OPINION: Why the Israel lobby isn’t good for Israel

It’s lobbying, but is it really pro-Israel?

I spent almost 20 years as a Congressional aide and can testify from repeated personal experience that senators and House members are under constant pressure to support status-quo policies on Israel. It is no accident that members of Congress compete over who can place more conditions on aid to the Palestinians, who will be first to denounce the Saudi peace plan, and who will win the right to be the primary sponsor of the next pointless Palestinian-bashing resolution. Nor is it an accident that there is never a serious Congressional debate about policy toward Israel and the Palestinians. Moreover, every president knows that any serious effort to push for an Israeli-Palestinian agreement based on compromise by both sides will produce loud (sometimes hysterical) opposition from the Hill.

Walt and Mearsheimer mostly limit themselves to exploring whether all this is good for the United States (and to a lesser extent, Israel). The question I ask today, and not for the first time, is whether this type of behavior is good for Israel. Forty years after the Six-Day War, the occupation continues, the resistance to it intensifies, and Israelis in increasing numbers question whether they have a future in the Jewish state.

Has “pro-Israel” advocacy consistently produced “pro-Israel” ends? At several critical moments, it most certainly has not. [complete article]

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