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Talking Point / How influential is the pro-Israel Lobby in Washington?
The author describes how the pro-Israel lobby in the United States – a constellation of organisations, pressure groups and think tanks – seems to exert a great deal of influence on the White House, Congress and the media whenever the Middle East is concerned. When American policy in the area – including wars like the one in Iraq and the one that could break out in Iran – is at stake, the question asked is always: who really takes the decisions? Is it the United States or, as many claim, Israel? According to Mearsheimer and Walt, lecturers at Chicago and Harvard respectively, who recently wrote a controversial article on the subject, the pro-Israel lobby wields enormous power in Washington, and has de facto hijacked American foreign policy to pursue the strategic interests of Israel. The lobby itself reacted to this thesis with insults and accusations of anti-semitism. Here Frankel takes stock of the debate sparked by the publication of the essay and the present state of the United States-Israel partnership.