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Diplomacy and the US-Israel Alliance

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We are already familiar with the policy of isolationism during the 1940’s, “America First”, whose main spokesman was the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, a rightwing nationalist with Fascist tendencies. But there is less talk about the leftwing version of such a policy, which similarly—and dangerously–undermines the rationale behind America’s closest alliances, including the one with Israel. I believe one of the most sophisticated arguments for such an isolationist stance can be found in John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt’s co-authored book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2008), which seeks to dismantle the prevalent conception that Israel is the U.S.’s top ally in the Middle East and that this alliance serves America’s national best interest.

This book created quite a controversy when it was first published over a decade ago because it undermined the main justifications for U.S. aid to Israel. It argued that such an alliance is aggressively pushed by rightwing Jewish PACs—most notably AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)—and that, in fact, this alliance destabilizes America’s position in the Middle East and makes the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. I think both of these arguments rest upon some false assumptions, which in turn are made possible by reliance upon highly selective evidence. The first false assumption is related to looking at our allies as useful to our national interests only in a local, case-by-case basis. This stipulates that when it’s not in America’s obvious self-interest........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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