Alliance with U.S. is here to stay

U.S.-Israeli relationship will overcome all differences of opinion, even on Iran and its nuclear program.

Moshe_Arens_cropped-150x150By Moshe Arens

Since Hassan Rohani became president of Iran in June and began showing a smiling face to the United States, the manner in which the Iranian nuclear project should be handled has been a subject of disagreement between the president of the United States and the prime minister of Israel. As preparations were made for the negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, and especially as the Geneva talks began last month, the public debate about the gaps between the American and Israeli positions has become increasingly strident.

The United States and Israel have had differences of opinion in the past, but prior to the last few years an attempt was usually made by both sides to keep from airing those differences in public. In recent years, Washington has brought criticism of settlements in Judea and Samaria to the public’s attention. The debate on how the Iranian nuclear project should be approached has assumed unprecedented proportions, however. The leaders of both nations have not hesitated to assert and reassert their positions in public. Moreover, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the proposal for an agreement at Geneva a “bad deal,” has attempted to convince some of the six world powers to modify their positions on the matter. Now that a preliminary agreement has been signed in Geneva, it is obvious that he has not been successful in this endeavor.

The preliminary agreement highlights the primary difference between the Israeli position and the American position. In the agreement, Iran agrees not to expand the vast nuclear infrastructure it has built at great cost these past years, leaving it with the already existing capability to become a nuclear state. The Israeli position is that in return for the easing of sanctions, Iran must begin to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure, thus minimizing its existing capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

It isn’t difficult to understand the intensity that underlies the differences of opinion between the United States and Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue. While Washington views the Iranian attempt to attain nuclear weapons as a potential danger to the stability of the entire world, Jerusalem sees it as a present danger to Israel that threatens the country’s very existence. The rhetoric of Iranian leaders threatening Israel with destruction makes it clear that Israel’s fears are no figment of the imagination. The statement by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling Israel a rabid dog, made while the negotiations in Geneva were underway, creates the impression that nothing has changed in Tehran.

The U.S. position on the Iranian nuclear issue is a disappointment to many Israelis. Here and there, some say Israel should begin searching for other allies with whom it could develop a relationship that would substitute for the one built over the years with the United States. Such nonsensical suggestions are based on a lack of understanding of the depth of the relationship that has developed between the two countries over the years, one that is based on common ideals and values. Although the United States is not the only democracy on earth, it is the leading democracy, and its foreign policy, unlike that of other democracies, is largely influenced by its adherence to those ideals and values.

As far as the basis of the alliance between Israel and the United States is concerned, nothing has changed. This is a relationship that will overcome all differences of opinion on ways and means, in order to reach common goals. It is a relationship that will endure for many years to come. The United States continues to be Israel’s best friend among the nations. The U.S.-Israeli alliance is here to stay.

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