Israel-US Ties Remain ‘Very Strong’ Despite Disagreements

US-Israel not always close, but still sharing a table. PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Kerry. Photo Courtesy of Haim Zach (GPO).

US-Israel not always close, but still sharing a table. PM Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Kerry. Photo Courtesy of Haim Zach (GPO).

The Obama Administration has faced plenty of criticism regarding their sometimes rocky relationship with Israel, with news reports openly questioning if the Americans might be on the verge of abandoning their key ally in the Middle East. Such reports have raised the specter of Israel being unjustly turned into a pariah state over a misguided international support for the Palestinians.

But so far, the doomsday scenario hasn’t taken place, noted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. “In recent years, we have heard remarks about the collapse of relations [with the US]. What has collapsed is the talk about a collapse and what is becoming increasingly clear is that this special relationship finds expression in very many areas,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office. As an example, Netanyahu pointed to security assistance from the US to Israel, which includes a memorandum they hope to put in place to provide such backing for the coming decade.

Despite some sharp disagreements on key issues that have shown the American government to be less friendly to Israel’s needs than in the past—such as the Palestinians and the Iranian nuclear program—the relationship has continued.

Just last week, Netanyahu met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A press release from Netanyahu’s office after the meeting with Kerry said it was a “very good private meeting” that included Netanyahu showing the top US diplomat a video on Palestinian incitement.

A US press release posted on the White House website of the Biden-Netanyahu meeting said the American Vice President “reaffirmed the unshakable U.S. commitment to Israel’s security, and the two leaders discussed ways to further deepen security cooperation to confront common regional threats.”

Syria, Iran, and ISIS (ISIL) were discussed in both Israel-US meetings at Davos.

On Sunday, Netanyahu argued that the US still recognizes Israel’s role in the face of such threats. “Everyone understands that in the end, in the whirlpool in the Middle East, with the rise of radical Islamic forces, Israel is the US’s strongest, and most loyal and stable, ally in the region. This also finds expression in the shared values and common interests that we are advancing.”

So with just one more year of the Obama presidency remaining, the US-Israel friendship has endured the controversy so far. In fact, President Barack Obama is even doing something he hasn’t done in years—visit the Israeli embassy in the US, this time for an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event.

Said Netanyahu on Sunday, “This is further testimony that the relationship between the US and Israel is—despite disagreements that arise from time-to-time—very strong and steadfast.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, January 24, 2016)

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