Why America needs Israel By ERIC R. MANDEL 04/28/2015

While Israel stays the course, the Obama administration has turned American foreign policy on its head.

“The US-Israeli alliance now contributes more than ever to American security” 
– Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock, The Washington Institute 

The Obama Doctrine on foreign affairs is not only to nurture a new relationship with Iran, but also to find opportunities to weaken the longstanding bonds between America and Israel.

For years, Israeli and American interests were virtually identical: stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Muslim world, fighting Iranian hegemonic ambitions and opposing state sponsorship of terror. The president’s new vision for an Iranian-dominated Middle East certainly will come at Israel’s expense.

While Israel stays the course, the Obama administration has turned American foreign policy on its head.

The Obama Doctrine of engaging our enemies and distancing ourselves from reliable allies may defy logic, but does fit with the president’s progressive worldview of an America that has done more harm than good in the world. President Obama offers carefully chosen words of support to those who care about the US-Israel relationship, but his words are constantly betrayed by his policies and actions regarding the Jewish state.

As Sohrab Ahmari, editorial-page writer for The Wall Street Journal in London, opined in Commentary, “The worse the White House’s treatment of Jerusalem gets, the more ardent its pro-Israel rhetoric becomes...The Jewish state now faces a White House that is oblivious to regional realities, is disdainful of the Israeli body politic, and is flirting with the lexicon and tactics of delegitimization...To radically alter the US-Israel relationship, the White House also needed the backing of a domestic lobby (J Street) to counterbalance the pro-Israel establishment...The administration’s bet all along has been that it can degrade the alliance from within while maintaining an outward narrative of stalwart support for Israel.”

The president and his advisers have repeatedly acted as if Israel were the main obstacle to regional stability and American interests. His plan since taking office has been to realign the Middle East with the anti-American Islamic Republic, while treating Israel as a liability, not a strategic security asset.

So the question Americans should ask is, “Is Israel an indispensable national security asset that the president is abandoning, or is it a dispensable ally?” 

Let’s start with intelligence sharing. Many American analysts believe that Israel provides significant and vital information to our country, often more than our NATO allies. Turkey is a perfect example. They are the eastern flank of NATO, but are an untrustworthy partner aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, a State Department-designated terrorist organization. In an article titled, “Turkey Breaks From the West on Defense,” the Wall Street Journal last week reported that Ankara chose a Chinese missile defense system which “threatens intelligence cooperation” among the NATO allies.

So who is the reliable intelligence ally, Israel or Turkey? Intelligence is a difficult game. With the American withdrawal from many theaters of operation in the Middle East, Israel’s vital strategic location and human intelligence have become indispensable for our security. We can use all the help we can get.

Our own CIA and National Intelligence Estimates are often flawed or politically manipulated. One only has to look at the CIA’s 1978 analysis before the overthrow of the Shah that stated, “Iran is not in a...pre-revolutionary situation,” or in October 2002 when the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) concluded that Iraq “could make a nuclear weapon,” or the 2007 NIE report, which falsely claimed that Iran had stopped its nuclear weaponization program.


According to the Washington Free Beacon, Israel “is providing significant intelligence support in the US-led campaign against...ISIS [Islamic State]. Israeli satellites overfly the battle area at angles and frequencies unavailable to American satellites.”

If Israel did not exist, America would have to create it. That would be nearly impossible; creating a liberal democracy that serves as a fail-safe ally in the region is nearly impossible today. Our history of alignment with Middle Eastern authoritarian regimes, who do not share our values and whose indigenous populations are decidedly anti-American, has at best a checkered history.Israel is a nation surrounded on all sides by enemies who want to annihilate it. 

Because of the repeated wars of self-defense, Israel has unfortunately become a test tract for American munitions, and treatment of those wounded in combat. American’s armed services have utilized this live battlefield experience that has saved our soldiers lives, while increasing the chance of success of future American military missions. American anti-missile defense is greatly enhanced by the Israeli experience, and the forward positioning of American arms in a stable nation is vital to American military planning.

According to the Washington Institute, “Israel’s military research and development complex has pioneered many cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the face of modern war, including cyber weapons, unmanned vehicles (land robots and aerial drones, sensors and electronic warfare systems), and advanced defenses for military vehicles.”

The morality and professionalism of the Israel Defense Forces are unique in the Middle East, and are closely aligned with our national values. America has learned from the Israeli military experience how to fight an ethical war against non-state actors that use human shields in urban areas. At home, our homeland security and counter-terrorism efforts would be dramatically weaker in strategy and effectiveness if we did not have the Israeli experience and know-how.

The chaos of today’s Middle East and the threats to American interests would be exponentially greater if Israel hadn’t destroyed the Iraqi and Syrian nuclear reactors. Imagine Islamic State today with captured nuclear material. My meetings with top Israeli defense and political leadership unanimously show a profound appreciation of America’s generosity in supplying military aid. But it is not a one-way street. Most of the military aid allocated to Israel is spent in the United States, creating nearly 70,000 jobs in America.

Americans are overwhelmingly sympathetic to Israel because of our shared values and Western outlook.

Americans know instinctively who our friends are, and whom we should not trust. They know that President Barack Obama’s realignment with the worlds’ leading state sponsor of terrorism at Israel’s expense is against American interests. Just look at the polls.

Americans do not want their country to legitimize a nation (Iran) that a hangs homosexuals and imprisons American journalists and priests. Americans want our country to support Israel, as clearly evidenced by Congress’ bipartisan support for the Jewish state and its people.

Finally, there are the Israeli medical, scientific and innovative breakthroughs that have enriched all of our lives. From voicemail to the USB, American computer and tech companies gravitate to Israel for its research and development. In medicine, from developing devices that enable the paralyzed to walk, to cures for previously untreatable diseases, to cutting edge scientific breakthroughs, Americans are happier and healthier because of Israel. Israel needs America for its friendship, diplomatic protection, shared military development and foreign aid. But America also needs a strong Israel for our own national security interests.


The author is the director of MEPIN (Middle East Political and Information Network), a Middle East research analysis read by members of Congress, their foreign policy advisers, members of the Knesset, journalists and organizational leaders.