I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.
I think this is both rhetorically and analytically sloppy. Sure, the pro-Israel lobby directs money to politicians who please them and withholds it from those who don’t, as all lobbies do. But pretending this is the whole story misunderstands the extent to which support for Israel a) is a genuine thing among Americans, and b) has, since 9/11, increasingly been taken on board as an extension of American hawkishness. Netanyahu understands these things better than most Israeli politicians (immediately after the 9/11 attacks, he rightly predicted that they would ”strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades"), and he played to both fairly expertly in his May address to Congress.