American-Israeli Relationship

Within the United States, right and left often come to some of their sharpest political blows over the question of American support for the State of Israel, though, within the mainstream establishment, it is nearly always assumed by both liberals and conservatives that our alliance with Israel is (and should be) “iron-clad” (to use President Obama’s oft-repeated phrase).

American support for Israel is truly exceptional, as evidenced, for example, by any number of UN votes in which the US and Israel have voted as a team in opposition to all other countries.  This unique Israeli-American relationship, and the strength of the Israeli lobby within the United States (whose right wing is headed by organizations like AIPAC and Christians United for Israel, and whose left wing is exemplified by organizations like J Street and the Presbyterian Church, USA), combine to mean that a great deal of American foreign policy debates are filtered through what many would see as a pro-Israeli (or Zionist) lense.  

While rhetoric seen as “anti-Israeli” is generally assumed (by both Democrats and Republicans) to be political suicide, Democrats (and religious liberals) are more apt to take stances critical of certain Israeli actions (settlements, bombings of Gaza), while maintaining a commitment to Israeli security (e.g. by sustaining internationally unmatched levels of military aid), to Israeli hegemony in the region, and to the Jewish character of the State.  Obama himself, for example, has explicitly called on the Arab world to accept Israel as a Jewish State. Republicans (and religious conservatives), on the other hand, tend to voice almost unconditional support for nearly all Israeli policies, both within Israel proper and in the Occupied (“Disputed”) Territories (though many Republicans actually oppose the illegal settlements). Republicans also typically share their Democratic counterparts’ support for Zionist aspirations for Jewish hegemony within Israel proper.

QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:

-What do YOU believe should be America’s relationship with Israel? 

-If you worry about America’s relationship with Israel, why do you?

 

 

 

Conversation Catalysts: 

U.N. Voting coincidence with the United States
Jewish Virtual Library

U.S. embargo of Cuba
Reuters

Zionist (from the Right)
AIPAC
CUFI

Zionist (from the Left)
J Street
Presbyterian Mission Agency

Anti-Zionist (from the Left/Right)
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
True Torah Jews

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