The apocalypse is coming! No, its not the Iran deal, its not Islamic State (IS), nor is it the Houthis in Yemen or Boko Haram in Nigeria. It is the fact that for the first time in history the relationship between Israel and the United States has reached an egregious state, perhaps its nadir.
The affair between Israel and the United States has been one of the perhaps lasting alliances in history. It was a relationship built on trust and plenty of financial support.
The United States has always looked after Israel’s interest and acted like an iron curtain, shielding it from the corrupt and chaotic region it inhabits.
From its infancy, Israel as a young democratic state in an authoritarian Middle East, was seen as the only possible ally for the United States. Both countries shared similar values, principles, common ground on democracy and a robust stance and presence in the Middle East. Although the United States had a string of other alliances in the Middle East, Israel was a consistent relationship.
A Camp David, Oslo Accords, Road Map and peace initiatives later, America’s relationship with Israel was going strong. America was there during peace talks with Arafat over the Palestinians and was there to defend Israel against a Soviet backed, Nasser’s Egypt when the Middle East turned into a playground between the Soviet Union and the United States. America was also there to reassure Israel of the toppling Arab Spring domino effect that was and still is taking place in the region.
One can quickly understand that this is not just a relationship and an alliance but a genuine friendship of trust that has secured Israel’s safety and reassured it its place in the international scene when the Arab states refused to make a place for it in the region. Therefore, running the risk of losing this friendship could be fatal.
Israel has made its sentiments over the Iran deal very clear. It has pointed out the flaws and concerns over bargaining for a better deal and perhaps lobbying Congress to condemn the recent talks and put a halt on diplomacy.
The Obama administration has issued numerous statements reassuring Israel that no harm will be bestowed on Israel through this deal and that they are taking the necessary measures to achieve a nuclear bomb free Iran. John Kerry has even recently claimed that what America has achieved through diplomacy, Israel wanted to go to war over. What looks like a successful outcome to the Iran deal was met with a bitter disagreement by the Israeli government, especially Netanyahu.
However, in the midst of Netanyahu’s dogmatic approach to the Iran deal, what has began to surface was an even bigger concern that was never there: losing the friendship with the United States. Days after Netanyahu’s persistence, the White House issued a joke about Israel’s concern with the Iran nuclear deal by drawing a bomb that is similar to the bomb drawing Netanyahu flashed at the United Nations speech when he discussed Iran.
Israel is not only risking a simple ridicule or a late April fools joke from the White House but rather a worse outcome: being ignored or even the beginning of a suspicious relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Of course this was not something that festered over night but it did gain momentum with the speech Netanyahu stubbornly made at Congress after Obama and other members urged him not to do so. It was the fact that Netanyahu and Obama openly showcased their distrust and animosity to each other and the fact that Netanyahu won’t back down and allow diplomacy to take its course over the Iran nuclear deal.
We have long abandoned the idea that peace with Arab countries in the region will be reached overnight but the idea that we are isolating ourselves, pariah almost, from the rest of the international community especially America is alarming. This is not to say that the international community including America is anti-Israel, no, it is becoming anti-Netanyahu. If Israel plays its cards right and backs down it might salvage a relationship that took years to build.