Authors: Free ride doesn’t help Israel


U.S. presidential candidates aren’t helping Israel by offering unconditional support, the authors of a controversial book on the Israel lobby say.


John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, who wrote “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” said in an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times that the candidates’ devotion to Israel, including support for more than $3 billion in annual foreign aid, and their seeming inability to criticize the Jewish state is out of fear of losing the support of the “Israel lobby.”


“Such pandering is hardly surprising, because contenders for high office routinely court special interest groups, and Israel’s staunchest supporters – the Israel lobby, as we have termed it – expect it,” they wrote in the op-ed. “Politicians do not want to offend Jewish Americans or ‘Christian Zionists,’ two groups that are deeply engaged in the political process.”


Mearsheimer and Walt criticized all the candidates in the 2008 race of bidding to be Israel’s best friend and trying to avoid the fate of ’04 Democratic candidate Howard Dean, whose presidential campaign nose-dived after he suggested the United States be more “evenhanded” toward Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians.


“These candidates, however, are no friends of Israel,” they said. “They are facilitating its pursuit of self-destructive policies that no true friend would favor.”

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