Belfer Center Home > Publications > Articles and Op-Eds > Op-Eds > Israel's Friends and the Path to Peace

EmailEmail   PrintPrint Bookmark and Share

"Israel's Friends and the Path to Peace"

Israel's controversial security barrier, here seen from a rooftop in Aida Refugee Camp, located in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

"Israel's Friends and the Path to Peace"

Letter to the Editor

Op-Ed, The New York Times

May 20, 2008

Authors: John J. Mearsheimer, Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security, Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security



This letter was written in response to Jeffrey Goldberg's op-ed, "Israel's 'American Problem' " which was published on May 18, 2008.


Jeffrey Goldberg attacks our book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” while openly embracing one of our main arguments.

He writes that we “argue, unpersuasively, that American support for Israel hurts America. It doesn’t. But unthinking American support does hurt Israel.”

Our book contains detailed case studies showing that unconditional support for Israel is not in America’s national interest. Readers can judge for themselves whether we are “persuasive.”

But we also emphasized that “the lobby’s impact has been unintentionally harmful to Israel,” that its actions “may even be jeopardizing the long-term prospects of the Jewish state” and that its “influence has been bad for both countries.”

The lobby’s harmful impact on Israel was also a central theme of an op-ed article, “Israel’s False Friends,” we wrote in The Los Angeles Times on Jan. 6. Mr. Goldberg clearly agrees with this part of our argument.

John J. Mearsheimer

Stephen M. Walt

Chicago, May 18, 2008


For more information about this publication please contact the Belfer Center Communications Office at 617-495-9858.

Full text of this publication is available at:

For Academic Citation:

Mearsheimer, John J. and Stephen M. Walt. "Israel's Friends and the Path to Peace." The New York Times, May 20, 2008.

Bookmark and Share

"Israel's False Friends"
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

"The Israel Lobby"
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy"
By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt

Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.