Column: United States’s categorical support for Israel should adjust with changing times

Column: United Statess categorical support for Israel should adjust with changing times

In his State of the Union Address on Feb. 28, President Barack Obama stated that he hopes for “lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.” Time and time again, this rhetoric has flown out of American Presidents as if it were clockwork. Since the inception of Israel following World War II, America has backed Israel in both its domestic and foreign policies regardless of the global implications are sentiment. And for a while, this was a noble undertaking, as Israel needed support to establish itself as a strong, independent, and influential nation. Today, however, Israel has an extremely strong economy, a highly advanced military (with arguably some of the best nuclear weaponry technology), and a network of allies that are not contingent on U.S. support. That being said, why does American still categorically support every single move that Israel makes?

Up to this point, no negative ramifications have come from America’s support for Israel, but that could change in the near future. Many countries throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, do not support Israel’s policy regarding its Palestinian citizens. In fact, many would argue that Israel is trying to impose a pseudo-apartheid state in which Palestinians are seen as a lesser group compared to the Jews of this Jewish state. And for America, according to its foreign policy doctrine regarding Israel, this must be allowed, even if they see subjugation of peoples based on race or ethnicity as wrong. And with continued support, America could see itself in a tricky situation, as Israel begins to argue that full integration of Palestinians into Israeli life would be a form of racism or anti-Semitism by taking away from the intrinsic nature of what the state of Israel was designed to represent. On the other hand, this is no less racist than asking a nation like Saudi Arabia, which is very strongly Muslim, to integrate all members, regardless of race or creed, seamlessly into its society. This situation is very clearly not Islamophobic, though, raising the question about Israel’s semantics. See the paradox yet? On the one hand, America stands for equality and believes that all should be represented equally. On the other, they ‘must’ support Israel no matter what, which would force them to go against their doctrine of equality.

Further separation of interests poses even more questions to the staunch relations of Israel and the United States. As the United States works to foster better relations with Iran through joint work and collaboration on its nuclear program coupled with the lifting of sanctions, Israel grows more and more upset. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly declared his angst against cooperation with Iran, seemingly out of a fear of a new world order where Israel is not the sole proprietor of power in the Middle East. That said, this situation again presents a paradox for the United States: do they enact what they think is best foreign policy, negotiating with Iran and trying to create a new world order based on diplomacy and not based on scare tactics of nuclear weaponry and under-cover dealings? Or do they support Israel in its irrational fear of Iran and the changing world, trying to maintain a late 1900s world view in a global community that shifts forward faster every day?

It seems as if the right mode of change is to shift America policy towards Israel. Of course we should maintain strong alliances and communications with Israel, as they are our best ally in the Middle East. That said, there is simply no reason to support their every move and to back them in every single situation, especially if it goes against the creed or foreign policy of the United States itself. Gone are the days where Israel was a weak power in need of a “Father country.” Israel is well-founded and our policy toward it should reflect that, allowing both nations to grow as the world progresses forward.