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 University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.