The Impotence of the Pan-Semitic Front

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Here's a fact that might astonish Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, whose book, "The Israel Lobby," posits the existence of a nefarious, all-powerful Jewish lobby that works in direct opposition to American interests: The "Lobby" (they love to capitalize the word, to accentuate its alleged uniqueness) has failed to convince two successive American administrations, one Republican and one Democratic, to attack Iran's nuclear sites. So much for Jewish power.

Here's another fact that might astonish Walt and Mearsheimer: It turns out that the Jewish lobby wasn't even the main lobby working to bring about an attack on Iran. It was, according to the treasure trove of State Department cables released by Wikileaks, the Arab lobby -- whose lead lobbyist is, by the way, the King of Saudi Arabia (which is a big job, since he's also in charge of the world's oil supply) -- that was at the forefront of an intensive, even ferocious, anti-Iran lobbying effort. For Walt and Mearsheimer to acknowledge that the Arab lobby, and not the Jewish lobby, was the prime mover of this issue would mean that they would have to recall their book, and somehow stuff back into a bottle all of the anti-Semitic invective they unleashed in the book's wake. So don't expect an apology anytime soon.

In sum, what we have here is a situation in which all of the Semites in combination have been proven impotent in their attempt to move American foreign policy. Which suggests that American foreign policy might actually be made by Americans. This is definitely a tough week for the neo-Lindberghians.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly 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.

Goldberg's 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. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. 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.

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.

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