Courtesy Reuters

Israel Lobby and its Discontents

By R. T. Curran

To the Editor:

In "Jerusalem Syndrome" (November/December 2007), Walter Russell Mead is disappointed in John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. I am disappointed in Walter Russell Mead. The U.S. relationship with Israel is difficult and complex. I was directly involved in Middle East matters at the State Department and the White House in the 1970s and early 1980s and have worked in key Middle Eastern capitals, including Amman, Cairo, and Jerusalem. Several presidents, secretaries of state, and national security advisers have wrestled unsuccessfully to find ways and means to develop a creative and objective-driven dialogue in the Near Eastern neighborhood.

Mearsheimer and Walt present their views on why the United States has had such difficulty in breaking past habits of violence and intransigence in Arab-Israeli affairs. It would have been more helpful for Mead to comment on The Israel Lobby in a way that might calm and advance the debate rather than to sensationalize it by focusing on the language and style of its authors.

R. T. CURRAN

Former President, Foreign Policy Association

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