Morality, Not Money, Is Behind U.S. Support for Israel

Feb. 18 2019

Last week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar caused a stir by repeating the canard that Jews—specifically, the American Israel Political Affair Committee (AIPAC)—use financial influence to manipulate U.S. policy regarding Israel. There is nothing new about this accusation, which was expanded into book form by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer in 2007. Not only is it factually untrue—AIPAC doesn’t even make donations to candidates—but it is based on a misunderstanding of the roots of the U.S.-Israel relationship, as David French writes:

America’s long support for Israel—often in the face of fierce criticism from key allies and painful economic reprisal from the Arab world—represents an enduring, bipartisan commitment to moral clarity in the Middle East. For the quarter-century following Israel’s founding, it was subjected to repeated, genocidal threats to its existence. It has served as a homeland for the Jewish people even as Arab nations rendered life intolerable for more than 800,000 of their Jewish citizens, sometimes destroying communities that had existed for centuries. Israel took in hundreds of thousands of refugees, receiving them as the world’s only Jewish state. . . .

At the same time, the citizens of Israel—Arab and Jewish alike—enjoy a greater degree of individual liberty than the citizens of any other Middle Eastern state. Israel is the most stable democracy in the Middle East. Generations of American politicians—from both parties—have seen these realities and have made the proper moral decision to support an embattled minority in the face of an avalanche of outright hate. Our nation has made that choice even when . . . a more pragmatic politics might dictate following in the path of nations like France, which yanked military support for Israel at a crucial moment in Israel’s history. . . .

[The two] nations have a bond that endures beyond the fact that Israel has become a powerful and important ally—especially in our war against jihadists. It’s a bond that exists in part because our nation’s support for Israel in spite of the often significant strategic and economic incentives to abandon it to its fate demonstrates America as its best self—a nation characterized by its commitment to high ideals, not just to the raw exercise of influence and power.

A hostile Arab world has far more money and resources than the small Jewish state that it all too often seeks to eradicate. If cash is truly king, we would have thrown Israel under the bus in generations past.

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Read more at National Review

More about: AIPAC, Israel & Zionism, Israel Lobby, US-Israel relations

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship