AIPAC American foreign policy American Jews Dan Fleshler Israel Mearsheimer and Walt Transforming America's Israel Lobby

New, shameless self-promotion: review of my book in “Zeek”

Zeek, the magazine for literate, cultured, youngish, freethinking Jews just published a glowing review of Transforming America’s Israel Lobby. The reviewer is “Moshe Yaroni,” the pseudonym for someone who is clearly very astute. Some excerpts:

This is a book that should have been written many years ago. It is full of insight into the major Jewish organizations, as well as some non-Jewish ones, working on the issue of Israel. It’s also constructive, offering practical guidance as to how those of us whose passion for peace and desire for fair treatment of Palestinians is equal to our concern for Israel’s well-being might begin to blaze a new policy trail.

…Fleshler does a masterful job of portraying the actual political influence that AIPAC and other groups wield, without either overblowing or underplaying it….It is precisely this contextualizing of AIPAC that marks this book a success in all the ways that Walt and Mearsheimer fell short. The two professors, whose expertise does not lie in a Washington scene with which they have only a dilettante’s familiarity, can’t match Fleshler’s insight into the workings of Washington, much less the Jewish community…

From my perspective as someone who has worked in the field of Israel-Palestine peace for years, and writing from my office in Washington, it is clear that Transforming America’s Israel Lobby is the book we have been waiting for. Those of us “inside the Beltway” have long felt much of what Fleshler says…

17 thoughts on “New, shameless self-promotion: review of my book in “Zeek”

  1. I read the book and think you actually agree with Walt and Mearsheimer more than you disagree with them. You accept most of their basic premises –with some major exceptions, like their spiel on the lobby and the Iraq War– but mostly you just fill in the details that they were seemingly unable to fill in. Have either of them read it, Dan? Have you sent them copies? They’re probably a bit offended but they shouldn’t be…

  2. For all of you who doubted what I said about who rules in Iran, here is the info on an article by someone at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the think tank of AIPAC. Here is the title: The Real Power in Iran – Mehdi Khalaji, it can be found at http://www.realclearworld.com.

  3. Dan I honestly don’t think it is over the top to say that guys like you, and Richard ( I like to see little little Jewish girls with their heads crushed) Silverstein. Not to mention mention Phil ( I really want a second Holocaust ) Weiss have got what you wanted. Now Israel is going to be backed into a corner and a lot of people are going to die. Feel good.

  4. Yes, it is over the top to say anyone enjoys or wants people to die. I am not going to give your side a monopoly on having concerns about the lives of Israelis. Regardless, please explain how removing trailers in outposts or not allowing new construction in existing settlements is going to kill anyone. You might disagree with those positions, but explain why you think anything Obama’s team has discussed thus far will compromise Issrael’s core security requirements. I know you and yours require a permanent paranoia to keep yourselves energized, but that is a waste of energy.

  5. Obama’s approach is much more pragmatic and fruitful than the Netanyahu or Israel Beitanhu approach.

    Israel values two things profoundly:

    1. Self-governance of the Jewish nation
    2. Civil democracy

    The leadership of Israel MUST therefore act to preserve the two simultaneously. The absence of either results in disintegration.

    Respected recognition of the other’s needs (including self-governance that is viable), is a primary means to achieve that. The logistics of how to get there are not a simple question.

    But, with the intent of annexation apparent in the “natural growth” rationale, the logistics don’t even get addressed.

    Annexation to the river, or Bantustaning the Palestinians in small isolated enclaves, will be the death of Israel within our kids generation.

    Its visible and avoidable now.

  6. I have to disagree with Bill Pearlman. What Obama is doing is the best thing that has happened in years. As a man who learned about the Middle East from his friends “Electronic Intifada”, Prof. Rashid Khalidi and Rev. Wright, there never was any doubt as to where his sympathies lie. For some reason, his two predecessors, Bush II and Clinton were both called “the best friends Israel ever had”. Under these “good pals”, Israel got sucked into the Oslo fiasco and then the Gush Katif disaster. (Yes, I know the initiative for Oslo came from Israel and not the US, but it was Clinton who played up to Arafat in the subsequent period, giving him free reign to build up his terror infrastructure). Under these friends, Israel faced the worst period of terror in its history, with thousands of dead and wounded. Sharon kept excusing his lack of action after a series of murderous attacks by saying “I gave President Bush my word we would show restraint”. In fact, the Israeli gov’t seemed to lose all initiative and become dependent on US approval for basic security decisions, leading to many casualties, years of rocket attacks, etc.
    Now, with a President who is clearly hostile, Israelis now will understand that we must stand on our own two feet. The US can’t force us to do ANYTHING we don’t want. They can’t force us to freeze settlements, something even the Leftist governments didn’t do. Even before the latest arm twisting, Obama had only a 30% approval rating by the Israeli public, this will send it down further. Thus, even if he dictates to us to bring down a government he doesn’t approve of, Israelis will do what they must. It has been pointed out that Israelis have supposedly replaced Prime Ministers that didn’t have the approval of the US President, (I dispute that the losses of Shamir in 1992 and Netanyahu in 1999 were due to US interference), but even if that was a major factor , the Israelis voted against clear US dictates in 1996 and 2009).
    The more he keeps opening his mouth about his proud roots as a Muslim and threatens us, the better it is. Then we will do what we must.
    This is not 1957 any more. Obama can’t do what Eisenhower did then in forcing Ben-Gurion to unilaterally withdraw from Sinai.

  7. Yakov,
    As good as that raging sounds to you, it is impractical in the world.

    Israel is independant, and can choose to reject a gamut of US assistance from military, logistical, PR, intelligence, trade, international public opinion, charitable contributions, US private investment, not to mention actual friendly counsel.

    Such isolation will make Israel far more unsafe than any limited or mutually satisfying negotiations with the Arab League for example.

    It can also stand alone at the UN, abandon treaties that it has with Jordan and Egypt and the PA.

    But, then at the end of an isolated natural life (say 75 years), it will fall apart.

    “Kicking and screaming”.

    I had an experience that I often describe to activists when they attempt to enforce a political correctness on dissent.

    That is:

    I was taking care of a dog for a friend. We went to an event in which the dog encountered another dog and started to growl, and then fight. I grabbed my friend’s dog to attempt to pull him back from the fight. The dog tried to bite me, and entirely forgot about the fight that he was in with the other dog.

    The lesson that I learned is that when in a fight, the adrenaline rush is so strong, so intoxicating, that the fighting dog doesn’t have a clue what he/she if fighting for, or under what normal human limits.

    Don’t burn your bridges Yakov.

  8. I’m not sure Obama is hostile to Israel. He’s more of a conciliator–and that’s going to piss off people with a hardcore mindset on both sides.

    I may not end up agreeing with Obama on Israel–but he is not coming from pro-Arab appeasement a la Jimmy Carter. I’m just not seeing that.

  9. Ya’akov,
    You said that “Clinton and Bush II were responsible for Oslo.” Yet Oslo ended before Bush II was even inaugurated, so how can he be responsible? If you wanted to blame his father, I would at least see some logic in that.

  10. The fact is that Obama is looking to throw Israel to the wolves. It’s not a question of a trailer on a hill top. It’s Jerusalem, Efrat, The Golan heights. It’s Obama holding back spare parts for the IAF and voting against Israel in the UN. It’s aiding and abetting the Iranian bomb. Obama is going to do all of that and more. Dan, blood will be on your hands. It’s Jewish liberals that bowed to Obama and now Jewish kids in Israel are going to be dead because of that. Mark my word carefully.

  11. Bill,

    Please repeat after me: “It is not 1939. It is not 1939. It is not 1939. It is not…” Or, how about “It is not 70 CE. It is not 70 CE. It is not…” Eventually you will shake off this syndrome. I have faith in you.

  12. If you take the bogeyman of Adolph Hitler’s incinerated remains out of the conversation, dear Dan, the typical Zionist sociopath has no logic whatsoever to support his or her insane, extremist positions.

  13. Here’s a good example of no logic: the idea that Israel would exist as a state today had the Holocaust not happened.

    Teeth gnashing will wear down your molars to nothing btw. I heard mouth guards work well for that. 🙂

  14. Suzanne says that Obama is a “conciliator”. Well, what sort of conciliating has he done in his life? Damping down arguments between neighbors in the South Side of Chicago? Getting the Chicago Zoning Board to relate to citizens’ complaints?
    He has NO diplomatic experience whatsoever. Don’t you realize that legions of diplomats and political leaders have been trying to “conciliate” the Arab/Israeli conflict for decades. What makes you think that Superman Obama is going to it? He and others make think he is “The Chosen” because of his remarkable success up until now in getting himself elected so easily. But now he is a new ball game. The Saudis, whom he visited yesterday and to whom leader he bowed down a few weeks ago are the largest, most powerful purveyor of antisemitic, anti-Israel, anti-Christian and anti-Western hate and propaganda in the world. They are using their huge money resources from oil to spread their malevolent philosophy around the world by building mosques and sending preachers and teachers around the world. Don’t forget that 15 of the 19 terrorists of 9/11 were born and raised and brainwashed in their system. Many (maybe even a majority) of the suicide bombers operating in Iraq were from Saudi Arabia (note how we call them ‘Saudis’-that is not a geographical term-which is Arabia-it is the name of the ruling family-this shows their megalomania).

    Obama thinks he is going to make his mark by dumpin on Israel. It was speculated here in Israel several weeks ago that he would try to make a “package deal” whereby each side would make a major concession-e.g. Israel would freeze settlements and the Arabs would agree to something like opening interest sections in Israel. Something like this would be done quietly until it was wrapped up. But he didn’t do this..instead he went public with a demand for a gigantic unilateral Israeli concession without demanding anything from the Arabs. This shows his mindset. His policy will only encourage Arab/Muslim extremism, and it either shows that he is very anti-Israel, or very stupid, or both.

  15. Yaakov

    I trust Obama 100%. I may not agree with him 100%–and there is no doubt that he will make the wrong decisions on some issues (which ones remains to be seen).

    However, he’s a deep thinker, highly organized, surrounded by highly qualified strategists–so I have faith in him.

    Now, it may turn out that he gets smacked in the face by the Islamist clown show…but I trust–even then–that he’s a quick learner.

    I do see where he is going with this. Let’s see if his reading of the Muslim world’s pulse is correct.

    And you know…at certain points in time, it is inevitable that the interests of 2 strong allies diverge a little. Won’t be the first or last time.

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