New Book: Golan | Lavi: The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet

Golan, John W. Lavi. The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

Lavi

The Lavi fighter program, the largest weapons-development effort ever undertaken by the State of Israel, envisioned a new generation of high-performance aircraft. In a controversial strategy, Israel Aircraft Industries intended to develop and manufacture the fighters in Israel with American financial support. The sophisticated planes, developed in the mid-1980s, were unique in design and intended to make up the majority of the Israeli air force. Though considerable prestige and money were at stake, developmental costs increased and doubts arose as to whether the Lavi could indeed be the warplane it was meant to be. Eventually the program became a microcosm for the ambitions, fears, and internal divisions that shaped both the U.S.-Israeli relationship and Israeli society itself. But the fighter never made it to operational service, and until now, the full breadth and significance of the Lavi story have never been examined and presented.

Lavi: The United States, Israel, and a Controversial Fighter Jet traces the evolution of the Lavi fighter from its genesis in the 1970s to its scrapping in August 1987. John W. Golan examines the roles of Israeli military icons and political leaders such as Ezer Weizman, Ariel Sharon, Menachem Begin, and Yitzhak Rabin in the program and in relation to their counterparts in the United States. On the American side, Golan traces the evolution of government policy toward the program, detailing the complex picture of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus and of U.S.-Israeli relations in general—from President Reagan’s public endorsement of the program on the White House lawn to Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s unremitting attempts to cancel it in succeeding years.

 

JOHN W. GOLAN has served as a designer, structural analyst, and engineering manager in the U.S. aerospace industry for the last two decades, developing future-generation technology concepts. He has published articles with Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation History, and the Jerusalem Post Magazine.

 

New Book: Ross, Doomed to Succeed

Ross, Dennis. Doomed to Succeed. The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.

 

9780374141462

 

When it comes to Israel, U.S. policy has always emphasized the unbreakable bond between the two countries and our ironclad commitment to Israel’s security. Today our ties to Israel are close–so close that when there are differences, they tend to make the news. But it was not always this way.
Dennis Ross has been a direct participant in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East, and Israel specifically, for nearly thirty years. He served in senior roles, including as Bill Clinton’s envoy for Arab-Israeli peace, and was an active player in the debates over how Israel fit into the region and what should guide our policies. In Doomed to Succeed, he takes us through every administration from Truman to Obama, throwing into dramatic relief each president’s attitudes toward Israel and the region, the often tumultuous debates between key advisers, and the events that drove the policies and at times led to a shift in approach.
Ross points out how rarely lessons were learned and how distancing the United States from Israel in the Eisenhower, Nixon, Bush, and Obama administrations never yielded any benefits and why that lesson has never been learned. Doomed to Succeed offers compelling advice for how to understand the priorities of Arab leaders and how future administrations might best shape U.S. policy in that light.

 

Table of Contents

Preface
1. The Evolution of US Policy toward Israel
2. The Eisenhower Administration and the Pursuit of Arab Allies
3. The Kennedy Administration: Breaking Taboos and Pursuing a New Balance
4. Lyndon Baines Johnson: Emotional Ties but Constrained by Vietnam
5. Nixon and Ford: Dysfunction, War, and Interim Agreements
6. The Carter Presidency: The Pursuit of Peace and Constant Tension with Israel
7. The Reagan Administration and the Policy of Duality
8. George H. W. Bush and Israel: Discord and Responsiveness
9. The Clinton Administration and Israel: Strategic Partners for Peace
10. Bush 43: Terror, Partnership, and Bureaucratic Divisions
11. Obama and Israel: Support for Security, Little Chemistry, and Constant Challenges
12. Lessons from the Past and Implications for the Future
Notes
Acknowledgements
Index
 

 

Dennis Ross is the Counselor and Davidson Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown. He was the director of policy planning in the State Department for George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton’s Middle East Peace envoy, and a special assistant to the president under Barack Obama.

 

 

New Article: Gries, How Ideology Divides American Liberals and Conservatives over Israel

Gries, Peter Hays. “How Ideology Divides American Liberals and Conservatives over Israel.” Political Science Quarterly 130.1 (2015): 51-78.

 

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/polq.12288/abstract

 

Excerpt

This article has argued that Main Street American liberals and conservatives differ substantially in their feelings and foreign policy preferences toward the Middle East. Conservatives feel warmer toward Israel but cooler toward Iran, the Palestinians, and Muslims than liberals do. Conservatives, furthermore, desire a friendlier foreign policy toward Israel than liberals do.

It has further argued that these differences have their origins in many of the same ideological fissures that cleave domestic American politics. The same culture wars that divide Americans on abortion and gay marriage also divide Americans on Israel and the Palestinians. For instance, our 2011 survey revealed that biblical literalism is a powerful predictor of both opposition to abortion (β= .62), and warmth toward Israel (β= .36). Similarly, the racial politics that has divided Americans from the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the voting rights battles of today also divides social liberals and conservatives in their feelings toward the Palestinian people. Conservatives tend to view Palestinians and other Muslims as threats to both Christianity and established authorities, while liberals have a greater tendency to view their plight in the West Bank and Gaza as analogous to segregation or even apartheid, triggering liberal moralities of compassion and social justice.

[…]

Many Republican politicians today appear to be representing the extreme pro-Israel views of their core constituents—very conservative primary voters. It is Democratic elites that may be more disconnected from their core constituents, adopting more pro-Israel and anti-Arab positions than their liberal primary voters, who our survey reveals are ambivalent toward Israel and sympathetic toward the Palestinians and Muslims.

By demonstrating that American opinion on the Middle East is divided along ideological lines, I hope that this article has shown that the dominance of the right wing of the Israel lobby today does not represent the subversion of the democratic process by a Jewish elite; it is instead the natural product of an American electoral system that increasingly represents and responds to the extreme ends of Main Street American opinion.

 
 
 
 
 

New Article: Eames, Thatcher’s Diplomacy and the 1982 Lebanon War

Eames, Anthony M. “Margaret Thatcher’s Diplomacy and the 1982 Lebanon War.” Mediterranean Quarterly 25.4 (2014): 27-44.

 

URL: mq.dukejournals.org/content/25/4/27.short

 

Abstract

The year 1982 emerged as pivotal in the Atlantic Alliance and the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. On 6 June 1982, Israeli Defense Forces breached the Lebanese border in a maneuvre to eradicate the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The campaign opened a violent episode in the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict. Almost immediately the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office recognized the challenge to the international community. The crisis in the Middle East occurred during a period of substantial turnover in the foreign policy communities of both London and Washington. Subsequent improved bilateral relations between the United States and the United Kingdom paved the way for greater cooperation in international diplomacy between respective national executives.