People, Not Politicians, Make the US-Israel Alliance Strong
If you listen to the legacy media, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with help from Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), have gravely damaged the U.S-Israel relationship. The press has celebrated Democratic House minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D) public shunning (literally) of Netanyahu and the boycotting of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress by dozens of Democrats.
If, on the other hand, you listen to the American people, the U.S.-Israel relationship is as strong as ever. A Gallup poll conducted less than a month ago revealed that 70 percent of Americans support Israel and 62 percent sympathize more with the Jewish State compared to 16 percent for the Palestinians.
In other words, while President Obama clearly is not fond of the Prime Minister and the feeling is likely mutual, the relationship between the United States and the Jewish State transcends the egos and incompetence of certain agenda-driven politicians.
Despite the efforts of the New York Times and progressive pundits to demonize Israel and in some cases humanize terrorism, Americans understand that Israel is the beacon of hope in the most dangerous neighborhood in the world. As the Middle East is marked by images of beheaded Christians, gay people being thrown off buildings and women stoned to death, Israel is hosting Gay Pride parades, women running for public office and providing medical care for the children and grandchildren of terrorists who publicly advocate their demise.
Because Israel is in the vanguard with respect to national security, American officials at the federal, state and local levels understand that to protect our citizenry, we must tap into the resilience and proven methods developed by the Israelis.
Together, the U.S. and Israel are collaborating on various counterterrorism measures. According to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the two allies are conducting aviation security drills, “reviewing procedures in case of attacks, and share codes that send immediate alerts if passengers try to commit acts of terror.”
In Washington D.C., Capitol Police have worked with Israel for decades to develop the best practices to ensure the security of government officials and staff in the heart of our government operations. Currently Capitol Police are undergoing training in Israeli counterterrorism techniques.
Together, both governments conduct joint bioterrorism drills and the U.S.-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation funds an Israeli professor and an American professor to co-develop bomb detection devices.
We must not forget the life-saving Iron Dome, a joint venture utilizing Israeli technology with the funding provided by Congress.
At the turn of the last century, America was a start-up nation with a record number of immigrants and new businesses. But now, Israel is the start-up nation, with its record number of immigrants and its position as the world leader in high-tech start-ups and venture capital investments per capita. In terms of start-up nations, Israel is the new America, and Americans benefit from Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit.
As a country that prides itself on education, America sends approximately 6,000 young people per year to Israel for educational, volunteer, internship, and teaching opportunities solely through the abroad study program Masa Israel. Other organizations facilitate U.S.-Israel connections; including InsideIL, a new non-profit that matches top U.S. MBA students with paid summer internships in Israeli companies. According to an InsideIL press release, Israeli employers find that the American interns “have been among the most driven and capable we’ve had the pleasure to work with.”
Israel advocates and politicians will tell you, the strongest case for the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship is based on their shared values of democracy, freedom, and human dignity. President Obama in a former life said, “The bond between Israel and the United States is rooted in more than our shared national interest; it’s rooted in the shared values and shared stories of our people.”
While U.S. and Israeli leaders may not agree on everything, the claim that the U.S.-Israel relationship is in jeopardy is simply wrong. In fact, the latest Gallup poll indicated that Americans view Netanyahu even more favorably than President Obama.
So perhaps the “suffering” relationship between Obama and Netanyahu over the suffering relationship between Obama and his own people is an Obama-manufactured diversion from his own failings as president.
Rudee is a fellow with the Salomon Center and Core18. She is also a fellow and a graduate of Scripps College, where she studied International Relations and Jewish Studies. Follow her @ellierudee. This article was originally published by The Hill.