In an extraordinary report which appeared today both on the Internet and in the print edition of The New York Times, writers Helene Cooper and Mark Landler make plain the huge importance of Israel and the Israel lobby in all American government decisions regarding the ongoing crisis in Egypt.
Among those quoted in the article, which is innocuously titled “Crisis In Egypt Tests US Ties With Israel,” are some of the usual players in the lobby game, such as Daniel Shapiro, a White House adviser, Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Josh Block, the former AIPAC spokesperson, Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive Vice President of the Conference of Presidents, and the ubiquitous pro-Israel writer Jeffrey Goldberg. Some of their comments, such as Honlein’s characterization of Mohamed ElBaradei as “a stooge of Iran” are incendiary.
But the most prominent and sane voice is that of Daniel Levy, the former Israeli negotiator who is presently a so-called pro-Israel critic of the occupation and Israeli militarism. Levy declares,
…the core of what is the American interest in this [Egypt]. It’s Israel. It’s not worry about whether the Egyptians are going to close down the Suez Canal, or even the narrower terror issue. It really can be distilled down to one thing, and that’s Israel.
The problem for America is, you can balance being the carrier for the Israeli agenda with Arab autocrats, but with Arab democracies, you can’t do that.
It occurs to me that in the revised and updated edition of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer will have to add a new chapter on the role of the lobby in the new U.S. relationship with Egypt.