Impacts of Israel Lobby on US elections and foreign policy

Matthew Berkman’s Ph.D. dissertation, “Coercive Consensus: Jewish Federations, Ethnic Representation, and the Roots of American Pro-Israel Politics,” explores the evolution of the Israel lobby and today’s influence from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on domestic elections and foreign policy decisions.   Although Berkman is a strong supporter of justice, dignity and equal rights for Palestinians, he challenges us to question the prevailing strategies for achieving that end.  “If AIPAC didn’t exist, he surmises, would politicians have to invent it?”  Do politicians lean on AIPAC as an ideological justification for the outsized military expenditures by the U.S? Are the military-industrial complex and the weapons industry the prime movers of U.S. foreign policy more so than the pro-Israel lobby which sustains them? If Israel, like South Africa, were to throw off the albatross of apartheid, would American foreign policy be more just?  And finally, are social media the most worrisome targets of efforts to suppress the Palestinian narrative by means of new definitions that make criticism of Israel equivalent to antisemitism?

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