The Real Israel Lobby: American Intellectuals, Culpability and US Foreign Policy

To understand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict it is vital to understand the role that the United States plays in it. The relationship between the United States and Israel is very close and of intense interest throughout the world. The United States provides Israel with around $3 billion in annual direct aid, more than any other country1. The US also is one of very few countries who vote against – and, in some cases, veto – resolutions in the United Nations that are critical of Israel or demand Israel to comply with international law by withdrawing back to the pre-1967 borders outlined in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2422. This support makes possible the Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory and its numerous vicious assaults on the Palestinian people.

In return for this support the United States has a staunch and dependent ally in the Middle East, a region that has long been considered vital to US interests and was described by the State Department as “stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”3 The prospects for having an ally in the region is one reason why the United States supported the partition and creation if Israel in 1948 and why US presidents over the years have continuously supported Israel in many ways, especially since the Six-Day War in 1967.4

In recent years, especially during the George W. Bush presidency, the US has become increasingly supportive of Israel, even in the face of Israel’s wars against Gaza and Lebanon that were wildly condemned by international institutions and human rights organizations as illegal and brutal.5 Some now believe that the US commitment to protecting Israel’s interests has come at the expense of its own national interests and say this is due to an aggressive and very effective lobbying effort from domestic pro-Israel groups and their allies. The most well-known and controversial outline of this belief came in a working paper by realist academics, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, who in 2006 released, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.”6 This paper, which was later expanded into a book,7 concludes that the “overall thrust of US policy in the region is almost entirely due to domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby.’”8The lobby, the authors state, “cannot be identified precisely” but “has a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the U.S. government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority.”9 The authors go as far as claim the lobby was the major reason for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.10

Surely, to some degree the United States “special relationship” with Israel does have unwelcome consequences. Polls show the public in the Middle East disapproves greatly with US support for Israel11, and is one of the major reasons for anti-Americanism across the globe – the tragic consequences of which became evident on September 11, 2001, where the US saw firsthand an example of the backlash to its policies in the Middle East. But is US policy in the Middle East dictated by powerful lobbying groups? Or does the support serve to provide benefits to elite US interests, geopolitically and economically? This paper aims to analyze the nature of the Israeli/US relationship, and the role of the United States in the Middle East, by analyzing the conclusion of Walt and Mearsheimer in their paper, “The Israel Lobby.” It will also consider the role the lobby has in shaping debate domestically on foreign policy issues and examine the narrow parameters of debate within US scholarship and media more broadly.

While Walt and Mearsheimer are right that the lobby yields considerable influence in shaping national debate, electing members of congress and casting critics of Israel as villains, their thesis overlooks key elements of the nature of US foreign policy12. Evidence shows, including from US planning documents, that US policy in the Middle East is focused on preserving US elite interests (typically described, somewhat cynically, as the “national interest”), which is done in many ways, including: 1) maintaining a powerful presence and reliable allies in the oil-rich region; 2) crushing Arab and third-world nationalism; 3) spreading the US-dominated neoliberal economic order; and 4) masking policies that serve to benefit the US geopolitically as benevolent and based on freedom and “democracy promotion.” US policy towards Israel, I attempt to show, is consistent with these basic principles. In this way US support for Israel is consistent with its foreign policy elsewhere. This paper also aims to show that when US planners do find its interests conflict with the wishes of Israel (and by extension the lobby), they end up defying Israel. In fact, there are few – if any – examples of the lobby dictating actual policy in the Middle East.

The more valuable aspect of Walt and Mearsheimer’s article is their conclusion that the domestic debate on the issue is narrow and serves to ignore or distort Israeli human rights violations, breaches of widely accepted international norms, its rejectionism of international consensus and US complicity in all of the above. The lobby is certainly a factor in limiting and suppressing debate; the hysterical reaction of the lobby to their paper is indeed evidence of this.13 The authors, however, blame this tendency almost entirely on the lobby, especially groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Coalition (AIPAC). The lobby is certainly a factor in shaping the debate in this way. The authors, however, again overlook a crucial reality: that the narrowing of debate and the suppression of facts and events that would hurt the myth of US benevolence is a regular occurrence in relation to virtually all US foreign policies towards allies – Israel is the rule, not the exception.14 In sum, Walt and Mearsheimer seem to be analyzing the behavior of the US intellectual community as a whole to reinforce doctrinaire assumptions about the nature of US policy and not a unique phenomenon created by a lobby that causes a deviation from normally healthy debate about U.S. foreign policy and its impacts.

The US-Israeli ‘special relationship’

The United States makes Israeli foreign policies possible by providing it with massive direct aid, the protection of the most powerful military in the world, and by voting with Israel in the United Nations. Even when the United States has played the role of supposed mediator – such as the Oslo negotiations during the early years of the Clinton presidency – the country has essentially been a partner with Israel. 15

Thus, the United States is the chief enabler of the most controversial elements of Israeli policies: aggressive wars that include the illegal bombing of civilian populations, supporting economic strangulation, continuation of illegal settlements, the building of a separation wall, racist citizenship laws and so on. These policies are widely condemned by the international community, human rights organizations and sometimes international courts and institutions. The United States could, simply by threatening to cut aid and diplomatic support, apply major on pressure on Israel to stop such policies, but rarely does. Sometimes US presidents show unambiguous public support for Israeli aggression, while at other times they make toothless statements of condemnation – but almost never does the US apply serious pressure in an effort to protect the Palestinians from Israeli domination and oppression.

Many examples of US support for controversial policies are documented by Walt and Mearsheimer, who note that the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US and the “War on Terror” that followed, was used as justification in the US giving “Israel a free hand in dealing with the Palestinians and not press Israel to make concessions until all Palestinian terrorists are imprisoned or dead.”16While the Bush Doctrine made the case for spreading democratic values far and wide, the US has not pressed Israel, to give one example, to change its policy of not permitting “Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens to become citizens, and does not give these spouses the right to live in Israel.”17 B’tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, they note, calls this “a racist” law. 18

It is ironic that the US does not press on Israel on this given that the US often cites Israel’s democratic ways as a reason for its support. This hypocrisy manifests itself in other ways, including the fact that the US has given de-facto support to Israel’s collective punishment of Gaza based on the population’s decision to vote for Hamas, a militant Islamic political party that takes a hard-line stance on opposing the Israeli occupation, and whose charter does not recognize Israel. Hamas won a governing majority in the 2006 legislative elections, deemed free and fair by international watchdog groups.19 Israel promptly instituted a blockade against Hamas, leading to an economic isolation of Gaza that, according to Human Rights Watch, is “a measure that is depriving its population of food, fuel, and basic services, and constitutes a form of collective punishment,” that “has contributed to a humanitarian crisis, deepened poverty and ruined the economy.”20 While just recently, President Barack Obama urged a lessening of the blockade in a diplomatic letter, he did not pressure Israel by threatening aid.21

The United States also makes it possible for Israel to maintain its rejectionist stance on borders and land. For example, every year the United Nations General Assembly votes on something called the “Peaceful Settlement of the Palestine Question,” demanding that Israel withdraw to the pre-1967 borders. The vote is passed overwhelmingly each year, with just the United States, Israel, Australia, and some tiny dependency states voting in opposition. In 2008, it passed 164 to 7.22 Even Hamas has joined the world community and said it would accept these borders as part of a peace for land deal, but the US and Israel continue to defy international consensus on the matter.23 As Rashid Hhalidi, the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, said of the US stance on the conflict: “every other single place on the face of the earth is in support of the Palestinians, yet all of them together aren’t a hill of beans compared to the United States and Israel, because the United States and Israel can basically do anything they please. They are the world superpower, they are the regional superpower.” This rejectionism, according to Alain Gresh, former editor of Le Monde diplomatique, is “undermining the two state solution given the continued growth of settlements and the construction of the wall.”24

President Barack Obama is widely credited (or critiqued) for taking a tougher stance on some Israeli policies than his predecessor.25 Obama, for example, has made several public statements urging Prime Minister Netanyahu to freeze settlements in the West Bank, and has taken a softer stance on the use of military force on Iran than Israeli officials would like. But this rhetoric has done nothing to stop the settlements, which Israeli officials say are vital to Israel’s security. Despite Netanyahu’s defiance, Obama has not threatened to cut any aid to Israel. Further, Obama has said nothing to condemn Israel’s destruction of Gaza in Operation Cast Lead, an attack on the Gazan civilian population with massive bombings that included the use of white phosphorus – a clear violation of international law and a moral catastrophe.26 The operation, which led to 1,417 Palestinian and 13 Israeli deaths,27was widely understood to be an especially egregious criminal undertaking, not only from reputable human rights groups, but also from Richard Goldstone, a committed and respected Zionist, who issued a report for the United Nations that said Israel may have committed “crimes against humanity,” and urged an investigation.28 The United States and Obama, not deviating from the norm successfully pressured to have the Palestinian leaders shelf the adoption of the report.29

These are just a few examples of the United States role in supporting Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians – policies that have led some to compare Israel to the apartheid regime in South Africa from the late 20th century.30What drives the US to give this support? And what role, if any, does the Israel Lobby contribute to US support of these policies? This is examined in detail below.

The lobby vs. US interests

Few would deny the existence of a powerful lobby advocating for Israel. Lobbying groups such as The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Congress are quite influential and successful lobbying and propaganda outlets that do have an impact in Washington D.C. Further, many news outlets of varying ideological persuasions, are enthusiastic supporters of hawkish Israeli policies and US support for them, including the Weekly Standard, the Washington Post editorial page, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the New Republic.

AIPAC, by many accounts one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country, often hosts presidential candidates for key speeches, where they invariably proclaim undying support for Israel. The lobby has been credited for helping oust congressman deemed insufficiently supportive of Israel, as documented by Walt and Mearsheimer. They were also said by some to have been a major factor in preventing US diplomat Charles Freeman, who has been mildly critical of US support for some Israeli policies, from chairing the US National Intelligence Council.31

But do these incidents and other outlined by Walt and Mearsheimer’s paper indicate that the lobby is the main driver of US policy? To test this thesis, it is useful to look at incidents where Israeli interests differ from those of the US. When these interests collide, the record shows, the US is quite willing to defy the wishes of its important ally. One case study that proves useful is on arms trades between Israel and China. As Noam Chomsky notes in Perilous Power, Israel’s economy, much like the US economy, is highly technological and militarized and is in need of markets to export its products, especially weapons and technology.32 A market for Israeli goods exists in China, itself a rapidly growing economy with a growing military budget. China also happens to be widely viewed as a threat to US economic hegemony. On several occasions, however, when the United States has felt threatened by the ramifications of potential arms deals, they have succeeded in killing them.

In 2000, the British Broadcasting Company reported that “Israel’s decision to abandon the sale of its advanced airborne radar system to China was probably inevitable, given the pressure from the United States and Israel’s vital ties with Washington.” 33The United States “had threatened to cut $2.8 (billion) in annual aid to Israel if the deal had gone through,” and Israeli spokesman, Gadi Baltiansky said, “Israel will not do anything to harm the United States.”34

A nearly identical scenario unfolded in 2005. When Israel, “under pressure from the Bush administration,” according to the Washington Post, “agreed to cancel an arms deal with China and allow U.S. officials to review its future weapons transactions in an effort to resolve tension between Jerusalem and Washington, usually in lockstep over security matters.” 35When Israeli interests conflicted with US strategic interests, Chomsky said, “there was not a peep from the lobby.”36

The Post article noted that because of arms deals with China,” the Pentagon ended cooperation with Israel on at least one joint weapons project and ceased contact with a senior official in the Israeli Defense Ministry.” Under the terms of the agreement the Israeli government cancelled the project and announced that the senior official, Maj. Gen. Amos Yaron, the ministry’s director general, “will retire in a few months, as he said he has planned.”37

Examples of this go back much further. For example, in 1993, Israel wanted to invest with North Korea to “prevent the North Koreans from supplying upgraded long-range missiles to Iran.” 38”The American position,” however, according to Eytan Bentsur, senior deputy director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, was “certainly one of dissatisfaction and reservations regarding the contacts with North Korea.”39

If the definition of power is the ability to make another do something they would not otherwise do, the power of the US over Israel is indeed indisputable in this case. Israel’s goal in this instance was to keep one of its most important enemies from gaining key military equipment – a matter of significance to Israel’s position as a regional power. At the time the United States was isolating North Korea, however, and after the United States expressed its displeasure to senior Israeli officials, the deal was killed. The United States, again, showing it will support Israel insomuch as it suits its own elite interests, but no further.

Israel’s Strategic Importance

So, if the United States foreign policy in not dictated by the lobby, why then does the United States give Israel so much support? One answer is that the United States considers it important to have a reliable ally in the region. Certainly, the United States support for Israel is stronger than it is for other other allies. This is because support for Israel helps expand and preserve the United States in four major ways, outlined in the introduction. 1) Israel is located in the oil-rich Middle-East, long viewed as a crucial region in the world of power politics between nations; 2) Israel’s opposition to Palestinian nationalism is consistent with the US overall opposition to Arab nationalism; 3) Israel is a wealthy, trade-friendly partner of the US, serving to further expand the US-dominated neoliberal world order and; 4) since Israel is seen to have a liberal democracy (albeit a flawed one), it helps the United States sell their realist aims behind the veil of “democracy promotion” and promote the myth of US benevolence.

In recent years, Israel’s importance has increased, as has US aid to the region. As noted above, US state planners have long viewed the Middle East as a “stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.” When the Shah fell in 1979, the US lost a key ally. This made Israel, in the words of Norman Finkelstein, “the only stable and secure base for projecting U.S. power in this region.”40 Every other country the U.S. relies on, he added, might “fall out of U.S. control tomorrow: the U.S. discovered this to its horror in 1979 after investing so much in the Shah.”

This, Finkelstein concluded, is due to not only Israel’s strategic relationship with the US, but also its deeply entrenched cultural connection to “the West.”

    “Israel was a creation of the West, it’s in every respect – culturally, politically, economically – in thrall to the West, notably the U.S. This is true not just at the level of a corrupt leadership as elsewhere in the Middle East but – what’s most important – at the popular level. Israel’s pro-American orientation exists not just among Israeli elites but among the whole population. Come what may in Israel, then, it’s inconceivable that this fundamental orientation will change. Combined with its overwhelming military power, this makes Israel a unique and irreplaceable American asset in the Middle East.”41

Further, US opposition to third-world nationalism – in the Arab world and elsewhere – has long been obvious from US policies: its opposition to Nasserism in Egypt; its staunch opposition to Cuba in the 1950s and 1960s; its battles against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua; and its distaste for Evo Molares in Bolivia and Manuel Zelaya in Honduras today. 42

“The reason is much the same as why the United States gives such massive support to Israel in their efforts to destroy Palestine as a viable national entity,” notes Middle East scholar Stephen Maher. “Third world nationalism represents a threat to US elite domination of the world’s resources. If people dictate who should represent them and how their resources should be used, it could result in what Diana Melrose described in an Oxfam report about Nicaragua, ‘the threat of a good example,’ in how to defy the US and fight for their own well-beings.”43

Aid for Israel, when examined through the lens of US policy and aims around the world, makes a good deal of sense if the goal is to maximize US power. While the Walt-Mearsheimer piece argues that Israel is a liability, it seems evident that US planners do not agree. When Israel and US interests are similar – as it most often the case – the US is in line with the lobby; when they differ, the lobby does not get its way.

The Real Israel Lobby: the US intellectual class.

The most persuasive part of the Walt-Mearsheimer thesis is its argument that the lobby has served to stifle debate by smearing opponents in ways Joe McCarthy would be proud of, and in doing so, making sure to punish any scholar or politician who defies the lobby’s policy preferences. This has manifested itself in many ways, as the Walt-Mearsheimer paper explains: Campus Watch’s witch hunt for college professors who dare to speak critically of Israel policy; the accusations of anti-Semitism towards human rights groups and academics that chronicle Israeli abuses; and in papers outlining the “new anti-Semitism” that essentially argue any critique of Israel is anti-Semitic. Further, as the realist authors point out, debate on Israel in contemporary scholarship and in media outlets is indeed one-sided in favor of Israel, whose atrocities are regularly ignored or downplayed even in so-called “liberal” publications such as the New York Times.44

While the lobby is indeed one significant contributor to the narrow debate about US policy in the Middle East, an examination reveals that the debate is equally narrow regarding US foreign policy more broadly. Generally speaking, basic assumptions about the United States are adhered to with alarming uniformity: the US aims to spread peace and freedom across the globe, it has the right to invade countries whenever it sees fit, states that resist US domination are hostile and run by despots, and so on. This tendency indicates a widespread problem with US intellectual culture. “If you look at the actual influence, in my opinion, the most influential pro-Israel lobby is not AIPAC; it is American liberal intellectuals,” Chomsky said in an interview. “In my opinion, AIPAC is pretty slight in comparison with that. The liberal intelligentsia is the major Israel Lobby.”45

If, in the case of the scholarship about Israel, the lobby was principally the reason for the narrow debate, than logic would follow that on other issues where the lobby is not involved (say, US Latin American policy), the debate is healthy and there is not a stifling of debate. In fact, Walt expressed this very viewpoint in a talk about the lobby, when he said (emphasis added), “this has become a subject that you can barely talk about without people immediately trying to silence you, immediately trying to discredit you in various ways, such that no American politicians will touch this, which is quite remarkable when you consider how much Americans argue about every other controversial political issue.”46

But, by in large, the United States intellectual class has long supported the major tenets of US foreign policy, even those that are illegal, brutal and unpopular. When the United States invaded Vietnam, the country’s major news outlets and academics were largely on board. This is true of the coup in Venezuela in 2002, the massacres in East Timor in the 1970s, and, more recently, the invasion of Iraq in 2003.47

Walt and Mearsheimer cite Eric Alterman, who noted the lopsided nature of debates on op-ed pages regarding Israel and Palestine as an example of the success of the lobby. But similar disparities exist on a host of issues. When the US-supported Honduran military kidnapped and overthrew Manuel Zelaya, the democratically-elected leader of Honduras, The New York Times’ coverage was equally lopsided. Not only did the paper not report the US role in the coup (the helicopter used to transfer the ousted leader, stopped at a US base), but its op-ed page ignored the voices of the nationalist Honduran protesters who were victims to the thwarting of democracy. 48When the US invaded Iraq, only 6 percent of US guests on nightly television news program in the weeks leading up to the invasion opposed the US invasion.49

In short, what Walt and Mearsheimer seem to be seeing is the overall trend of elite media and scholars to accept the basic assumptions that are needed for US imperial domination of the world to persist with minimal domestic resistance. And while the two authors do deserve credit for going where few academics dare to go – attacking the lobby’s influence – the paper itself does, in some ways, conform to the aforementioned tendency to perpetuate the myth of US benevolence in its foreign policy.

Conclusion: the lack of culpability and its consequences

This great tendency in contemporary western scholarship to find ways to explain away the US role in crimes and atrocities across the world is widespread. The destruction of Iraq, it is so often states, was due to “tactical errors” or misguided leadership; likewise the US Cold War policy of developing enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over, was, again, not the fault of US planners, but due to the “unstoppable” force that was the Soviet Union.50 Whatever the issue, if things go bad, there is always a viable explanation, expressed with near-monolithic consistency by scholars and media outlets, about how it was not the result of US policy aims, which are always created with the best of intentions.

Given this tendency, the thesis brought out by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer regarding US foreign policy is rather interesting. As noted, for years now the United States has enabled numerous crimes by Israel against the people of Palestine with ever-increasing support. This support for Israel in destroying Palestine could, one might argue, be the result of the United States, the most powerful nation in world history, pursuing the geopolitical and economic interests of its power brokers. This logical and indeed realist hypothesis could be tested. Or, one could engage in scholarship in a different way: find some other explanation for the US role in the atrocities in the Middle East.

Walt and John Mearsheimer, try the second option – absolving the US for their role in perpetuating the destruction of Palestine – by finding someone else to blame. In this case, pro-Israel lobbying groups.

Notes Stephen Zunes, writing in Foreign Policy in Focus: “What progressive supporters of Mearsheimer and Walt’s analysis seem to ignore is that both men have a vested interest in absolving from responsibility the foreign policy establishment that they have served so loyally all these years. Israel and its supporters are essentially being used as convenient scapegoats for America’s disastrous policies in the Middle East.”51

This is a major problem with the “Israel Lobby” paper and Western scholarship more broadly: they serve to ignore the US role in dreadful acts across the world. Accordingly, there exists a mediated reality where the US – and the taxpayers that pay to fund these crimes – bears no responsibility for the destruction of Palestine and its people.


[1] Forbes magazine reported (http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2007/07/29/afx3963706.html ) on a new deal that would increase US direct aid to Israel , quoting then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who said "'In my last meeting with the president of the United States, we agreed that the aid would stand at 30 billion dollars over the next 10 years, meaning over three billion dollars a year, starting next year ... This is an increase of over 25 percent in the military and defence aid of the United States to Israel," and gives Israel "qualitative advantage over other Arab states." Other places for aid numbers include the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID)

“Greenbook,” (http://gbk.eads.usaidallnet.gov/query/do?_program=/eads/gbk/countryReport&unit=R).

[2] There exists many such measures where the US, Israel and few others defy the international community in critiquing Israel. See the UN News Service for more examples, including the passing of resolution by a vote of 150 to 6," where the Assembly called on all UN Member States to comply with its obligations as contained in the finding by International Court of Justice (ICJ), which include a duty "not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinean territory, including in and around East Jerusalem" and "not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction." (UN News Center, "UN Assembly votes overwhelmingly to demand Israel comply with ICJ ruling," 20 July, 2004. Available at: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=11418&Cr=middle&Cr1=east ; retrieved 8 Oct. 2009.

[3] The United States Department of State Foreign Relations of the United States: diplomatic papers, 1945. The Near East and Africa: Volume VIII. pg 45. Retrieved at the University of Wisconsin digital collection: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/FRUS.FRUS1945v08; on 10 October 2009.

[4] For an overview of US presidential policies towards Israel see; Little, Douglas American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East since 1945 Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008. For more on the increased support since 1967, see: Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar, Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice, Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2008, pg 61.

[5] Examples are numerous. Human Rights Watch "Why they Died: Civilian Casualties in Lebanon during 2006 War." September 6 2006. http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2007/09/05/why-they-died ; retrieved on 10 October 2009. This report concluded "the conflict resulted in at least 1,109 Lebanese deaths, the vast majority of whom were civilians, 4,399 injured, and an estimated 1 million displaced ” and placed blame for the high civilian casualty count “squarely with Israeli policies.” Also see: Amnesty International. "Israel Troops Reveal Gaza Abuses." 1 April 2009. http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/israeli-troops-reveal-gaza-abuses-20090401; retrieved on 10 October 2009.

[6] Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Kennedy School of Government Working Paper, 13 March 2006.

[7] Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen (2007). The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. New York; Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[8] ibid. pg 13

[9] ibid pg 113

[10] Mearsheimer, John and Walt. Stephen. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Kennedy School of Government Working Paper, 13 March 2006. Pgs 30-35

[11] According to the Pew Research Center's Arab and Muslims Perceptions Project, "perceptions of U.S. policy in the Israeli-Palestinean conflict feed anti-Americanism. A 2003 Pew Global Attitudes poll found that enormous majorities in Arab and Muslim countries (at least 90 percent in Jordan, the Palestinean Authority, Morocco, and Lebanon) believed the U.S. favors Israel too much." (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/6/arab-and-muslim-perceptions-of-the-united-states; 10 November 2005.)

[12] For example, a document called Joint Vision 2020, which was prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the start of the Bush presidency, states that the US must achieve “full spectrum dominance” meaning they must have “access to and freedom to operate in all domains – space, sea, land, air, and information” so they can “maintain the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance.” The 40-page document does not contain the word democracy. Available at: http://www.dtic.mil/futurejointwarfare/ . In 2006, the Department of Defense released the Quadrennial Defense Review Report, which supports the idea that US foreign policy is based on becoming an unrivaled, permanent superpower. The report, which outlines the objectives of the Department of Defense, is released every four years and is considered the main documenting articulating US military doctrine. Yet, this document, like Joint Vision 2020, is virtually ignored by the major media. Available at: http://www.hsdl.org/hslog/?q=node/4663.

[13] A good example of these hysterics can be found by reading the following 45-page retort: Dershowitz, Alan. "Debunking the Newest -- and Oldest -- Jewish Conspiracy: a Reply to the Mearsheimer-Walt 'Working Paper.'" April, 2006. Harvard Law School

[14] See, Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam. (2002) ""Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media." Pantheon. This study compares the way the US media covers US allies and enemies in different lights using many case studies and a qualitative analysis of the news output. This book developed the "propaganda model" which argues there is systemic elite bias in the media, and explains them based on the economic structure of media outlets. One example studied more than 50 New York Times' articles by Stephen Kinzer's about Nicaragua. Kinzer, the authors note, did not quote a single person who favored the Sandinistas, even though they had massive popular support according to polls. The example is appropriate here as the Sandinistas were in some ways similar to the Palestineans -- a nationalist group resisting as US ally.

[15] Malley, a US State Department representative at the negotiations, debunks the notion of the US as an even-handed mediator, and explains the negotiations were essentially the US and Israel on the one side, Palestinean leaders on the other. See, Agha, Hussein and Robert Malley. 2001. "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors." New York Review of Books: August 9, 2001.

[16] Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, pg 4 Kennedy School of Government Working Paper, 13 March 2006

[17] ibid pg 5.

[18] ibid pg 5. The paper cites many sources including the Haaretz editorial "Racist Law," from 18, January 2005.

[19] See, for example: National Democratic Institute, Final Report On The Palestine Legislative Council Elections, 25 January 2006. http://www.accessdemocracy.org/files/2068_ps_elect_012506.pdf ; retrieved on 10 Oct. 2009.

[20] Human Rights Watch. Letter to Olmert: Stop the Blockade of Gaza. 18, Nov. 2008. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/11/20/letter-olmert-stop-blockade-gaza; retrieved on 10 October 2009

[21] Ravid, Barak. U.S. ups pressure on Israel to end Gaza blockade. Haaretz. 18 June 2006.

[22] UN General Assembly, Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine: resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 22 January 2009, A/RES/63/29, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/49894f8a2.html; retrieved on 8 October 2009.

[23] Hass, Amira. Haniyeh: Hamas willing to accept Palestinean state with 1967 borders, Haaretz. 11 September. 2009.

[24] Gresh, Alain. The PLO and Naksa: the struggle for a Palestinean state," Palestine Journal, Spring 2008 pgs. 81-93; http://www.palestinejournal.net/gmh/MIT_journal.htm ; "The Crisis of our Times - Nationalism, Identity, and the Future of Israel-Palestine", Interview with Rashid Khalidi, North Coast Xpress, Spring 2001; retrieved on October 15, 2009.

[25] J Street, a new lobbying group designed to counter AIPAC, has praised Obama for "bold international leadership has had a profound impact on global dynamics, reestablishing hope for a secure peace both in the Middle East and around the globe." (J Street. Statement on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. 9 October 2009.
http://www.jstreet.org/blog/?p=630 Retrieved on 10 October 2009.) Regarding attacks, for one example see Alan Dershowitz op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, "Has Obama turned on Israel?" on July 3, 2009, where he claims "There may be coming changes in the Obama administration's policies that do weaken the security of the Jewish state."

[26] Human Rights Watch, Israel: White Phosphorous Use Evidence of War Crimes. 25, March 2009.

[27] Lappin, Yaakov. IDF releases Cast Lead casualty, The Jerusalem Post, March 26, 2009.

[28] Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict". United Nations Human Rights Council. 15 Sept. 2009.

[29] Ravid, Barak. Source: Palestineans Drop Endorsement of Goldstone Report, Haaretz. 2 October, 2009. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1118235.html; retrieved on 10 October, 2009. The article says "the decision appears to be based on pressure from the Obama administration."

[30] Former President Jimmy Carter used this term in his 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,
Simon and Schuster.; for a more nuanced comparison, see Farsakh, Leila,
Israel: An Apartheid State? November 2003, Le Monde diplomatique.http://mondediplo.com/2003/11/04apartheid; retrieved on 10, October 2009. Farsakh says comparisons between Israel/Palestine and South Africa are "problematic" in some ways, but says they have become increasingly apt since the Oslo negotiations in 1993.

[31] For examples of the lobby’s sway of Congress see, Mearsheimer, John and Walt. Stephen. The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Kennedy School of Government Working Paper, 13 March 2006.

[32] AIPAC hosted speeches, for example, By Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton , John McCain and others. See: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/19627/candidates-at-aipac-affirm-jewish-political-might/ ; Charles Freeman, after resigning amid a firestorm of controversy, blamed the lobby for his failed appointment, saying the "libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired." (Freeman, Charles J. Message from Charles Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, 10 March 2009.) The incident marked the first time the New York Times gave prominent coverage to the concept of the powerful Israel Lobby, giving the incident front page coverage. (Mazzetti, Mark. Nominee End Bid for Key Job in Intelligence, The New York Times. 10 March 2009).

[33] Marcus, Jonathan. China's Weapons Chase. BBC News. 13, July 2000.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/831668.stm retrieved on 8 Oct. 2009

[34] BBC News Report. Israel scrapes China radar deal. 12, July 2000. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/830609.stm retrieved on 8 Oct. 2009.

[35] Wilson Scott. Israel Set to End China Arms Deal Under US Pressure. 27 June, 2005. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/26/AR2005062600544.html; retrieved on 13 October 2009.

[36] Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar, Perilous Power :The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy : Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice , Boulder: Paradigm Publishers, 2008, pg 62.

[37] Ibid, pg 62.

[38] New York Times, Israeli's Say US Opposed North Korean Deal. 15, August 1993. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/15/world/israelis-say-us-opposes-north-korean-deal.html; retrieved on 12 October 2009.

[39] ibid

[40] Finkelstein, Norman. The Lobby: it's not either, or. Monthly Review. 5 Jan, 2006. Available at: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/finkelstein010506.html; retrieved 14, October 2009.

[41] ibid.

[42]A) For extensive look at US opposition to Evo Molares, see Eva Gollinger’s reporting, which uncovered US support for opposition groups through public records requests: http://upsidedownworld.org/main/content/view/1865/31/.

[43] B.)ZNet. Maher on Israel-Palestine. 16, May 2009. http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/21468

[44] Achbar, Chomsky. Perilous Power. Pg. 62.

[45] See, Kreisler, Harry. Balancing American Power in the Post American World: Conversations with Stephen Walt. Berkeley University. 15 November 2005. pg 7 of 8, available at: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people5/Walt/walt-con7.html; retrieved on 14 October.

[46] For study on Iraq, see: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). In Iraq Crisis, Networks Are Megaphones for Official Views. 18 March, 2003. Available at: http://www.fair.org/reports/iraq-sources.html; On coup in Venezuela see former State Department official, William Blum’s essay, US Coup of Hugo Chavez of 2002 (available at: http://killinghope.org/essays6/venez.htm.)He notes that the New York Times (April 13, 2002, p.16), the State Department (press statement, April 12, 2002) the President (Washington Post, April 15, 2002, p.) and the US ambassador to the Organization of American States (Agence France Presse, April 13, 2002), all expressed joy for the coup. For examples of media support of Chavez coup, see, Extra! US Newspaper Hail Venezuelan Coup as pro-Democracy, Extra!, June 2002, available at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1111; For biased coverage of East Timor, see: Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam. (2002) ""Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media." Pantheon. Pgs vii – viii. Excepts available at: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Manufac_Consent_Prop_Model.html

[47] For study on Iraq, see: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). In Iraq Crisis, Networks Are Megaphones for Official Views. 18 March, 2003. Available at: http://www.fair.org/reports/iraq-sources.html; On coup in Venezuela see former State Department official, William Blum’s essay, US Coup of Hugo Chavez of 2002 (available at: http://killinghope.org/essays6/venez.htm.)He notes that the New York Times (April 13, 2002, p.16), the State Department (press statement, April 12, 2002) the President (Washington Post, April 15, 2002, p.) and the US ambassador to the Organization of American States (Agence France Presse, April 13, 2002), all expressed joy for the coup. For examples of media support of Chavez coup, see, Extra! US Newspaper Hail Venezuelan Coup as pro-Democracy, Extra!, June 2002, available at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1111; For biased coverage of East Timor, see: Herman, Edward and Chomsky, Noam. (2002) ""Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media." Pantheon. Pgs vii – viii. Excepts available at: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Herman%20/Manufac_Consent_Prop_Model.html

[48] Maher, Stephen and Corcoran, Michael. Iran. v Honduras: The Times' selective promotion of democracy. Extra! August 2009. This outlines the Times’ anti-Zelaya coverage in the op-ed pages and news sections. For more on US involvement, see essay by Frida Berrigan of The New America Foundation, available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frida-berrigan/coup-us-military-support_b_222655.html. Also see Eva Gollinger in the Monthly Review, here: http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/golinger140709.html.

[49] Interestingly, Mearsheimer opposed a nuclear freeze during the Cold War. See, Zunes, Stephen. The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really? Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies. 16, May 2006. Available at: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3270

[50] Interestingly, Mearsheimer opposed a nuclear freeze during the Cold War. See, Zunes, Stephen. The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really? Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies. 16, May 2006. Available at: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3270

[51] Zunes, Stephen. The Israel Lobby: How Powerful is it Really? Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies. 16, May 2006. Available at: http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/3270