Diagnosing A Strange Foreign Policy Disease

More

I'm sorry I missed this earlier. Walter Russell Mead gives a name to a disease infecting some so-called foreign-policy realists: Israel Lobby Syndrome:

Now in case any of my readers have missed the census news since 1790, there are not now and never have been all that many Jews in the United States.  Less than two percent of the roughly 300 million people in the United States are Jewish.  This means that Jews can at most account for two of that 63 percent of the population who sympathize with Israel.  Pro-Israel gentiles in America outnumber pro-Israel Jews by a factor of 20-1, and ever since polling on this issue began, the overwhelming majority of the Americans who support Israel against its enemies haven't been Jewish.

This brings us to a problem: why do so many people, especially self-described 'realists' when it comes to Middle East policy, find it mysterious that American foreign policy supports Israel?  Surely in a democratic republic, when policy over a long period of time tracks with public sentiment, there is very little to explain.  American politicians vote for pro-Israel policies because that is what voters want them to do.  Case closed, I would think.  Late breaking news flash: water runs downhill.

Yet many otherwise intelligent people are drawn over and over again to the idea that a mysteriously powerful Jewish lobby is somehow thwarting democracy to bend American foreign policy to its nefarious will.  Polls, reason, history, none of this matters.  America supports Israel because of 'the Jews'.


Jump to comments
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Sad Desk Lunch: Is This How You Want to Die?

How to avoid working through lunch, and diseases related to social isolation.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

From This Author

Just In