John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt: US storm over book on Israel lobby

Historians in the News

The power of America's "Jewish lobby" is said to be legendary.

Commentators the world over refer to it, as though it were a well-established fact that US Jews wield far more influence than their numbers (2% of the population) would suggest.

But this presumed influence is also a delicate issue in the US, and is rarely analysed.

How does the lobby work? Is its power truly legendary, or just a legend?

Two US academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, have set out to answer those questions, and triggered a firestorm of controversy as a result.

Their book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which builds on a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, says the reasons for US support for Israel need to be explained.

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