A Direct Order from the Lobby
Since 1948, the U.S had initiated an alliance with the state of Israel and built a relationship that remains secure to this day. This “bond” that is shared by both Israel and the U.S has been visibly strong throughout the years and has placed the U.S in a supportive position. The United States has been providing Israel with the sizeable amount of approximately $3 billion a year in direct economic and military foreign aid since the October War of 1976 and receives significantly more from the U.S than any other ally.1 The total amount of aid is received at the beginning of every fiscal year rather than by quarterly installments, which is the method by which other recipients are supported. The question has arisen as to why the small State of Israel has merited such quantities of assistance from a world power such as the United States, and what benefits this nation provides in return. Scholars such as John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt have proposed that the Israel lobby, specifically the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has exerted a great deal of impact over U.S foreign policy toward Israel.2 It is the purpose of this paper to examine the influence that the pro-Israel lobby, with a focus on AIPAC, has over U.S policymaking through an analysis of the AWACS sale to Saudi Arabia in 1986 and the 2nd Lebanon War of 2006. In order to discuss this topic proficiently, there will be a brief overview of the history of the relations between Israel and the U.S, after which there will follow an explanation of AIPAC’s creation and role in U.S foreign policy. Subsequently, this paper will compare the policy outcomes of the AWACS deal and the 2nd Israel-Lebanon War, which will ultimately demonstrate the extensive influence that AIPAC has on the foreign policy of the United States toward Israel. The state of Israel was established in 1948 and the first nation to acknowledge its independence was the United States under president Harry Truman. This was preceded by an attempt by the British in 1917 to set in motion the creation of Israel through the Balfour Declaration.3 Aid was at a low point during the first couple of decades; the Eisenhower, Johnson, and Ford years showed little priority given to Israel, until the middle of the Nixon administration where aid suddenly escalated due to his belief of a looming communist threat in the region.4 In general, relations between the two nations have ascended and descended throughout presidential administrations. It was during the Eisenhower years that the Suez Crisis of 1956 occurred and America distanced itself from its ties with Israel by forcing Israel, France, and Britain out of Egypt in order to improve associations with that region. Aid to Israel was at a low point, as were its affairs with the United States.5 Relations improved during the Johnson administration where policy took a turn toward a very pro-Israel approach that was confirmed after the 6-Day War of 1967, when Johnson vetoed all notions that threatened Israel and its territorial expansion. The Israeli victory demonstrated its advantages as an ally to the U.S, thus “Israel consolidated its place in the American consciousness not through a perception of its weakness but through a demonstration of its strength.”6 During president Nixon’s duration, relations became tense with the launch of the Rogers Plan that required the retreat of Israel from the occupied Egyptian territory. The tension developed further when the U.S proposed a plan for a Jordanian-Israeli settlement that Israel strongly opposed and had furthermore detained the appeal for a couple of fighter jets until further developments surfaced.7 The crisis in Jordan in 1970 compelled Nixon to change his policies toward Israel, as he believed that Syrian intervention signaled the participation of the Communist Soviets; this pursuit fueled a renewed partnership with an increase in foreign aid and pushed Nixon to recognize Israel as a...
Bibliography: 1. USA, IBP. Israel Lobby in the United States Handbook. Washington: International Business Publications, 2011.
2. Zunes, Stephen. "The Strategic Functions of U.S Aid to Israel." http://er.users.netlink.co.uk/Palestina/zunes.htm#b (accessed June 2, 2013).
3. Girdner, Eddie J. USA and the New Middle East. New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House, 2008.
4. Kochavi, Noam. "Joining the conservative brotherhood: Israel, President Nixon, and the political consolidation of the ‘special relationship’, 1969 –73." Cold War History, 2008: 449-480.
5. Laham, Nicholas. Selling AWACS to Saudi Arabia: The Reagan Administration and the Balancing of America 's Competing Interests in the Middle East. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2002.
6. Mayer, Michael S. The Eisenhower Years. New York: Facts on File Inc. , 2010.
—. The Israel Lobby and U.S Foreign Policy. New York: Penguin, 2007.
8. Monsour, Camille. Beyond Alliance: Israel and U.S Foreign Policy . New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
9. Organski, A.F.K. The $36 Dolllar Bargain: Strategy and Politics in U.S Assistance to Israel. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.
11. Tivnan, Edward. The Lobby: Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy. New York: Simon and Schuster Inc., 1987.
12. Thomas, Michael. American Policy Toward Israel: The Power and Limits of Beliefs . Oxon: Routledge, 2007.
Professor: Arnd Jurgensen
Due Date: June 11, 2013
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