The ‘special relationship’ between the U.S. and Israel has been on the rocks for years, but only now does it appear to be kosher to speak about ending it.
Most recently, David Rothkopf in Haaretz (January 19, 2023) talked about when, not if, the ‘special relationship’ will end, placing the blame on Netanyahu and his new fascist government. See, Netanyahu Is Breaking Apart America’s ‘Special Relationship’ With Israel
Netanyahu, like Trump and the American right, like Orban and Bolsonaro, like Modi, Le Pen and Italy’s neo-fascists, has for years now promoted an ethno-nationalist authoritarian agenda that is now calling into doubt all the values that once bound Israel and the U.S.
Michael Rosen’s review of Walter Russell Mead’s book — The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People — in the National Review (October 13, 2022), describes some of the history and events leading up to the ‘special relationship’.
“The development of America’s special relationship with Israel enabled the special relationship with the Arab oil producers without which the American political, economic, and foreign policy revival from the crisis of the early 1970s could not have taken place,” writes Mead.
A lot of ink has been spilled on this ‘special relationship’ — explaining it, defending it, opposing it and trying to change it. Harvard professors Mearsheimer and Walt really opened my eyes about the role of Israel’s lobbyists and strong influence over the U.S. Congress after my first visit to Palestine in 2004. [Mearsheimer, John J., and Stephen Walt. “Is It Love or The Lobby? Explaining America’s Special Relationship with Israel.” Security Studies 18.1 (January-March 2009): 58-78. And Walt, Stephen and John J. Mearsheimer. “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP06-011, March 2006.]
“Although most Americans have a favorable image of Israel, surveys show that they also favor a more even-handed Middle East policy and a more normal relationship with Israel. Thus, the special relationship is due primarily to the lobby’s influence, and not to the American people’s enduring identification with the Jewish state.”
Few Americans may actually understand how generous American taxpayers have been with their support for Israel. Since 1976, Israel has received more U.S. foreign aid each year than any other country, totaling about $100 Billion since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979. (Egypt receives the 2nd highest amount of U.S. foreign aid.) Although this aid included significant economic assistance at the beginning, its now almost all in the form of military aid. A great boondoggle for America’s military industrial complex.
The U.S. government has also sheltered Israel from international criticism — as illustrated with the numerous U.S. vetoes at the U.N. Security Council on resolutions critical of Israel. [An excellent summary of the information shared here can be found in The Rocky Future of the US-Israeli Special Relationship, by Dov Waxman and Jeremy Pressman, The Washington Quarterly, Summer 2021]
The U.S. ‘special relationship’ with Israel has become domestically contentious as the debate over how the U.S. should support Israel has ramped up and become a partisan issue. The GOP generally expresses unequivocal support for Israel while the Democrats are engaging in a conversation about the terms of our country’s conditional support for Israel. The progressives are challenging their party’s leadership to think anew about the ‘special relationship.’
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) co-sponsored a resolution attempting to block a $735 million arms sale to Israel — the first-ever break from the typical genuflecting that occurs on Capitol Hill. In March 2020, 64 Democratic members of the House wrote a letter to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing their “grave concern” about the Israeli violations of international law. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg publicly expressed a willingness to either cut, condition or restrict U.S. aid to Israel during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race. In April 2021, Rep. Betsy McCollum (D-MN) introduced a bill, cosponsored by 15 Dems, to prohibit Israel from using U.S. aid for the detention of Palestinian children, the destruction of Palestinian property, or the unilateral annexation of Palestinian territory. [H.R. 2590]
All of this is to say that the momentum is growing for a serious debate on Capitol Hill about our ‘special relationship’ with Israel. Now a proposal has been published which spells out in some detail how to transform the Biden Administration’s Israel Policy and end the ‘special relationship.’ I urge you to read it in its entirety here — DAWN, February 13, 2023.
To summarize: the authors recommend that the Biden administration articulate its view of the ‘special relationship’ publicly, specifying the substance and policy dimensions of the two countries’ ‘shared values’. Only by clearly defining those values can it make clear what would represent a departure from them by Israel, specifically as related to democracy, pluralism, respect for the rule of law, democratic institutions, and division of power, among other elements. DAWN (Democracy for the Arab World Now) proposes that Biden compile a list of actions, policies or norms that it considers to undermine its shared values, interests, and policy goals. DAWN has prepared a long list of ideas that might be included in such a list.
After the list is prepared, Biden should inform the Israeli government in advance of the actions it will take if Israel undermines the ‘special relationship’. Again, DAWN has provided a list of recommended actions.
These steps need not cut away the historical core commitments the united States and President Biden have made to Israel’s security. They should, however, revisit the blank-check nature of American security assistance and political support for successive Israeli governments. While DAWN believes that the United States should end all military support for Israel as long as it does not meet its human rights and other international legal obligations vis-a-vis every person living under its effective control, we acknowledge that such an ask is not one the Biden administration will pursue.
2 responses to “Ending the ‘Special Relationship’”
Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay and commented:
ZOG existed before 1948 and will outlast the existence of nation-states.
Zionism is hellbent on restoration of the sparks of the shattered God…kooky Kabbalah stuff….used as a seemingly legitimate reason to use Judaism to conquer the world. That’s the ZOG.
Reblogged this on penelopap.