Middle East scholar: U.S. supports Israel because of shared values
June 18, 2012 3 Comments
By Jack Sztrigler, TIP Fellow
Washington, June 18 - According to Middle East expert Aaron David Miller, the U.S. supports Israel because the two countries share the same values.
Miller explained the answer to “why do we support Israel?” does not lie in the five and a half million Jews living in America, nor the feelings of responsibility and remorse that World War II embedded in us, nor the advantages that the alliance with Israel provides both militarily and strategically. The answer, per Millier, lies in the image of Israel in the minds of Americans throughout the country. This image is a reflection of shared values between the U.S. and Israel.
But that does not mean the two countries need to agree on everything.
“To say the U.S. and Israel are in lockstep on every decision is not honest,” Miller said on Capitol Hill during a briefing hosted by The Israel Project Monday. “We need a frank discussion among friends.”
He said the real story lies not in the denying of these differences but in looking at how they are managed.
Miller also broke the myth that Israel either has everything or nothing to do with U.S. domestic policy. He stressed that the further away from Congress, the less Israel matters in domestic policy. Regardless, though, Miller said a president with a good idea and a plan to solve a problem always trumps domestic policy.
Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center Middle East, also said it is wrong to say that President Obama is an enemy of the state of Israel. He explained that compared to the last two American presidents, Obama was less compelled to show as much and as strong support for Israel from the onset, but to argue that Obama is an enemy of the country of Israel is flat out wrong. He said the idea that a second-term president can pursue Arab-Israeli peace agreements without the interest of Israel, also called “the second-term illusion,” is wrong and unprecedented.
The Israel Project’s briefing also featured representatives from the Romney and Obama presidential campaigns, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Israel to the United States Barukh Binah, and a panel of notable journalists.