Israel lobby sez: "There's no such thing as an Israel lobby."

This Op-ed in the Jerusalem Post by David Makowsky seeks to debunk some of the "myths" surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prominent among those myths is this: "The whole problem of the Arab-Israel conflict is that Israel enjoys too much support in Washington."

Of course, few would suggest that's the whole problem*, rather than a part of the whole, but let's see what he has to say …
The Walt/Mearsheimer/Carter thesis is a familiar echo of what famed American historian Richard Hofstadter described in his essay, "The Paranoid Strain in American Politics," about the American right's scapegoating of liberals as communists during the McCarthy period.
Perhaps it is not surprising that scapegoating occurs during periods of turmoil like the Iraq War, but it is also unfair. American Jews did not stop Bill Clinton from proposing the partitioning of Jerusalem in 2000, for example.
The punch line, though, comes at the very end:
The writer … is director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy …
WINEP, according to Sourcewatch:
The establishment of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy' (WINEP) in 1985 greatly expanded the pro-Israel lobby's influence over policy as well. WINEP's founding director, Martin Indyk, had previously been research director of AIPAC which, then as now, focuses much of its efforts on Congress. Indyk developed WINEP into a highly effective think tank devoted to maintaining and strengthening the US-Israel alliance through advocacy in the media and lobbying the executive branch…
Shorter David Makowsky: These aren't the droids you're looking for.

*For the record, I certainly agree that there are those who fetishize the Israel lobby, exaggerate its influence wildly and can rightly be described as being "paranoid" about it. My point is there's no small irony in a senior wonk at a key institution of the Israel lobby denying it plays a role in steering the discourse around the issue -- that's just silly, and to dismiss those who say as much as being "paranoid" is a rhetorical tactic, not a legitimate analysis.

Evan adds...

Few regular readers of PEEK will be shocked to learn that Joshua and I disagree.

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