Tags: israel | lobby | middle east | dc

Israel Lobby Now vs. Then: 7 Signs Middle East Influence Has Shifted in DC

By    |   Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 03:42 PM

The Israel lobby has received a lot of criticism from opponents in recent years for its alleged power in Washington. However, the history of the state of Israel shows the changes that have affected the U.S.

These seven signs suggest how events in the Middle East have shifted reactions from U.S. officials:

1. During the Cold War of the 1950s, U.S. officials didn’t view Israel as an important player in the region. Concerned about the Soviet Union expanding its influence in Eastern Europe and Britain removing its connection to the Middle East, the U.S. tried to ally with Turkey, Iran, and the Arab world.

2. The Israel lobby, just beginning with the formation of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee, was unable to convince the Eisenhower administration of Israel’s vital role in the region. Eisenhower even forced Israel to pull back from the Sinai during border conflicts with Arab countries in 1957 to avoid a wider war.

3. The view from the U.S. began to change as Arab regimes and movements began to rival each other, increasing tension in the area and taking on anti-Western attitudes. The Eisenhower administration softened its response to Israeli concerns and took a more moderate approach to conflict in the area.

4. President Kennedy took a more direct approach by siding with Israeli interests and giving the Israel lobby significant gains. Jewish support in the Democratic Party for his 1960 election helped, but Kennedy boosted Israel’s defense with anti-aircraft missiles in 1962 following the Soviet Union’s buildup of bombers to Egypt.

5. Israel’s astonishing victory over Arab states, which had arms from the Soviet Union, in the 1967 Six-Day War changed views of the country worldwide. Israel was now viewed as an ally in preventing Soviet expansion. President Nixon later supported Israel with vital aircraft during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Israel lobby became a stronger part of Washington’s strategy.

6. President Reagan considered Israel a strong ally, coming to office after the fall of the Shah in Iran and the subsequent rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the country. Terrorist attacks continued in the region. However, Reagan still attempted a balance between Israel and the Arab world, including a controversial move to sell early-warning aircraft to Saudi Arabia.

7. Support for the Israel lobby has remained controversial ever since, with critics complaining of too much control by Israeli supporters over Congress. Border clashes still exist, especially in Gaza. Critics claim Israel’s response to the rocket attacks from Hamas has been too harsh and left many civilians dead. Organizations that promote peace in the area have popped up among Jewish groups. But supporters point out that Israel remains a vital ally in the region to thwart terrorist organizations and states.

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The Israel lobby has received a lot of criticism from opponents in recent years for its alleged power in Washington. However, the history of the state of Israel shows the changes that have affected the U.S.
israel, lobby, middle east, dc
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2014-42-20
Thursday, 20 Nov 2014 03:42 PM
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