Two books examining the Israeli lobby in the U.S., “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” and “The Deadliest Lies,” present opposing views on Israel’s influence among U.S. policymakers. Authors John Mearsheimer and Abraham Foxman detail their stances.

Battle of the Books

MARGARET WARNER: A year ago, two American political scientists raised a storm with an article asserting that Israel and its supporters in the United States have far too much influence over American policy. The fight is still going on now in the pages of two books.

“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” is the work of John Mearsheimer, a professor at the University of Chicago, and Steven Walt, a professor at Harvard. They argue that Israel enjoys an extraordinary level of U.S. support that is now proving a, quote, “strategic liability,” closed quote, to U.S. interests in the world. And this outside support, they say, is, quote, “due largely to the political power of the Israel lobby, led by groups like the American-Israel political action committee, or AIPAC.

“The Deadliest Lies” is the title of a rebuttal book by Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League. He calls the Mearsheimer-Walt book “explosive and inflammatory” and says it is based on, quote, “half-truths, distortions and falsehoods.”

We bring the two together now, Professor Mearsheimer joining me here, and Mr. Foxman in New York. And welcome to you both.

John Mearsheimer, first, before we really get into this, define your term. What do you mean by “Israel lobby”?

JOHN MEARSHEIMER, University of Chicago: The Israel lobby, Margaret, is a loose coalition of individuals and groups who worked actively to push American foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. It’s an American interest group along the lines of the National Rifle Association or the American Association for Retired People. (MORE)


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