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Transforming America's Israel Lobby: The Limits of Its Power and the Potential for Change Hardcover – April 15, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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-- www.Forward.com, May 20, 2009
"Read Dan Fleshler's book for a primer on how [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] is 'not the 800 pound gorilla in the room . . . just the 400 pound gorilla in the room.' Learn from the past mistakes and triumphs of the pro-peace camp and see how AIPAC's relations with government have begun to fray over the years. Kick 'em off their pedestal and consider anew the size of the left and why it's growing. Fleshler--a lifelong advocate of peace since the beginning--is providing a young person like me invaluable perspective on how far we have come."
-- www.jewschool.com, May 22, 2009
"Incisive and thoughtful"
-- historynewsnetwork.org, May 4, 2009
"Well-written and well-researched...Fleshler clearly knows his way around the Jewish organizational world."
-- The Jewish Week, April 29, 2009
"An extraordinarily frank, courageous, and truly illuminating book. It dispels many myths while frankly exploring some perennial dilemmas faced by peace-seeking American Jews, and outlines a pro-peace, pro-Israel, and pro-American road forward for them to take. A genuine tour de force!"
-- Sam Lewis, U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan
“This is a brilliant study of two intriguing contradictions pertaining to the story of America's Israel lobby. One is the contradiction between the reality and limits of Jewish power, on the one hand, and the popular perception of that power, on the other. Another has to do with the yawning gap between the Israel lobby's hawkish policies and the liberal views of the majority of American Jews. Fleshler's work is a timely reminder of the need for Israel's friends in America to focus their advocacy efforts on promoting one of Israel's most vital, indeed existential, interests: advancing a two-state solution to its conflict with the Palestinians.”
-- Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli Foreign Minister, current Vice-President of the Toledo International Centre for Peace
“In the best tradition of the participant-observer, Dan Fleshler has written from the trenches where American Jews have been waging a struggle over the nature of and prospects for Arab-Israeli peace. Imbedded ideologues of the left and right are disarmed in his bold, original analysis and call to action. Readers who accompany Fleshler in his fascinating journey will discover the pragmatic idealism of an ethical, security-based dovishness that may yet help President Obama broker a secure peace between Israel and her Arab neighbors.”
-- Mark Rosenblum, Professor of History, Director of the Jewish Studies Program & Director of the Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Change, Queens College, City University of NY
“This informed analysis points out that the ‘conventional Israel lobby’ does not speak for the American Jewish majority on U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and does not promote the real interests of Israel or the United States. Dan Fleshler offers wise advice on how a dovish - but still too silent - majority of American Jews can strengthen the voice of progressive Jewish groups and encourage stronger U.S. leadership to help rescue Israel and America from a tragic conflict that gravely endangers our respective national interests.”
-- Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., President, Foundation for Middle East Peace and former Chief of Mission and U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem
Top Customer Reviews
He has done some original research on funding sources for AIPAC and shows that it is not the invincible Leviathan that it is often made out to be. And he has talked to government officials in order to gauge the real impact of the lobby's considerable efforts over the last 30 years.
While he does not have much use for Mearsheimer and Walt, unlike a lot of their critics, he takes no prisoners, dismissing many of the tenets espoused by the "conventional Israel lobby."
This nuanced approach sets this book apart from a forest of predictable rhetoric that one can find in the plethora of tomes on this topic and on the internet.
However, I was disappointed in that in his attempt to build an alternative to the status quo, he seems to identify many more problems than solutions. While intellectually honest, it does leave the reader frustrated by how difficult it is and will be to supplant the Israel Lobby in its current form with a palatable alternative.
The obstacles seem very formidable, including a self-censoring, timid pro-Israel left; and a potential coalition of likeminded Jewish and Christian and Arab American groups that are deeply divided over tactics and can't seem to communicate across various divides. This reader closed the book feeling admiration for the author's fighting spirit and ambition and thankful for what he taught me, but unconvinced that much could be done to supplant the pro-Likud, pro-settler American Jewish establishment.