Believe it or not, Barack Obama had Israel’s best interest at heart. Trump, on the other hand, will drive a stake through hopes of peace.
By Avi Shlaim / The Guardian
January 17, 2017
That Obama detests Netanyahu is common knowledge. What is less well known is that Obama’s personal antipathy towards the prime minister co-exists with a genuine commitment to the welfare and security of the Jewish state.
America has not one but two special relationships: one with Britain and one with Israel. When the two clash, the alliance with Israel usually trumps the one with Britain, as Tony Blair discovered to his cost in 2003. For the sake of the special relationship Blair dragged Britain into a disastrous war in Iraq, but in the aftermath of the war his American allies reneged on their promise to push Israel into a settlement with the Palestinians. Blair was no match to the power of the Israel lobby in the US. With American complicity, Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories has now reached its 50th year and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.
American politicians of both parties often use the mantra that the bond with Israel is unbreakable. But Israel’s continuing drift to the right has imposed serious strains on the relations with its principal ally and chief benefactor. In America, Israel is essentially an issue in domestic politics rather than foreign policy. And it is the subject of deep disagreement between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration.