Is the Israel Lobby Governing US Foreign Policy?

MON, OCT 29, 2007 (1:21:33)

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt discuss their controversial book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. In March 2006, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published an article entitled “The Israel Lobby” in the London Review of Books that ignited a storm of controversy. They argued that a group of pro-Israel activists was manipulating US foreign policy to benefit the state of Israel at the expense of the United States own national interests. What evidence do Mearsheimer and Walt point to in backing up their claim that the “Israel Lobby” is guiding policy decisions in Washington? What changes do they recommend to align US Middle Eastern policy with the nation’s genuine interests abroad? These are questions that John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt address as they discuss their controversial book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy.

+ BIO: John Mearsheimer

John J. Mearsheimer is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1982. He graduated from West Point in 1970 and then served five years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He then started graduate school in political science at Cornell University in 1975. He received his Ph.D. in 1980. He spent the 1979-1980 academic year as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, and was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs from 1980 to 1982. During the 1998-1999 academic year, he was the Whitney H. Shepardson Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Professor Mearsheimer has written extensively about security issues and international politics more generally. He has published four books: Conventional Deterrence (1983), which won the Edgar S. Furniss, Jr., Book Award; Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize; and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (with Stephen M. Walt, 2007), which made the New York Times best seller list and has been translated into seventeen different languages. He has also written many articles that have appeared in academic journals like International Security, and popular magazines like the London Review of Books. Furthermore he has written a number of op-ed pieces for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times dealing with topics like Bosnia, nuclear proliferation, American policy towards India, the failure of Arab-Israeli peace efforts, and the folly of invading Iraq. Finally, Professor Mearsheimer has won a number of teaching awards. He received the Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching when he was a graduate student at Cornell in 1977, and he won the Quantrell Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Chicago in 1985. In addition, he was selected as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 1993-1994 academic year. In that capacity, he gave a series of talks at eight colleges and universities. In 2003, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

+ BIO: Stephen Walt

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs. He previously taught at Princeton University and the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. He was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005. Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award, and Revolution and War (1996). His recent publications include “An Unnecessary War”, Foreign Policy, (2002-03), “American Hegemony: Its Prospects and Pitfalls”, Naval War College Review, (2002); “Beyond bin Laden: Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy” (International Security, Winter 2001/02); and “Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy” (W.W. Norton, 2005).

Cambridge Forum
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