The Israel-Iran countdown has already begun, but will Washington help the tiny Jewish State? Will Israel strike Iran even without America's "green light?"
American taxpayers fund some 20-25% of Israel’s defense budget, with the Jewish State being the largest recipient by far of American aid since World War II. Moreover, the United States has cast 40 vetoes to protect Israel in the UN Security Council.
The above facts have made Israel highly dependent on the US for economic, military and diplomatic support. There is a quid pro quo for such support, but also a limit to what even that degree of dependence can buy.
Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin once told a US ambassador: “We’re not a vassal state.” But it seems he got it wrong. Over the years, Israel has becomes subservient to the United States and “America’s 51st state.” It is no wonder perhaps that Obama’s Administration fomented a war on Jerusalem and treated Israel like a banana republic.
Washington doesn’t support Israel because the Jewish State's democracy or respect for human rights. America’s interest in Israel’s strategic value – rather than shared values, the Holocaust or “David and Goliath” – has always been the primary motivation for US aid. But it can change tomorrow, especially if Israel's survival becomes a heavy burden for Washington.
That's why Israel must remember that she is America’s ally and client, but not friend.
The first US presidents after Israel was established - Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson - gave nothing to Jerusalem. If Israel’s birth in 1948 had depended solely on US support, the Jewish State would not have been reborn then.
Truman maintained a US embargo against arms sales to the Israeli and Arabs, which was effective only against Israel. Eisenhower expelled Israel from Sinai and Gaza without a peace treaty. Prior to the Six Day War, Abba Eban approached Johnson and all he got was an arms embargo on the Middle East.
Israel can stand tall in the face of its powerful ally because it never asked American soldiers to spill their blood for its defense. It's Washington that must beg for Israel’s alliance, as it cannot afford disengagement from the only democracy in that dark region.
But will the US eventually be compelled to sacrifice Israel on the altar of realism, when Iran’s knife will descend on Isaac? And will the Jewish state's leadership dutifully bind Israel on the altar?