Privatizing national Interest—the Israel Lobby

Lawrence Davidson

in Foreign Policy, Inc.

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125244
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135021 | DOI:
Privatizing national Interest—the Israel Lobby

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Incidents of anti-Semitic discrimination in the US during the interwar and World War II period heightened the feelings of insecurity among American Jews. Realizing that they could not rely on reason alone to change potentially dangerous prejudices that lurked with society, they began to adopt a more aggressive posture. Their efforts mainly focused on domestic issues, such as the fight for civil rights up until the 1960s, when they started taking up the cause of the Zionist Organization of America to promote Jewish colonization of Palestine and provide aid to Israel. However, following Israel's victory against Egypt in 1967, American Jewish organizations abandoned their liberal principles of tolerance and equality for all and formed alliances with right-wing conservative forces that uncritically backed Israel. Out of this policy shift came the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which has been described as “the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel.” The AIPAC and its allied American Jewish lobbies have been accused of taking their cue from Israel instead of the American citizens they claim to represent. But because of their inordinate power and influence, they continue to pursue policies that directly contravene American national interest in the Middle East.

Keywords: Israel lobby; American Jews; foreign policy; civil rights; AIPAC; Zionist Organization of America; Middle East

Chapter.  11982 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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