— by Steve Sheffey
The U.S.-Israel relationship emerged stronger than ever in 2013.
- Remember the right-wing hysterics about the nominations of Chuck Hagel and Samantha Power?
Both have proven in word and deed to be solidly pro-Israel.
- Remember the right-wing claims that once re-elected, President Obama would turn against Israel?
Instead, shortly after his re-election, he unequivocally supported Israel’s right to defend itself in Operation Pillar of Defense.
- Remember what our Republican friends told us about Obama when he ran for president in 2008?
Here is what they did not tell us:
- that Obama would always back Israel at the U.N.,
- that he would never cut aid to Israel, and
- that regardless of any disagreement with Israel, he would never even threaten retaliatory action against Israel.
This is a far cry from the George W. Bush days, when loan guarantees were cut in response to settlement activity and when the U.S. stood idly by as the U.N. condemned Israel.
Obama also worked hard in 2013 to find diplomatic solutions to Israel’s two existential threats: a nuclear-armed Iran and a permanent occupation of the West Bank. We will have a much better sense in 2014 of whether his efforts were successful.
No matter how good the U.S.-Israel relationship is, we always want more. That is why historical perspective matters.
Last week, Haim Saban wrote:
Observers may bemoan the lack of personal chemistry between Obama and Netanyahu, but international relationships needn’t be love affairs between leaders. They rest on common interests, common values and reciprocity.
This foundation is what has sustained an exceptional U.S.-Israel partnership through 65 years, 12 U.S. administrations and plenty of rocky news cycles.
2013 reviewed by The Cartoon Kronicles: