A More Realistic Era in US-Israeli Relations

By Christiansen, Drew; Aldajani, Ra'fat | National Catholic Reporter, April 10, 2015 | Go to article overview

A More Realistic Era in US-Israeli Relations


Christiansen, Drew, Aldajani, Ra'fat, National Catholic Reporter


For the first time since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, U.S.-Israeli relations are undergoing a real earthquake. What started off as a lack of personal chemistry between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has evolved into a real diplomatic crisis between the two nations. Relations have entered uncharted waters and there is a growing sense in Washington that a significant and irreversible change of momentum has occurred.

A pair of elements coming together in the final stages of the March 2015 Israeli election campaign accounts for this relationship crisis. Fueled by the personal distaste that Obama and Netanyahu have for each other, these elements coalesced into a tipping point that was reached and passed.

The first element was Netanyahu's accepting an invitation by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress, without alerting or consulting with the White House, as is normal diplomatic protocol. The White House considered this a snub to the president and a deliberate attempt to sabotage delicate U.S. negotiations with the Iranians over their nuclear program.

Reaction from both the White House and the Democratic Party was fast and furious. Neither the president nor any senior administration official met with Netanyahu during his visit, and dozens of Democratic lawmakers, including senior Jewish-American ones, boycotted the Netanyahu speech in Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi even left the House floor before Netanyahu did without greeting him, and later said she was brought to tears and insulted by Netanyahu's "condescension."

To add insult to injury, The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had spied on the closed-door talks with Iran, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany, and had supplied classified information to congressmen and other officials opposed to the negotiations to use against the president.

Netanyahu's congressional blunder also has long-term ramifications. By inserting the issue of Israel into the bitter U.S. partisan divide, he has soured Israel's reputation among Democrats and endangered the bipartisan "special relationship" with the United States by identifying Israel too closely with the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

The second element of the crisis was comments that Netanyahu made in the 48 hours leading up to the Israeli March 17 election. After years of barely paying lip service to the major U.S. foreign policy objective of a Palestinian state, Netanyahu definitively rejected the U.S.-sponsored peace process and established U.S. policy by announcing that he would not allow a Palestinian state to be created if he were re-elected.

Secure after his election win, Netanyahu furiously attempted to backpedal from his statements on Palestinian statehood, but the Obama administration soundly rejected those efforts. Addressing the top left-leaning Jewish lobby group in Washington, J Street, Obama's chief of staff, Dennis McDonough, dismissed Netanyahu's backpedaling by saying, "After the election, the prime minister said that he had not changed his position, but for many in Israel and in the international community, such contradictory comments call into question his commitment to a two-state solution."

McDonough added, "The Palestinian people must have the right to live in and govern themselves in their own sovereign state," and he drew loud applause and cheers when he asserted that "Israel's 50-year occupation" over the Palestinians "must end."

The upside of this new and evolving landscape in U.S.-Israeli relations is that it presents an opportunity for advancing the cause of an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement and Mideast stability.

Netanyahu's words and actions since the early 1990s have finally put into sharp focus the de facto reality in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, namely that the Israeli right wing has absolutely no intention of withdrawing from an inch of occupied Palestinian land, much less midwifing the birth of a Palestinian state. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A More Realistic Era in US-Israeli Relations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.