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The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt Allen Lane, [pounds sterling]25, pp. 484, ISBN 9781846140075 [telephone] 20 [pounds sterling] (plus 2.45 [pounds sterling] p&p) 0870 429 6655
'Here is a hot potato,' The Spectator's book review editor wrote in a note accompanying this book. Radioactive, actually. In 2006 Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard's Stephen Walt posted a version of an article they had written on the Israel lobby for the London Review of Books on a Harvard faculty website. It was downloaded more than 275,000 times, and provoked what the authors call a firestorm of abuse.
Perhaps the most ferocious denunciation, 43 pages long, came from Professor Alan Dershowitz of the Harvard Law School:
This study is so filled with distortions, so empty of originality or new evidence, so tendentious in its tone, so lacking in nuance and balance, so unscholarly in its approach, so riddled with obvious factual errors that could easily have been checked (but obviously were not), and so dependent on biased, extremist and anti-American sources, as to raise the question of motive: what would motivate two well-recognised academics to depart so grossly from their usual standards of academic writing and research in order to produce a 'study paper' that contributes so little to the existing scholarship while being so susceptible to misuse?
Mearsheimer and Walt have now expanded their notorious article into a book. Here is their argument: Israel receives unique, overwhelming and usually unquestioning support from Washington; this commitment harms the United States and, in the long run, Israel as well. The book also surveys the Israel lobby in the …