Everything Is Changing: Contemporary U.S. Movements in Historical Perspective

By Mohammed E. Ahrari | Go to book overview

politics, especially the political activities of American Jewry, has a major, if not determining, influence on the formulation of U.S. policy in the Arab- Israeli dispute. Presidents, however, try to avoid appearing antagonistic toward Israel in an election year. They will delay decisions or manipulate announcements so that they receive credit for favorable actions. Yet they make decisions generally for reasons of state, largely unrelated to domestic politics, and often in defiance of domestic groups.

Exemplified by the Arab-Israeli dispute, ethnic lobbies add to the richness and variety of the public discussion. Their influence primarily lies in Congress and in affecting public attitudes, including those of high-ranking elites. Executive decisions, however, are made by the president and his team in light of their global and regional strategies. Ethnic lobbies are part of the domestic constraints on policymakers, but they do not determine that policy and executives may decide to ignore them. Thus they are relegated to the role of supplicants--hiding their weakness behind a facade of bravado and public activity. It is only in this light that their role in the foreign policy process can be truly understood.


NOTES
1.
Steve Emerson, The American House of Saud: The Secret Petrodollar Connection ( New York: Franklin Watts, 1985), pp. 1-13; Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby (Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1985); Charles McMathias, "Ethnic Groups and Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs 59, no. 5 (Summer 1981):975-98.
2.
Steven L. Spiegel, "U.S. Middle East Policy," Journal of International Affairs 6, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 1982- 1983):244; Congressional Quarterly, The Middle East: U.S. Policy, Israel, Oil and the Arabs ( Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1975), p. 63.
3.
George H. Gallup, The Gallup Poll Public Opinion 1935-1971, vol. 1, 1935- 1948 ( New York: Random House, 1972), pp. 554, 584, 686; Idem, The Gallop Poll Public Opinion 1982 ( Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1982).
4.
Wolf Blitzer, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 120-28, 130-35, 139-40.
5.
Ibid., pp. 127-30; Wall Street Journal, 26 February 1985, pp. 1, 16.
6.
Cheryl Rubenberg, "The Middle East Lobbies," The Link ( January-March 1984):7; Findley, They Dare to Speak Out, pp. 23, 113.
7.
Milton Viorst, "Building an American Lobby," The Washington Post Magazine, 14 September 1985, p. 15.
8.
Michael R. Fischbach, "Government Pressures Against Arabs in the United States," Journal of Palestine Studies 14, no. 3 (Spring 1985):99; Viorst, "Building an American Lobby," p. 9.
9.
Christopher Madison, "Arab-American Lobby Fights Rearguard Battle to Influence U.S. Mid East Policy," National Journal, 15 August 1985, p. 1936.
10.
Ira Mehlman, "Arab American Lobby Takes on Rep. Long, Other Israel Allies," Jewish World, January 1984, pp. 20-26, 37; Congressional Quarterly, The Middle East, 6th ed. ( Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1986), p. 34.

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