The power of the mythical ‘Israel lobby’ on Michael Cohen’s political imagination

‘Comment is Free’ analyst Michael Cohen seems to be cut out of the same ideological cloth as Glenn Greenwald, imputing enormous power to the ‘Israel lobby’ – an evidently quite dangerous network of Americans who are more concerned about the interests of a foreign country than those of the United States.

The lobby’s use of smears and intimidation to coerce the US Congress into towing the pro-Israel line explains, for Cohen and his fellow political travelers at the Guardian, the difficulties Chuck Hagel has experienced during confirmation hearings in the Senate over his nomination to be Defense Secretary. 

Cohen, who’s been contributing to CiF since December, 2012, has already penned two pieces at CiF on the Hagel nomination, and the alleged hold the pro-Israel lobby has exerted on the process.  And, in his most recent post, Chuck Hagel’s confirmation and the orthodoxy of US debate on Israel‘, Feb. 14, Cohen positively cites the sage analysis of Stephen Walt, who noted that the Hagel row proved ‘the lobby’s iron grip on Congress – an influence which grossly distorts the debate over important foreign policy debates.

Cohen writes the following:

“Part of what is going on here is obviously politics. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt has repeatedly argued, this is demonstrative of the extraordinary power that the Israel lobby holds over Congress and official Washington.”

Walt, in the Feb. 1 post linked to by Cohen, crows that the Hagel debate proves the wisdom of what he wrote – in a book on the ‘Israel Lobby’ –  when he warned “that AIPAC…has an almost unchallenged hold on Congress“.

So, is it true that Hagel’s troubles during the confirmation hearings prove AIPAC’s suffocating control over congress?

Interestingly, Cohen, in the very next line of his CiF essay, does a 180.

“But in the case of Hagel, the strongest pro-Israel lobby, Aipac, has been silent on the nomination.”

So, Cohen, over the course of two consecutive sentences in the same passage, approvingly cites Walt’s argument on AIPAC’s power over the Hagel process, and then makes an admission which completely contradicts Walt’s thesis.

How can an organization which has been “silent on the [Hagel] nomination” concurrently be exercising an “unchallenged hold” on the process?

Since it is uncertain, based on the passage, whether Cohen thoroughly read the short blog post which he cited, my guess is that he’s likely also unaware that Walt has defended John Mearsheimer, the co-author of his book on the Israel lobby, from charges of endorsing antisemitism.

Of course, the “smears” against Mearsheimer are based largely on his endorsement of a quite well-known Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier:


Perhaps critics of the ‘Israel lobby’ would cause pro-Israel Jews a bit less “anguish” if they would not impute such a farcical degree of power to Americans who support the Jewish state and, at the very least, studiously avoid associating with those so clearly compromised by such deep-seated Judeophobic antipathies.  

7 replies »

  1. If Israel lobby exists why is Israel always slammed in the mainstream media especially in the UK, why so many resolutions in the UN, why so much pressure from EU. I suggest the caliphate in waiting has major lobbies in the west. Barclays in the UK due to the credit crunch went to Quattar and Abhu Dabie and procured funds. We in UK are always the recipients of major arabist propaganda via BBC, Guardian etc. Whoever believes a powerful Israel lobby exists in UK is barmy and suffering from serious delusions and if so powerful in the USA why was Obama re-elected. The Islamists via Cair and the caliphate in waitng have mega lobbies and they make much noise and vilify Israel ad nauseum as they prosecute their propaganda war.

    • If Israel is so brutal and Nazi like, why oh why would the Islamists that are in the Golan sought refuge in our hands, knowing that they are likely to be refused?
      Because they, like every Palestinian knows, that most of the IDF does not wish them harm.
      Can you reverse this phrase?
      I wouldn’t put money on it.

  2. People like Cohen are obsessives who seem unable to see the really powerful lobbies on Capitol Hill such as the energy and financial services lobbies. For him and Greenwald and similar as-a-Jews, its always about Israel, in the worst [possible light.

  3. Issrael is supported in Washiington not because of Jews but because of American gentiles; among the American public, support for Israel runs at 60%, far beyond the support for any given President. Fantasies about the ostensible power of an Israeli or Jewish Lobby are just so much neo-Nazism in disguise.

  4. Nat, et all the Israeli bashers,,7340,L-4345557,00.html

    This is what the IDF is really all about.

    Now go fuck yourself.
    And while you at it tell Ahmed Tibi and Zuari to commend this act at once!
    Many Israelis think this may lead to many Syrian refugees which we will not be able to absorb.
    Never the less the majority of our soldiers help a wounded fighter even if he/ she are an enemy national.
    This is what we are brought up to do.
    You can scream all you like and put your fingers in your ears but it is what it is and none of your hatred can ever take this away from our children.

    Out core belief, right or left, is that we are all born “Betzelem Ha’El”.

      • Why are you unable to stop trolling?
        Is it just the money that lures you here? I sincerely think that besides that, you’ve also developed some weird, Dutch, masochistic attraction to this place.
        I join Itsik, in bidding you to clear off from this site, take your greasy Euros with you, and for you to stop trolling.