Bush & AIPAC
..CENTER FOR WAR, PEACE, AND THE NEWS MEDIA, March 15-22, 2006
President Bush addresses AIPAC:
President Bush addresses AIPAC
If social security has long been the "third rail" of U.S. domestic politics, then its equivalent in the sphere of foreign policy has been the U.S. alliance with Israe. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kennedy school tackle the taboo head on, in a provocative research study that assesses the impact of the Israel lobby on decades of U.S. policy in the Middle East. And it asserts that the Israel lobby's influence on U.S. policy has been bad both for the U.S. and even for Israel:
" The Lobbys influence causes trouble on several fronts. It increases the terrorist danger that all states face including Americas European allies. It has made it impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a situation that gives extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathisers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism in Europe and Asia.
"Equally worrying, the Lobbys campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We dont need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobbys hostility towards Syria and Iran makes it almost impossible for Washington to enlist them in the struggle against al-Qaida and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.
"There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washingtons efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights. US efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israels nuclear arsenal, which only encourages Iran and others to seek a similar capability.
"Besides, the Lobbys campaign to quash debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing sceptics by organising blacklists and boycotts or by suggesting that critics are anti-semites violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends. The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israels backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned.
"Finally, the Lobbys influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists. Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalise a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and US policy more even-handed... "What is needed is a candid discussion of the Lobbys influence and a more open debate about US interests in this vital region. Israels well-being is one of those interests, but its continued occupation of the West Bank and its broader regional agenda are not. Open debate will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided US support and could move the US to a position more consistent with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states in the region, and with Israels long-term interests as well.(London Review of Books, March10, 2006)
Bush & AIPAC:
Israelization of Washington Policy
March 16, 2006