Michael F. Brown

Book review: "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy"


The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by professors John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt weighs in with 106 pages of endnotes. The controversial tome challenging the might of the pro-Israel lobby is nonetheless accused of “shoddy scholarship” — much as when the authors’ shorter paper on the subject in 2006 unexpectedly burst the bubble of a lobby unaccustomed to challenge and reprimand. However, EI contributor Michael F. Brown finds that the heavy-hitting academics did not suddenly lose their intellectual acumen in penning this well-reasoned criticism of the Israel lobby. 

Damaging Congressional Silence on Israeli Violations in Lebanon


In late January the State Department delivered a potentially explosive report to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The classified report asserts that Israel may have violated the Arms Export Control Act with its use of American-made cluster munitions this past summer in Lebanon. Multiple contacts to both offices indicate neither Biden nor Pelosi has any intention of pursuing the matter. In contrast, a congressional investigation 25 years ago helped persuade President Ronald Reagan to suspend cluster munitions to Israel for six years. 

Style or substance following Riyadh summit?


The Arab League peace initiative is back in play after an Israeli and American-imposed five-year hiatus. The return to the previously shunted aside proposal comes only because the Bush administration has utterly fouled the region — from the bloody sectarian turmoil of Baghdad to the tsunami of human waste that recently swept through part of northern Gaza — and has evidently concluded there is now a better hope of “fixing” Israel and Palestine than Iraq. In an ironic twist, the Bush administration claim that the road to Middle East peace runs through Baghdad has been inverted by the total collapse in Iraq. 

Core issues absent from Rice's peace rhetoric agenda


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet today with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Ostensibly, they are to talk of a “political horizon” in order for Abbas to relay to the Palestinian people a “vision” of what could be. This now appears to be little more than a hallucination put out for public consumption. Borders, Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees cannot be expected to highlight the agenda. Consequently, if these three issues are not central to discussions, this is not a political horizon but a cliff for Palestinians. A horizon, properly viewed, simply cannot omit these three central concerns. 

Subcommittee hosts anti-Palestinian threesome


Hubris leads directly to disrespect. Back in power for just a handful of weeks, Rep. Gary Ackerman, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, is already displaying his disregard for the Peace Movement, Arab Americans, Muslim Americans, the unfairly maligned progressive Jewish community, and, well, generally anyone who favors a fair debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No such debate will occur on Valentine’s Day when Ackerman’s Subcommittee hosts a stacked and biased witness list. None of the three witnesses who will be present can be described as a vigorous advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights and freedom.