ISRAEL CRITICS: ISRAEL PLANNED LEBANON WAR
Israel planned the war in Lebanon months in advance with U.S. approval, according to the authors of a controversial paper on the pro-Israel lobby.
Stephen Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy Center and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago spoke Monday at a Washington forum hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, expanding on their paper "The Israel Lobby" in the wake of the Lebanon war.
"They came up with a plan and they briefed it to the United States in the weeks and months before July 12," when Hezbollah rocket attacks and a cross-border raid precipitated the 34-day war, Mearsheimer said.
Asked to produce evidence, Mearsheimer said "everybody understood" that Israel was waiting for a pretext for war.
Critics of the earlier paper said similar assertions, backed by little or no evidence, were sloppy and undermined the paper's thesis that the pro-Israel lobby skewed U.S. foreign policy.
Walt repeated the paper's assertions that the pro-Israel lobby was key to the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, though the vast majority of pro-Israel groups refrained from committing to the war at the time.