A tenaciously argued screed on the “malign influence” of the Arab lobby—specifically that of Saudi Arabia—on U.S. government policy.
In a pointed response to John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s equally scathing The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007), Bard (48 Hours of Kristallnacht, 2008, etc.) goes full throttle in pursuit of what he sees as a more insidious, if less vociferous behind-the-scenes lobby by the masters of Gulf oil and foes of Israel. While the pro-Israel lobby is centrally located in the extremely powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), characterized by the author as “open…transparent” and “extra-governmental,” the Arab lobby is a “many-headed hydra” whose “machinations are often difficult, if not impossible, to trace.” America’s interest in the Middle East grew out of its need for oil, rather than in any “chimerical” notions about the Holy Land, Bard writes, and thus its protection of the Saudi royal family since World War II is engrained in its national interest. The first Arab lobby efforts grew out of the Arab states’ alarm at the creation of Israel, and they used their oil might to blackmail the United States (“The Saudis have had us over a barrel from the moment of the first gusher”). The author looks carefully at the Arab states’ flexing of muscle during the embargo crisis of 1973 and boycott of Israel, the Saudi pressure to buy U.S. arms and President Carter’s pro-Palestinian “conversion.” Moreover, Bard contends, the creation of the Arab lobby coincided with the nascent years of the United Nations, which he sees as universally hostile to Israel concerns. After the Six Day War of 1967, the Arab lobby split between what he calls the “petrodiplomatic complex” and those Arab Americans supporting a Palestinian national consciousness. The author enumerates many acronym-heavy groups, including those he ascertains support Islamic terrorism. He also lists political campaigns and universities that have received heavy Arab (read: Saudi) funding, and he argues for an end to the heretofore ineffectual “policy of appeasement and indulgence of the Saudis and other Arabs.”
Bard presses every hot button in this incendiary exposé.