American and Israeli Relations
Prepared for debate in Mr. Corbin’s high school history class
By Abby Hodges
Israel. When you hear that word, what do you think? Do you think of leisure and peace? Or do you think of terror and war? To me, the latter seems more appropriate. Since its almost miraculous formation in 1948, Israel has undergone constant bombings, and lived under continual threat of attack from its Arab neighbors. But why do I call Israel’s formation miraculous? Where did the nation come from? The story of modern Israel and its eventual relationship to the United States actually begins over 3000 years ago, in the ancient writings of the Jewish Torah (our old testament). While the Israelis were still dwelling safely in their land, their prophets wrote that the people of Israel would be scattered throughout the world into many nations and endure persecution while in exile. However, despite this tremendous persecution, they would survive as a people and in the latter days, they would be gathered back from the ends of the earth and returned into the land to become a nation again. History reveals that while the Jews dwelled in these foreign nations they were mistreated and persecuted almost continuously. But they had a tradition, every year when gathered together, they would say, “maybe next year in Jerusalem”.
In 1944 the Jewish people were being annihilated in Auschwitz and many other prison camps throughout Germany and Poland. In 1948, after almost 2000 years in exile, they became a nation again. Surely there is something miraculous in such an amazing chain of events as this. A very brief history of the beginning of modern Israel goes like this; While Jerusalem has always had a Jewish presence, in the nineteenth century a large movement of Jews began to return to the area and cultivate and rebuild the land. After world war two, the U.N. decided to divide what is now known as Israel among the Jews and the Arabs. They offered 3 sections to Israel and 3 to the Arabs. The Jews made it known they would gladly accept such an agreement but the Arabs said they could never allow a Jewish state to exist in the mid-east and they attacked.
This begin the history of the relationship between the U.S. and the tiny nation that was coming into being, Israel. While our government wished the Israelis well in word, in deed we placed an arms embargo on Israel and refused to help in any way. On the other hand, the British threw all their support behind the Arabs, giving arms, money and even providing military leaders on the field with the Arab army.(something the Russians would do later) The Jewish soldiers fought back with tenacity, often using homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails, and older weapons. But when the smoke cleared, they stood victorious, and a nation was reborn.
A similar situation took place again in 1967. The Israeli government offered to make peace with its Arab neighbors and let them have the disputed west bank and Gaza strip, if only they would promise to live in peace. The answer they received was the promise of attack from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, all armed to the teeth by the Soviet Union. Once again the U.S. placed an arms embargo on Israel. Once again Israel would have to go it alone, against the combined might of three nations that were backed by all the other Arab nations as well as Russia. In fact, the Israeli soldiers were outnumbered one hundred to one. Six days later, after having defeated all of their would be conquerors and having advanced to the edge of all three of the invading nation’s capital cities, the U.N. suddenly became anxious for a peace and pled for a cease fire.
Since those days, the U.S. has been a more faithful ally to Israel. But let the record stand clear, Israel can stand on her own two feet. This is a nation formed out of two thousand years of exile, wandering, persecution and pogroms. This is a nation born out of the hell of the fires of Auschwitz. It is our honor and privilege to stand with her as an ally.
For years, Israel has gratefully received any help that the U.S. offers them, including aid that enhances her security. But who or what do the Israelis need security from? I believe they need our help in protecting them from their Arab and Persian (Iran) neighbors. We need to understand that the Arabs do not want or intend to make peace with Israel.
Many times Israel had tried to negotiate and divide their land between the Arabs and themselves. On several occasions, the Arabs refused to accept any land as long as Israel remained a country. The Arabs message to the world has been that they want the “annihilation” of the Jewish state. The Arabs believe that the land, from the river to the sea, belongs to them alone. A quote by Benjamin Netanyahu sums up the ongoing violence: “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel.” The Arabs leave no room for collaboration and will continually try to destroy Israel.
Throughout all their struggles the Israelis have looked to the U.S. for inspiration, financial and military assistance, security, and diplomatic support. In exchange, the U.S. has viewed Israel with special appreciation for its successful effort to follow the western democratic tradition, its economic development, and its determined struggle against its uncompromising enemies. Our security policy with Israel has remained strong, and will hopefully never cease. Israel not only plays a critical role in the strategic assets and the intelligence gathering to the U.S., there is a unique friendship with Israel that is morally right. We are committed to Israel’s security, prosperity, and future as a land that has so much to offer the world. Israel’s security is of vital importance for both countries on the basis of economic, political, and cultural aspects. Our foreign policy since Carter is one of trying to make peace between the Arabs and the Israeli’s, but it is dangerous and foolish to pretend that the so called Palestinians are anything but implacable.
Can you believe that since tiny Israel declared its independence it has never lost a major war since 1948? It is considered the fourth most powerful nation in the world, which is quite shocking considering that their population is 7.1 million, and their country is smaller than New Jersey. According to countercurrents.org Israel has over 200 warheads, which is enough to wipe the Arab world off the map in minutes. But unlike many other countries, they are not trying to rule the world; they are just trying to find a place in it. “The United States and Israel share many common objectives, which is the building of a better world in which every nation can develop its resources and develop them in freedom and peace” said Lyndon Johnson. Many people feel that our ties are based upon our common morality. Our role in supporting Israel honors our own heritage. Many Americans feel that the roots of these types of feelings come from the Bible. There are cultural ties between Americans and Israelis that should never be forgotten. Each country has based itself upon the same morals and the same principles. There was a profound influence of Jewish tradition on the Founding Fathers that can be seen in the Constitution. John Adams stated in a letter written to Thomas Jefferson that he “will insist that the Hebrew’s have done more to civilize man than any other nation.” Woodrow Wilson once said “in the spirit and essence of our constitution, the influence of the Hebrew Commonwealth was paramount in that it was not only the highest authority for the principle, but also because it was in itself a divine precedent for a pure democracy, as distinguished from monarchy, aristocracy or any other form of government.” We can also ask ourselves, what are the Jewish people’s cultural contributions to the world? The old and New Testament would be a good starting place, and their overall influence would be impossible to measure.
While the Jewish people only make up .02 percent of the world’s population it has given us 129 Nobel Prize winners since 1910. Science.com has pages of information on the Israeli Nobel prizes in science, agriculture etc. In comparison, the global Islamic population is approximately 20 percent of the world and they have given us a total of seven Nobel Prize winners. Just glancing at these numbers, who wouldn’t want to remain allies with Israel? The last but not least aspect that America must look at is our religious ties with Israel. According to the bible, the Jews are God’s Chosen people and Israel is God’s land. If the bible is true, God will ultimately be the one who will defend Israel. Woe to America if we turn our backs on the Jewish people and their land, Eretz Israel.
Conclusion: By studying this foreign policy, my partner and I have found that America should maintain a broad security policy with Israel. We must pledge our allegiance and we must try to support Israel no matter what course the rest of the world takes. Our security policy with Israel is of vast importance. We cannot let our current president allow for Israel to live under constant attack from its neighbors, or push them to divide Jerusalem. We should try and show our support to any nation that upholds a democratic system, helps the fight against terrorism and bolsters America’s own prosperity by its strength and contributions. Some of your family may have survived a disease or will in the future simply because of the genius of one of the many Jewish Nobel Prize winners. I believe to bless Israel is to be blessed, and to curse Israel is to be cursed. May we as a nation always be a blessing to the nation of Israel.
“This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the LORD Almighty is his name: Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” Jer.31:35, 36
‘’In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” Joel 3:1-2
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And then all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.” Romans 11:25, 26
“They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Jesus, Luke 21:24