To Understand Israel’s Foreign-Policy Challenges, We Must Understand Israel’s Relationship with the U.S.

In recent years, the Jewish state’s relations with China and Russia have generated tensions with the its most important ally, the U.S. These tensions have been made more acute, notes Douglas Feith, by Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. As Feith observes, “America’s substantial support over many years elicits unease as well as gratitude,” because it creates a dependency that might not serve Israel well in the long run. Feith sketches the complex and shifting history of U.S.-Israel relations and proposes a path forward for the latter, based on what he calls the “Herzl paradox.”

When [Theodor] Herzl organized Zionism into a political movement, his goal was Jewish self-reliance. At the same time, he sought foreign support. This is the paradox.

In Herzl’s day, Jewish life, liberty, and property depended everywhere on the goodwill or toleration of non-Jews. Nowhere were Jews a majority, and hostility to them was pandemic. . . . The Zionist message was that Jews should cease living as history’s objects. They could take their future into their own hands by creating a Jewish-majority state in their ancient homeland. For some, a Jewish state would be home. For those in the Diaspora, it could be a refuge.

Zionists have always understood that Israel may one day have to stand alone. But prudent Israeli officials will do what they can to put off that day—and not hasten it by courting anti-Western powers in ways that antagonize America. Israel’s interest is in encouraging America to strengthen its military and revive its leadership of the democratic world.

Read more at Sapir

More about: Israel diplomacy, Theodor Herzl, US-Israel relations, War in Ukraine

Spain’s Anti-Israel Agenda

What interest does Madrid have in the creation of a Palestinian state? Elliott Abrams raised this question a few days ago, when discussing ongoing Spanish efforts to block the transfer of arms to Israel. He points to multiple opinion surveys suggesting that Spain is among Europe’s most anti-Semitic countries:

The point of including that information here is to explain the obvious: Spain’s anti-Israel extremism is not based in fancy international political analyses, but instead reflects both the extreme views of hard-left parties in the governing coalition and a very traditional Spanish anti-Semitism. Spain’s government lacks the moral standing to lecture the state of Israel on how to defend itself against terrorist murderers. Its effort to deprive Israel of the means of defense is deeply immoral. Every effort should be made to prevent these views from further infecting the politics and foreign policy of the European Union and its member states.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Anti-Semitism, Europe and Israel, Palestinian statehood, Spain