THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt
Dr. Mearsheimer is a professor in the Department of Political Science at
the University of Chicago. Dr. Walt is a professor at the John F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University.
In March 2006, we published an essay entitled “The Israel Lobby” in The London
Review of Books (Vol. 28, No. 6, March 23, 2006). At the suggestion of several wellrespected
scholars who had read earlier drafts, we also posted a slightly longer and
documented version of the article on the Working Paper website of Harvard’s John F.
Kennedy School of Government. We did this so that interested parties could see the
sources and evidence on which our conclusions were based.
The response to the two versions of the paper was dramatic. As of mid-July 2006,
there had been over 275,000 downloads of the KSG Working Paper version, and a lively
(albeit not always civilized) debate was underway. During this period, we were contacted
by the editor of Middle East Policy, who sought to publish the documented version. We
agreed but asked that we be allowed to revise the Working Paper in response to the
comments and criticisms it had provoked.
After considering the responses to our article, we stand by our original arguments.
We knew that it would attract criticism, but we have been struck by how weak and illfounded
many of the criticisms have been. We have made minor adjustments in some of
the language we employed and corrected a few typographical errors. We have supplemented
our arguments in several places to clarify issues that some of our critics either
misunderstood or misconstrued, and we have updated a few points in light of subsequent
events. In terms of its core claims, however, this revised version does not depart from the
original Working Paper.
We are now preparing a detailed “Response to Our Critics” that will formally address
and refute the various charges that were leveled at our original article. And we remain
convinced that the United States will not be able to deal with the vexing problems in the
Middle East if it cannot have a serious and candid discussion of the role of the Israel