A Dangerous Link

Editorial

Published November 24, 2010, issue of December 03, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Obama administration’s offer of a package of advanced weaponry and military assistance worth billions of dollars in return for an Israeli commitment to freeze settlement construction for just three months marks a troubling development in the relationship between the two allies. There’s a reason that this deal has drawn criticism from an unusual chorus on both the left and the right among Americans who care about Israel’s security. It’s not beneficial to either nation.

Yes, the deal has the unseemly odor of a bribe, a desperate attempt to persuade Israel to enable a resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians. (And what are the Palestinians offered for their own brand of intransigence?) But this is about more than perception. It’s about linkage.

For decades, the American commitment to Israel’s security has largely been insulated from the politics of the day. Even during the Obama administration, which some view as unduly demanding toward the Israeli government diplomatically, the U.S. has strengthened its efforts to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. Will that now become a subject of negotiation, a bargaining chip employed by either side?

As Elliott Abrams and Michael Singh noted recently in Foreign Policy, either the $3 billion in additional fighter jets to Israel is just a sweetener — about $33 million in taxpayer funds for each day of the freeze — or the offer represents something more ominous: A new willingness by the U.S. to use weaponry “as pressure to tidy up a diplomatic mess of its own making.”

That’s a complaint from the conservative camp, but others have voiced similar concerns. Daniel Kurtzer, a former American ambassador to Israel, also believes this is “a very bad idea.” As he wrote in The Washington Post, by “subjecting Israel’s defense needs to the political demands of an American administration, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has done something quite dangerous for Israel — he has made those needs contingent, negotiable, optional.”

There are safer ways for the Obama administration to prove its unquestioned support for Israel’s security. And better reasons for the Israelis and the Palestinians to resume their negotiations.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.