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America's Israel

The US Congress and American-Israeli Relations, 1967–1975

One of the defining features of United States foreign policy since World War II has been the nation's special relationship with Israel. This informal alliance, rooted in shared values and culture, grew out of a moral obligation to promote Israel's survival in the aftermath of the Holocaust as US policymakers provided military aid, weapons, and political protection. In return, Israel served American interests through efforts to contain communism and terrorism in the region. Today, the US provides almost four billion dollars in military aid per year, which raises questions regarding interest and propriety: At what point does US support for Israel exceed the boundaries of the countries' unconventional relationship and become counterproductive to other national interests, including the pursuit of peace in the Middle East?

Kenneth Kolander provides a vital new perspective on the US-Israel bond by focusing on Congress's role in developing and maintaining the special relationship during a crucial period. Previous studies have focused on the executive branch, but Kolander demonstrates that US-Israel relations did not follow a course preferred by successive presidential administrations, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. Instead, he illuminates how influential lobbyists, America's affinity for Israel and antipathy towards Arabs, and economic pressures influenced legislators and inspired congressional action in support of Israel. In doing so, he presents an essential investigation of the ways in which legislators exert influence in foreign policy and adds new depth to the historiography of an important dynamic in postwar world politics.

About the Author

Kenneth Kolander is a contract historian. He was a 2018-2019 Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Haifa in Israel.

Reviews

"Kenneth Kolander's book is a highly significant contribution to the literature on US decision-making and the 'special relationship' with Israel during the critical period from 1967 to 1975. This is groundbreaking work; Kolander places principal emphasis in his study on the role and influence of the legislative branch, shedding new light upon the US-Israel dyad and deepening our understanding of the formation of American policy in the Middle East."—Zach Levey, author of Israel and the Western Powers: 1952-1960 and Israel in Africa: 1956-1976

"In this well-written and persuasively argued book, Kenneth Kolander restores Congress to its central role in the history of the US-Israeli alliance. Based on exceptional and thorough research in both US and Israeli archives, Kolander examines how political, military, and economic support for Israel became one of the most important strategic interests in American foreign policy. It is an impressive achievement, with lessons for policymakers and the public in confronting today's Middle East."—Thomas A. Schwartz, author of the forthcoming Henry Kissinger and American Power

"Grounded in documentary research in both US and Israeli sources, Kolander's book illuminates the critical role of the Congress—and therefore of the Israel lobby—during a decisive period in the history of the American-Israeli 'special relationship.' By tilting heavily in favor of Israel, as Kolander's book demonstrates, the United States compromised the effort to achieve a broader Middle East peace."—Walter L. Hixson, distinguished professor at the University of Akron and author of Israel's Armor: The Israel Lobby and the First Generation of the Palestine Conflict

9780813179476 : americas-israel-kolander
Hardback
September 2, 2020
$60.00 USD
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September 2, 2020
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