If one thing became crystal clear with last week’s visit to the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu it is this: the relationship between America and Israel is back on track.
Almost overnight, the Obama Administration’s mistreatment of Israel and frosty approach to one of our nation’s most vital allies has thawed. America and Israel now stand poised to get back to how things used to be, which is also how they should be. After all, you would be hard pressed to point to another U.S. ally whose security interests align more closely with our own. Both America and Israel understand the need for cooperation to confront the global threat of radical Islamic terrorism and to present a united front against in the face of continued aggression by the unelected mullahs in Iran who still call openly for the destruction of the Jewish state and the United States.
But don’t just take my word for it. A review of the official White House readout of the meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump delivers the unmistakable message that America and Israel are going to be working together in lockstep during the coming four years. That represents a total rejection of the self-defeating and misguided approach of the Obama Administration, which saw Israel routinely and undeservedly castigated.
The White House release on the meeting opened by recognizing the “special relationship and unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel.” It correctly pointed out that “deep-rooted political, military, economic, and social ties reflect our shared values, strategic interests, and dynamic economic and trade partnerships.”
President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed in their discussions that there will be “no daylight,” between the nations. This is a radical departure from Obama’s administration, which declined to privately discuss matters of disagreement and instead opted to publicly criticize Israel and to disparage its leader in the form of personal insults by unnamed officials fed to members of the media.
When it comes to Iran, it appears that the United States has decided to abandon the naïve and dangerous approach of Obama, which culminated in a disastrous nuclear deal that saw Iran reap a $150 billion windfall without being required to dismantle its illicit nuclear weapons program. That deal, despite strong opposition from the majority of the American public, was jammed through Congress by procedural means that avoided a vote when it became clear that a majority of legislators were opposed.
According to the White House, “the two leaders agreed that the Iran nuclear deal is a terrible deal for the United States, Israel, and the world.” Importantly, President Trump assured Israel that “Iran must not, and will not, obtain nuclear weapons capability.” Actions speak louder than words. Obama may have claimed to have Israel’s back, but with President Trump in the Oval Office the Jewish state can expect for the United States to truly stand with our ally in both word and deed. Following several aggressive moves during the early days of his presidency, President Trump has already put Iran on notice regarding its behavior.
When it comes to negotiations aimed at achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians, President Trump underscored a fundamental truth and principle that seemed to escape Obama’s team: such talks “can only be negotiated directly between the two parties.” The previous administration needlessly applied pressure to Israel in apparent hopes of forcing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. In addition to being wrong, that was completely counterproductive. It signaled to the Palestinians that they actually gain leverage on Israel while continuing to incite their citizens to violence and hatred of Israelis and Jews while shamelessly paying salaries to the families of terrorists.
President Trump has already made it clear that he will not abide the Palestinian use of terrorist violence and anti-Semitic indoctrination, speaking powerfully against both during his campaign.
Strong support for Israel can be found not just in the White House and in the Capitol, but all across the United States. Public opinion polls consistently show that the American public is firmly in Israel’s corner. For the past four years, Gallup polls have placed Israel’s favorability ratings at 70 percent or higher, which is a testament to the strength of the bilateral relationship on a people-to-people level.
Those bilateral relations are expected to grow even deeper with President Trump at the helm. The White House this week noted that both sides will be forming working groups “in a number of areas, including cyber, intelligence, security, trade, technology, countering the threats posed by Iran and other actors, and promoting Arab-Israeli cooperation, including economic cooperation.”
Presumably, Prime Minister Netanyahu is returning home pleased and assured that Israel has a true friend in the White House. Ultimately, that will provide important and lasting benefits to both countries. During the next four years, the positive impacts of America’s renewed and upgraded relationship with our cherished ally Israel will ultimately be felt not just across the Middle East, but all around the world.