Why Does America Have A “Special Relationship” With Israel?

Is it because of the oil? No, Israel doesn’t have any. Is it because they’re a major trading partner? No, not unless you count the military goods they buy from America, some of it with American tax dollars. Does America need it as a base because one of Israel’s neighbors declared, or committed an act of, war against the United States? No. Is it a good way to stay close to the oil? Yes, but it’s not the only way, or even the best way. So, what is the basis for the “special relationship?”

The most common reason, by far, that Israel’s neighbors give to explain their anger with America, is America’s support of Israel and the Israeli state’s aggression against the indigenous population. So, America must support Israel because it helps to protect America from the people that are upset at it for supporting Israel?

Palestine, over the past century or so, was a British colony, a UN protectorate, and now America’s “special friend.” What does that mean, and why? The recognition of a country, as America recognized Israel in 1948, doesn’t automatically imply a special relationship; otherwise there would be “special relationships” with ever country America recognizes. Does America share any unique history with the nation of Israel, different than what it shares with any other nation, even an ally, prior to their 1948 recognition of the state? No. Was Israel part of the political genesis of America, as was Britain? No (this question does not imply that such a shared history automatically presumes unconditional support or a “special relationship”). Was America part of the birth of Israel before recognizing them in 1948? No, certainly not while the British were hanging onto the last remnants of their empire.

American involvement in Israel, and the recognition of Israel, served two main purposes; a means to counter soviet popularity in the region and support from a strong and vocal lobby for Harry Truman during a very difficult campaign. While the current Republican party still strives to use Israel as a means to garner support from the religious right, the threat of soviet expansion in the area has long been put to rest.

Is it religion? For many, the relationship cannot be defined without referring to Judeo-Christian theology. Is this really what it’s all about? Is it some sort of vestige from the crusades, trying to keep a foothold against the Saracens? Has America become a Christian theocracy with it’s foreign policy bound to Biblical doctrine unsupported by archeology and historiography, and absent of political pragmatism and fiscal conservatism? Other than substantial private investment and capitol holdings in America, it seems that the “special relationship” with Israel costs America both financially as well as politically, and the nature of the American national interest that is being served is somewhat ambiguous. Is the billions of dollars in aid and military support, and the regional instability, all to maintain a non-Islamic enclave?

Somehow Israel has become embedded in domestic politics.  Other than as a very powerful lobby with connections to the pinnacle of the financial sector, unconditional support of Israel has become a ‘value’, a ‘principle’ of the religious and socially conservative right-wing, synonymous with, or intrinsically connected to, their patriotism, as if it was enshrined in the pre-fourteenth amendment constitution. For many others across the political spectrum it is similar; without perhaps the end-times, religious fundamentalist, Armageddon, messianic, irrational hyperbole… but, it is still an ‘understood.’ It has become an ‘assumed’, something that has been repeated so often – “Israel is our valued friend and ally”- that it exists in the national dialogue without anyone even thinking, let alone daring, to question it.

If one does question why America has a “special relationship” – just the question mind you – with Israel, or they disagree with Israeli national policy, or foreign policy, they run the very real risk of immediately being accused of Antisemitism; something that happens even though you talk about the government policies, and not the people themselves, their culture, or their religion. Criticism of Israel, not Judaism or the Jewish people, Israel, has become a non dit; verboten, kinjite, especially during a political campaign, which in America seems to always be the case.

National and foreign policy cannot be shielded from scrutiny by charges of racism, ethnocentrism, and religious bigotry. This is disingenuous. Criticism of Israel, Israeli policy, or the Israeli government, does not equate to a criticism of all Israeli people, any Jewish people, or the Jewish religion. However, using the Jewish holy text, or any holy text for that matter, as the basis for geopolitical claims is problematic. This is not Antisemitism. If a holy text cannot be proven, and contains data proven to be inaccurate, how can it be used as the basis, the proof, for a claim? This goes for any holy text, not only Judaism’s.

Israeli’s have a right to live in peace. They have a right to live without oppression, or tyranny, or threats of violence. They have the right to responsible government. They have a right to their security, safe from the threat of being thrown out of their homes, and off the land. They have a right to work and provide for themselves and their families. They have a right to all the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But, so do the Arabs.

Israel has been conducting itself without any concern for cooperation or diplomacy. Emboldened by the unconditional support received from America, Israel has conducted a brutal campaign against the indigenous people of Palestine. Human rights organizations unanimously condemn what is described as genocide, apartheid, an illegal occupation, and crimes against humanity. The resulting resentment and hatred cannot be used as justification for the atrocities, they must be addressed and reconciled in a just, equitable, and peaceful manner.

A fragile balance of power has been maintained through the institution and support of dictatorial and tyrannical regimes in the region. The revolutions throughout north Africa and the middle east are changing those dynamics. There are new realities that Israel, and America, must face. Democratic governments throughout the region will not be purchased as easily as the dictatorships they replace. They will not turn a blind eye. Democratic Arab countries will no longer abide Israeli aggression and expansionism. A free and informed voting public will not allow it. Israel must negotiate and compromise, and perhaps make reparations for past transgressions.

In September, the majority of the United Nations General Assembly will recognize a Palestinian State. The ensuing disagreements, between Israeli claims and aspirations, and a newly recognized Palestinian state, will likely result in military action. Israel does not have a record of successful diplomacy and cooperation in the region. Their expansionism, settlements, and inhumane treatment, has impoverished and oppressed the people that surround them. Israel has surrounded themselves with people that they have mistreated, and abused, and who, thanks to Israel, have nothing less to lose. Israel has created a very tense situation, for Israel.

How far does America’s “special relationship” go? Can Israel rely on America to keep it from having to cooperate, negotiate, make concessions, or pay reparations? Are more American lives worth protecting the intransigent stance of Israeli policy, biblically based claims, and hostile expansionism? Should America support a government guilty of systematic discrimination, oppression, bigotry, and human rights abuses? Why again is it that America has a “special relationship” with Israel, and what is the nature of that “special relationship?”

It’s is a question worth asking, and answering. The discussion cannot be disallowed by false claims of Antisemitism. The not too distant future may require Americans to choose whether or not they will allow their soldier’s blood to be spilled, or to spill the blood of another, based on this “special relationship.” It needs to be answered honestly. If it’s because of resources, what are they? If it’s because of Israeli investment in America, how much, and for what that it would warrant going to war over? If it’s religion, pro-Judeo-Christian and anti-Islam, then it needs to be stated as such so that there can be a national discussion, and understanding, about how this came to be a tenet of national policy, and how to end it… unless America somehow became a Christian theocracy and is engaged in a crusade by proxy.

American support for Israel must not be at the expense of the Arab people. America should support a peaceful and secure resolution rather than any belligerent combatant. Instead of offering blind allegiance, and a carte blanche, to an old frienemy, America, and the world, would be better served if America develops a “special relationship” with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the democratic revolutions sweeping the world.


25 Responses to Why Does America Have A “Special Relationship” With Israel?

  1. LG May 27, 2011 at 10:29 am

    “Israel does not have a record of successful diplomacy and cooperation in the region.”

    I’m sorry, this statement is untrue. Israel has a record of successful diplomacy and cooperation with Jordan and Egypt.

    • Liam May 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

      Perhaps with the dictatorial and tyrannical regimes that have been there… not with the democratic people’s movement that is developing. Carrying out oppressive policies, or supporting regimes that do, is not the kind of diplomacy that will serve the future.

      • JP May 27, 2011 at 11:47 am


        No one currently has a relationship with the people’s movement that is developing. This is because it is in development. Let us be clear that not one of these countries has emerged from the Arab Spring with a functional representative democracy with whom countries might conduct diplomacy.

        No country refused diplomatic connections with Egypt or Jordan on account of their governments.

        It is one thing to question a ‘special relationship’ with Israel, but you undermine your own credibility by holding Israel to a higher standard than any other country in expecting it to not try to make peace with whatever governments might be in control.

        • BofAexposed May 27, 2011 at 11:58 am

          Do you call what Israel has been doing in Palestine ‘efforts at making peace?’ Are you saying that Israel has been conducting itself in the best and most appropriate, and humane way? What is the basis for your Israeli apologetics? That is the point of this article I think. Why is there a special relationship with Israel, despite all that they have done?

    • Steve May 27, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Actually Israel does not have a good record of successful diplomacy and cooperation in the region, the US government gives Egypt and Jordan billions of dollars in aid every year to be nice to Israel

  2. Ali Vakilizadeh May 27, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Liam Fox:
    The Arab Spring has proven the anger in the region does not stem from the existence of Israel. The lack of open democracies in the region (I challenge you to name one) has created a one-sided dialogue coming from the Israel’s Arab neighbors. The “Arab street” have been fed the same story for over 50 years: “Israel is to blame for your woes”. If the Palestinian’s brothers (namely the Egyptians, Syrians, Jordanians, etc.) truly cared for them, they would offer the Palestinians more than temporary refugee camps within their borders. This is disgraceful treatment from one Arab brother to another.

    • Matt Rogers June 3, 2011 at 7:28 am

      And who were those dictators installed by? Mainly the pro Zionist U.S., the people on the street are exactly expressing their disgust that the dictators were propped up to maintain U.S. and Zionist (and oil company) control in the region.

      Fail “Ali Vakilizadeh”!

  3. Daniel Spencer May 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    What I don’t understand is why Israel is always disproportionally singled out. “A brutal campaign against the indigenous people”? The Chinese have destroyed Tibet and repopulated with tens of millions of Han Chinese. Where is the UN resolution condemning Iran, Syria, and the atrocities committed by Arab countries against their own citizens. The persecution and murder of homosexuals throughout the middle east and in the Palestinian territories. The reality is, the disproportionate criticism of Israel is not simply “objective,” because the smokescreen are the real atrocities committed in the Arab World and elsewhere that this author has purposefully ignored.

    • BofAexposed May 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

      Ah, yes, the ‘Israel as victim’ response. Poor Israel, just getting a bad rap.

    • Liam May 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      So Israel is innocent? Don’t look at Israel, look at other atrocities, Israel won’t look so bad? If your goal is to reach the lowest common denominator, Israel is doing a good job.

  4. walt kovacs May 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

    arabs are not indigenous to the land

    the vast majority moved into the area around the same time as the jews were making the third aliyah

    saying that arabs are indigenous, is like saying the white man is indigenous to america

    get a haircut, you jew hating hippie

    • BofAexposed May 27, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Learn your history. You’re more mistaken than your mother was when she told you ‘whose your daddy’.

  5. erik May 27, 2011 at 11:05 am

    i didn’t even read your post, but i certainly can tell, by looking at the pics, that ur post is biased, who knows maybe you father was Hitler.

  6. David Masada May 27, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Another great article from a Jew hater. 17 wars right now, all of them caused by Islam, and you still find time to criticize the only country in the world where Arab Muslims can vote, go figure!

  7. scholz_richard May 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    First off you got it wrong. The Palestians had turned down all peacetalks in the past. When they could have taken some land to start with, they walked away. PALESTINIANS THE ONES DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE. If the US and allies step down, the crazed fanatics would commit genocide, kill innocent Israelis (who actually BUILT A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY), and wipe off a thriving country from the face of the earth. The Palestinians had many many chances to live in peace. They just CAN NOT.

    You are not serious. Right? You body must be a joke. You know excatly what will/would happen. They would kill Israelis and destroy Israel..
    (Have a nice day bud, a US-EU dual citizen)

    • Robert May 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

      Please read and remember the truth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Palestinian_exodus. Approximate percentage of Jewish Palestinians in Palestine prior to the crisis 10% versus 90% Muslim Palestinians and other religions.
      Foreign migrants launched a terrorist caimpagn to seize the land and kill and evict current residents, which continues to this day.
      Why the special relationship between US and Israel, straight up corruption in the US government funded by the Israel government, an act of foreign espionage that results in thousands of American lives lost and billions upon billions of dollars thrown away (a small percentage of that money now comes back to American politicians to keep the corruption going).

  8. matt May 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    “a strong and vocal lobby” – good 🙁 to see this lobbying is alive and well. Glad that debate of the American/Israeli relationship can take place intelligently and without immediate recourse to name calling

  9. Jim Smith May 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Israel has destroyed the nuclear capabilities of two rogue states, Syria and Iraq. That, by itself, justifies the special relationship between Israel and the US.

  10. obama2012 May 28, 2011 at 2:52 am

    every congressman/senator secretely hopes for the day when americans turn on the jews and remove the aipac shackles from them

  11. bad move May 28, 2011 at 2:57 am

    let’s see germans turned on jews because they conspired to controll media/government/banking/ post ww1 and by 1930 jews had 83 percent of germany’s wealth in their hands even though they were 1% of the population while germans lost their homes and families lived in makeshift shanty towns, sound familliar? were not to far from post ww1 germany

  12. Abe Rether May 28, 2011 at 5:26 am

    for some strange reason there are no photos of the palest suicide bombings
    that killed thousands of israeli civilians

    the author should have done some homework

    during the cold war it was israel who risked its soldiers lives by taking
    from russians their top of the line arms radars jets etc – at a time
    when us was technologically inferior to russia – thereby allowing
    us military to regain the tech edge

    presently us benefits from info obtained by israel security
    apparatus all over arab states – providing real time from all
    arab capitals

    but beyond all is the understanding that if israel does not check islam terror
    it will advance and hit europe and usa

    the way obama is going may result in a situation that no arab
    country (but saudi gulf) will allow us jets to use its airfields
    this lives israel as the only secure base in area

    and – if us were to get into military trouble in m east – it is accepted
    that one of the strongest militaries will be there for back up

    these assets can only be provided by israel

  13. John May 28, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Mr. Fox, excellent analysis. You state publicly what most in the media will only say privately.

    One way the pro-Israel lobby in the US has kept America supportive of Israel is by charging any criticism of the Israeli government’s apartheid policies to “anti-Semitism“. However, that accusation has worn thin. People are, at last, openly questioning just how much America’s biased support of the Zionist entity has cost it in terms of its good name in the Middle East.

    Netanyahu’s lack of concern about how openly his media lackeys in the US do his work for him in berating Obama is an especially bad move occasioning many to talk about the tail wagging the dog.

  14. Abe Ariew May 29, 2011 at 8:57 am

    6 million Jews.
    300 Million Arabs, backed by 2 Billion Muslims.
    The Muslims want to kill the Jews.
    They says it, They write it. They sing it.
    All the rest are just details.

    • ilooover May 30, 2011 at 4:30 am

      You will reap as you had Sown…
      ISRAEL does not deserve to EXIST on the face of this Earth..

  15. Dan May 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    The worst ‘peacetime’ attack in US Naval came in 1967 when the IDF attached the USS Liberty. The most damaging spy case in US history was the Israelis spying on the US.

    Such wonderful friends they are

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