Comments 4

  1. Good article. I think we also must acknowledge the impact of dispensational theology on Republican politics, leading to an unqualified support for Israel regardless of that nation’s subjugation of its Palestinian population. It is ironic to see how certain figures on the right ignore the plight of Palestinian Christians–not to mention the destructive impact of Bush and Cheney’s war in Iraq on Christians throughout the Middle East.

  2. Don’t worry, the US no longer needs Israel, and their relationship has never been lockstep. It is changing again in dramatic ways. Grandstanding politicians mean nothing to US-Israeli relations. To understand foreign policy, ignore politics and read military and economic strategy analysts. Dutch-Jewish military historian Marin Levi van Creveld is good on these subjects.

    The US-Israeli relationship did not develop because of the religious right; the religious right, which was previously rather anti-semitic, was simply led to support new policy after Egypt and Syria became pro-Soviet in 1956-67. That was when the US superseded France as Israel’s main weapons supplier. For its part the US was then able to set up an air defense network from Saudi Arabia to Israel and Jordan. Hal Lindsey’s apocalyptic contribution shortly thereafter was just icing on the cake for the pols. Reagan intervened in Beirut not to “help” Israel but to stop the Israelis from doing so.

    After the Soviet collapse the US no longer needed Israel. There was no need to end the relationship, so it remained, but Iran and Iraq needed a new patron. Israel would like the US to be its exclusive patron and thought 9/11 would encourage that, but the reality is increasingly clear that the US can’t alienate and fight every Arab state if it wishes to keep Islamic terrorists off its soil. In the case of Iran, it is always only a threat to Israel, but to the US it is useful against Iraq, Syria, ISIS, etc. Israel is simply focused on Iran’s nuclear capacity, but the US cannot be because it is not threat to the US, and it is not clear that anything can be done about it by the US and even Israel. The US needs to create a new balance of power in the middle east, and Israel will never be happy being balanced. It will always want to have the US do its dirty work as its loyal servant, but this is a fantasy and totally unnecessary. Israel is a nuclear power and can well fend for itself.

    1. Israel fending for itself is an Israel where the US no longer has any leverage to promote a peaceful and democratic settlement with Palestine. It looks more and more like Israel could turn to a one-state “solution” in which Palestinians don’t get to vote. A Jewish professor of moral philosophy at Yale recently wrote after Israel’s national elections and Netanyahu’s candid statements that “Israel has become, this week, the Herrenvolk ethnocracy its detractors have accused it of long being. …. It breaks my heart to say this, but today I don’t feel I can call myself a Zionist any longer.” Has any American pro-Israel politician ever had such scruples?

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