Embarrassing and Dangerous

The Jewish lobby study says the lobby's activities are not a conspiracy like the Protocols, but the study itself is not far in spirit from those "protocols."

Last week a report entitled "The Jewish Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" was published in the London Review of Books. Two reputable professors, one from Harvard, Stephen Walt, and the other from University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer, wrote a shameful document as far as its arguments go, and an embarrassing one as far as its academic level is concerned.

The sole purpose of the article is to prove the baseless claim that the pro-Israel lobby leads the American administration by the nose and, in effect, dictates to presidents their Middle East policies. The result, they say, is a policy that not only doesn't match American interests, but indeed sabotages them.

The two write that "the lobby's activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion," but disgracefully the paper they produced is not far in spirit from those "protocols." They depict the pro-Israel lobby as a multi-armed octopus, with a hand in everything, a nearly magical influence over all elected American officials, who are forced to bend to its will for fear of harm.

Walt and Mearsheimer wonder why American support for Israel is so massive. After all, the conventional explanations are invalid.

The argument that Israel is a strategic asset for the U.S. is baseless. If it had any merit during the Cold War, then subsequently, and especially after 9/11, Israel is a strategic burden, and is also the main reason for international terror.

"The terrorist organizations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States - moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or 'the West'; it is largely a response to Israel's prolonged campaign to colonize the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

The article says that the U.S. has a terror problem largely because it is such a close ally of Israel. And it is clear to the authors of the article that "there is no question that many Al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians."

U.S. acceptance of Israel's nuclear weaponry, they say, harms the administration's position in its campaign to prevent nuclear proliferation.

The Israeli nuclear arsenal is the reason its neighbors want to develop nuclear weaponry. And, in general, the U.S. need not get too excited by those countries acquiring nuclear weaponry:

"Iran's nuclear ambitions do not pose a direct threat to the U.S. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China or even a nuclear North Korea, it can live with a nuclear Iran," they write.

But Israel regards a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, "and that is why the lobby must keep up constant pressure on politicians to confront Tehran. Iran and the U.S. would hardly be allies if the lobby did not exist, but U.S policy would be more temperate and preventive war would not be a serious option."

The danger, they say, is that the lobby will lead Bush into attacking Iran only because it would contribute to Israeli security.

That is an argument that ignores the danger inherent in a nuclear Iran, not only to Israel but also to the entire world, starting with U.S. interests.

The authors completely distort the view of the Bush administration, which like its European colleagues, has reached the conclusion that the Iranian nuclear threat is not only Israel's problem.

The rationale behind the American need to support the only democracy in the Middle East is weakened by the fact that "some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values." Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens and by virtue of its establishment was involved in other crimes: Israel exploited the war in 1948 to expel 700,000 Palestinians because, they say, there was no other way to fulfill the goals of Zionism. Since then, it has been an unbridled country that kills Arabs mercilessly.

The two authors totally ignore the fact that Palestinians rejected the Partition Plan and that they started the warring, and they lend a hand to the legitimization of the murderous terror perpetrated by Hamas, which they praise as a legitimate political force, persecuted by Israel.

As there is no reason for American support for Israel, the only explanation is the pro-Israel lobby's unparalleled power.

Therefore, when the lobby decided that toppling Saddam Hussein's regime was necessary to improve Israel's strategic situation, it led the Bush administration to war in Iraq.

"Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure." Naturally, no serious proof for this claim is made.

After it succeeded in the matter of Iraq, the Israel lobby is now moving to get the U.S. to attack Syria.

That pressure, say the two, could lead to a war against the Assad regime, which would be against American interests. Here, too, they ignore the negative role Syria plays in encouraging terror in Iraq against American soldiers, not Israel.

It is difficult to know what lies behind the writing of the authors, but there is no doubt that the document's publication at this time, when the American administration faces decisions on the matter of a nuclear Iran, is no accident.