The Solace of Poor U.S.-Israel Relations

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
April 13, 2010

The history of American-Israeli relations illustrates that when the United States and Israel agree on a common strategic vision, as they did during the period of Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, Washington is less focused on where they differ. The corollary is when they don’t share a common direction, the United States is hard-nosed on the differences, as it was during when George Bush Sr. was opposite Yitzhak Shamir.   

Then he points to the implications for today:   

even some European and Arab diplomats—almost all of whom have traditionally favored pressure on Israel—admit that such friction at the top of U.S.-Israel relations will not translate into progress for peace. They say an insecure Israel will not take risks for peace. Trust needs to be built, and not as a favor to either leader, but because it is a necessity for anyone who wants to see a more stable Middle East.   

But Makovsky rues the impact of poor U.S.-Israel relations in this regard whereas I applaud them.   

(2) Confirming my analysis aobe, that the Obama administration’s anger at Israel is not all bad: 76 U.S. senators signed an AIPAC-backed letter to the secretary of state implicitly criticizing her and her colleagues for the current problems, thereby strengthening the Israeli government’s hand. Along the way, the senators also make my third point:   

It is the very strength of our relationship that has made Arab-Israeli peace agreements possible, both because it convinced those who desired Israel’s destruction to abandon any such hope and because it gave successive Israeli governments the confidence to take calculated risks for peace. As the Vice President said during his recent visit to Israel: “Progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the U.S. and Israel.” Steadfast American backing has helped lead to peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan.   


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