The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East

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The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East is a 2010 book by former AIPAC newsletter editor Mitchell Bard. The book appears to be an attempt to divert attention from the growing focus on the influence of the Israel lobby over US foreign policy. Bard's 2001 book Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict is widely considered the handbook for pro-Israel debating.

The Case

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.” [1]

According to Newsweek's R. M. Schneiderman the book has three central themes:

Influence of Big Oil

“The influence of Big Oil,” Bard writes, “is far more insidious, and far more pervasive than the influence of the Jewish lobby, for oil and influence seep across ideological as well as party lines without public approval or support.”[2]

Appeasing Saudi Arabia

Appeasing Saudi Arabia “could have been avoided,” Bard writes, if U.S. policymakers had pursued energy independence or simply “taken a tough stand” and insisted that “the Arab states back American interests.” ...For decades, the Saudis have “constantly needed American cash,” yet many administrations have allowed them to “cleverly [play] on U.S. fears” of increased oil prices or collusion with the former Soviet Union.[2]

It's not all about Palestine

The reason for this manipulation, Bard says, is that U.S. policymakers are under the misguided assumption that “all problems in the region” stem from the [Israel-Palestine] conflict. In reality, “close U.S.-Saudi ties ... have provoked ... Muslim hatred of Americans and Osama bin Laden’s terror campaign.” Thus the best way to “prevent terror,” according to Bard, is to “place restrictions on the totalitarian, terrorist-sponsored, and violence-provoking Saudis and strengthen ties with the democratic, terror-fighting Israelis.”[2]


R. M. Schneiderman of Newsweek writes:

From the get-go, Bard undermines his own thesis. “In some ways the term Arab lobby is a misnomer,” he writes. And indeed, what Bard is really talking about are two separate groups: a Saudi Arabian lobby and a pro-Palestinian lobby. Do these groups have some power? Yes, especially the former, because of the oil issue. But if Bard set out to show the pernicious influence of “the Arab lobby,” what he really offers is a litany of examples of AIPAC outflanking the pro-Saudi and pro-Palestinian lobbies.[2]

Schneiderman notes that according to the book, 'Apparently anyone who criticizes Israel is part of a nefarious “Arab Lobby,” or is an “Arabist” who has “gone native.”' The book is also 'Lightly footnoted and chock-full of offensive innuendo.'[2]


The book has received the endorsement of Israel lobby stalwarts, Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, Steven Emerson and Abraham Foxman.[3][4] The book has been generally well received in the Jewish press.[5]


  1. Bard (2010):xii
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 R. M. Schneiderman, Review of 'The Arab Lobby', Newsweek, 3 September 2010
  3. Alan Dershowitz, The Arab Lobby Rules America, The Daily Beast, 24 August 2010
  4. Adam Serwer, Common Cause, The American Prospect, 26 August 2010
  5. Lee Smith, The Arab Lobby, The Tablet, 1 September 2010