The Cost of Israel to the American People by Richard Curtiss
Israel–United States relations refers to the bilateral relationship between the State of Israel and Others maintain that Israel is a strategic ally, and that US relations with Israel strengthen the US presence in the .. On 14 July , the US Congress was notified of a potential sale of $ million worth of jet fuel to Israel. “The United States,” he said, “has a special relationship with Israel really comparable to what it has with Britain over a wide range of issues.”1 Perhaps Kennedy. May 8, Johnson to cement the special relationship with Israel. .. late May, Washington agreed to sell Tel Aviv $10 million worth of sophisticated . Nasser about "the risks-and costs-inherent in the Middle East arms spiral" and.
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.
It comes from conservatives like the prominent Republican Newt Gingrich, and from liberals like Alan Dershowitz.
- The fall-out between America and Israel is a serious threat to world peace, says Benny Morris.
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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?
The Special Relationship with Israel: Is It Worth the Costs? | Middle East Policy Council
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.
Israel–United States relations
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.
America and Israel: the end of a special relationship - Telegraph
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. US—Israeli ties strengthened during the second Reagan term. Israel was granted " major non-NATO ally " status ingiving it access to expanded weapons systems and opportunities to bid on US defense contracts. Since then all customs duties between the two trading partners have been eliminated.
However, relations soured when Israel carried out Operation Operaan Israeli airstrike on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Baghdad. Reagan suspended a shipment of military aircraft to Israel, and harshly criticized the action.
Relations also soured during the Lebanon Warwhen the United States even contemplated sanctions to stop the Israeli Siege of Beirut. The US reminded Israel that weaponry provided by the US was to be used for defensive purposes only, and suspended shipments of cluster munitions to Israel. Although the war exposed some serious differences between Israeli and US policies, such as Israel's rejection of the Reagan peace plan of 1 Septemberit did not alter the Administration's favoritism for Israel and the emphasis it placed on Israel's importance to the United States.
But, despite the US—PLO dialogue, the Pollard spy case, and the Israeli rejection of the Shultz peace initiative in the spring ofpro-Israeli organizations in the United States characterized the Reagan Administration and the th Congress as the "most pro-Israel ever", and praised the positive overall tone of bilateral relations.
President Bush raised the ire of the Likud government when he told a press conference on 3 Marchthat East Jerusalem was occupied territory and not a sovereign part of Israel as Israel says. Israel had annexed East Jerusalem inan action which did not gain international recognition. The United States and Israel disagreed over the Israeli interpretation of the Israeli plan to hold elections for a Palestinian peace conference delegation in the summer ofand also disagreed over the need for an investigation of the Jerusalem incident of 8 Octoberin which Israeli police killed 17 Palestinians.
The United States urged Israel not to retaliate against Iraq for the attacks because it was believed that Iraq wanted to draw Israel into the conflict and force other coalition members, Egypt and Syria in particular, to quit the coalition and join Iraq in a war against Israel. Israel did not retaliate, and gained praise for its restraint. Following the Gulf War, the administration immediately returned to Arab-Israeli peacemaking, believing there was a window of opportunity to use the political capital generated by the US victory to revitalize the Arab-Israeli peace process.
On 6 MarchPresident Bush addressed Congress in a speech often cited as the administration's principal policy statement on the new order in relation to the Middle East, following the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The centerpiece of his program, however, was the achievement of an Arab—Israeli treaty based on the territory-for-peace principle and the fulfillment of Palestinian rights. This was both because President Bush and Secretary Baker felt the coalition victory and increased US prestige would itself induce a new Arab—Israeli dialogue, and because their diplomatic initiative focused on process and procedure rather than on agreements and concessions.
From Washington's perspective, economic inducements would not be necessary, but these did enter the process because Israel injected them in May. It was reported widely that the Bush Administration did not share an amicable relationship with the Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir. However, the Israeli government did win the repeal of United Nations General Assembly Resolutionwhich equated Zionism with racism. The Labor coalition approved a partial housing construction freeze in the occupied territories on 19 July, something the Shamir government had not done despite Bush Administration appeals for a freeze as a condition for the loan guarantees.
Israel and the PLO exchanged letters of mutual recognition on 10 September, and signed the Declaration of Principles on 13 September President Clinton disagreed with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's policy of expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, and it was reported that the President believed that the Prime Minister delayed the peace process.
President Clinton hosted negotiations at the Wye River Conference Center in Maryland, ending with the signing of an agreement on 23 October Israel suspended implementation of the Wye agreement in early Decemberwhen the Palestinians violated the Wye Agreement by threatening to declare a state Palestinian statehood was not mentioned in Wye.
Ehud Barak was elected Prime Minister on 17 Mayand won a vote of confidence for his government on 6 July President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak appeared to establish close personal relations during four days of meetings between 15 and 20 July.
Bush administration — Mahmoud AbbasGeorge W. On 4 Octobershortly after the September 11 attacksSharon accused the Bush Administration of appeasing the Palestinians at Israel's expense in a bid for Arab support for the US anti-terror campaign. The White House said that the remark was unacceptable. Rather than apologize for the remark, Sharon said that the United States failed to understand him.
Also, the United States criticized the Israeli practice of assassinating Palestinians believed to be engaged in terrorism, which appeared to some Israelis to be inconsistent with the US policy of pursuing Osama bin Laden "dead or alive". All recent US administrations have disapproved of Israel's settlement activity as prejudging final status and possibly preventing the emergence of a contiguous Palestinian state. However, President Bush noted in an April 14, Memorandum which came to be called "the Bush Roadmap" and which established the parameters for subsequent Israel-Palestinian negotiations the need to take into account changed "realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers", as well as Israel's security concerns, asserting that "It is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be full and complete return to the armistice lines of At times of violence, US officials have urged Israel to withdraw as rapidly as possible from Palestinian areas retaken in security operations.
Former President John F. The MoU with Israel is merely a fraction of that. A strong and secure Israel significantly reduces the risk that the United States will need to be involved in another war in the Middle East, which would be not only financially costly but also claim the lives of American soldiers.
For instance, without Israel as a forward base for the West in the Middle East, the United States would almost certainly need at least one aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, in addition to the two stationed in the Gulf, along with its more than 6, soldiers and crew. It would likely also need to build another air force base, like the one at Incirlik in Turkey, where dozens of nuclear warheads are stored.
Those options are far more expensive than the MoU with Israel, and far more dangerous for the United States. Critics will argue, as they usually do, that Israel is the reason the United States needs a military presence in the Middle East.
That argument is, at best, unfounded, and, at worst, malicious.