John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's eagerly awaited The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy appeared ahead of schedule in the bookshops, continuing an odyssey of some note. Their thesis, accepted and then rejected (as too controversial) in 2005 by The Atlantic, was first published in London, joining the cut and thrust of Britain's intellectual life via the London Review of Books. Its American debut in book form promises controversy on a scale not seen since Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" sought to frame a new world order.
Simply put, Mearsheimer and Walt argue that the unprecedented material and diplomatic support given to Israel over the past half century cannot be explained by either moral or strategic arguments. Instead, it is due to the power of the "Israel Lobby", " a loose coalition of individuals and groups that seeks to influence U.S. policy in ways that will benefit Israel." They maintain that just as Israel has become a strategic liability for the United States in the post-Cold War era, the "Lobby" has stifled criticism of Israeli Middle East policy and suppressed a needed public debate in the United States. They say the lobby was responsible for suppressing criticism of Israel's misconceived policy in southern Lebanon and has steered the United States away from a dialogue with moderates in Iran and from talks with Syria. The authors believe this is not only counter to U.S. interests, but also detrimental to long-term Israeli interests.