The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (Harvard University; Research Working Paper, Issue 11, 2006, 82 p.)
“The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.” An edited and reworked version of this paper was published in
London Review of Books:
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby (Vol.28, No.6, 23 March 2006)
See also Letters (No.7, 6 April 2006) + (No.8, 20 April 2006) + Response from Mearsheimer and Walt (No.9, 11 May 2006)

The article in Danish translation: Den israelske lobby (Dansk Palæstinensisk Venskabsforening, 24. april 2006)

A third version of the essay appears in Middle East Policy (pdf) (Vol.13, No.3, Fall 2006, p.29-87)
“We have supplemented our arguments in several places to clarify issues that some of our critics either misunderstood or misconstrued, and we have updated a few points in light of subsequent events. In terms of its core claims, however, this revised version does not depart from the original Working Paper.”

In 2007 an enlarged version was published as a book. See the books site and Mearsheimer and Walt’s article: Setting the record straight: a response to critics of ‘The Israel Lobby’ (pdf) (December 12, 2006, 73 p.).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Against the Current

Stephen R. Shalom: The United States and Gaza (No.140, May/June 2009)
“There are claims by some people, including some on the left, that Washington DC is ‘Israeli-occupied territory’ – that the Israel lobby controls U.S. foreign policy, that the Israeli tail wags the U.S. dog and not the other way around. This view seems to me to misunderstand the way power works.”

Allen Ruff: U.S. & Israel: dog wags tail wags dog (No.138, January-February 2009). Review of Israel and the Clash of Civilizations
Iraq, Iran, and the Plan to Remake the Middle East
by Jonathan Cook (Pluto Press, 2008)
“Taking issue on one hand with those, like Harvard academics Mearsheimer and Walt, who have explained Israeli sway by primarily focusing on the power of AIPAC, but also critical of those observers such as Chomsky who minimize the effect of Israel’s influence on U.S. policy, Cook has developed a somewhat more nuanced portrayal of the historic and contemporary symbiosis between the imperial power and its junior partner.”


Breaking the taboo: why we took on the Israel Lobby (October 16, 2007)
“John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt explain in this interview why they decided to speak out against the close relationship between the U.S. and Israel.”

Al-Ahram Weekly

Blaming the lobby (No. 787, 23-29 March 2006)
“As someone who has been facing the full brunt of the might of the pro-Israel lobby in the US, Joseph Massad explains the deceit behind blaming the lobby for US policies towards the Palestinians and the Arab world.”


The power of the Israel Lobby: a discussion with Walt and Mersheimer. By Wajahat Ali (February 11, 2008)
“The following is the unedited conversation and interview with the authors regarding their controversial thesis, their critics and detractors, the stifling of academic dissent, foreign policy in the Middle East, and the resulting profound implications for the United State’s relationship with the Muslim World in the 21st century.”

Jean Bricmont: The De-Zionization of the American mind: how to deal with the Lobby (August 12, 2006)
“This leads us to the ‘Israel lobby’ answer, which is closer to the truth, but not the whole truth. To get a complete picture, one has to understand why the lobby works as effectively as it does, and that depends on factors lying outside the actions of the lobby itself … What protects the Israel lobby is the fact that anyone who would denounce an opponent funded by the Lobby as a quasi-agent of a foreign power would immediately be accused of anti-Semitism.”

Kathleen and Bill Christison: The power of the Israel Lobby: its origins and growth (June 16, 2006)
“The principal problem with the left critics’ analysis is that it is too rigid. There is no question that Israel has served the interests of the U.S. government and the military-industrial complex in many areas of the world … But these facts do not minimize the power the lobby has exerted in countless instances over the course of decades …”

Norman G. Finkelstein: The Israel Lobby: it’s not either / or (May 1, 2006)
“The claim that Israel has become a liability for U.S. ‘national’ interests in the Middle East misses the bigger picture. Sometimes what’s most obvious escapes the eye. Israel is the only stable and secure base for projecting U.S. power in this region. Every other country the U.S. relies on might, for all anyone knows, fall out of U.S. control tomorrow.”

Robert Fisk: The United States of Israel? Breaking the last taboo (April 27, 2006)
“The two men have caused one of the most extraordinary political storms over the Middle East in recent American history by stating what to many non-Americans is obvious: that the US has been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel, that Israel is a liability in the ‘war on terror’, that the biggest Israeli lobby group, Aipac (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), is in fact the agent of a foreign government …”

Norman Solomon: The Lobby and the Bulldozer: Mearsheimer, Walt and Corrie (April 13, 2006)
“Weeks after a British magazine published a long article by two American professors titled ‘The Israel Lobby’, the outrage continued to howl through mainstream U.S. media … Some of the analysis from Mearsheimer and Walt is arguable. A number of major factors affect Uncle Sam’s Middle East policies in addition to pro-Israel pressures. But no one can credibly deny that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington.”

Michael Neumann: The Israel Lobby and beyond: why the US may be acting against its own interests in the Middle East (April 4, 2006)
“Professors Walt and Mearsheimer’s ‘The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy’ is an important contribution to the Israel/Palestine debate. It’s too bad the important stuff got lost in the melodrama. The melodrama is about the Israel lobby, aka the ‘Jewish lobby’.”

Dissident Voice

The Pro-Israel Lobby debate. With Hagit Borer, James Petras, and Norman Finkelstein (April 17, 2007)

Gabriel Ash: Why Oppose the Israel Lobby? Comments on Mearsheimer and Walt (April 18, 2006)
“My purpose is to offer an antidote to the paralysis that befalls significant portions of the U.S. left whenever the Israel Lobby is mentioned. To do so, I will criticize M&W’s paper, but also reconstruct its argument within a coherent leftist framework.”

James Petras: The Lobby and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon: their facts and ours (August 29, 2006)
“… the Jewish networks and lobbies were able to secure 98 percent support from Congress for a resolution supporting Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, even as 54 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans favor a policy of neutrality as opposed to alignment with Israel … the Jewish networks and lobbies were able to secure 98 percent support from Congress for a resolution supporting Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, even as 54 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans favor a policy of neutrality as opposed to alignment with Israel.” In Danish: Lobbyen og den israelske invasion i Libanon: deres kendsgerninger og vores (Stop Terrorkrigen)
See also Allen Ruff: Do Zionists run America? (MR Online, May 28, 2007). Review of James Petras, The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006, 190 p.). A chapter from the book with critique of Noam Chomsky is online at James Petras’ website (June 4, 2006).

Gush Shalom

Uri Avnery: Two knights and a dragon (October 6, 2007)
“The two professors take the bull by the horns. They deal with a subject which is absolutely taboo in the United States, a subject nobody in his right mind would even mention: the enormous influence of the pro-Israel lobby on American foreign policy.”

In These Times

Salim Muwakkil: The Israel Lobby and its discontents (April 8, 2006)
“While the controversial study offers nothing dramatically new to the critique of the Israel lobby’s warp factor, the pedigree of the authors make it a noteworthy piece. But my problem with the study is that it attributes too much power to the Israeli lobby.”

Institute for Public Accuracy

‘The Israel Lobby’: a debate (April 11, 2006)
With Paul Findley, Stephen Zunes, Michael Neumann and Phyllis Bennis.

International Socialist Review

Sherry Wolf: The watchdog, not the master: Israel, the ‘lobby’, and the United States (Issue 52, March–April 2007)
“Sherry Wolf challenges the notion that the ‘Israel Lobby’ determines Washington’s policy toward Israel.”

Phil Gasper: The watchdog bites (Issue 49, September–October 2006)
“Israel’s brutal attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and on Lebanon have resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, hundreds of thousands of refugees, and billions of dollars of damage to vital infrastructure … And in both cases, Israel was fulfilling its longstanding role as Washington’s watchdog in the region-pursuing its own plans for regional dominance while simultaneously attacking threats to U.S. control of the wider Middle East, with scant regard for the cost in Arab lives.”

Journal of Palestine Studies

Special document file: The Israeli Lobby (Issue 139, Spring 2006, p.83-114)
“Because of the clear importance of the paper in opening the debate on the role of the lobby, JPS has chosen to republish the Mearsheimer-Walt study along with a sample of the responses in the press that set the framework for further discussion by critiquing both the harsh responses to the study and the authors’ thesis itself. For reasons of space, JPS is reproducing the LRB version.”

Links: Socialist Journal of Socialist Renewal

Michael Karadjis: The US and Israel (Issue 30, 2007)
“However, the argument is whether this lobby is so powerful that it and Israel drive us policy in the Middle East””whether the tail wags the dog rather than the dog wagging the tail. This view sees a powerful, primarily Jewish, group in the us acting on behalf of a foreign government to push policies on the us government that are at odds with the latter’s interests.” See also Michael Shaik: Debate: US imperialism, the ‘Israel’ lobby and the limits of solidarity (Issue 31, 2008)

Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture

Lawrence Davidson: Review essay: Deconstructing the Lobby (Vol.7, No.1, Winter 2008)
“M/W have given us a well documented, well organized, well written and thought provoking work that should alert us all to serious flaws in our foreign policy formulation process … They hope that their work will spark further debate on the seminal issues they raise. It is yet to be seen if they shout louder than the McCarthy style Zionists arrayed against them?”

Middle East Report

Mitchell Plitnick and Chris Toensing: ‘The Israel Lobby’ in perspective (Issue 243, Summer 2007). Review essay.
“The essential flaw in the Mearsheimer-Walt argument is not, as many critics have said, the authors’ exaggeration of the pro-Israel lobby’s power, for although the authors do this in some instances, the thrust of their argument remains sound … Rather, the most serious fault lies in the professors’ conclusion that US Middle East policy would become ‘more temperate’ were the influence of the Israel lobby to be curtailed. This conclusion is undercut by the remarkable continuities in US Middle East policy since the Truman administration.”

Mitchell Plitnick: The cold realities of US Policy in Israel-Palestine (October 15, 2014)
“One should not, however, exaggerate the weight of the ‘Israel lobby’ in the making of US Middle East policy writ large. Policy is largely made and carried out by the executive branch, which is guided by geostrategic concerns that may or may not correspond to the concerns of the lobby at any given moment.”

Monthly Review

Bashir Abu-Manneh: Israel in the U.S. Empire (Vol.58, No.10, March 2007)
“What has U.S. support for Israel actually meant for the Israeli state? Which state capacities have been enhanced and which were curtailed as a result of this support (importantly, force or peace)? And what impact has this had on Israeli society and its economy at large? To answer such questions would involve specifying the nature of U.S. involvement in Israel-Palestine, spelling out the kinds of policies and objectives the U.S. state has allowed the Israeli state to pursue. It would, in fact, involve raising the specter of Israel as a colonial and occupying power …”

Mother Jones

Grabbing the third rail (July 18, 2006)
“Professors Walt and Mearsheimer recently spoke with Mother Jones, defending the arguments in their essay and parrying many of the charges leveled against them.”

Stephen Zunes: The Israel Lobby: how powerful is it really? (May 18, 2006)
“The article has garnered unreasonable praise from many in progressive circles, who have posted it on websites, circulated it on listservs, and lauded it as an example of speaking truth to power. Though critiques in establishment circles of the bipartisan U.S. support for the Israeli occupation are unusual and welcome, progressive promoters of this article have largely failed to assess the ideological agenda of its authors and the validity of their specific arguments.” See also ibid.: The Israel Lobby revisited (Common Dreams, December 23, 2007)

The Nation

Daniel Lazare: Lobbying degree zero (October 22, 2007)
“To be sure, Mearsheimer and Walt are not anti-Semites, and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy does not portray Israel as uniquely evil or ‘singularly pernicious’. But just because a book is not bigoted does not mean it is good, and the one that Mearsheimer and Walt have written suffers from significant methodological deficiencies, which is a polite way of saying it’s a mess.”

Philip Weiss: Ferment over ‘The Israel Lobby’ (May 15, 2006)
“Criticisms of the Israel lobby have circulated for years, but it took two professors and the Iraq War to inject realist ideas into the debate.”

The New York Review of Books

Michael Massing: The storm over the Israel Lobby (Vol.53, No.10, June 8, 2006)
“The nasty campaign waged against John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt has itself provided an excellent example of the bullying tactics used by the lobby and its supporters. The wide attention their argument has received shows that, in this case, those efforts have not entirely succeeded. Despite its many flaws, their essay has performed a very useful service in forcing into the open a subject that has for too long remained taboo.”
Abrigded Danish translation: Balladen omkring Israel-lobby’en (Dansk Palæstinensisk Venskabsforening, 22. juni 2006).

Red Pepper

Mike Marqusee: Anti-semitism and the Israel lobby (April-May 2008)
“In this extract from his book, If I Am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew, Mike Marqusee says that no one should be deterred from criticising the Israel lobby by charges of anti-semitism.”

The Project: A Socialist Journal

Moshé Machover: A very special relationship (May 2015)
“The truth is that Israel is a prime US strategic asset. If this were not the case, the powerful military-industrial and oil corporations – which are no less powerful now than in 1961 – would have deployed their far greater financial, economic and political resources to counteract and curb the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and allied organizations.”

Socialism and Democracy

Joel Kovel: Mearsheimer and Walt revisited (Vol.23, No.2, July 2009)
“Has the ground been prepared by M/W to actually rid us of this Lobby, as against inhibiting it by calling attention to its excesses? The answer is, No; and the reason is not some oversight but is ingrained in their basic orientation toward the object of criticism.”

Socialist Review

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy: John Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt. Review by Simon Behrman (Issue 321, January 2008)
“While it is certainly true that support for Israel in the present state of global opinion is harder than before, Walt and Mearsheimer are wrong about both the extent of this liability on US policy and about the really serious liability for the US. Support for Israel is just one expression of the US’s imperial project.”

Chris Harman: A conspiracy theory that weakens the movement (Issue 306, May 2006)
“People who see the ‘Israel lobby’ as being behind US imperialism get things completely the wrong way round. They believe that US capitalism could strive for its worldwide interests without militaristic, imperialist adventures – without watchdogs. And that opens the door to those who want to absolve capitalism from blame for its crimes by talking of conspiracies by religious or ethnic minorities.”

Socialist Worker (US)

The ‘Israel lobby’ controversy: what drives U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East? (Issue 589, May 19, 2006)
“Eric Ruder looks at the debate among liberals and radicals about the impact of the ‘pro-Israel lobby’ on U.S. foreign policy.”

Spiked Review of Books

Frank Furedi: Is Israel the organ-grinder? (No. 6, October 2007)
“Walt and Mearsheimer are on to something when they say the invasion of Iraq was not in America’s national interest. But they’re way off the mark to claim that Israel and its agents orchestrated the war.”

Swans Commentary

Philip Greenspan: Is the Israel Lobby effective? (April 24, 2006)
“There is just so much overwhelming evidence of the power of the Israel lobby that it seems strange, mighty strange indeed, that Chomsky and Massad as well as other prominent and credible individuals like Stephen Zunes and Phyliss Bennis would conclude that its impact is minimal.”

Weekly Worker

Moshé Machover: Imperialism, Palestine and Israel (Issue 687, 6 September 2007)
“Is the Israeli tail wagging the US dog? In this edited version of a talk given to the London branch of the Campaign for a Marxist Party in August, Moshé Machover looks at the history of western intervention in the Middle East.”
See also ibid.: US imperialism and Israel’s role (Weekly Worker, Issue 1062, 11 June 2015)

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

World War 4 Report

William X: The Mearsheimer-Walt thesis deconstructed (November 1, 2006)
“What follows is an attempt to respond to ‘The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy’ from a position which cuts slack neither for Israel’s real crimes, nor for US ‘foreign policy’ (read: imperialism), nor for anti-Semitism, conscious or implicit.”


Debating the primacy of the Pro-Israel Lobby (April 18, 2007). Debate between James Petras and Norman Finkelstein.

Noam Chomsky: The Israel Lobby? (March 28, 2006; online at
“But recognizing that M-W took a courageous stand, which merits praise, we still have to ask how convincing their thesis is. Not very, in my opinion. I ‘ve reviewed elsewhere what the record (historical and documentary) seems to me to show about the main sources of US ME policy, in books and articles for the past 40 years, and can’t try to repeat here. M-W make as good a case as one can, I suppose, for the power of the Lobby, but I don’t think it provides any reason to modify what has always seemed to me a more plausible interpretation.”
See also Gabriel Ash: The Israel Lobby and Chomsky (Dissident Voice, April 20, 2006).


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