In their book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt state that "The [Israel Lobby] is a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively works to move U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction." This statement by them is deficient in at least two regards:
(1) The Israel Lobby is more than a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations." While not monolithic, the Israel Lobby displays a very high degree of coherence and unity of purpose.
(2) The provision of illegal settlement funding by the Israel Lobby makes it more than an effort to influence U.S. foreign policy. The funding of illegal settlements by elements within the Israel Lobby makes it a virtual arm of the State of Israel.
The purpose of the settlements activity, of course, is to create more "facts on the ground" in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such "facts", in the form of new roads, towns, and dwellings populated by fanatical Zionists diminishes the likelihood of ever establishing an independent Palestinian state and a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Many of the component organizations of the Lobby are linked together with dozens, even hundreds, of funding organizations in common. The fact that large proportions of the funding received by these organizations come from the same charitable foundations that send funds to the illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories provides evidence that the Israel Lobby does more than just "lobby", in the traditional sense. By assisting Israel's illegal settlement program the Israel Lobby is in reality a de facto agency of a foreign government, acting in direct violation of U.S. policy that opposes those settlements.
The funds provided by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) to finance free trips to Israel for members of Congress, the campaign contributions provided to those same members of Congress by members of AIPAC's board of directors, the program of generating a climate of Islamophobia by other organizational members of the Israel Lobby, all contribute to promoting the perceived interests of the State of Israel. Inducing or coercing members of Congress to continue the annual U.S. military assistance of $3 billion to that country and minimizing public resistance to it promotes those interests and facilitates the ongoing illegal settlement activity.
The Obama Administration's policy in opposition to the continuing expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has been ineffectual, irrelevant, ignored by Israel, and overwhelmed in part by those organizations and individuals in the U.S. that comprise the Israel Lobby and which financially support and otherwise assist in the settlements activity.
Several of the principle elements of these relationships are illustrated in the following diagram.
The complete paper which describes in more detail the data and methodology upon which this summary is based can be found at www.polinetworks.com/lobby . (see The Israel Lobby--More Than a Lobby)