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Prof. Norman Bailey comments on US-Israel relations

Since independence in 1948, the State of Israel has had no more significant international ally than the United States. That alliance has ranged from the signing of the first free trade agreement between the US and another country to diplomatic protection in the United Nations and other international fora to close and highly significant defense, security and intelligence collaboration.

On various occasions, the alliance has undergone serious strains, most notably during the Carter administration (1977-1981), and the question of Jewish settlements in the West Bank has always festered, but relations have never been worse than at present. Dialogue between the two allies has degenerated to the point of name-calling, with the Israeli minister of defense questioning the sanity of the US secretary of state (“delusional”) and a high-level but unnamed US official calling the Israeli prime minister a coward (“chicken-shit”).

As one wag put it, relations have sunk to the level of the barnyard, with a lame duck administration in Washington referring to the head of government in Jerusalem as having the fortitude of a chicken because he refuses to reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority on terms proposed by the Americans. In good schoolchildren fashion Minister Ya’alon’s leaked private characterization of Secretary Kerry as “delusional” led to his being denied appointments with the secretary (and with the vice-president) during a recent visit to DC. 

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