Nowadays, discussions of US-Israeli relations rarely take place without some mention of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States (also sometimes referred to as the Zionist lobby or the Jewish lobby). Frequently the pro-Israel lobby is invoked to help explain the policy toward Israel of whatever American presidential administration is in power. It is widely believed that the pro-Israel lobby is somehow behind this policy, influencing it, if not directly shaping it. Such a view has gained a great deal of popularity in recent years, especially as American Middle East policy in general has come under greater public scrutiny and discussion as a result of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the war in Iraq.