel for that matter.
Jared D.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed 'The Israel Lobby'. I anticipated that it would be an overly partisan book that would provide a slanted viewpoint. I was pleased upon reading the book to see that the author provided thorough scholarship, a balanced perspective, and realistic expectations of the lobby as well as the Middle East situation.

The premise behind the book is that the 'Israel Lobby', (which generally consists of various lobbyist organizations that support Israel and in particular, t
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

First, I need to call out the guy who said, "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." This book is explosive, and like WMDs, will be dangerous when they get in the hands of an anti-semitic idiot like that guy. M&W did not diminish respect I have for Israel or world Jewry; in fact it has reinforced it. The source they use are primarily Israeli and Jewish American. I'm heartened to see the signi
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.
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Goodreads Librari...: You guessed it, another wrong page count 3 18 May 06, 2014 07:38AM  
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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.
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