The influence of the pro-Israel lobby in US foreign policymaking toward the Middle East has been a subject of great interest and fierce controversy in recent years. Yet, despite being the object of a massive amount of critical scrutiny, the pro-Israel lobby remains poorly understood. All too often it is depicted as a highly organized, cohesive political actor pursuing an agenda in line with, and even determined by, Israel's right-wing Likud party. By undertaking a detailed empirical survey of the pro-Israel community in the United States, this article shows that such a view is grossly inaccurate. The pro-Israel community is neither monolithic nor a unitary actor. It is fragmented into a number of different groups, many of which disagree sharply over their understanding of Israel's real interests. In lobbying the US government for what they believe is in Israel's interests, therefore, the pro-Israel community rarely, if ever, speaks with a single voice.
Contrary to many claims, the 'pro-Israel' factor is not the dominant constraint on any US effort to impose a comprehensive peace settlement. Nor did the pro-Israel lobby play a decisive role in the failure to reach a comprehensive peace in the 1990s. The most significant effect of the pro-Israel factor in the United States is to give Israel the benefit of the doubt by putting the onus on the Arab side to demonstrate its sincerity concerning peace. When Arab leaders have done this, they have greatly reduced the lobby's ability to constrain US diplomacy. However, the greatest constraint on America relates to the balance of interests between the United States and the parties to the conflict themselves. For the parties the details of any agreement are of much greater importance than they are for the United States, hence they are willing to pay greater costs than the latter is willing to impose on any confrontation. Consequently, under most conceivable circumstances the United States cannot impose a comprehensive settlement.
Donna Robinson Divine
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007).
The American Jewish Committee and Israel’s Palestinian Minority, 1948–1966
Geoffrey P. Levin
’ against Zionists. Uninterested in a public confrontation and faced with the reality that limited private lobbying did not yield significant results, the AJC does not appear to have taken further action on behalf of Palestinians in Israel until the 1960s
From a Fragmented to an Integrated Approach in France and Europe (1972–1998)
Most research into road safety in Europe has focused chiefly on public action, without closely examining the role of car manufacturers or their coordination with public initiatives. This article explores how manufacturers transitioned from a fragmented conception of road safety in the 1970s—with vehicles being the responsibility of manufacturers, and prevention and roads that of institutions—to an increasingly integrated approach in the twenty-first century. The study uses industry archives to present manufacturer strategies from 1972 onward, which at first exclusively focused on vehicle safety standards. After 1986, the European Year of Road Safety, manufacturers’ official discourse increasingly stressed user education, as opposed to technical improvements to the product. Th is article will use the French case, as well as a more European approach to the automobile lobby in Brussels, to chart the gradual emergence of an integrated approach to safety combining the vehicle, infrastructure, and user behavior.
Toward an Explanation of Inconsistencies between Framing and Policies
Henri Bergeron, Patrick Castel, and Abigail C. Saguy
The French news media has framed “obesity” largely as a product of corporate greed and social inequality. Yet, France has—like other nations including the United States—adopted policies that focus on changing individual-level behavior. This article identifies several factors—including food industry lobbying, the Ministry of Agriculture’s rivalry with the Ministry of Health and alliance with the food industry, and competition with other policy goals—that favored the development of individual-level policy approaches to obesity in France at the expense of social-structural ones. This case points to the need to more systematically document inconsistencies and consistencies between social problem framing and policies. It also shows that national culture is multivalent and internally contradictory, fueling political and social struggles over which version of national culture will prevail at any given moment.
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (Faculty Research Working Paper No. RWP06-011, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 2006).
Elizabeth Stephens, US Policy Towards Israel: The Role of Political Culture in Defining the Special Relationship (Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2006).
Irvine H. Anderson, Biblical Interpretation and Middle East Policy: The Promised Land, America, and Israel, 1917–2002 (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005).
The Renewal of the Italian Road Network in the 1920s
Looking beyond motorways plans, this essay focuses on the role of the Italian "road" lobby in the 1920s in shaping the national transport policy. Contractors like Puricelli were the driving forces of surface transport modernization, with visionary plans but also facing a lack of sympathy by the automobile industry. Those programs were nevertheless carried out with the strong support of the Touring Club and provincial councils. In this context, it seems that the fascist dictatorship, with its hesitance, slowed—rather than hastened—road modernization. Only in 1928, feeding off the ideas of Puricelli and others, did the Mussolini government develop a proper road renewal program. Finally, framing the Italian experience in the European contexts, it emerges that despite the extreme success of American car culture, England is depicted as a more suitable model.
The Difficult Politics of German Coal
Tessa Coggio and Thane Gustafson
This article considers Germany’s contentious exit from brown coal (lignite), now set for 2038. While greener alternatives, such as wind, solar, or natural gas have been reducing coal’s standing in Germany’s energy mix for years, coal proponents, backed by special interests, have pushed back at all levels of government. With a focus on the politics of coal during the 2017 parliamentary elections, the tedious months of coalition negotiations and the work of the coal committee since summer 2018, we explore how policymakers try to reconcile competing interests at the federal state, local, as well as international levels.
Rennie Parker, Nadine Brummer, Derrick Buttress, Simon Curtis, and Gill Gregory
Keep It Real Living In Quotations RENNIE PARKER
The Announcement Tulip NADINE BRUMMER
Reading Public-School Stories DERRICK BUTTRESS
William Payne SIMON CURTIS
A Poet’s Profession Hotel Lobby (after Edward Hopper) GILL GREGORY