Trans­form­ing Amer­i­ca’s Israel Lob­by: The Lim­its of its Pow­er and the Poten­tial for Change

Dan Flesh­ler
  • Review
By – August 26, 2011
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.

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