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'We are losing the special status of the eldest and spoilt child in the eyes of the White House' Photo: AP
'We are losing the special status of the eldest and spoilt child in the eyes of the White House' Photo: AP
 
Eitan Haber Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
Eitan Haber Photo: Shalom Bar Tal
 
 

Israel losing America

Op-ed: As US map of interests in Middle East changes, White House getting increasingly tired of our conduct

Eitan Haber
Published: 06.09.13, 20:08 / Israel Opinion

A Jew in the Land of Israel goes to sleep at night with at least one thing not to be concerned about: He knows that the United States – the great America – always stands by Israel. And he knows that as long as this great world power stands by us, we have nothing to worry about, at least in terms of international support.

 

One hundred and ninety countries envy the special relations between Washington and Jerusalem. And we, our lives very much depend on the man sitting in the house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, and he is the one who makes sure that we have wheat to bake our bread and he is the one who sends us F-16 jets so that we can sleep peacefully. America is with us.

 

Stalled Talks
Weak American battery  / Eitan Gilboa
Op-ed: Failure to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks another sign of diminished US status in region
Full op-ed

For those of you who don't know, or no longer remember, it wasn't always like this. The US did recognize the State of Israel only nine minutes after the declaration of the State in 1948, but according to historical tales, then-US President Harry S. Truman once said to his friend Eddie Jacobson, "We created a problem child."

 

Jacobson, by the way, was once co-partner in Truman's hat store (some would say clothing store) in Kansas City, and history teaches us that he had a major part in the American president's decision to support the Jewish state (how do we know that's true? The fact is that Israeli history has completely forgotten about Jacobson).

 

The veterans among us remember difficult years in our relationship with America. We were not always popular in the White House. America was the country which threw us out of Sinai (together with the Russians) in 1956. America did not send us weapons, and when it did – it stopped the shipments once we refused to accept its stance. There were hostile American presidents, some would say even anti-Semitic. But in the recent generation, at least, we are another star and state in the US flag of stars and stripes. We know that. The Arabs know that. The world knows that. It's enough for us to go wild, to be the world's "problem child," as Truman once said.

 

The good relations with America improved over the years, and in the days of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush they reached unbelievable heights. If the forms of ties between Washington and Jerusalem are ever revealed, the world will be flabbergasted. Yet the heads of the government in Israel always made certain to maintain the relations and ensure that they are not a passing dream. We've already had American presidents whose telephone operator at the White House was the only person that could be reached, and that is the nightmare of every Israeli prime minister.

 

Burnt dish

An Israeli leader has no illusions: The nature of relations with America is in the essentiality of the interests, reality, and of course a bit more. And when reality changes before our eyes on a daily basis, even the most "Zionist" American president starts thinking, first and foremost, about the welfare of his nation and country in the Middle East, and only later about the Bible and the people of the Book and the ethics of the prophets.

 

In recent years, the US map of interests in the Middle East is changing. The American interest in our region is decreasing, not to mention the fact that the US is getting rid of the dependence on Middle Eastern oil. We are losing the special status of the eldest and spoilt child in the eyes of the White House. To put it explicitly, the current president (and the next president, whoever that may be) no longer "works for us" and is increasingly returning to the format of the "problem child." To put it in our words, it seems that we have burnt our dish in the kitchens of the White House and Capitol Hill. They are getting increasingly tired of our conduct.

 

We always have good answers to the American conduct: Look, listen, they're unfazed. What can you do, that's how our friends overseas are: Unfazed. But we receive the small answers from Washington both in leaks from the White House, including the president's statements, and in appointments of senior officials who directly influence the US policy.

 

Many of those recent appointments are not fond of us, to put it mildly. Even US Jews, especially the young ones, no longer obey every single command coming from Jerusalem. And so we are slowly losing hold of the source of our life, thousands of miles from home. That may not be so crucial at the moment, but if and when it becomes crucial, it will be too late to wake up.

 

 

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