Don’t Expect New US President to Impact Israel Much, Regardless of Winner

U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right). Illustrative. Photo courtesy of Kobi Gideon (GPO)

Even in American politics where the sides can agree on next to nothing, there is one thing both sides generally accept—the United States’ unique relationship with Israel. Even US President Barack Obama, who has been critiqued on multiple occasions for his approach and tone towards Israel, nonetheless presided over a $38 billion aid package that will last 10 years. Israel will still be receiving money from the package well after the next president finishes their time in the White House.

In other words, the ties between the US and Israel are about more than any one administration. That does not mean the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton view Israel exactly the same or that one won’t be better than the other. But it does mean that the generally positive link between Israel and the US will continue, for the following reasons.

  1. Americans Like Israel

The Pew Research Center released a poll last May showing that almost three times as many Americans sympathize with the Israelis versus the Palestinians—54% to 19%. That attitude is reflected in American politics. Both Trump and Clinton delivered speeches to The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a major Israel advocacy group in the US. Similarly, both met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York during September.

For at least two decades, Israel has received a special place in the US national government—even though Obama wasn’t nearly as friendly as George W. Bush, Congress was still pro-Israel and the Obama administration has okayed a lot of financial support to Israel. It’s a long-time trend that doesn’t look to be going away.

  1. Israel Is Stability in the Midst of Chaos

Another reason the generally positive relationship between the US and Israel should continue no matter who is elected the next US President, is that Israel is an island of stability in a sea of crisis. The Middle East has been on fire for the last decade-plus, whereas Israel has managed not only their own crisis, but their involvement in others’ conflicts as well.

In Syria, Israel has threaded the line between preventing the growth and advancement of Hezbollah terrorists by their Syrian government supporters and getting pulled into Syria’s civil war. Despite multiple reports of Israel intervening when necessary, they have managed to stay above the fray.

In their own nation, the Israelis have managed an upsurge in Palestinian terrorism over the last year-plus without the situation spiraling out of control. And during all this, Israel continues to be a beacon of democracy, economic success, and technological innovation. Quite simply, Israel is part of the solution and shouldn’t be treated as a problem.

  1. The US Focus Elsewhere

Israel is worthy of support because they’re increasing world harmony and that stands in sharp contrast to the Syrian civil war in which terrorists have gained territorial footholds, hundreds of thousands have died, and there are repeated accusations of the use of chemical weapons. And that’s just one global crisis.

There is the ongoing fight against ISIS and the threat of ISIS terrorism at home and abroad. Iran remains a threat and Russia has been flexing its muscles. The US has a lot more to worry about than any potential minor disagreement with Israel.

And even outside international affairs, the next US President will need to continue to grow the US economy, deal with immigration and racial issues, all while trying to juggle a highly divisive political environment.

Trump has spoken positively about Israel and so has Clinton. While actions by Clinton weren’t always positive in her time as Secretary of State and Trump has no history as a government leader, don’t expect much to change for Israel in the US—no matter who wins.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 6, 2016)

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