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Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard

Counterbalancing the Israel Lobby Libel

Mitchell Bard

The allegation that a powerful Israel lobby exerts undue influence over US policy has been front page news for years. Left largely unexamined until now is the existence of an Arab lobby that not only wields great influence but poses a threat to US interests.

Mitchell Bard will be at the Boulder JCC on Sunday, February 12 at 7 pm to discuss his provocative and eagerly anticipated new book, “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.”

Mitchell Bard makes the historic argument that an Arab lobby composed of big oil companies, weapons firms, and Middle Eastern despots is secretly conspiring to undermine decision making in the U.S. capital.  A foreign policy analyst who lectures frequently on U.S.-Middle East policy, Bard boldly asserts that while the lobby has a legitimate role in the debate, most people have no idea that the lobby exists, how it operates or the implications for American interests of its efforts.

After spending more than 20 years researching and writing about the influences on U.S. Middle East policy, Bard was motivated to write the first comprehensive examination of the Arab lobby because of an obsessive mischaracterization of the Israeli lobby which has helped those seeking to delegitimize Israel. At the same time, he realized that few people acknowledge that an Arab lobby exists and that it seeks to exert its own influence on U.S. policy, often working against American values and interests.

“The point of this study is to highlight how the debate may be distorted because of the vast financial resources of the Arab lobby, and to expose some of its efforts to manipulate public opinion and foreign policy, often beyond public view, in ways that have gone largely unnoticed and demand greater scrutiny.”

According to Bard, the Arab lobby has two main components. The first focuses on oil and its goal is to do whatever is necessary to guarantee that Saudi oil continues to flow, which sometimes means ignoring or subverting other U.S. interests. The other part of the lobby is the domestic Arab lobby comprised of Arab and Muslim Americans, academics, non-evangelical Christians and Arabists, whose goal is to promote the Palestinian agenda, though, he notes, they lobby primarily against Israel rather than for any positive pro-Palestinian or pro-Arab agenda.

One of the nation’s leading authorities on U.S.-Israel relations, Mitchell Bard is currently the head of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) and director of the Jewish Virtual Library, the world’s most comprehensive online encyclopedia of Jewish history and culture. He is the author of 18 books, including “Will Israel Survive?” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East Conflict.” For three years he was the editor of the Near East Report, the AIPAC  weekly newsletter on U.S. Middle East policy.

Bard, who holds a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA and a master’s degree in public policy from Berkeley, has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC, NBC, CBC, the Jenny Jones Show, al-Jazeera and other local and national television and radio outlets. His work has been published in academic journals, magazines and major newspapers.

Tickets are $10 at the door; free to students with ID. Reservations may be made online at https://boulderjcc.wufoo.com/forms/menorah-the-arab-lobby/. For more information, contact Kathryn Bernheimer at 303-998-1021; Kathryn@boulderjcc.org.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn Bernheimer
Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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