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
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