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  • 24

    Lobbying for Israel
    Globalism; Posted on: 2007-08-25 00:55:36 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]

    By Ron Forthofer, Ph.D
    Special to PalestineChronicle.com

    In March 2006, two respected academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt from the University of Chicago and Harvard University, respectively, wrote a paper that shook up the academic and foreign policy communities. These authors broke the taboo among the elite and openly discussed the Israel lobby.

    One might wonder what the big deal is about discussing yet another lobby. After all, numerous groups such as big oil, real estate, banks, pharmaceutical companies and weapons producers lobby Congress, the White House and the media to gain favorable treatment for their interests. However, a key distinction between most groups that lobby within the U.S. and the Israel lobby is that the Israel lobby works on behalf of a foreign country. One reason people have been reluctant to discuss the Israel lobby is the threat of being labeled anti-Semites (or self-hating Jews if they are Jewish). However, criticizing Israel's policies or discussing the Israel lobby does not make a person anti-Semitic.

    Power of the Lobby

    The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), dozens and dozens of other pro-Israel political action committees (PACs), and groups such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that work on Israel’s behalf, are known simply as ‘the Lobby’, reflecting their clout. Senator William Fulbright, then chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, conducted hearings on foreign influence-buying in Congress in the 1960s. He later said: “I hadn’t realized before the hearings that the Jewish lobby was so powerful. … I didn’t know they were subverting the Congress.” He also said: “The lobby can just about tell the President what to do when it comes to Israel. Its influence in Congress is pervasive and, I think, profoundly harmful…to us and ultimately to Israel itself.” These comments came from one of the most influential U.S. senators of the twentieth century. Senator Fulbright was known for his courage – for example, in 1954 he challenged Senator Joseph McCarthy, then at the height of his powers. Senator Fulbright also raised strong objections to President Kennedy about the impending Bay of Pigs Cuban invasion. In 1966, Fulbright published “The Arrogance of Power” in which he attacked the justification for the Vietnam War and Congress’ failure to set limits on it. In 1974, Senator Fulbright lost in the Democratic primary to a candidate that received lots of support from the Lobby. Although that support certainly played a role in Fulbright’s defeat, it is hard to say whether or not it was the decisive factor.

    News Source: PalestineChronicle.com


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