Why does the U.S. government support Israel?

I’m just wondering, from a practical standpoint, why the United States government is determined to maintain such strong ties to Israel. It seems that doing so has not been so great for our relations with countries in the Arab world. In fact, it seems that our alliance with Israel is one of the main reasons that terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda choose to target us. I’m not suggesting we should quit supporting Israel just to get the terrorists off our back. But what benefit do we get from Israel that justifies allying ourselves with them so closely?

(Please note: I’m not trying to make a political statement such as saying we shouldn’t maintain our ties to Israel. I’m just genuinely wondering what the reasoning is behind this aspect of our foreign policy.)

Idealogical reason: Because Israel is a democracy and its enemies are not.

Realpolitik reason: Because Israel is a potent strategic ally and a military “foothold” in the region.

Fundamentalist reason: Because until the Jews return to Israel, the Rapture can’t occur.

Pick whichever suits you best.

We shouldn’t overlook cultural reasons, which I think have played a significant factor in whom countries choose to ally with. IMO, of course, but I get the impression that many in the US feel culturally bound to Israel because Jewish immigration to the US has been far more significant than Arab immigration until recently, and also because of the Judeo-Christian cultural heritage that many in the US share with Israel.

But I think that inertia is the real reason here. Alliances tend not to change until they are forced to change. Many of the US alliances with the Middle East were formed during the cold war, and until some event demands a change (such as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait), thing will simply stay the way they are.

The USA never was always Israels biggest supporter , back in 48 , it was the soviet union that was the first country ,I believe to recognize the state of Israel. After that , Israel went through a variety of different patron states , France being the top of the list , right up till 67.

When France embargoed military equipment that Israel had already paid for , the crafty israeli’s struck back , by stealing the plans for Frances top warplane at the time.

So in practical terms , up until the cold war ended , Israel was a club that was held over the heads of arab states as a subtle warning to keep in line, while 100 million arabs was the club that the soviets held.

Right now I would say that there really is no one good reason for terminating the relationship at this point, keeping the status quo for another several years never hurts , and somehow decades pass in between.


Maybe the fact the Jews run the world?

Except that keeping the status quo gives Muslims reason to believe the United States is their enemy, for its seemingly lopsided support of Israel.

Please tell us you’re joking…

Yes a joke it was.
And i am very sorry if it was not appropriate in this forum.

I personally think the Jews should get Israel, they arent asking for much all they want is their little bit of holy land and as mentioned before it IS a democracy.

American policy is dictated by a variety of things, but my personal take on the situation is that American policy makers are comfortable with Israel , they have history , they keep their bargains etc. Next is the fact that Israel , thanks to the Germans now have a second strike capability for their nuclear deterrent that does not quite exist , so staying friends and trusted ally , exudes a calm degree of control.

Right now in the eyes of the Muslim world , probably from the mid sixties onwards , the American Govt has been dammed if they do , and dammed if they don’t , in regards to the general muslim population.

They can believe what they want , but in the end , bet on Israel.


To be honest, I have often wondered the same myself.

I do not claim to be an expert in Israeli/US relations, but it seems to me that Israel is only a friend of the US when there is an Israeli need. Despite vast amounts of money and miltary technology from the US, Israel pretty much ignores any US suggestions regarding peace treaties and attempts to broker peace.

OK…I don’t live there, and I am sure there are plenty of reasons (suicide bombers) for a lack of good faith.

But I sometimes wonder if the US is not helping, but enabling Israel to thumb their noses at every arab country simply because their big brother, the USA, is going to whoop some ass if anyone tries anything.

Let’s just say I don’t see the two way street in Israeli/US diplomacy. Correct me if I am wrong (and I am sure you will).

It really depends on what your long range plans are, and really the arab nations have never gotten used to the fact that Israel is a reality and its not going away, plus , one has to wonder if the arab nations perfer it that way.

Having an american diplomat explain to a arab diplomat , you either deal with us , or you deal with the Israelis , on their terms.

Part of the nature of that part of the world, just because you can’t see it , does not mean its not there.


Because Israel is an ally with a large and advanced military that can be relied on to commit troops to the multinational force participating in the invasion of Iraq.

I disagree that Isarael is a democracy, or at least a very good democracy. It is, in many ways, exclusionary of Arab citizens, who do not have access to all the levers of power that Jewish citizens have. It promotes a state religion, in fact it calls itself the Jewish state of Israel.

I believe that it is a democracy more in the sense that Apartheid South Africa was a democracy, a certain group within the counry have a political voice, but many others do not.

Also, it is sometimes presented as a democracy that can help democratize the region and I think that is patently untrue. If anything, the intense hatred Israel engenders in the Arab world, discredits democracy in the region.

As for America’s support of Israel, I think Israel has an amazing lobbying consituency in the US that exert pressure on decision makers to support it.

That’s not to say that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist, but I find it frustrating that in the US, we can’t even have a dialogue about supporting Israel without running the risk of being labeled anti-Semetic.

I think all US alliances should serve US interests and I’m not sure the US-Israeli alliance does. Worse yet, we can’t seem to have a discussion of correcting or modifying the relationship because it is such an emotional issue.

But how is that any different than what the Palestinians are asking for? You can say “Yeah, but the Muslims already have tons of countries,” but Muslims and Palestinians aren’t the same thing. I mean, the fact that there is Muslim controlled land in Iran or Pakistan isn’t going to make a Palestinian feel any better if you give his home away to an Israeli on the grounds that their religion has historically been screwed over more often.

Personally, I think all the different religious groups living in Israel have some legitamate claims on the region. Ideally, they could all live together peacefully in a society in which they all receive fair representation and equal treatment. Too bad real life is far from ideal . . .

Aside from all the politics of the Middle East, I think the question boils down to this:

Given all the difficulties and costs associated with support of Israel, why is it in the United States’ vital interest to support the state?
What do we gain, what do we lose and is it worth it?

I don’t think the Israelis need America to defend them. This was beautifully demonstrated during the Six-Day War when Israel bitch-slapped most of the Arabs in the region.

Doe4 it all boil down to oil? Is that to stupid? Yep probably.

It just seems like such a tiny part of the world for so much focus.

I think that if it all came down to oil, you would see less support for Israel, not more. After all, it is the Arab states that have the large oil reserves in the region, not Israel. Support for Israel causes friction with our oil suppliers

US air support was decisive in that war.

I know this. I just struggle to see why when so much of the world is in a dreadful state that so much energy is focused on the ME.

Chad, Bangladesh, Somalia? Anyone?

Did you know that we give 14,000 worth of free aid to each household in Israel, every year?

Did any of you hear ex president Jimmy Carters speach, at the convention, where he said that Israel makes Middle East policy for the US?

I’m curious, why didn’t our media pick up on these things and ask the difficult questions.

Furthermore, If we look at outsourcing, I would ask that you look to the past and how jobs are created. From the blacksmith, modern mertallurgy came about and from the simple calculator, came the super computers of today, which will keep expanding into the next generations of computers, as will modern metallurgy and with any job, comes the new thinking and actions of tommorrow. As overseas has proven, they will infringe on copywrite protection, but it sure isn’t smart to give any jobs away to overseas.

60% of college students in this country are from foreign nations and even at greately reduced rates of pay for foreigners in their home countries, they make a much better living wage and Bush has spent an additional 400 million on education. What good the 400 million, if 60 percent of students are foreign?

The money is fast being drained away from this country and more people are going on the dole and have stopped looking for jobs.

I ask that you consider, --If the parents of a family give away even 30% of their money and or time to someone outside the family, does that not greately reduce that familys potential? If that is so, do we not weaken this entire nation and strengthen Israel and other nations at our own peril as is happening.

Good fences make for good neighbors and the government, just as parents must keep this njation strong so that we can afford to help others, but not to the extent that we hurt this nation.

The democrats give away the bank to those on the dole for their votes, while the republicans give away the bank to the powerful in this and many other nations and we cannot maintain this nation in such a manner. Take care of this nation first and be frugal in all areas, for the loss of a nation is in all the smallest of things.

What about all those government giveaways? Politicians have become the red light district for this nation. NO COMMON SENSE.