The relationship between the US and Israel might seem strained, but it’s only in appearance
If you were to listen to the media following the Israeli Elections last week, you would think the close marriage between the United States and Israel was on the verge of going the murder, suicide route. The truth is, US-Israeli relations are still extremely close and not likely to change anytime soon, if ever.
Believing his campaign was in danger of losing, conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned out his base by resorting to racism. He first suggested the day before the election that a Palestinian state would not be established on his watch. He then said on Election Day his right-wing government was in danger because Arabs were voting “in droves.”
Just like every conservative leader who uses fear and hate to win votes, Netanyahu backtracked on his anti-two state solution declaration two days later, on American television no less. When a politician flip-flops like that, it means that he believes one of the statements to be his core belief and the other can be chalked up to playing politics.
The American press was all over Bibi, and deservedly so. Barack Obama was never close with Netanyahu to begin with, but because of the media coverage, Obama was somewhat forced to show his displeasure with Netanyahu’s statements. In this instance, Bibi was not the only one playing politics.
You see, anyone involved in politics as much as the President of the United States needs to be, knows Benjamin Netanyahu has never been serious about peace with Palestine, halting settlement construction or a two state solution.
Netanyahu has been opposed to a Palestinian state for most of his life. Sure, he has stated his support for a two state solution in the past, but that was based on the premise that Palestinians get nothing in return. No Jerusalem, no right to return, no 1967 borders, no nothing.
The mainstream media is acting shocked by Netanyahu’s announcements, but to those who follow the situation in the Middle East closely, like President Obama, Netanyahu saying no to a two state solution is as shocking as a conservative using racism to get elected. It isn’t news.
The only thing shocking here is how loud and public the Obama/Bibi feud has become. They might be two powerful leaders, but they aren’t two dictators at each other’s throats. They are simply the leaders of two allied countries who have an enormous difference in ideology.
Their respective countries will continue to deal with each other, with or without their leaders taking the lead, and in that regard it will likely be business as usual. Obama claims to be currently “reassessing” American relations with Israel, but what exactly is he going to change?
Israel will continue to receive billions in military aid from the United States, Israel will continue to receive American support at the U.N., and American Politicians will continue to pander to the Israeli Lobby.
Do you know why? For starters, that aid money is already a done deal. $3.1 billion every year till 2018. Secondly, Obama can play politics with the best of them. Obama has nothing left to lose, but his party does. I can’t fathom a day when the United States supports or abstains from a resolution that favors Palestinians. Thanks in part to right wing evangelicals and the Israeli Lobby, it is still political suicide.
Support for Israel within the United States has seldom been higher. In fact, as recently as February 2015, 62% of Americans polled supported Israel. Compare that to the 16% of Americans who support Palestine. 75% of the respondents considered Israel a “close ally.”
I’m glad to see that Netanyahu’s true colors are finally showing for everyone to see, I’m also pleased Obama is calling him out on it. Call me a pessimist though, I just don’t think it will change anything. Netanyahu will soon have to live with an Iranian nuke deal and Obama will have to live with an Israeli Prime Minister who doesn’t want peace with Palestine.
The lasting effect of these Israeli Elections will be the same as the ones that came before it. A hawkish conservative Israeli Government supported by the United States and a Palestinian People with a fading hope in a country of their own.