Israel Is Strategic Asset After All

Think Tank Rebuts View That Downside Outweighs Benefits

By Nathan Guttman

Published November 14, 2011, issue of November 18, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A new study from a Washington think tank supportive of ties between America and Israel is seeking to rebut growing sentiment among military experts who question Israel’s value as a U.S. strategic asset.

Walter Slocombe
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Walter Slocombe

The report, released November 2 by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argues that the benefits of America’s close military ties to Israel far outweigh the costs those ties impose on America’s relations with the Arab and Muslim worlds. Its authors, Robert Blackwill and Walter Slocombe, take issue in particular with those who argue that relations between the U.S. and Israel are a one-way street, with Israel on the receiving side.

“We reject that analysis,” write the two analysts, a Democrat and Republican, respectively, who both served in senior national security positions. “To the contrary, we believe that the United States and Israel have an impressive list of common national interests; that Israeli actions make substantial direct contributions to these U.S. interests.”

They cite, among other things, Israel’s role in developing a joint missile defense system; an American anti-missile system emplaced in Israel; shared military exercises taking place on a regular basis; the U.S. purchase of Israeli military technology, including drones, targeting equipment and armored vehicles, and counterterrorism cooperation, which includes shared intelligence and U.S. use of Israeli systems for homeland security.

In preparing the report, the Washington Institute turned to two outside scholars who have impressive national security credentials and a bipartisan background. Blackwill was deputy national security adviser for strategic planning in the George W. Bush White House, and Slocombe served as undersecretary of defense for policy in the Clinton administration. The Washington Institute declined to disclose what, if any, financial arrangements were made between itself and the two authors in connection with the report’s production.

Robert Blackwill
Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Robert Blackwill

In their report, Blackwill and Slocombe focus on one of three pillars long seen as providing the support for Israel’s special relationship with the United States. Two of the pillars widely cited as at the foundation of the bilateral relationship are shared values and an American moral obligation to help the Jewish state. Each has been subject to some debate of its own in recent years. But the report, whose importance the Washington Institute underlined with separate roll-outs in New York and Washington, aims to counter increasing criticism of the cost to Washington of American-Israeli strategic ties. The criticism has come from senior Pentagon officials, generals and independent defense strategists.


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!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • 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.