Analysis of Harvard Study: The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Full study can be found here
*UPDATE* Walt and Mearsheimer new book comes out September 4 2007… More details soon
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy was written by Harvard scholar Stephan Walt and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer. The study claims that pro-Israel lobby groups in the U.S. have hijacked America’s foreign policy and has driven America to pursue a foreign policy that is not in its interests. The study is 41 pages long with about another 40 pages in endnotes where the authors put their sources. The study is lengthy and contains a lot of information. The study criticizes America’s support for Israel and claims that the Iraq war and the Arab world’s hostility towards America is because of Israel. The study claims that pro-Israel groups are trying to control and censor congress, the media, and college campuses and prevent any well-rounded debate on America’s middle east policy. As we will see the study contains many inaccuracies and a major contradiction that has the potential to raise doubts on the credibility of the authors.

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Contents of this Page
The Major Contradiction
Terror, Arab Hostility is because of Israel
Terrorism because of Israel
Arab/Muslim Hostility
U.S. Interests
Israel not a Loyal Ally
Democracy
Israel is not a Democracy
Apartheid
America Overthrowing Democracies, Supporting Dictatorships
Compensation for Past Crimes
Holocaust
1948 War
Jews Committing Terror?
Lobby Influence
the Israel Lobby
anti-Israel Lobby Groups
Techniques of Lobby Groups
Letter Writing
Campuses
The Great Silencer
Aipac Inaccuracy
Threats to Israel
Israel and Iraq War
Gunning for Syria
Iran
What about Saudi Arabia?
Israel Can Defend Itself
Hypocrisy of Writers (from Camera.org)
Influence of Study
Conclusion

The Major Contradiction
I know that many people are not going to sit and read through this lengthy analysis line by line. If you are only going to read one part of this page, make it be this one. This major contradiction in the report has the potential to eliminate the credibility of the writers. One of the main points of the study is that the Iraq war (and the current conflicts with Syria and Iran) are because of the pro-Israel lobby groups. The author says on page 34 of the report:

Pro-Israel forces have long been interested in getting the U.S. military more directly involved in the Middle East, so it could help protect Israel.

The author repeats the claim that countries like Iraq, Iran, and Syria are targeted by the U.S. because they are a threat to Israel and Israel needs to be “protected” from them. But the authors contradict themselves on page 7 of the report when the authors discuss Israel’s nuclear capabilities:

Today, Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. Its conventional forces are far superior to its neighbors and it is the only state in the region with nuclear weapons. Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel and Saudi Arabia has offered to do so as well. Syria has lost its Soviet patron, Iraq has been decimated by three disastrous wars, and Iran is hundreds of miles away. The Palestinians barely have effective police, let alone a military that could threaten Israel. According to a 2005 assessment by Tel Aviv University’s prestigious Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, “the strategic balance decidedly favors Israel, which has continued to widen the qualitative gap between its own military capability and deterrence powers and those of its neighbors.” If backing the underdog were a compelling rationale, the United States would be supporting Israel’s opponents.

In this paragraph the authors clearly state that Israel can defend itself and that Iran, Iraq, and Syria are not threats to Israel. If this is the case, why would Israel feel the need to be “protected” from these countries? If these countries were not really a threat to Israel then why would it make sense for Israel to need the U.S. attack these countries? This directly contradicts their claims that the Iraq war was a war for Israel. With this one major argument shot down this weakens the thesis for the rest of the study. But we are only beginning.

Terror, Arab Hostility is because of Israel
Terrorism because of Israel
On page 5 of the study the author states:

More importantly, saying that Israel and the United States are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: rather, the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around. U.S. support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question, for example, that many al Qaeda leaders, including bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians.

Actually, many counter-terrorism officials believe otherwise. In a Fatwa (religious verdict) Al Qaida named 6 reasons why they carried out the 9/11 attacks and only one of them was because of Israel. The other 5 reasons, according to the fatwa, were:
The U.S.
# Plunders the resources of the Arabian Peninsula.
# Dictates policy to the rulers of those countries.
# Supports abusive regimes and monarchies in the Middle East, thereby oppressing their people.
# Has military bases and installations upon the Arabian Peninsula, which violates the Muslim holy land, in order to threaten neighboring Muslim countries.
# Intends thereby to create disunion between Muslim states, thus weakening them as a political force.

The authors claims that U.S. has a terrorism problem because of its support for Israel. Yet they fail to explain why other nations in the world who do not support Israel also have terrorism problems. Saudi Arabia is as far from supporting Israel as you can get and they have a major terrorism problem. Morroco is no friend of Israel yet there was a major attack in Morroco in 2004. Indonesia does not support Israel, yet they have had their share of terrorist attacks. The point behind this is it is incorrect to state that U.S. has a terrorism problem because of Israel. Some may argue that Bin Laden doesn’t really care about the Palestinian cause. Yessir Arafat himself said “Bin Laden never helped us…he was working in a completely different area and against our interests.” So Al Qaida could not possibly be motivated by the “plight” of the Palestinians.

Arab/Muslim Hostility
On Page 5 of the study, the authors make the claim that our support for Israel is the prime reason for Arab/Muslim hostility:

Equally important, unconditional U.S. support for Israel makes it easier for extremists like bin Laden to rally popular support and to attract recruits. Public opinion polls confirm that Arab populations are deeply hostile to American support for Israel, and the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim world found that “citizens in these countries are genuinely distressed at the plight of the Palestinians and at the role they perceive the United States to be playing.”

Lets say the author was right and the Arab/Muslim world were “genuinely distressed” by the role of the U.S. in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. is wrong for doing it. The Arab/Muslim world doesn’t get a fair and balanced picture of what is going on in the world. Many Arab media outlets display daily incitement and misinformation about the U.S. presence in Iraq and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The Arab media cannot be counted on to educate their viewers as to whats really going on. Most Arabs really believe that the U.S. is trying to kill innocent Iraqis and that Israel is trying to commit genocide against the Palestinians. It doesn’t matter what U.S. (or Israeli) policy really is, the Arab media outlets will always make it look bad. America should not change its foreign policy for the sole purpose of making a few fanatics happy.

Now lets go back to early February when the Arab/Muslim world began reacting to the Cartoons of Mohammed in the Danish newspapers. Denmark doesn’t support Israel nearly as much as the U.S. does. Yet we saw millions of Muslims burning Danish flags and attacking Danish embassies across the the middle east, all because of a cartoon. The Muslim world’s hatred of America and Israel is equally irrational. Some argue that Denmark has become the new Israel since Arabs finally found someone else to be mad at. The fact that an independently owned newspaper in Denmark published cartoons that were deemed offensive to Islam, did not justify the region wide furer against the whole country of Denmark.

Another question I have for the authors is, if Muslims care so much about Palestinian suffering, then why is there not the same outrage in other places where Arabs/Muslims are suffering more? There have been more than 20 times as many Chechnyans killed by Russia than Palestinians killed by Israel. There are (stateless) Kurds living under much worse conditions than the Palestinians. So why does the Palestinian “plight” cause so much “genuine distress” among Arabs, when the plight of other Arab/Muslim peoples dont create any anger at all? It is not the actual Israeli/Palestinian conflict that makes Muslims distressed, its the way they hear about it. Many Arab/Mulims get their information on this topic through the state controlled media, through hate-preaching mosques, and inflamatroy websites, none of which can be trusted to give an objective point of view of whats really going on. So it doesn’t matter what America or Israel’s policy is, the Arab/Muslim world will continue to be fed inciteful propoganda. The answer to this is not cutting off support to Israel, but instead giving the Arab/Muslim world a reliable source of news for the ones who want to listen.

U.S. Interests
Israel not a Loyal Ally
The authors attempts to make the argument that Israel isn’t a loyal ally of the United States. On page 6 of the study the authors state:

A final reason to question Israel’s strategic value is that it does not act like a loyal ally. Israeli officials frequently ignore U.S. requests and renege on promises made to top U.S. leaders (including past pledges to halt settlement construction and to refrain from “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian leaders). Moreover, Israel has provided sensitive U.S. military technology to potential U.S. rivals like China, in what the U.S. State Department Inspector-General called “a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorized transfers.”

In fact, Israel is one of the few countries in the world which gives the U.S. veto powers over its arms sales. In 2004 China sent weapons to Israel for an upgrade. U.S. got word of the deal and ordered Israel to confiscate the weapons from China. China pressured Israel to complete the upgrade. Instead Israel sent the weapons back to China without the upgrade. Both U.S. and the Chinese were furious with Israel for not listening to either one of them. Shortly after this affair the U.S. imposed Sanctions on Israel. These sanctions were not lifted until Israel signed an agreement with the U.S., allowing the U.S. the ability to veto Israeli arms deals with other nations. Israel has respected this agreement with the U.S. and this was proven in October 2005 when Israel respected a U.S. request to cancel an arms deal with Venezuela. On top of that the U.S. has sold weapons to Israel’s enemies in the past.

Israel has had other problems with the U.S. such as the Lavon Affair and the Jonathon Pollard incident, but there is no truth to the accusation that Israel is not a loyal ally. Israel has voted with the United States more consistantly than any other country in the world except Micronesia. Israel has backed America in every major world conflict even before they were an established country. The Jews living in current day Israel fought on the allys side in world war 1 and world war 2. They took America’s side during the cold war (the authors even admit this) and they are definitly on our side during this war on terror.

Democracy
Israel is not a democracy
Despite Israel being the only country in the region in which all citizens are guaranteed free speech and the right to vote for the head of their government, the authors of the study actually make a claim that Israel is not a democracy; a statement easily disproved by looking at any encyclopedia or history book. On page 8 of the study the authors state:

The “shared democracy” rationale is also weakened by aspects of Israeli democracy that are at odds with core American values. The United States is a liberal democracy where people of any race, religion, or ethnicity are supposed to enjoy equal rights. By contrast, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this conception of citizenship, it is not surprising that Israel’s 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a “neglectful and discriminatory” manner towards them.

The “blood kinship” that the author is refering to is Israel’s law of return for Jewish people. It is actually not a “blood” thing since converts to judaism are covered under it too reguardless of which religion they converted from. The law of return is seperate from Israel’s citizenship laws. A non-jew can get Israeli citizenship as well by simply fullfilling Israel’s citzenship requirements (which are not much different than most other country’s citizenship laws). The writer refers to Israel’s law of return as a racist law, but if Israel is racist for its law of return, then so is Germany, so is Russia, so is Finland, and so are many other Muslim countries who also have law of returns for displaced citizens.

Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens are considered full citizens of Israel and enjoy all the same rights as Jews, including the right to vote. Israel treats all its citizens equally. There is some discrimination against Arabs, but this is not unique to Israel. Every country in the world has suffered some form of discrimination against its minority citizens. Under the author’s logic America is technically not a democracy since we used to segregate blacks. France would not a democracy because of the discrimination against blacks and Arabs. Many European countries would not be democracies because some Europeans hold anti-semetic views. The fact people in a country hold racist views against a minority does not mean that country is not a demoracy.

Aparatheid
The authors say on page 8

Israel’s democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own. Israel controls the lives of about 3.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, while colonizing lands on which the Palestinians have long dwelt. Israel is formally democratic, but the millions of Palestinians that it controls are denied full political rights and the “shared democracy” rationale is correspondingly weakened.

The authors, later in the study, compare Israel to aparatheid South Africa.

This accusation is based on the fact that Israel doesn’t give full citizenship rights to Palestinians living in the Palestinian territories. This is because Palestinians are citizens of the P.A. Not citizens of Israel. It is kind of like calling America aparatheid because we dont give the same citizenship rights to people in Mexico. If Israel did give the Palestininians in the territories full citizenship rights they would have effectively annexed all of the Palestinian territories, which is what many of Israel’s opponents are fighting against. Israel should be under no obligation to grant citizens of the P.A. full Israeli citizenship. Israeli Arabs (Arab citizens living inside Israel), however, are given full citizenship rights including the right to vote. It is simply untrue to refer to Israel as aparatheid.

America Overthrowing Democracies, Supporting Dictatorships
On page 8 the authors state:

American backing is often justified by the claim that Israel is a fellow-democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships. This rationale sounds convincing, but it cannot account for the current level of U.S. support. After all, there are many democracies around the world, but none receives the lavish support that Israel does. The United States has overthrown democratic governments in the past and supported dictators when this was thought to advance U.S. interests, and it has good relations with a number of dictatorships today. Thus, being democratic neither justifies nor explains America’s support for Israel.

Supporting Democracies
The “many democracies across the world” are not under the constant threat from non-democratic forces as Israel is. The only closer example in the world is South Korea. Democratic South Korea is under constant threat from communist North Korea and China. And we have thousands of troops stationed in South Korea for the sole purpose of protecting them. We may not be vetoing one sided resolutions for South Korea the same way we do for Israel, but this is because South Korea’s enemies dont have as much power in the U.N. as Israel’s enemies so there are no one sided U.N. resolutions to veto for South Korea. If South Korean interests were under constant attack from its enemies, the same way Israel’s are, we would be doing the same thing for democratic South Korea. Lets not forget how we “lavishly supported” western Europe during the cold with billions of dollars in reperation and the creation of NATO as well as many of our troops stationed across Europe. America is not giving Israel any special treatment. We have supported democracies across the world ever since world war 2, and Israel is no exception.

Supporting Dictatorships, Overthrowing Democracies
The authors make the claim that America has overthrown democracies in the past and currently supports dictatorships when its in our interests. It may be true that we have supported dictatorships (like Saudi Arabia) but just because we support their governments doesn’t mean we support their human rights violations. While we might support the Saudi royal family, we still privately critizise many of their oppressive ways (including their oppression of non-Muslims). As for the claim of overthrowing democracies, this is completely untrue. Never in the history of our nation have we overthrown, or helped overthrow another democracy. The only one incident that many anti-American individuals point to is the coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in early 2002. This is a flawed argument, however, because we didn’t participate in the coup. We did not directly fund Chavez’s opposition as so many people claim. America never helped overthrow another democracy, and this is just one of many examples of inaccuracies in the study.

Compensating for Past Crimes
Holocaust
In this section of the study the authors try to challenge the argument that the state of Israel should get special treatment because of the holocaust. Page 9 states:

There is no question that Jews suffered greatly from the despicable legacy of anti-Semitism, and that Israel’s creation was an appropriate response to a long record of crimes. This history, as noted, provides a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence. But the creation of Israel involved additional crimes against a largely innocent third party: the Palestinians.

The Palestinians were anything but innocent when it comes to the holocaust. The Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Amin el-Hussein, in the 1930s was quoted “Our Fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world”. Many Palestinians and Arabs in the region shared the Mufti’s views. There were concentration camps in many Arab countries and one in the Palestinian territories. To this day Mein Kamph is a best-seller among the Palestinian population. The Final Solution was actually a Muslim idea, not a nazi one. Hitler didn’t begin his systematic extermination of Jews until he met and allied with the Grand Mufti of Palestine. (For more on this see the Muslim/Nazi Connection). The authors’ lack of knowledge on Arab involvment in the world war 2 makes me further question the credibility of this study.

1948 War
On page 9 the authors state:

The mainstream Zionist leadership was not interested in establishing a bi-national state or accepting a permanent partition of Palestine.

Also untrue. The Jews fully accepted the partition of two states, but the Arab world rejected it wanting to conquor ‘all of Palestine’. The 1948 war was launched by the Arab armies for the sole purpose of destroying the newly established state of Israel. Some ultra-nationalist Jews may have stated that they didn’t want the creation of an Arab state, but the mainstream population supported it.

Later on page 9 the study states:

To achieve this goal, the Zionists had to expel large numbers of Arabs from the territory that would eventually become Israel. There was simply no other way to accomplish their objective. Ben-Gurion saw the problem clearly, writing in 1941 that “it is impossible to imagine general evacuation [of the Arab population] without compulsion, and brutal compulsion.” Or as Israeli historian Benny Morris puts it, “the idea of transfer is as old as modern Zionism and has
accompanied its evolution and praxis during the past century.”This opportunity came in 1947-48, when Jewish forces drove up to 700,000 Palestinians into exile.

It makes me wonder how two academic scholars could get the history so wrong. Most Arabs that left current day Israel left on their own free will. Only a small number (Deir Yassin) were forced out of their homes by Jewish terrorists. Israel’s opponents try to make it look like all of them were forced out that way. The fact is the majority of Arabs left on their own free will either out of fear of an upcoming war or to help the invading Arab armies destroy the newly established state. The proof of this is if Israel wanted to forcibly remove Arabs from their homes they would have removed all of them. Why would Israel have left at least 170,000 Arabs, which since has grown to 1.3 million? The Arabs that remained after the 1948 war were there because they CHOSE NOT TO LEAVE.

Jews Committing Terror?
The study makes an interesting analogy between current day Palestinian terrorism and the terrorism commited by the Jewish Haganah in pre-state Israel. Page 12 of the study states:

Finally, we should not forget that the Zionists used terrorism when they were in a similarly weak position and trying to obtain their own state. Between 1944 and 1947, several Zionist organizations used terrorist bombings to drive the British from Palestine, and took the lives of many innocent civilians along the way.

It is true that many Jewish terrorist groups in pre-state Israel used terrorism to gain their objectives. And in some ways the acts of these terrorist groups are similar to present-day Palestinian terrorism. But there is one major difference between the Zionist leadership in pre-state Israel and the Palestinian government of today. As soon as the state of Israel was created the Israeli government (led by Ben-Gurion) forcibily disarmed the Jewish terrorist groups, which were terrorizing Arabs, the British, and in some cases U.N. monitors. The Israeli government permanently disarmed the Haganah (which was once used to protect Jews in pre-state Israel, but began to resort to terrorist activities) and many other similar groups and the wave of Jewish terrorism was brought to a halt. The same thing cannot be said of the Palestinians. The P.A. has been allowing terrorist groups to attack Israel for many decades and it doesn’t look like they will stop anytime soon. Even as recently as March 2006, Palestinian Interior Minister was quoted saying that he would not arrest militants who attack Israel and not only that, and he offered to help “coordinate militant operations” against Israel.

Lobby Influence
The Israel Lobby
The core focus of this study is how the “pro-Israel lobbys” control America’s middle east policy. When the study refers to “the lobby” they are not necesarily talking about AIPAC. They are including all pro-Israel organizations. On page 13 the authors describe the “lobby” as:

We use “the Lobby” as a convenient short-hand term for the loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. Our use of this term is not meant to suggest that “the Lobby” is a unified movement with a central leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues.

The study classifies “American Jews”, “Christian Evangilists”, and “neo-conservatives” as the main base of the “lobby”. I am living proof that this is untrue, since I dont fit into any of these three catagories, yet I approve of my goverment supporting the state of Israel. If the study considers “Israel’s lobby” as anyone who sticks up for Israel, or anyone who supports our government’s support for Israel than that makes the majority of the American population as “the Israel lobby”. Clearly the lobby groups such as AIPAC can not decide the foreign policy of a nation. The most recent Gallup poll states that the American public’s support for Israel has grown to an all-time high over the past year. Since America is a democracy, and the American public has clearly stated that they wish for their government to continue supporting Israel, then that is what should be done, since its the will of the people, not the will of a “lobby group”.

anti-Israel Lobby Groups
The study makes no mention of the at least 8 anti-Israel lobby groups (as well as the “Arab oil lobby”) actively working in congress to stop U.S. suppoort for Israel. In fact, on page 15 the authors incorrectly state:

pro-Arab interest groups are weak to non-existent, which makes the Lobby’s task even easier.

While major pro-Israel lobbies in congress consist of AIPAC, JINSA, NAPAC, and soon to be created CUFI (the so-called “Christian AIPAC”) very few know that there are at least 8 other anti-Israel lobby groups working in washington that work the same way as the pro-Israel lobby groups. These 8 groups include:

CAIR- (Council on American-Islamic Relations)
MPAC- (Muslim Public Affairs Council)
ADC- (American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee)
Al-AWDA – (The Palestine Right of Return Coalition)
Atlanta Palestine Solidarity
ISM- (International Solidarity Movement)
AAPER – (American Association for Palestinian Equal Rights)
NAAA – (National Association of Arab Americans)

There is no shortage of anti-Israel groups in Washington. So if America’s foreign policy were soley based on lobby groups, then America would be the most anti-Israel country in the western world.

Techniques of Lobby Groups
Groups like AIPAC work the same way that every other of the thousands of lobby groups work. They simply help the campaigns of politicians who support their views. Groups like the NRA work the same way by helping the campaigns of politicians who oppose gun control. The anti-Israel lobbies listed above help the campaigns of politicians who are more hostile to Israel. There is nothing unusual about the way groups like AIPAC function (I am not talking about the specific group AIPAC, which is currently involved in a government investigation for illegally mishandling classified information). However, the authors of this study attempt to argue that the influence of pro-Israel lobby groups goes above and beyong that of normal lobbying groups.

Letter Writing
On page 20 of the study the authors write:

To discourage unfavorable reporting on Israel, the Lobby organizes letter writing campaigns,
demonstrations, and boycotts against news outlets whose content it considers anti-Israel.

For one thing pro-Palestinian groups organize letter campaigns as well on media outlets that they consider to be “too pro-Israel”.There is nothing wrong with letter writing to the media. Many special interest groups do this to give another point of view of the program. Expressing ones point of view is part of living in a democracy. I get many emails about my website from people that don’t agree with me, and I always post those emails for all to see so everyone’s point of view is heard.

Campuses
On page 21 the authors state:

The Lobby has had the most difficulty stifling debate about Israel on college campuses, because academic freedom is a core value and because tenured professors are hard to threaten or silence.

The Lobby moved aggressively to “take back the campuses.” New groups sprang up, like the Caravan for Democracy, which brought Israeli speakers to U.S. colleges. Established groups like the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel jumped into the fray, and a new group—the Israel on Campus Coalition— was formed to coordinate the many groups that now sought to make Israel’s case on campus. Finally, AIPAC more than tripled its spending for programs to monitor university activities and to train young advocates for Israel, in order to “vastly expand the number of students involved on campus . . . in the national pro-Israel effort.”

First of all, the “lobby” does not wish to “stifle” debate on Israel. The pro-Israel groups which work on campuses simply wish to present a different point of view than the anti-Israel rhetoric which has become common on many college campuses. Similarly, groups like the Muslim Student association and other Arab/Muslim groups on campuses organize anti-Israel activities all the time and bring in Arab speakers as well. College students hear many speeches from Arabs and pro-Palestinian speakers, so I dont see anything wrong with someone balancing this with Israeli speakers. In fact not allowing Israeli speakers and pro-Israel groups on campuses would be a form of “stifling debate” in and of itself.

The Great Silencer
A key argument made by the writers is that anyone who criticizes any Israeli policy is labeled “anti-semetic” by the pro-Israel groups, and therefore legitamite debate is stifled. Page 23 notes:

Anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence
over U.S. Middle East policy—an influence that AIPAC celebrates—stands a good chance of getting labeled an anti-Semite. In fact, anyone who says that there is an Israel Lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism, even though the Israeli media themselves refer to America’s “Jewish Lobby.” In effect, the Lobby boasts of its own power and then attacks anyone who calls attention to it. This tactic is very effective, because anti-Semitism is loathsome and no responsible person wants to be accused of it.

The truth is NO ONE gets labeled “anti-semetic” for simply criticizing Israel’s policy. Israel is a country, and like any other country their policies can be criticized and debated. Many Israelis and Jewish leaders openly criticize Israel’s policies. This does not make one an “anti-semite”. The only times that Jewish groups will label someone “anti-semetic” is when that individual is obsessed with Israel-bashing, or if they hate Israel solely because it is Jewish state. Wheather the Jewish leaders are correct in assesing this charge or not is beyond the scope of this page and website. This wesbsite is living proof that no one calls mere criticisms of Israel “anti-semetic”. On my site I have criticized many Israeli policies, such as their espionage against the United States, their illegal settlement activity, and when then they illegally forged New Zealand passports and other times as well, and despite this NO ONE has emailed me saying that I was “anti-semetic”. Despite the many criticisms against Israel on this site NO ONE has labeled this an “anti-semetic” site. The same is true of the many others who criticize Israeli policy, including Bush. Bush has publicly opposed Israel’s continued settlement expansion and no one has labeled him “anti-semetic”. The charge of these authors that groups like AIPAC label all criticism of Israel as “anti-semetic” is a pure lie that is used to silence legitamate pro-Israel arguments.

AIPAC Inaccuracy
Another inaccuracy I noted while reading the study was on page 25 where the authors state:

In particular, it has worked successfully to convince American leaders to back Israel’s continued repression of the Palestinians and to take aim at Israel’s primary regional adversaries: Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
And then again on page 29
Maintaining U.S. support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians is a core goal of the Lobby, but its ambitions do not stop there. It also wants America to help Israel remain the dominant regional power. Not surprisingly, the Israeli government and pro-Israel groups in the United States worked together to shape the Bush Administration’s policy towards Iraq, Syria, and Iran, as well as its grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.

This is completely inaccurate and in fact the opposite is true. Look at AIPAC’s site. They atually encourage aid to the Palestinian people.
From AIPAC site:.
Aipac states their goal is to “Attach safeguards to aid to the Palestinian Authority to ensure that the assistance is spent helping the Palestinian people, not siphoned off by terrorist groups or corrupt officials.” No where on the AIPAC website do they wish any harm to the Palestinian people. Same goes for most other pro-Israel group

As for “shaping middle east policy” AIPAC does advocate the U.S. taking forceful action against Iran’s nuclear program, but NEVER did they directly support the Iraq war or direct confrontation with Syria or against any other middle east nation. This is a distortion by the authors that should make us furhter question their credibility on this issue.

Threats to Israel
Israel and the Iraq War
A key argument in the study was that the Iraq war was launched to ‘protect’ Israel. On page 29 the authors state:

Instead,the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.

The author uses quotes from Israeli leaders who supported the Iraq war to back up his argument. No matter how much someone wants to argue that Israel made the Iraq war happen, the simple fact is that Iraq was no major threat to Israel, and Israel in no way benefits from having Saddam Hussein removed. If it was up to Israel who we attacked we would have for sure attacked Iran. The authors even admit this on page 37:

Israelis tend to describe every threat in the starkest terms, but Iran is widely seen as their most dangerous enemy because it is the most likely adversary to acquire nuclear weapons. Virtually all Israelis regard an Islamic country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons as an existential threat. As Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer remarked one month before the Iraq war: “Iraq is a problem …. But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq.”

It makes no sense to argue that Israel had anything to do with the war against Iraq. Sure Saddam funded Palestinian terrorists, but so does Iran and every other Islamic country in the world. Why would Iraq be singled out for that reason? And lets remember that Saddam Hussein had many other countries in the region who didn’t care for him, such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt, among others.

Later on page 29 the autors state:

intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programs. As one retired Israeli general later put it, “Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.”

Did the authors forget that Jordanian, Egyptian, Russian, and British intelligence also concluded that Saddam had WMD? Not to mention our own CIA came to that conclusion and many Iraqi dissidends also made that claim. Many believe Saddam pretended to have WMD just to scare other countries in the region.

Gunning for Syria
The study tries to make it look like Israel is trying to push the U.S. to attack Syria, or at least to “put pressure” on them. On page 36 the authors state:

Sharon and Shaul Mofaz, his defense minister, gave high profile interviews in different Israeli newspapers. Sharon, in Yedioth Ahronoth, called for the United States to put “very heavy” pressure on Syria. Mofaz told Ma’ariv that, “We have a long list of issues that we are thinking of demanding of the Syrians and it is appropriate that it should be done through the Americans.” Sharon’s national security advisor, Ephraim Halevy, told a WINEP audience that it was now important for the United States to get rough with Syria.

The author tries to make it sound like Israel is the only one country that wishes to put pressure on Syria. He forgets that it was only about a year ago when France was actually on our side calling for sanctions against Syria. After the assasination of Rafiq Harriri, most of the world joined together to force Syria towithdraw from Lebanon. Many Lebanese were also pressuring Syria to leave. Even the former Syrian vice President, Abdul Halim Khaddam, joined the international community to demand Syria stop controlling Lebanese affairs. This pressure against Syria had nothing to do with Israel.

Iran
The study argues that U.S. is putting pressure on Iran because Israel is afraid of their nuclear weapons. A nuclear armed Iran is not only a threat to Israel, but a threat to the rest of the world. If Iran obtains nuclear weapons, they could strike Israel, intimidate Saudi Arabia, target our troops in Iraq, and start an arms race with the surrounding Arab nations. Iran can target any European country once it has nuclear capabilities. It is rather unlikely Iran would directly target anyone, but what the world is more afraid of is Iran selling or giving away nuclear technology to Islamic terrorists. The authors attempt to downplay these fears on page 5:

Even if these states acquire nuclear weapons—which is obviously not desirable—it would not be a strategic disaster for the United States. Neither America nor Israel could be blackmailed by a nuclear-armed rogue, because the blackmailer could not carry out the threat without receiving overwhelming retaliation. The danger of a “nuclear handoff” to terrorists is equally remote, because a rogue state could not be sure the transfer would be undetected or that it would not be blamed and punished afterwards.

Iran doesn’t care about “overwhelming retaliation” or about “being blamed and punished afterwards”. If Iran really cared what the international community wanted they would be more willing to compromise with the west and Russia reguarding their nuclear ambitions. Besided, once Iran obtains nuclear weapons it would be impossible to “punish them aftewards”. They will be able to blackmail the world. The U.S. opposes a nuclear armed Iran, not because of Israel, but because it is in the world’s best interest.

What about Saudi Arabia?
The study goes on and on for pages about how the “Israel lobby” is “forcing” America to attack Israel’s enemies such as Iran, Iraq, and Syria. But nowhere does he mention one of Israel’s biggest threats, Saudi Arabia. The Saudis actively fund Palestinian terrorist groups and have a tendency to blame al qaida attacks against the kingdon on “zionists”. Saudi Arabia is one of the few Muslim countries that enforces the Arab League boycott of Israel. The Saudis are probably the biggest threat to Israel after Iran. Yet America has not started any conflicts with the Saudis. America’s conflicts with Iran, Iraq, and Syria have nothing to do with Israel. If Israel had anything to do with it, the Saudis would have been attacked too.

Israel Can Defend Itself
If Israel truly wanted to have its enemies attacked, they would do it themseleves. Page 34 of the study notes:

Pro-Israel forces have long been interested in getting the U.S. military more directly involved in the Middle East, so it could help protect Israel.

Israel attacked an Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981, when it was believed Saddam was making a nuclear bomb. They did not make America do it. Israel has one of the strongest armies in the world. Plus it is believed that Israel has 100+ nuclear weapons. The idea that Israel needs America to fight its battles is laughable when Israel is perfectly capable of defending itself against such threats.

Hypocrisy of Writers
As we saw, the study repeatedly implies that the Iraq war was inflenced by the lobby group and that we were attacked on 9/11 because of Israel.Yet just a year and half ago co-author of the study, John Mearsheimer, was quoted naming completely different reasons for the Iraq war. As Camera.org has noted:
(from camera.org)
So their point could not be more clear: The United States went to war in Iraq largely in the interests of Israel, and thanks largely to the influence of pro-Israel administration officials, most of whom are Jewish and are tied to Israel’s Likud party.

It couldn’t be more striking then, to read Professor Mearsheimer stating in late December of 2004 almost exactly the opposite concerning the origins of the Iraq war. Interviewed on a website called American Amnesia, Prof. Mearsheimer stated clearly that administration officials went to war in good faith, expecting “in their heart of hearts” to find WMD and ties between Osama bin Laden and Saddam:

A number of [Bush administration officials] who were in favor of the war believed that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that he was joined at the hip with Osama Bin Laden. At the same time, I think that they were aware that we had no hard evidence to support either one of those contentions; but in their heart of hearts they believed that both suppositions would be proven true once we were in Iraq and gained access to the evidence. I believe that people like Vice-President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, were shocked that we found no WMD and no evidence of cooperation between Saddam and Bin Laden. I think that they expected to find that evidence.

So according to Mearsheimer, Wolfowitz and the other senior administration officials were actually acting in the interests of the United States rather than of Israel. The good professor continued:

What you often discovered when debating proponents of the war was that if they admitted that Saddam might not be an imminent threat, they would invariably fall back on the argument that this is actually the ideal time to attack him because he is not especially dangerous at the moment. Why wait until he is armed and a serious threat to the United States? Let’s get him when he is weak and vulnerable.

Note that according to Mearsheimer, for these supporters of the war it wasn’t Israel that was the issue, but rather that Saddam could well become “a serious threat to the United States.”

And in a long answer, Mearsheimer specifically attributed Wolfowitz’s support for the war not to any concern for Israel, but rather to his belief in the transformative power of democracy:

I think that Wolfowitz, who was the war’s principle architect, believes very strongly that the most powerful political ideology on the face of the earth is democracy and that every individual is hard-wired with a potent democratic impulse inside him or her. The only thing that prevents that democratic impulse from manifesting itself is the presence of a tyrant or an authoritarian regime like Saddam’s. Thus, I think he believed that once we decapitated the regime in Iraq, we would not have to worry much about what the replacement regime looked like, because that democratic impulse, once unleashed, would produce a democratic form of government that would not only be friendly to the United States, but would allow us to leave Iraq quickly and painlessly. I think that the model that Wolfowitz and other neo-conservatives had in mind was Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They believed that once Saddam was gone, once we got rid of the Ayatollahs in Iran, once we got rid of the Ba’athists in Syria, democracy would take hold in those places, because it is such a powerful and attractive ideology.

Notice especially that Mearsheimer says that he believed that Wolfowitz expected the new, post-Saddam Iraq would be “friendly to the United States” – with no mention of Israel.

Questioned as to whether Wolfowitz might have been lying about the reasons for going to war, Professor Mearsheimer responded with a firm “No”:

No, I don’t think this particular issue involves myth making or lying or deception or anything like that. One could call it self-deception. Wolfowitz had a particular view of international politics that he honestly believed in and that he was adept at articulating and defending. Nevertheless, I thought before the war, and I certainly think now, that his theory of international politics is deeply flawed.

So Wolfowitz acted in good faith, in the interests of the U.S., and based on perceptions that “he honestly believed in.”
(the above was directly copied from Camera.org)

Conclusion
While looking through this study we have found many inaccuracies and contradictions. It is very sad to see two academic scholars resorting to such attacks against poor little Israel. The study makes the claim many times that Israel is not really in danger and there is no threat to its existence or legitemacy. The very existence of this study proves that Israel’s legitamecy is under attack. The authors wish to break apart America’s support for Israel to further isolate them, against the will of the general American public. All people who care for democracy and justice should reject such inflammatory attacks as this study. Israel, like any other country, has its problems and should be proportionatly criticised for them. However nothing justifies the current level of hostility towards them. The Israelis need and deserve our support and as long as they remain a civilized democracy, as long as they continue to enforce the rule of law, and as long as they continue to support America’s interest in the middle east, Israel has my complete support.

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