Transforming America's Israel Lobby: The Limits of Its Power and the Potential for Change

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Transforming America's Israel Lobby: The Limits of Its Power and the Potential for Change
By Dan Fleshler
Potomac Books, 2009
272 pp. $24.95
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Many polls show that the generally hard-line positions of a number of mainstream U.S. Jewish organizations, such the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, do not reflect the views of a large proportion of American Jews on Middle East issues. Fleshler wants to change this situation, and Transforming America's Israel Lobby is an effort to analyze the current situation and to show how and why it should change. Fleshler provides a moderate and nuanced view of the centrist and center-right organizations that dominate Jewish advocacy on Middle East issues, and his descriptions of their smaller but scrappy rivals on the left are useful, too. As for building an effective center-left Jewish lobby, Fleshler is better at explaining why this would be useful than at showing how it can be done. The complexities of the Middle East; the presence of real anti-Semitism in some (although not all) of the pro-Palestinian, conspiracy-minded grouplets; and the declining salience of Jewish issues among the increasingly assimilated and secular young American Jews whose political views most resemble Fleshler's, combined with the always delicate relations between Israel and the largest Jewish community in the global diaspora, make this task one of the hardest in U.S. politics.