Just once, it would be nice if an Israeli prime minister, or any senior Israeli official, came to Washington not with a litany of complaints, but with a thank you note. Roger Cohen at The New York Times wrote a must-read Op-ed on this a couple of months ago, but the sentiment therein is perhaps more suitable for discussion now given the past week’s diplomatic wrangling.
Undoubtedly Iran’s nuclear ambitions are cause for mutual concern for both the United States and Israel. But this need on the part of the current Israeli leadership for seemingly constant reaffirmation of U.S. affection is both bizarre and wearisome.
When over the course of the past two decades, or longer even, has the U.S. once faltered in its commitment to its closest ally? Even President Barack Obama, known to have a less than cordial working relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu, has shown consistently that Israel has no truer friend than the U.S.
And what has the U.S. received in return for this unfailing loyalty? Grief, doubt, and a list of demands. Since when is it evidence of wavering fidelity when an American president cautiously weighs the implications of war, especially for his own country that has seen enough conflict over the last 11 years? The U.S. is lucky we have such a measured mind in the White House, and it’s high time our Israeli friends respect it.
Popular support for Israel has perhaps never been higher in this country. It is support that is given seemingly without anything expected in return and frankly, given even when Israel acts against the express wishes of the U.S.
But U.S. benevolence has limits and we certainly do not like being lectured to, especially by our friends. If Netanyahu, or the wider Israeli leadership, have any desire to mend what it sees as an uneasy fellowship with Obama, who could very well be around for another four years, best to show up in Washington next time finally asking “What can Israel do for you, Mr. President?”
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