How strong is the Israel lobby in Washington?

Former U.S. ambassador Chas Freeman spoke yesterday at the Palestine Center for the annual Sharabi lecture at the Palestine Center. Follow the link to view his excellent discussion.

The shocking piece of the speech was picked up by Paul Woodward and Phil Weiss,

In late November 1988, shortly after the election of George H. W. Bush as president, I was invited to lunch by a senior Israeli official with whom, in pursuance of U.S. policy, I [as deputy assistant secretary of State for African affairs] had worked closely to expand Israel’s diplomatic and military presence in Africa.  I had come to like and respect this official.  He wished to thank me, he said, for what I had done for his country.  I was pleased.  Over lunch, however, he asked me what I planned to do in the new administration, adding, “tell me what job you want.  We can get it for you.”  The casual arrogance with which this representative of a foreign power claimed to be able to manipulate the staffing of national security positions in the U.S. government was a stunning belittlement of American patriotism. Twenty years later,  I was to be reminded that agents of foreign influence who can make appointments to national security positions in the United States can also unmake them.

Who said that there was no Israel lobby? Or, how strong exactly is the Israel lobby in Washington?