DanFleshler, a Washington lobbyist on the boards of Ameinu and Americans for Peace Now, looks at “the conventional Israel lobby” and examines its influence on American foreign policy. Noting ironically that both the lobby and its opponents benefit from exaggerating their importance and power, he cites a study of the Federal Election Commission records to demonstrate that political contributions to pro– Israel groups are really minor when compared to those supporting other causes. He describes the fear of American Jews who worry about criticizing Israel and acknowledges that they have some historical basis, but he also feels that it is possible to promote Israel’s security while demanding that its government work on creating a lasting peace and a two-state solution. He asks American Jews to take a less divisive approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict by supporting the progressive organizations working for peace. This is an interesting response to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2007).
Barbara M. Bibel is a librarian at the Oakland Public Library in Oakland, CA; and at Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA.