Study: U.S. Middle East Policy Motivated by pro-Israel Lobby

Study by Harvard and Univ. of Chicago researchers expected to spur renewed debate about AIPAC lobby.

Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent
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Shmuel Rosner, Haaretz Correspondent

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Middle East policy is not in America's national interest and is motivated primarily by the country's pro-Israel lobby, according to a study published Thursday by researchers from Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

Observers in Washington said Thursday that the study was liable to stir up a tempest and spur renewed debate about the function of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby. The Fatah office in Washington distributed the article to an extensive mailing list.

"No lobby has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are essentially identical," write the authors of the study.

To read Shmuel Rosner's blog on this topic, click here.

John J. Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago's political science department and Stephen M. Walt from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government do not present new facts. They rely mainly on an analysis of Israeli and American newspaper reports and studies, along with the findings of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

The study also documents accusations that American supporters of Israel pushed the United States into war with Iraq. It lists senior Bush administration officials who supported the war and are also known to support Israel, such as Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith and David Wurmser. The authors say the influence of the pro-Israel lobby is a source of serious concern and write that it has even caused damage to Israel by preventing it from reaching a compromise with its neighbors.

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