Sunday, March 26, 2006

The US-Isreali Lobby Report.

Last week we had a post on a controversial Harvard paper published by two promiment professors on how the pro-Isreal lobby have shaped US policy. Strangely enough, the mainstream US media have been mostly silent about, as the CS Monitor reports. It is particularly interesting to notice that the American Jewish community has laos been rather silent on the issue. According to the New York Jewish weekly Forward Jewish organizations in the US, while furious over the paper, are "holding fire in order to avoid generating publicity for their critics.".
However, the report remains controversial in the academic world AND it has been widely discussed in the Isreali press. Needless to say that the debate is highly political and meets the usual partisan lines. The Jerusalem Post talks about "ignorand propaganda", and Haaretz calls it a usefull "wake-up call on both sides of the ocean", while admitting that the reports contains some flaws. David Levy in Harretz points out that:
... identification of American with Israeli interests can be principally explained via the impact of the Lobby in Washington, and in limiting the parameters of public debate, rather than by virtue of Israel being a vital strategic asset or having a uniquely compelling moral case for support (beyond, as the authors point out, the right to exist, which is anyway not in jeopardy). The study is at its most devastating when it describes how the Lobby "stifles debate by intimidation" and at its most current when it details how America's interests (and ultimately Israel's, too) are ill-served by following the Lobby's agenda.
It is amazing that the controversy - which could lead to fascinating debates on the nature of US government decisions - has not yet reached papers and editorials in the mainstream US press, not even (most of) the blogosphere. It is after all a major issue. If it is a wake-up call, who has been awaken? Whether the report has flaws, it deserves discussions but nobody seems ready to open Pandora's box.


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