IS THERE A JEWISH LOBBY?

When I was hosting call-in programs in the seventies and eighties in Montreal the most sensitive issue – potentially a firing matter – was any criticism of Israel. Just last week a Jewish-affiliated group criticized Canadian Louise Arbour, the top human rights official at the UN because she “failed to take any public action” on bias against Jews, a charge Madame Arbour flatly denies.

A new book, The Israel Lobby, by Professors Stephen Walt (Harvard) and John Mearsheimer (Chicago) contends that the Israel lobby (not the Jewish people) has a disproportionate amount of influence on the US media and in political circles.

According to Rabbi Michael Lerner (editor of Tikkun and chairman of the Network of Spiritual Progressives), the most energetic part of the Jewish lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Recently a proposal in the House of Representatives would have required the President to get congressional approval for any military strike on Iran. Members of the Israel Public Affairs Committee let it be known they opposed the proposal and the Committee’s supporters in the Armed Services committee succeeded in defeating it. With the result that we may still have a preemptive strike against Iran, a move that would have the full support of Israel.

Rabbi Lerner writes of the Armed Services vote giving Bush a free hand against Iran as “just the most recent evidence that Professors Mearsheimer and Walt’s claim of disproportionate power of the Israel lobby (not of the Jews) is extremely credible.”

Do you believe there is an Israeli lobby in the United States?

Do you think it has undue influence on the media and on American foreign policy?

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4 Comments »

  1. 1
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Very subtle…and Jesuistic. Israeli not Jewish, Zionist…not Jewish. Christian…not Catholic nor Protestant, Muslim…not Islamist. Indeed it is at times difficult to sort these things out. I do believe that Israel as a state has developped the art of exercizing presssure on all governments around the world be it the American, Canadian, British or whatever by playing on guilt and exploiting jewishness even if it feeds antisemitism. In a way antisemitism is useful to the Israeli goverment like Iran’s nuclear program is useful to warmongerers in the White House. Problem is it is not counterbalanced by an equally effective Arab lobby. Maybe we then could have a more balanced approach to the whole situation.
    I’m not against Israel but I am not unconditionnally for it. Both sides have their merits and horrorific deeds but it seems that only one side is ever called to account.

  2. 2

    Paul:
    You really hit the nail on the head with your notion of a Palestinian lobby to balance the Israeli one. Condee Rice is desperately trying to set up a meeting for both sides. The sad part is that the Bush administration is not neutral in this matter. It’s heavily weighted in favour of Israel.

  3. 3
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    I am deafened by the thunderous silence following this last chronicle of yours. Where is everybody?

  4. 4
    Oscar Says:

    Hi Neil and Paul,

    Let me first say that I am neither Christian or Jewish and I think I am a fair and impartial person. In my opinion, there is a Jewish lobby and they do influence the press to a certain degree (Ex. National Post). Having said that, without the fundamental Christians supporting Israel in the US, their political clout would definately diminish. Also lets not forget that money talks and the Jews are the most successful group of people in the world. Therefore, being in that position, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the situation. I have a few Jewish friends from college and let me say this. Most are driven, honest, fair and do care what happens in this world.


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