US SCHOLARS: ISRAEL PLANNED LEBANON WAR IN ADVANCE
The two US scholars, who stirred controversy several months ago after claiming that US foreign policy is skewed in favor of Israel due to the work of the pro-Israeli lobby, are now accusing the lobby of leading the administration, Congress and public opinion to support Israel's actions in Lebanon against America's best interests.
Profs. Stephan Walt and John Mearsheimer also claim that Israel had planned the war in Lebanon in advanced and used the kidnapping of its soldiers as a pretext to launch the operation.
At an event here sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, said the "Bush administration policy in Lebanon was not in the best interest of the US" and that Israel did not benefit either from the "green light" it got from the US to continue the operation.
He further claimed that by backing Israel, the US has weakened its position in dealing with other regional challenges - terror, Iraq and Iran.
The original paper, published in the London Review of Books in March, opened a debate in the US over the role the pro-Israeli activists play in shaping the US foreign policy. The two scholars claimed that by putting pressure on lawmakers and by the work of pro-Israel individuals in the administration, academia and the media, the Israeli lobby managed to shift US foreign policy toward supporting Israel unconditionally in a way that contradicts American interests.