A new book by two of the United States' most influential political science professors says that Washington's support of Israel -- the result of pressure from the Jewish lobby -- has destablized the Middle East and the entire Western world.
"Unconditional support for Israel has reinforced anti-Americanism around the world, helped fuel America's terrorism problem, and strained relations with other key allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia," says the book, written by John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt from Harvard.
According to the two writers, "backing Israel's harsh treatment of the Palestinians has reinforced anti-Americanism around the world and almost certainly helped terrorists recruit new followers."
The book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," follows an article they published last year that stirred impassioned debate by setting out a similar position.
Their thesis is that U.S. endorsement of Israel is not fully explained by strategic or moral reasons, but by the pressure exerted by Jewish lobbyists, Christian fundamentalists and neo-conservatives with Zionist sympathies.
The result, according to the book, is an unbalanced U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the threat of war with Iran or Syria and a fragile security situation for the entire Western world.
"Israel is not the strategic asset to the United States that many claim. Israel...has become a growing liability now that the Cold War is over," the authors said.
Mearsheimer and Walt highlight the three billion dollars in U.S. economic and military aid that Israel receives every year -- more than any other country.
They also point to Washington's diplomatic support: between 1972 and 2006, the United States vetoed 42 United Nations Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, while watering down many others under threat of veto.
"The United States would be a better ally if its leaders could make support for Israel more conditional and if they could give their Israeli counterparts more candid advice without facing a backlash from the Israel lobby," the book concludes.
With just over a year until the 2008 U.S. presidential election, however, they said the issue was unlikely to even enter the debate.
"Regrettably, no. The one issue on which there will be virtually no debate is the question of whether the United States should continue to give Israel unconditional backing," they said.
Abraham Foxman, the director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the book as "an insidious, biased account of the Arab-Israeli conflict and of the role of supporters of Israel in the U.S.," in an interview with AFP.
"Everything about American policy toward the conflict is presented in exaggerated form, as if America is completely one-sided in support of Israel and that those policies are simply the product of the Israel lobby."
Foxman is countering Mearsheimer and Walt's book with his own title: "The Deadliest Lies- the Israel Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control," due out on the same day.