[Marxism] The great US-Israel rift that isn't
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Wed Jan 1 06:19:28 MST 2014
The great US-Israel rift that isn't
Commentators point to discord on the Iran deal, but the two nations have
an identical goal.
By Haim Saban
December 24, 2013
In recent weeks, the media have had a field day reporting on a so-called
rift in the U.S.-Israel relationship over the nuclear negotiations with
Iran. The story makes for great headlines, but it's poor analysis.
Despite the heated rhetoric, the pillars that have anchored America's
most important alliance in the Middle East for more than six decades are
just as firmly rooted today as they have ever been.
Just hours after Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the interim
deal to halt Iran's nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu appeared on American television and called the agreement "a
historic mistake." Israeli media reported that there were major concerns
in Jerusalem about back-channel U.S.-Iran talks, although it since has
become clear that the Israeli government knew of these meetings in
As a result, some commentators suggest that America's partnership with
Israel - and with other U.S. allies in the Middle East - might fracture,
eroding regional security and setting back U.S. interests in the area
for years. The naysayers are using this one issue to suggest a
fundamental divergence between the United States and Israel.
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These fears come from a focus on form over substance. In statement after
statement, President Obama and Netanyahu continue to articulate an
identical goal: Iran must not have nuclear weapons.
Observers may bemoan the lack of personal chemistry between Obama and
Netanyahu, but international relationships needn't be love affairs
between leaders. They rest on common interests, common values and
reciprocity. This foundation is what has sustained an exceptional
U.S.-Israel partnership through 65 years, 12 U.S. administrations and
plenty of rocky news cycles.
The heated words of the last few weeks should be seen for what they are:
a gap in how Jerusalem and Washington view the costs and benefits of the
interim nuclear deal. But have they opened a rift, with significant
implications for the future of the relationship? No. Far from it.
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For example, Israel recently hosted U.S. forces for "Blue Flag," a major
joint military exercise involving dozens of fighter jets. This is a
perfect example of how Israel and the United States can put aside their
differences on one issue and continue to work closely together to
advance their shared interests: fighting terrorism, ending the war in
Syria, promoting global development and stabilizing the Middle East.
Senior national security officials of both countries say that the U.S.
and Israel have never enjoyed closer military and intelligence
cooperation, with both countries, and countless others, safer as a
result. With U.S. support, Israel has developed a cutting-edge missile
defense system that one day may be used to guard America, just as
Israeli technology protects the vehicles that U.S. soldiers drive in
Along the same lines, the two countries' intelligence collaboration has
been crucial in combating global terrorist networks and keeping close
tabs on Iran's nuclear program.
In fact, close U.S.-Israeli cooperation is what opened the window for
recent negotiations with Iran. After defying the will of the
international community for years, Iran finally changed its tune when
Washington and Jerusalem stood shoulder to shoulder - not just on tough
international sanctions but on their clear readiness to use force if
necessary - to prevent Tehran from getting the bomb. In the face of
growing international isolation and a plummeting economy, the Iranian
people demanded that their leadership bring them relief, and Tehran was
finally forced to the negotiating table.
The U.S.-Israel relationship is also cemented by the common values of
democracy and human rights, and a shared vision for the global order.
Both countries thrive in a world filled with open markets and open
societies, and seek to advance those principles on the international
stage, which is reflected in their nearly identical voting records at
the United Nations.
In the coming months, close coordination and consultation between the
U.S. and Israel will be crucial for reaching a positive outcome in the
nuclear talks for a comprehensive deal with Iran. And so camera-ready
rhetoric must give way to quiet conversation. The actions of Netanyahu
and Obama tell far more about the continuing alignment of our two
countries than any sensational headline.
And what those actions reflect is the strength of the relationship
between our nations and the broader benefits that have resulted from it.
Haim Saban is a private equity investor, the chairman of the
Spanish-language media company Univision and founder of the Saban Center
for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution
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