Andrew Sullivan believes America receives nothing in return for its lavish support of Israel. Actually, in his latest piece in New York Magazine, he claims it’s “worse than nothing,” because “the U.S. suffers internationally from this alliance.”
What’s behind this purported imbalance? Why, the formidable Israel lobby in D.C., of course.
“The basic facts are not really in dispute,” he writes. “A very powerful lobby deploys the money and passions of its members to ensure that a foreign country gets very, very special treatment from the U.S.”
Sullivan is sensitive to anti-Semitic tropes. He acknowledges that when referring to Israel lobbying, phrases such as “all about the Benjamins” and “allegiance to a foreign country” are anti-Semitic. So, his aim is to “write honestly about the Israel lobby’s power in D.C. without using any anti-Semitic ‘tropes’ at all.”
How does he hope to pull that off? By doing what looks like a plain accounting of the U.S.—Israel relationship, which, in his view, boils down to this: “America gives, Israel takes.”
But by being so dismissive of Israel’s value to America, Sullivan ends up grossly distorting a special relationship.
A more balanced accounting would have recognized the depth, strength and unique quality of the U.S.–Israel relationship, as laid out by historian and former Israel Ambassador Michael Oren in a 2011 Foreign Policy essay.
“What is the definition of an American ally?” Oren asked.
“On an ideological level, an ally is a country that shares America’s values, reflects its founding spirit, and resonates with its people’s beliefs. Tactically, an ally stands with the United States through multiple conflicts and promotes its global vision.
“From its location at one strategic crossroads, an ally enhances American intelligence and defense capabilities, and provides ports and training for U.S. forces. Its army is formidable and unequivocally loyal to its democratic government. An ally helps secure America’s borders and assists in saving American lives on and off the battlefield. And an ally stimulates the U.S. economy through trade, technological innovation, and job creation.
“Few countries fit this description, but Israel is certainly one of them. As U.S. President Barack Obama told a White House gathering, ‘The United States has no better friend in the world than Israel,’ a statement reflecting the positions of Democrats and Republicans alike. The importance of the U.S.-Israel alliance has been upheld by successive American administrations and consistently endorsed by lawmakers and military leaders. It should be unimpeachable.”
Sullivan includes none of those benefits to the U.S. in his “honest” discussion, presumably because it would undermine his one-sided take of “a very powerful lobby” that ensures “that a foreign country gets very, very special treatment from the U.S.”
In fact, had he done his homework about Israel’s main lobby group in D.C., the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he would have learned that its mission is hardly one-way: “To strengthen, protect, and promote the U.S.—Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.”
In return for its aid to Israel, Oren writes, “The United States receives not only an armed but an innovative ally, enhancing America’s military edge. That contribution is real and requires no lobbyists to fabricate it. While organizations such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) press Israel’s case in government and in popular forums, they represent American citizens who view the alliance with Israel as a national American interest.”
“Israel’s fundamental interests, like its values, are America’s,” he writes. “For the price of annual military aid equaling roughly half the cost of one Zumwalt-class destroyer, the United States helps maintain the military might of one of the few nations actively contributing to America’s defense.”
As Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock wrote in 2012 for the Washington Institute,“The benefits to the United States of its relationship with Israel belie the argument that the alliance is based solely on the two countries’ shared democratic values, on the popularity of Israel in American politics, or on the elusive pursuit of progress in the peace process. It is a relationship based on tangible interests — and will remain so for the foreseeable future.”
Oren quotes former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, who once observed: ‘Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier, and is located in a critical region for American national security.”
The benefits of the U.S.-Israel relationship, Oren concludes, “are of incalculable value to the United States, far outweighing any price.”
When you read Oren’s essay, which delves into the many layers of a deep and historical relationship, even if you may not agree with all of it, it makes Sullivan’s polemic look hollow. It’s as if Sullivan set a personal challenge for himself: Let’s see if I can go over-the-top on the “Israel lobby power” in D.C. without being accused of anti-Semitic tropes.
What he failed to realize is that for a journalist, being accused of sloppy and unbalanced journalism can be just as bad.
The US Treasury added three top Hezbollah figures to its list of sanctioned individuals on Tuesday, including two members of the Lebanese Parliament and a security official responsible for coordinating between Hezbollah and Lebanon’s security agencies.
It was the first time the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control had designated a member of Lebanon’s Parliament under a sanctions list that targets those accused by Washington of providing support to terrorist organizations. Washington has designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
South African fans in Cairo celebrating their team’s win over Egypt at the African Cup of Nations. Photo: Reuters / Sumaya Hisham.
Three days after South Africa stunned the world of international soccer by knocking hosts Egypt out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, the sound of elation remains clearly detectable in the voice of the team’s Jewish midfielder, Dean Furman.
“It was a fantastic victory, just fantastic,” Furman told The Algemeiner during a break in training on Tuesday, as South Africa prepared for its crucial quarterfinal game against Nigeria, another of the continent’s toughest sides, tomorrow.
Pieter van Oordt, left, with his brother, Roger, at the Israel
For the second time in recent history, a Dutch Christian organization dedicated to supporting Israel has gone head-to-head with the government. With their family tradition of belief in Israel that preceded the state of Israel by almost one hundred years, it seems unlikely that the van Oordts are about to back down, no matter what the odds.
Last month, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy made a request from the management of the Israel Products Center (IPC) to ensure they were in compliance with regulations adopted in 2015 by the European Commission requiring products made by Jewish owned companies in Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights, and sections of Jerusalem to be labeled in a manner indicating their origins.
Studies have shown that dairy cows contribute large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the organisms living in their microbiomes.
Genetically modifying cows may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and feed world populations, a new study led by Prof. Itzhak Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggests.
“Our findings are both a major breakthrough for basic science and will have a positive impact on two major challenges facing the international community for the foreseeable future: climate change and food security,” Mizrahi said.
The decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to promote Brig. Gen. Ofer Winter reflects his future political aspirations.
Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi walks out at the end of a handover ceremony where he replaces Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 15, 2019.
Israel has its own version of Napoleon’s famous saying, “Every soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his pack.” In these parts, every general carries a prime minister’s baton — or at least that of a defense minister — in his pack
As Islamist Watch has pointed out many times before, Islam is enormously diverse – containing many competing schools of theology, schools of jurisprudence, sects, ethnicities, cultures and mysticisms. Islamism is also not a single force; it comprises dozens of (both) competing and collaborating radical ideologies.
One of the most intriguing divisions, then, within both American Islam and Islamism of late has been growing dissent over the question of liberalism.
Right after Trump’s inauguration, I ran an article about how incredibly fake the news coverage was about his inauguration. (Those reading my site know I’m not a big Trump fan, but credit where credit is due and calling fake where calling fake is due.) The media was nothing short of spectacularly fake in the news it contrived that week on CNN, the New York Times and the other major fake media, and they mostly got away with it.
It wasn’t condescension or contempt. Recent remarks by former Mossad head Shabtai Shavit reek of racism. That is the proper way to frame them, calling them anything else is letting him off easy. In its classic, formal sense, racism is when a certain social sector perceives itself as superior because of clear racial criteria. Shavit represents an updated version of racism that doesn’t require ethnicity or religion as proof of a defect – you can call it “essential racism.”
Little Napoleon Barak is going to save Israeli Democracy? What a bunch of claptrap Orwellian doublespeak.
Well let’s check out history. How well did the original Napoleon save France’s democratic revolution against the monarchy?
Hmm, if I recall he crowned himself emperor!
For years, the pundits have been telling us that Israeli democracy is in danger because of the Arab birthrate, or because of the Jewish nation-state law, or because of the debates over the powers of Israel’s High Court.
I wonder if they will recognize the danger posed by the 10 left-wing American Jewish organizations that have formed a new umbrella organization, the essential purpose of which is to undermine Israeli democracy.