The Special Relationship with Israel: Is It Worth the Costs? | Middle East Policy Council
Mitchell G. Bard is executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Over time, others then applied the notion of a special relationship to U.S. .. "The United States has proven itself to be a reliable and faithful partner to the. The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu grew more poisonous every Martin Indyk, the former U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian with Charles Kushner, the father of Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner. Johnson to cement the special relationship with Israel. that a quasi-alliance would unite the United States and Israel a decade later. as a potential partner against the spread of anti-Western radicalism throughout the.
Osama bin Laden began inserting references to Palestine into his public statements in No other issue shapes the regional perception of America more fundamentally than the issue of Palestine. In a recent debate with Chas W. Arab governments will support U. They are voiced without fear of ridicule, the instant response that would have greeted a claim that the political feelings of Czechs or Poles or Chinese or anyone else living under politically unfree conditions could be discounted as inconsequential.
Over the last decade, cities in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza have been ripped apart by U. While mass antiwar protests broke out across Europe, there were none in Israel, where When Israelis talk, Americans listen. When Israelis want to circulate their views, they have an access to the opinion pages of elite newspapers and slots on network news shows that leaders of no other foreign country can dream of.
If Israeli leaders had voiced similar sentiments, it is inconceivable the invasion would have taken place. In its wake, Israelis and American friends of that country have worked overtime to rewrite history and absolve Israel of any responsibility for the disaster.
But, even if it were likely that Israel preferred the United States to attack Iran, Israeli leaders lobbied energetically for a war against Iraq.
The weak Saddam regime was low-hanging fruit, after all. This marks an interesting turnabout. A top selling point of the special relationship has long been that Israel did not need U. Now that doctrine, implicitly abandoned with the Israeli campaign for an American war on Iraq, has been tossed out the window.
Hence it is calling on its only real ally, the United States, to do the job. Polls indicate that Americans remain reluctant to fight Iran over any cause other than an Iranian attack on U. Andrew Grotto has examined some of the scholarship that underlies these claims as an analyst at the Center for American Progress.
His findings are instructive. The articles claiming a religious basis for the Iranian desire for apocalyptic martyrdom frequently cite one another in a kind of circular footnoting that gives the impression of serious scholarship.
Another frequent source for the wilder claims about Iran is a work by an MEK member an anti-Iranian-regime group labeled terrorist by the U. The Logic of an Israeli Obsession. He added that none of the five believed Iran was an imminent threat: Instead, such prestigious publications as The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post and The New Republic are helping to disseminate a tendentious misrepresentation of Shiite theology shared by neither Israeli nor Western experts. The misrepresentations then bounce around the American media echo chamber, acquiring the status of received wisdom.
Precisely as in the run-up to the Iraq War, an element of right-wing Israeli discourse has managed to carve for itself a privileged spot in the American political dialogue. What began as a struggle between Zionist settlers and Palestinian Arabs became in a conflict between Israel and the neighboring Arab states.
It has now been transformed into a battle between Israel and the larger Muslim world. The surrounding Arab states now pose no serious military challenge to Israel. Iraq has been shattered and may not recover for a generation. Iran, long an ally of Israel, is now a foe.
So, apparently, is Turkey. Turkish leaders, long allied with Israel and the United States, have expressed public solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. To the extent it succeeds, the United States will have fewer friends and more enemies. Finally, we must consider another cost, one not easily measured in terms of blood and treasure. It is hard to miss that anti-Muslim bigotry is becoming embedded in American political culture, and Israel and its supporters are playing a substantial role in generating it.
But bigotry has not had a mainstream sanction in the United States since the civil-rights movement. That is no longer the case. The American political environment now contains several well-funded institutions devoted to painting everything having to do with Islam in the worst possible light.🇮🇱 🇺🇸 Israel and the US P1 - Empire
It comes from conservatives like the prominent Republican Newt Gingrich, and from liberals like Alan Dershowitz. Much of it is purely Zionist in motivation: But unlike that idea, the notion that the United States benefits from Israel seems extraordinarily far-fetched.
What is in the special relationship for Americans? It is obvious what is in it for Israel. First, large amounts of foreign aid, though Israel is by any standard a rich country. Second, privileged access to the arsenals of the most advanced armed forces in the world. Third, the support of American diplomacy, to spare Israel from the brunt of international condemnation or sanctions for its actions. Some of the minor, but far from trivial, milestones of the relationship — the Lavon Affair, the sinking of the USS Liberty, the Jonathan Pollard case — make it evident that Israeli leaders do not regard the United States as an ally at all.
The affection implicit in the special relationship flows in one direction only. They ranked Israel dead last among allies for intelligence cooperation with the United States. The same story noted that American counterintelligence officials, pointing to aggressive Israeli spy operations on U. S soil, ranked only Russia and China as more serious intelligence threats. Surely domestic politics accounts for a good deal of the explanation. But there is another, strategic, reason that is seldom mentioned publicly.
This is indisputable; it is the point James Forrestal made to President Truman more than 60 years ago. And what is the greatest threat to stability? Well, says Roth, it is Israel itself. As a result, any suspicion on the part of its leaders that the United States is backing away from it might incite Israel to behave more aggressively than it already does. Roth is asserting that the principal ally of the United States in the twenty-first century — its main source of strategic advice, the nation whose leaders have an unequaled access to American political leadership — is not a rational actor.
The United States is in the position of a wife whose spouse is acting erratically. The only conclusion one can draw is that the special relationship would now be very difficult to exit, even if Israel had no clout whatsoever within the American political system, even if the United States desired emphatically to pursue a more independent course.
I submit that this argument has long been internalized by those U. It is the principal reason no major American figure has ever advocated simply walking away from Israel. Even those who argue that America should make its aid conditional on a more forthcoming Israeli attitude towards peace with the Arabs invariably recommend that the necessary Israeli territorial withdrawals be rewarded by iron-clad American defense guarantees and other sweeteners.
Most intelligent people understand there is something uniquely evil about the Holocaust and the circumstances under which Israel came into existence, even as they are uneasy with the current special relationship. For those who recommend a U. Regrettably Israel has ignored this opening. Is it, as A. This is what renders it special.
One can debate how important Israel was in encouraging the United States to invade Iraq, but there is no doubt that, if Israel had opposed the invasion, no American politician would have supported it. The same can be said about the possibility of an attack on Iran. This is also the case with the outbreak of Islamophobia in the United States.
Would Martin Peretz have arrived at this independently of his feelings for Israel? It would be hard to find a knowledgeable person who believes so.
Peretz is hardly alone. In the coming years, as the prospect of a two-state solution disappears, it is likely that Israel will continue its inexorable march toward becoming a state between the Jordan River and the sea, with one set of laws for Jews, who will have the rights of citizens, and another for Arabs, who will be denied full citizenship.
That also would be difficult to quantify. And yet this scenario may be impossible to escape. That may be, as Ariel Roth argues, a compelling reason to maintain the special relationship pretty much unchanged.
Foreign Policy Columbia University Press,p. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and U. Technology Trade Partners America and Israel reap the rewards of a shared entrepreneurial spirit, interacting within a dense web of collaborative endeavors — from scientific research to joint development of advanced technologies.
America and Israel have developed a special economic relationship as well.
Like Americans, Israelis live in a milieu that encourages independent thinking, freedom to develop their talents, and an urge to innovate. As a result, Israel has pioneered advances in fields ranging from agriculture and biotechnology to telecommunications and homeland security. Recognizing that common trait, the United States and Israel have forged an intellectual, strategic alliance that operates on federal and state levels.
The first alliance included joint research into bilateral research and development frameworks in agriculture and industrial technology. The programs are supported with matching funds from both governments.
The U.S.-Israel Special Relationship
A groundbreaking free trade agreement in was followed by a U. One of the oldest and most comprehensive involves North Carolina, which not only encourages trade, but also joint research and technology exchanges in textile technology, telecommunications, and autism, 5 an unprecedented form of international cooperation.
In Israel was second only to the Silicon Valley in the number of startups founded annually. That made Israel a promising investment site too, and the number of active venture capital funds in Israel jumped from only one to in the s, most of which were largely or wholly funded with U. Moreover, tens of thousands of Israelis hold key positions in American hi-tech companies.
In terms of trade, size can be deceiving: Put another way, 6. The same cannot be said of Arab countries.
America, Israel and the “special relationship: an Uncertain Alliance
Among those weapons were an Iraqi MiG whose pilot defected to Israel in a complicated undercover operation ina fully operational Russian-made ground-to-air missile system captured in the Six-Day War that contributed greatly to protecting American pilots during the Vietnam Warand a Soviet radar system capable of detecting low-flying aircraft literally lifted intact by two Israeli CH helicopters from Egypt in during the War of Attrition. In short, Israel has remained one of the few allies upon which the United States has always been able to count on in a crisis.
Well before other Middle Eastern states curtailed their commitment to the coalition created to disarm Iraq, security expert and former U. Secretary of State Gen. More recently, Israel has become a dependable base for pre-positioning emergency military stores in the Middle East, with the capability to provide close-by sophisticated medical services, if needed.
Although American and Israeli strategic interests overlap, they are not identical. At times, the United States has ordered, for example, temporary embargoes, reassessments, or postponements of munitions deliveries; yet the relationship has remained strong enough to ride out conflicting interests, avoiding communications breakdowns or a rupture of relations.
Ambassador to the UN chastised Israel, noting: There were many times during the course of the buildup in the Gulf and the subsequent conflict that I gave thanks for the bold and dramatic action that had been taken [by Israel] some ten years before. Targeting handlers, a tactic for which Israel has been roundly denounced, is being recognized as both operationally effective and the most moral choice under the circumstances.
Bush and the EU that Hamas would be targeted if it insisted on pursuing a fight.
It examined the circumstances, tactics and use of force, the scope of collateral damage and the response to civilian casualties, and who was to blame. What the study reveals is that not only was a gross double standard applied to Israel: Instead, in most cases, Israel employed the unique tactic of limiting the firepower of its tanks to their machine gun turrets, not their cannon — employing armor-plated giant D-9 tractors instead to take out nests of resistance.
That tactic — to try to limit civilian casualties — led to a decision by the U. Yet the probability and magnitude of a joint threat inherent in unwittingly creating a Palestinian rogue state does not seem to be fully apparent to American policy-makers. Even if it were able to resist takeover by one of the other Islamic states in the region, either a takeover accomplished directly or by insurgent surrogates, Palestine would surely become a favored launching point for unconventional terrorism against Israel … [while] a state of Palestine would also provide a sympathetic host to various terrorist enemies of the United States.
This would include Al Qaeda, which already has close ties to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, and which could identify in Palestine, a replacement for Iraq. America has come to the conclusion that when Israel is strong, not only does Israel benefit, but the United States does too.
Like a courtship, the relationship between the United States and Israel was a slow-developing affair. Both America and Israel pride themselves as special countries. Various scholars who have studied U. Other memoranda followed that institutionalized the relationship in a series of working frameworks: The most recent cooperative framework was established in Israel has always been a stable American ally, but since September 11th, American-Israeli collaboration to combat mutual threats has taken a quantum leap forward.
As preparations for a showdown on Iraq materialized in the early months ofthe community of nations at the UN sought to contain and restrict American power. In the war against terrorism, Israel is a valued U. While Israel has been the single largest recipient of U. As fate would have it, Israel has more experience than any other nation in the world when it comes to combating terrorism. The experience of two members of an American rescue squad is instructive.
They spent two weeks in Israel learning how Israelis handle mass casualty events, noting that their Jerusalem counterparts had handled more than 1, terrorist incidents, including suicide bombings, car bombings, package bombings, and sniper shootings in 18 months, while an American rescue squad might expect perhaps one such incident in a lifetime.
Few know that nearly 75 percent of U. A evaluation by the World Economic Forum ranked Israel second only to the United States as a technological powerhouse. As a result, Israel designs and builds its own tanks, and has launched its own spy satellites. Often, Israel makes changes in American-made systems to upgrade their overall performance or address specific conditions faced in Middle East battlefield conditions, all of which has growing relevance to the U.
In short, the United States is as much a favored ally of Israel as Israel is a favored ally of the United States, given the fact that Israel provides America with unique scientific data, research and development, and intelligence. George Keegan, a former U.
The special relationship extends to other areas as well. Israeli physicians, for example, train American physicians in lifesaving medical procedures to treat patients who suffer multiple wounds from suicide bombings. American hospital administrators are studying innovative solutions adopted in Israel that address a surge in demand for hospital emergency services after terrorist attacks, and emergency medical physicians and nurses are receiving hands-on experience in triage in case of future terrorist attacks.
Support for Israel is Across the Board For decades, Americans from all backgrounds have exhibited strong support for Israel.
In the aftermath of September 11th, U. Senator Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican, said ruefully: Among American leaders which included members of the executive branch, Congress, and other designated movers and shakersresponses were even more favorable: The only nations to rank higher than Israel were major global powers China, Japan, Russiaimmediate neighbors Canada and Mexicoor those controlling a strategic commodity Saudi Arabia.
That kinship with Israel apparently reflects both American empathy and a growing sense that the two peoples might face a common threat. That strong support can be found among both Jews and Christians, according to a recent Tarrance Group poll commissioned by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
While 85 percent of American Jews support Israel, 65 percent of conservative churchgoing respondents were pro-Zionist. I believe it has a glorious future before it — not just another sovereign nation, but as an embodiment of the great ideals of our civilization. Harry S Truman "Our forces saved the remnant of the Jewish people of Europe for a new life and a new hope in the reborn Land of Israel. Along with all men of good will, I salute the young state and wish it well.
Eisenhower "Israel was not created in order to disappear — Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave.