When John J. Mearsheimer, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, and Stephen M. Walt, a professor at Harvard University, published their book "The Israel lobby and US Foreign Policy", they knew they were in for a tough ride.
The accusations of anti-Semitism (an ironic term considering the majority of today's Semites are actually Arabs) and attacks by academics flooded in as the book condemning the Israel lobby's stranglehold on US foreign policy was put on the shelves.
Institutions, organisations and universities around the country cancelled events hosting the authors as the uproar rose to boiling temperature. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs stated the issue was "so hot" it too had to cancel on the authors, whom were regular speakers at the council.
Such reaction is typical of any American who publicly attempts to discredit Israel, let alone attack America's powerful Israel lobby itself. The two academics deeply criticised the pro-Israel lobby's influence on US foreign policy, which they claim is harming the interests of both Israel and the US. They also write that Israel has become a "strategic liability" since the end of the Cold War, but the lobby is preventing any US politician from speaking up.
In a country where criticism of Israel is taboo, domestic criticism of the Jewish state has become more apparent in recent years. US failure in Iraq, failure in cementing a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and failure to criticise Israel in its war with Lebanon last year has pushed the limits of censorship to the edge. Former President Jimmy Carter didn't hold back when he openly declared his dissatisfaction with Israel in his book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid".
Successive, transparent failures in US Middle Eastern policy has prompted American thinkers to publicly denounce the pro-Israel lobby. Although it may seem that these thinkers are facing the daunting task of bringing awareness to the destructive power of the Israel lobby, it's quite the contrary. Never in recent years has America's Israeli lobby been forced to publicly defend itself on the domestic front for the consequences of its behaviour, and the negative impact it is having on US foreign policy.
The taboo of criticising Israel on the domestic arena in the US has been broken. Critics who have long kept their views silent will become more bold in publicly defying the Jewish lobby. Whilst this lobby remains incredibly powerful, the voice of dissent to this power appears to be rising.
Link to NY Times article.
Don't expect change in Israel policy any time soon
AIPAC's Kohr sixth most powerful Washingtonian
In the new GQ ranking of the most powerful men and women in Washington, State Secretary Rice came up first, and Howard Kohr, Executive Director of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC is number six (not alone, but with three other powerful lobbyists).
GQ says: "don't expect any big changes to our Israel or prescription-drug policies in coming years".