In 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, which initiated the Iraq War.

I've seen several people claim that pro-Israel Americans pushed the US to initiate this war, all referencing a June 2005 article "War for Israel" on MiddleEast.org.

This article is a bit difficult to parse. It doesn't directly claim that pro-Israel Americans lead the USA into the war in Iraq. Instead, it claims that many American Jewish writers make that claim. (The article also rants that this is not properly discussed by US media.)

The article claims:

Jewish Writers Claim Powerful Zionist Neocons Drove USA Into War.

and gives an example of such writing:

Joe Klein, Time Magazine, Time.com, February 5, 2003

'A stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq. It is a part of the argument that dare not speak its name, a fantasy quietly cherished by the neo-conservative faction in the Bush Administration and by many leaders of the American Jewish community.

From what I've researched there's no mention of this story anywhere but Middle East.org, which appears to be an anti-Israel/anti-Jew propaganda site. Nevertheless this article has many supportive quotes.

Did Jewish/Zionist/pro-Israel Americans successfully lobby the government to initiate the Iraq War to protect Israel?

  • 3
    It is not a novel claim: see for example this abcnews article from 2003. Essentially the argument goes American neo-conservatives pressed for the second Gulf War, and that many of them also had strong ties with hawkish members of the Likud Party in Israel, and this is little doubt about this. The claim then becomes that there was a specific chain from Israel through the neo-conservatives to the George W Bush post-911 administration, directing US military policy for the benefit of Israel; this would be harder to demonstrate,
    – Henry
    Jun 29, 2016 at 22:00
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    Is the question whether there were pro-Israel Americans that lobbied for the Iraq war or is that that those people where the strongest lobby?
    – Christian
    Jun 30, 2016 at 10:57
  • 4
    "Did pro-Israel Americans lobby Americans" may be on-topic, but I suspect that asking whether they were decisive in the US decision to invade Iraq would be off-topic, as it's a motivation question.
    – Golden Cuy
    Jun 30, 2016 at 12:24
  • 1
    @Oddthinking, this edit transforms the question from "Did pro Israeli americans lobbied for a war in Iraq?" to "Did some jewish writes claimed that pro isralei americans lobied for a war in Iraq?". This complitly transforms the question and, in my view, make it into an insignificat and boring, something that should be answered with who cares. This edit doesn't conform with the question in the title, or in the body of the question. If this is indeed the main claim of the article, then the article it references are the real claim and they alone should be quoted.
    – SIMEL
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:34
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    @SIMEL: You may be right about "very specific language", but I want to assume good intentions. I agree that "Did someone make this claim?" is insignificant and boring. I don't agree that including that single quote turns the question into the boring version. I wanted to avoid ascribing the Klein quote, which makes the real claim, to the author of MiddleEast.org article. The MiddleEast.org article is horribly written, and I was tempted to remove it from the chain, but the OP cites as the reference others give, and for all I know they invented the Klein quote.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 7, 2017 at 3:20

2 Answers 2


Pro-Israel Support for the Iraq war

Did pro-Israel Americans convince the U.S. to initiate the Iraq War?

The Bush administration was generally "pro-Israel", and did initiate a war with Iraq. It also tried to convince people to support a war with Iraq.

It is unclear whether The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbied for the war or not. Wikipedia has an overview over the different positions (I included the sources):

Whether AIPAC lobbied for the war in Iraq is disputed. Congressman Jim Moran has stated that AIPAC had been "pushing the [Iraq War] from the beginning".33 A report in the The New Yorker also reported that AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the war.34 However, according to the Jewish News, AIPAC never supported or lobbied for the war in Iraq.35 According to a columnist in the Washington Post, "Once it was clear that the Bush administration was determined to go to war [in Iraq], AIPAC cheered from the sidelines ...23 source

John Kerry - who himself voted for the war - said that Benjamin Netanyahu "was profoundly forward-leaning and outspoken about the importance of invading Iraq".

Jewish Support for the Iraq war

The real claim seems to be that a small group of Jews secretly tried to drive the US into an unwanted war for their own benefits. From your linked article:

[T]here's little doubt most of [a group of 25 people without whom the Iraq war would not have happened] are Jewish [...] and that in total they make up a kind of fifth-column of Jewish Zionist 'Neocons' then and now at the highest levels of government power in Washington.

It's difficult to prove or disprove this claim, as the members of the group are unnamed. It's a classic antisemitic conspiracy theory that Jews are secretly behind the wars of the world for their own personal gain. People who hold such theories do not generally provide proof, and it is difficult to disprove these theories to their satisfaction.

To get an idea though, we can consider that of the 6 key US players in the Iraq war listed by the International Business Times - George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Tommy Franks, and Paul Bremer - only Wolfowitz is Jewish. Of the 29 people listed as associated with the iraq war on wikipedia, only 4 - Libby, Perle, Wolfowitz, and Lewis - are Jewish.

From what I've researched there's no mention of this story anywhere but Middle East.org

A variety of groups do mention this story, among them the antisemitic Institute for historical review, the anti-zionist Mondoweiss, or the radical left-wing and anti-zionist CounterPunch.

Reasons for the Iraq war

A stronger Israel is very much embedded in the rationale for war with Iraq.

It's a rather broad topic, but it is not current state of historical research that Israel was a major considerations for the Iraq war. Reasons for the Iraq war that are often given are WMDs, spreading democracy, links to terrorism, oil, or strategic interests.


According to Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell:

The Israelis were telling us Iraq is not the enemy – Iran is the enemy

For more information, see Israel Warned US Not to Invade Iraq after 9/11, which explains that Israel did not want Iraq to be attacked, because Israel considered Iran the greater enemy and that attacking Iraq would change the balance of power in favor of Iran.

See also the 07 February 2002 article Israel Emphasizes Iranian Threat:

As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon arrives today for a White House visit, Israeli officials are redoubling efforts to warn the Bush administration that Iran poses a greater threat than the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.

A series of Israeli leaders have carried that message to Washington recently in the hope of influencing a debate that has centered not on Iran but on whether to pursue the overthrow of the Iraqi government. Sharon's visit, however, comes a week after President Bush focused attention on Iran by including it in his State of the Union address as a member of an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea. During meetings here yesterday, including with Vice President Cheney, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned of the hazards posed by Iranian support for terrorist groups and development of advanced weapons.

"Today, everybody is busy with Iraq," Ben-Eliezer said in an interview. "Iraq is a problem. . . . But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq."

He pointed to Iran's role in the scheme to smuggle 50 tons of weapons into Palestinian hands. American and Israeli intelligence officials have concluded Iran provided the weapons and worked with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to transport them by sea to Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat's administration. The ship was intercepted by Israeli commandos in the Red Sea a month ago.

Ben-Eliezer stressed his concerns about Iran's pursuit of missiles capable of striking Israel with chemical and biological weapons. He said Iran is on schedule to develop a nuclear bomb by 2005.

When Sharon meets with Bush and other U.S. officials today, he plans to sound the alarm about Tehran's ambitions in Lebanon, according to Israeli officials. Israel has accused Iran of dispatching Iranian Revolutionary Guards to foment anti-Israel activity in Lebanon and of providing thousands of missiles to Hezbollah. Iranian and Lebanese leaders had denied these charges.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 6, 2017 at 13:13
  • I suppose your implicit argument here is that those US self-styled 'pro-Israel' Republicans were not really pro-Israel in this case, since the Israeli government had different priorities. (The claim in the Q is not about Israelis.) Of course, the other answer (indirectly) attributes to Netanyahu a somewhat opposing view, that he did verbally support the invasion, even if he might have privately thought otherwise. N.B. Netanyahu was just minister of finance in 2003. So, I suppose his views mattered less then. Apr 1 at 14:07
  • Israel and Iran went into a larger proxy war only 3 years later jstor.org/stable/20032140 Something that many in the West/US probably forgot already. Apr 1 at 22:07

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