A New Realism: America and Israel in the Trump Era

(Commentary) John Podhoretz - In the 14 months since President Trump's inauguration, U.S. policy toward Israel has undergone a pronounced shift. He announced that the U.S. accepts Jerusalem as Israel's capital and has declared his intention to build a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, first mandated by U.S. law in 1996. America's ambassador to the UN has not only spoken out on Israel's behalf forcefully and repeatedly; Nikki Haley has also led the way in cutting the U.S. stipend to the refugee relief agency that is an effective front for the Palestinian terror state in Gaza. Vice President Pence traveled to Israel in January and delivered the most pro-Zionist speech any major American politician has ever given. Part of this shift can also be seen in what the president has not done. He has not signaled that the U.S. views Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank as injurious to a future peace. And his administration has not complained about Israeli actions taken in self-defense in Lebanon and Syria, but has, instead, supported Israel's right to defend itself. The things the president both has and has not done should constitute the baseline of what we ought to expect one ally would say and not say about the behavior of another ally. Yet so-called realists have spent the past seven decades whispering in the ears of America's leaders that they have the right to expect Israel to do things we would not expect of another ally and to demand it behave in ways we would not demand of any other friendly country. The administration is seeing how the government of Egypt under President Sisi is making common cause with Israel against the Hamas entity in Gaza and against ISIS forces in Sinai. It is witness to the effort at radical reformation in Saudi Arabia under Muhammad bin-Salman - and how that seems to be going hand-in-hand with an astonishing new concord with Israel over the common threat from Iran. Mostly, the U.S. is seeing that an ally is an ally. Israel's intelligence agencies are providing the kind of information America cannot get on its own about Syria and Iran and the threat from ISIS. Moreover, Israel is a technological powerhouse whose innovations are already helping to revolutionize American military know-how.

2018-02-28 00:00:00

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