None of the Israel-U.S. Scare
Scenarios Envisioned by Netanyahu’s Opponents Have Come to Pass
By Moshe Arens
September 25, 2016
The claim that he is ruining
Israel’s relations with the United States has for some time been the favorite
poisoned arrow of those aiming to shoot down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
All Israelis know that Israel’s relationship with the United States is one of
Israel’s most important strategic assets, and possibly the most important. If
the public can be convinced that he is ruining this relationship, that might be
a good reason for it to turn its back on him.
Netanyahu’s valiant efforts to
keep U.S. President Barack Obama from concluding the nuclear limitation
agreement with Iran played right into their hands. Although most in Israel
agreed that the agreement with the ayatollah’s regime in Iran was flawed and
inimical to Israel’s interests, Netanyahu’s opponents emphasized that his
adamant opposition, and especially his speech before both houses of Congress,
was going to enrage the American president and most of the Democratic party to
the point of destroying the Israeli-American alliance that had been built over
the past few decades. For this damage to Israel’s most vital interests, they
insisted, he should not be forgiven.
But it did not happen. The United
States is selling Israel its most advanced fighter aircraft, the F-35,
intelligence and technological cooperation is continuing, U.S. military aid will
go on. In their eagerness to claim that Netanyahu is doing untold damage to the
relationship between the two countries, they ignored the basis of the
U.S.-Israeli relationship: that it is fundamental and unbreakable, based on
common ideals, common values and common interests. And they sold short the U.S.
president, expecting that in a fit of anger Obama would act in a manner contrary
to the interests of the United States.
So when a $38-billion U.S.
military aid package for the next 10 years was signed in Washington, what was
left to be said? That somebody — other than Netanyahu, presumably — could
have gotten more! In other words, that we deserved more and that the Americans
would have given us more had it not been for Netanyahu’s “antics.”Now that
is a little far-fetched and gratuitous. Since the days, over 30 years ago, when
Israel began receiving about $3 billion dollars in U.S. military aid annually,
Israel has prospered, its economy growing more rapidly than the U.S. economy.
U.S. military aid now represents little more than 1% of Israel’s gross
domestic product. And we should have insisted on more? And somebody else would
have gotten us more? This argument is both ridiculous and shameful.
When it was announced that Obama
and Netanyahu were going to meet at the United Nations last week, the specter
was raised by Netanyahu’s opponents that Obama was now going to read Netanyahu
the riot act in front of the cameras. Of course that did not happen. That
meeting was one of Obama’s many farewell meetings with leaders of the world,
and he was not about to turn a meeting with the leader of one of America’s
most important allies into a scandal. Anybody who knows anything about American
political culture would have known that.
Still hoping for the worst, now
grasping at straws, speculation is now ripe that Obama will use the intervening
two months between the election of his successor and the successor’s
inauguration to strike a dramatic blow against Israel at the UN. To my
knowledge, never in the history of the United States has an outgoing president
taken a major action that was not coordinated with his elected successor during
the two-month interim period. It is most unlikely that Obama would set such a
precedent. The prophets of doom better go back to studying U.S. history.