Once a necessary relationship of a superpower protecting a fragile state, the US relationship with Israel has turned into something far different. Thanks to our protection and investment, Israel is no longer helpless. It may be surrounded by larger nations opposed to its very existence, but Israel has a more powerful military with more advanced weapons.
For example, the US invested more than $270 million to help Israel develop its Iron Dome rocket system designed to intercept rockets launched by Hamas. We also invest approximately $3 billion per year in Israel, despite the fact that the Israeli’s enjoy a higher standard of living that’s nearly comparable to ours.
What do we get in return? We get a militaristic government that continues to build new settlements on captured Palestinian lands in defiance of international law. We get a government that meddles in our politics. We get a government that has sent spies to the US in order to steal military secrets!
Yet support of Israel has become a litmus test for American politicians. Even now, President Obama’s nomination for Secretary of Defense is being attacked for disparaging the pro-Israel lobby. Apparently, no politician dares to question our “special relationship” with an ally that doesn’t even act like one.
Under Israel’s war-mongering conservative leadership, no progress has been made to negotiate peace in the Middle East. What we get, instead, is a government that continues to swallow up Palestinian lands at a rate that will soon make a two-state solution virtually impossible. Too often, Israel seems like a spoiled little brother hurling insults at its neighbors then, when challenged, hides behind big brother daring the neighbors to strike.
Our unquestioned protection of Israel has had a negative impact on our relationships with much of the world. We must recognize that, until there is a permanent peace between Israel and its neighbors, we will continue to be the target of hatred.
It’s time that our “special relationship” with Israel evolved. We must protect Israel if necessary. But we should demand something for our protection and investment. We should demand that Israel and Palestine begin to negotiate in earnest. We should demand that the Israel end its policy of settlements.
The irony is that, if Israel continues to consume Palestinian lands, it is sealing its own fate. Eventually, Palestinians will be the majority in Israel and, as such, they will control the elections.