Jewish lobby


Jewish lobby

Jewish lobby is a term used to describe or allege organized Jewish influence in a number of areas, including politics, government, public policy, international relations, as well as business, international finance, the media, academia, and popular culture.Walter John Raymond. [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=1dtn0olA8PcC&dq=%22dictionary+of+politics%22&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=mWdU49sDHj&sig=jf98Xub08rUSP5KKMrMnEwGN6Wc "The Dictionary of Politics: Selected American and Foreign Political and Legal Terms"] , Brunswick Publishing Corporation, 1992, p. 253.] [http://www.antidef.org.au/www/309/1001127/displayarticle/1001451.html The Media, Stereotypes and the Jewish Lobby] , the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Inc. (Australia).]

Definition

The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission of Australia defines the "Jewish lobby" as "an unwieldy group of individuals and organisations devoted to supporting the needs and interests of the Jewish community." In his "Dictionary of Politics", Walter John Raymond defines "Jewish Lobby" as "A conglomeration of approximately thirty-four Jewish political organizations in the United States which make joint and separate efforts to lobby for their interests in the United States, as well as for the interests of the State of Israel." Dominique Vidal, writing in "Le Monde diplomatique", states that in the United States "the self-described Jewish lobby is only one of many influence groups that have official standing with institutions and authorities."Vidal, Dominique. "France: racism is indivisible", "Le Monde diplomatique", May 2004.]

In a 2004 speech, J.J. Goldberg, Editorial Director of "The Forward", stated: "The Jewish lobby ... is actually more than just a dozen organizations. The Anti-Defamation League, The American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, of course, AIPAC." [http://www.lawac.org/speech/pre%20sept%2004%20speeches/goldberg%202004.htm American Foreign Policy and The Jewish Lobby] , J.J. Goldberg, Speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, March 22, 2004]

Activities

In his book "Jewish Power", Goldberg writes that in the United States the "Jewish lobby" for decades played a leadership role in formulating American policy on issues such as civil rights, separation of church and state, and immigration, guided by a liberalism that was a complex mixture of Jewish tradition, the experience of persecution, and self interest. It was thrust into prominence following the Nixon Administration's sharp shift of American policy towards significant military and foreign aid support for Israel following the following the 1973 Yom Kippur war. [Jonathan Jeremy Goldberg."Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment." Basic Books, 1996, Chapter 2, especially 24.] In a 2004 speech he says: "There has been an awful lot of talk in the last few years about the rise of the Jewish lobby and the influence of the Jewish lobby. It used to be that you couldn’t talk about this sort of thing. When I wrote [the book] "Jewish Power" in 1996 ... I was accused by various Jewish lobbyists of inflating and buying into the old myths of international Jewish conspiracies simply by the use of the title." He added: "There is such a thing as a Jewish lobby, that the network of organizations that works together to put across what might be called the Jewish community’s view on world affairs is not insignificant, it’s not an invention, but it is not some sort of all-powerful octopus that it’s sometimes portrayed as these days."

In his 1987 work "The Lobby: Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy" Edward Tivnan writes that a "full-fledged 'Jewish lobby'" was created in 1943 when "delegates from thirty-two national Jewish organizations met in Pittsburgh to decide upon the role that the American Jewish community would play in representing Jewish demands after the war and helping to build Jewish Palestine." [Edward Tivnan. "The Lobby: Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy". Simon and Schuster, 1987. ISBN 0671501534. Introduction, p.23.] In his 1988 book "The Lobby" he writes that the "Jewish lobby" in the United States "had become primarily a pro-Israel lobby, one so aggressive, omnipresent and influential on matters relating to the Middle East that the denizens of Capital Hill refer to it simply as “the lobby,”…" [Edward Tivnan. "The Lobby: Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy". Touchstone Books, 1988. ISBN 0671668285. Preface, 8.]

Youssef Ibrahim writes: "That there is a Jewish lobby in America concerned with the well-being of Israel is a silly question. It is insane to ask whether the 6 million American Jews should be concerned about the 6 million Israeli Jews, particularly in view of the massacre of another 6 million Jews in the Holocaust. It's elementary, my dear Watson: Any people who do not care for their own are not worthy of concern. And what the Israel lobby does is what all ethnic lobbies — Greek, Armenian, Latvian, Irish, Cuban, and others — do in this democracy." [Youssef Ibrahim, [http://www.nysun.com/article/63353 Israel Lobby's Pull Pales Next to Evil Saudi Input] New York Sun, September 25, 2007.]

Antisemitic and/or pejorative use

Some sources have stated that the use of the term "Jewish lobby" is antisemitic. The B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission of Australia further stated that "the assumption, however, that Jews have a disproportionate power and influence over decision making is what transforms a descriptive reality about politics to an antisemitic argument about Jewish power."

Susan Jacobs of Manchester Metropolitan University writes that the phrase, when used "without mentioning other ‘lobbies’ or differentiating Jews who have different political positions on a number of questions, including Israel and Palestine", is a contemporary form of the fear of a Jewish conspiracy.Jacobs, Dr. Susan. [http://www.surrey.ac.uk/Arts/CRONEM/Conference-2005-papers/SusanJacobs.doc "AntiSemitism and other forms of racism" Continuities, discontinuities, (and some conspiracies….)"] Paper presented at the 2005 CRONEM (Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism) Conference, Roehampton University, Southlands College, 14th-15th June 2005:

That some type of shadowy Jewish conspiracy exists is commonsense, taken-for-granted element in many quarters: e.g. rumours that the predominance of neo-conservatives in the USA is a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ (Greenspan, 2003; Berlet, 2004; Interview, 2004 ). Perhaps even more common is a vague suspicion that such a conspiracy might exist but that it is impolite to articulate this. A contemporary form of this fear is the phrase ‘the Jewish lobby’ without mentioning other ‘lobbies’ or differentiating Jews who have different political positions on a number of questions, including Israel and Palestine."
] Robert S. Wistrich, of the International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, sees reference to the phrase, when used to describe an "all-powerful 'Jewish Lobby' that prevents justice in the Middle East", as reliance on a classic antisemitic stereotype.Klug, Brian & Wistrich, Robert S. [http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/klug.html "Correspondence between Prof. Robert Wistrich and Brian Klug: When Is Opposition to Israel and Its Policies Anti-Semitic?"] , International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Retrieved January 11, 2008:
"Does he or she rely on classic anti-Semitic stereotypes in so doing: for example, by dredging up the alleged Jewish/Zionist 'conspiracy' to dominate the world, or by evoking Jewish/Israeli 'warmongers' who supposedly run American foreign policy; or through referring to an all-powerful "Jewish Lobby" that prevents justice in the Middle East."
]

Dominique Vidal writes that in France, the term had been exclusively used by the French far right as "a phrase that combines standard anti-semitic fantasies about Jewish finance, media control and power; the term is the contemporary equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion." Bruno Bettelheim detested the term, arguing "The self-importance of Jews combined with the paranoia of the anti-Semite had created the image of this lobby." [ Sutton, Nina (David Sharp trans.) "Bettelheim: A Life and a Legacy", BasicBooks, p. 486. ISBN 0465006353]

Michael Visontay, editor of Australia's "The Sydney Morning Herald", writes that "The way the phrase 'Jewish lobby has been bandied about in numerous letters implies there is something inherently sinister in lobbying when Jews do it." [Visontay, Michael. [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/13/1068674320037.html "Free speech for some, others pay"] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", November 14, 2003.] According to Geoffrey Brahm Levey and Philip Mendes, the term is used in Australia as a pejorative description of the way in which the Jewish community influences the Liberal Party "by talking to its leaders and making them aware of Jewish wishes and views". ["Another important way in which the Jewish community influences the Liberal Party is by talking to its leaders and making them aware of Jewish wishes and views. This is referred to (usually pejoratively) as the 'Jewish lobby'." Geoffrey Brahm Levey, Philip Mendes. "Jews and Australian Politics", Sussex Academic Press, 2004, ISBN 1903900727, p. 91.]

William Safire wrote in 1993 that in the United Kingdom "Jewish lobby" is used as an "even more pejorative" term for "the 'Israel lobby'". [Safire, William. "Safire's New Political Dictionary: The Definitive Guide to the New Language", Random House, 1993, p. 120. ISBN 0679420681

In Great Britain the "Israel lobby" is called, even more pejoratively, "the Jewish lobby," as in this Financial Times usage in 1977...
] Michael Lasky describes the term as an "unfortunate phrase", and "imagines" that Alexander Walker's use of it while writing about the "Nazi" films of Leni Riefenstahl was not intended pejoratively. [Lasky, Melvin J. "The Language of Journalism", Transaction Publishers, 2000, p. 147. ISBN 0765800012]

In 2006, Chris Davies, MEP for the northwest of England was forced to resign as leader of the Liberal Democrats group in the European Parliament [Hirsh, David. [http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_hirsh/2006/05/liberal_mep_resigns_after_invi.html.printer.friendly "Revenge of the Jewish lobby?"] , "The Guardian", May 5, 2006.] after writing to a constituent “I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries.” In comments to TotallyJewish.Com he "confessed he didn’t know the difference between referring to the ‘pro Israel lobby’ and the ‘Jewish lobby’," and added “I’m quite prepared to accept that I don’t understand the semantics of some of these things.” [ Alex Sholem, [http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/national/?content_id=3403 MEP Disciplined Over Slur] , TotallyJewish.Com, May 4, 2006.] Commenting on Davies' use of the term, "The Guardian"'s David Hirsh writes Davies "has had to resign because his laudable instinct to side with the underdog was not tempered by care, thought or self-education." He compared Davies' rhetoric with the "care to avoid openly antisemitic rhetoric taken by sophisticates like Mearsheimer and Walt and Robert Fisk."

A 2007 "New York Sun" editorial accused Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, atheist and writer who is author of "The God Delusion", of repeating antisemitic conspiracy theories [ [http://www.nysun.com/article/63946 Suppressed Scholarship] , New York Sun, October 4, 2007] after he used the term in an interview published in "The Guardian". In the interview Dawkins said: "When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told - religious Jews anyway - than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolise American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place." [Ewen MacAskill, [http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2180660,00.html Atheists arise: Dawkins spreads the A-word among America's unbelievers,] The Guardian, October 1, 2007. In an article called [http://richarddawkins.net/article,1471,The-Out-Campaign,Richard-Dawkins "The Out Campaign"] on his [http://richarddawkins.net/ personal website] Dawkins similarly writes: "Atheists are more numerous than religious Jews, yet they wield a tiny fraction of the political power, apparently because they have never got their act together in the way the Jewish lobby so brilliantly has: the famous 'herding cats' problem again."] In a "National Review" column discussing the influence of "high-profile atheists" on the American left, Arthur C. Brooks wrote that Dawkins claim was "anti-Semitic, slanders religion, and asserts victimhood." [ [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/30/opinion/main3559387.shtml Atheists Hold Sway Among American Left] , CBS news reprinted from National Review, December 2, 2007.] David Cesarani, commenting in "The Guardian", stated that "Mearsheimer and Walt would doubtless chide Dawkins for using the term 'Jewish lobby', which they studiously avoid in order to give no truck to anti-Jewish innuendo." [Cesarani, David. [http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_cesarani/2007/10/exerting_influence.html "Exerting influence"] , "The Guardian", October 8, 2007.]

Criticism

Mitchell Bard, director of the non-profit American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), writes that: "Reference is often made to the 'Jewish lobby' in an effort to describe Jewish influence, but this term is both vague and inadequate. While it is true that American Jews are sometimes represented by lobbyists, such direct efforts to influence policy-makers are but a small part of the lobby’s ability to shape policy."Mitchell Bard, [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/lobby.html The Israeli and Arab Lobbies] , Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed February 22, 2008.] Bard argues the term Israel lobby is more accurate, because it comprises both formal and informal elements (which includes public opinion), and "...because a large proportion of the lobby is made up of non-Jews."Bard, Mitchell. "The Water's Edge and Beyond: Defining the Limits to Domestic Influence on United States Middle East Policy", Transaction publishers, 1991, p. 6. ISBN 088738286X]

Harvard University professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, authors of the 2007 best selling book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, write that "AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents and the Israeli media themselves refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’."Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," Farrah, Strauss and Giroux, 2007, p. 188.] However, in response to later questioning, Steven Walt stated they themselves "never use the term 'Jewish lobby' because the lobby is defined by its political agenda, not by religion or ethnicity."Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/10/05/DI2007100501306.html "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy"] , "Washington Post", Book World Live, October 9, 2007. Accessed January 7, 2008.] In a letter to the editor of "The New York Times" responding to a book review by Leslie Gelb [Leslie Gelb. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/books/review/Gelb-t.html?pagewanted=print] "New York Times", September 23, 2007] , they state: “Gelb refers repeatedly to a ‘Jewish lobby,’ despite the fact that we never employ the term in our book. Indeed, we explicitly rejected this label as inaccurate and misleading, both because the lobby includes non-Jews like the Christian Zionists and because many Jewish Americans do not support the hard-line policies favored by its most powerful elements." [Mearsheimer, John and Walt, Stephen. [http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/books/review/Letters-t-1.html?ref=review "The Israel lobby"] , letters to the editor, October 14, 2007.]

ee also

* Lobbying in the United States
* Ethnic interest groups in the United States
* Diaspora politics in the United States
* Israel lobby in the United States
* Israel lobby in the United Kingdom
* Antisemitism
* The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

References


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