Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Case Studies for Understanding the Pro-Israel Lobby

While the debate over the role and influence of the Jewish pro-Israel lobby in the United States remains as heated as ever, so, too, has the evidence presented been the same old case studies. But the last several years have seen a number of new developments that can and should be mined to expand on our understanding of the role of ethnic groups in the policy-making process.

For example, the establishment and successes of J Street might tell us about how intra-communal struggles and politics influence a community's ability to present a strong position toward political targets. The Emergency Committee for Israel has been less successful, but its uncompromising stridency can tell us about the role and consequences of language and discourse in advocacy processes.

We also have a number of new political battles in which pro-Israel Jewish groups have participated in the last couple years alone: the nomination process of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, AIPAC's agreement to lobby on behalf of the Obama Administration for strikes on Syria; and the continuing struggle over the Geneva deal on Iran's nuclear program. 

Lots to chew on. To that end, Dov Waxman and I are working on a paper that explores some of these processes, which will (hopefully) update our understanding of American Jewish advocacy on Israel. Look for it at your nearest academic conference!

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