Foreign Policy and Ethnic Interest Groups: American and Canadian Jews Lobby for Israel

By David Howard Goldberg | Go to book overview

between an ethnic interest group's level of influence and the government's perception of a particular issue. Until November-December 1988, the Reagan administration's relatively passive interest with the intifada permitted AIPAC to fairly effectively contain the damage to Israel's interests. However, once the administration chose to dramatically reactivate its involvement in the peace process, AIPAC's level of influence dropped appreciably.

In the final analysis, the first year of the intifada ended with AIPAChaving low-moderate influence over U.S. policy (scored as 2). Obviously, AIPAC was dissatisfied with the U.S.-PLO initiative. Washington had adopted a policy that was diametrically opposed to the interests of Israel, AIPAC, and much of American Jewry. Paradoxically, although unable to significantly influence U.S. policy on relations with the PLO, AIPAC was able to maintain strong working relations with the U.S. government and to protect unprecedented levels of American financial and military aid to Israel, thereby affirming AIPAC's status as a fully institutionalized ethnic foreign policy interest group.


SUMMARY

Based on the criterion of domestic ethnic interest group influence used in this study, the following scores apply to the attempts by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to influence U.S. Middle East policy between October 1973 and December 1988 (table 5).


Table 5
AIPAC and America's Middle East Policy, 1973-1988
Event Degree of Influence
5 4 3 2 1
1973 War X
Kissinger's
Diplomacy
X
Boycott X
Carter's
Diplomacy
X
F-15s X
AWACS X
Lebanon X
Palestinian
Disturbances
X

-97-

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