How to Reframe the American-Israeli Alliance in a New Age of Great-Power Competition

Now that China has supplanted global terrorism as the U.S.’s main foreign-policy concern, the Israel-China relationship will have to change.

A container ship at the port of Haifa in 2007. Yoray Liberman/Getty Images for Bloomberg.

A container ship at the port of Haifa in 2007. Yoray Liberman/Getty Images for Bloomberg.

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Dec. 17 2019
About the author

Assaf Orion is director of the Israel-China program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv and an international fellow at the Washington Institute. A brigadier general (Res.), he previously headed the strategic division in the IDF’s planning directorate.


In his new essay for Mosaic, Arthur Herman describes the “impasse” in Israel-U.S. relations occasioned by Israel’s increasing—and, it is said, increasingly worrisome—ties with China, America’s chief geopolitical competitor. In doing so, he records as well some problematic aspects on the American side, especially a deep layer of mistrust, harbored by some U.S. officials toward their Israeli counterparts, that stems from legacy grievances against the Jewish state including the Jonathan Pollard affair in the 1980s and crises in the early and mid-2000s involving Israel’s defense exports to China.

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More about: China, Israel & Zionism, Israel-China relations, US-Israel relations