The extraordinary alliance between Israel and the United States in the Trump-Netanyahu era marks the zenith of the relationship between the two countries, one never to be repeated again
Bernie Sanders, the “Jewish” front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination just publicly called the new Israeli government “racist”. This government, by the way, has 65 out of 120 seats in the Knesset, a 54% majority. In the popular vote, when one considers the “wasted” votes for the New Right and Zehut parties, both of them right wing, that did not cross the necessary minimal threshold of four Knesset seats, this majority is closer to 60%. This means that roughly 6 out of 10 Israeli voters, Jews and Gentile alike, voted for parties that as part of their election campaigns committed to their voters to support Benjamin Netanyahu and only him for the post of prime minister. As a consequence of this, least anyone mistake it for mere campaign rhetoric, should Mr. Sanders win the Democratic nomination and defeat Donald Trump in the general election, he will have to deal with an important allied leader, recently democratically elected by an enormous landslide, whom he repeatedly vilified in the most egregious of ways possible by calling him a racist.
This rhetoric is not unique to Mr. Sanders. Far from it, there is no one running for the Democratic nomination who has not used similar language or has raised the slightest objection to those who do. The Democratic party as a whole rejects the results of the Israeli democratic process and in essence views Israel’s duly elected leadership as illegitimate and with it the 60% of Israelis who voted for it. The logical extension of this position, and it is not at all a far-fetched one, is that the Democratic Party of America rejects the legitimacy of the State of Israel in its entirety. One can argue with the legitimacy of unelected regimes like the ones in Iran or North Korea, while at the same time fully endorsing the legitimacy of these nations and states as members of the international community, but it is impossible to declare the democratic choice of well over half the population of a country illegitimate and still support that country’s existence. There can be no separation between the labels the Democrats are attaching to Benjamin Netanyahu and the 60% of Israelis who voted for him.
In a very real sense, this rhetoric from the Democratic leadership and its candidates for the presidency is nothing but a particularly heavy-handed form of interference in Israel’s domestic affairs and specifically in that most sacred sovereign right, the right to choose one’s own leadership. What the Democrats are telling the Israeli public is that should they come to power, and of course they eventually will, the United States of America, the world’s sole superpower and Israel’s closest ally will dictate to Israel who is acceptable to it as Israel’s leader and who is not. The Democrats are telling Israel that if it wants to retain America’s friendship and support, it must become, in essence, an American protectorate, a vassal state with fewer rights than those enjoyed by other American territories such as Guam or Puerto Rico.
Luckily for Israel, the inevitable cooling off of the relationship between Israel and America to levels not seen since the Eisenhower administration is something that Benjamin Netanyahu has long foreseen and prepared for. Having spent his high school and college years in America, Netanyahu is an astute scholar of American demographics and politics. Throughout his long tenure as Israeli prime minister, he has led an aggressive policy of switching the focus of Israeli foreign and economic alignments from the US and Western Europe to other regions of the world, regions that remain uninfected by the deadly virus of progressivism. Today, Israel is one of the biggest and most strategic suppliers of military hardware to India. It is also rapidly developing trade and technology relationships with Pacific Rim countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Israel is very active in South America, particularly in its two biggest countries, Brazil and Argentina. Eastern Europe is another major focus for Israeli activities, as is sub-Saharan Africa.
Regular Israelis no longer see America as the center of the universe, as something to aspire to. The difficulty many of them experience in getting American tourist or business visas and the opening of the rest of the world to Israeli travel and business make America rather irrelevant to many everyday Israelis. Growing up in Israel the 1970’s, America was everything to us. It was the pinnacle of our aspirations. This is no longer true. The new generation of Israelis is more comfortable in Estonia, India, or Brazil than it is in New York or Miami. Of course, these changes take time and still today there are thriving communities of Israeli expats across most major American cities, but the trend is unmistakable. Israel and America and getting a divorce.
The unprecedented cooperation and friendship bordering on a love affair that exists now between Israel and America is purely an artifact of the leadership of both countries. Trump and Netanyahu are old friends and recent comrades on the battlefield of nationalism versus progressivism. They see eye to eye on almost everything and both know that this is not meant to last. They know that when they are gone the two countries are destined to drift apart regardless of who replaces them at the helm. There are many reasons for that and it could very well be that on the question of what those reasons may be the two leaders disagree. I suspect that Netanyahu sees America as a superpower in steep decline, a nation that has lost its way and is three quarters of the way to committing national suicide and writing itself off the stage of history. As the son of a famous historian and a student of history himself, he can hardly draw a different conclusion. The light in America’s eyes has gone out, it is now as the prophet Jeremiah would say, “a cane of broken reeds”, not to be relied upon.
Trump may disagree on the subject of American decline, but even he knows that he has no real successors in the American political arena, that the American nationalist movement is a movement of one extraordinary, but aged and soon to be term-limited individual – himself. Whoever gets elected after him in 2020 or 2024 is not likely to continue the bold policies, domestically or internationally that Trump has put in place. There is simply no will for it among the American electorate, which, like it or not, includes both legal and illegal immigrants.
The American Israeli relationship is now at its supernova stage; the one last flash of brilliance before it collapses into the dwarf star of limited ad-hoc cooperation on certain technological and military matters, nothing more. This is made inevitable by developments on both sides of the Atlantic. As Israeli Jews grow less European, less progressive, and less secular, the vast majority of American Jews rejects these trends even at the price of its own irrelevance, loss of political clout, and eventual physical disappearance. This is a conscious choice. American Jews know that progressivism and Judaism are incompatible in the long term, because Judaism is an ethno-religious exclusionary phenomenon, while progressivism rejects exclusion on any grounds, but most forcefully and specifically on the grounds of ethnicity and religion.
Like all well-educated and affluent Westerners, American Jews do not reproduce at sustainable rates or anywhere close to that. Throw in the very high percentage of intermarriage among American progressive Jewry and the fact that nearly all of it belongs to the Judaism-lite Reformed and Conservative movements and the picture is clear. There is simply no future for American progressive Jews, who, alas, form the majority of American Jewry.
Jews aside, America is inexorably and irreversibly becoming less Western, less Christian, and thus much less inclined to ally itself with an archetypal ethno-state like Israel with its identity planted deep in the Old Testament. As time goes on, in the very near future, the historical, religious, and ideological ties that formed the foundation of the Israeli-American alliance will reveal themselves to have been long since in tatters, hanging by a thread, held together only by the unlikely and unrepeatable presidency of Donald J. Trump.
There is little point in bemoaning the inevitable. Nothing lasts forever. Israel, regardless of what people may think, does not depend on a close alliance with America for its survival. Of the major weaponry that is wielded by the IDF, only fighter jets and the Patriot anti-aircraft and anti-missile system are American-made and there is no reason to assume that America would stop supplying these weapons systems to Israel even if the alliance is no longer very strong. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Israel began work on phasing out the Patriot batteries and started work, once again, on its own multi-task fighter jet. The capabilities are certainly there, so it is only a matter of political will. The much vaunted American “aid” to Israel is in reality a subsidy to America’s own weapons manufacturers, since very nearly all of it must be spent in America. With annual GDP of over $350 billion, American “aid” of roughly $3 billion amounts to less than 1% of that number, hardly a make it or break it sum of money. In the end, both America and Israel have to chart their own courses along the trajectory of human history, but one thing is clear: once aligned, these courses are now rapidly diverging.
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