Letter to the Editor: American support of Israel

Letter to the Editor

EDITOR,

The op-ed piece entitled “Diplomacy: An Uncomfortable Truth,” (2/5/09) is overly simplistic. Not only does the author omit vital facts; he makes unfounded assumptions. It is true that the United States has been Israel’s strongest ally and provided billions of dollars in aid. To say however, that this support is the primary obstacle to restoring the United States’ reputation in the Middle East, is questionable. Furthermore, to imply that American political leaders are blindly allowing their foreign policy to be contorted by Israel’s needs is to neglect the ability of such leaders to act within the United States’ best interests.

The author writes, “Israel will only stop using disproportionate violence if the U.S. pressures it through cutting military aid. No one believes that Israel’s military needs it.” On the contrary, Israel has always, and will always, take the necessary measures to secure the safety of its civilian populations regardless of U.S. pressures. Unfortunately, when confronting an enemy that has trained extensively on how to fight directly within civilian populations and already factored in civilian deaths as a part of its military strategy, there will be tragic consequences. Even still, of the over 1,000 casualties in the recent Operation Cast Lead, two-thirds were identified as militants.

Israel’s technological developments have made it an equal partner in the research and progress of defensive military strategies. With funding from the United States, Israeli companies have created the world’s first operational anti-missile missile system and have paved the way for unmanned air vehicle technology as well as the Python and Popeye “smart” airborne missiles. The reality is that the United States receives practical benefits from its support of Israel.

The “nature of this alliance” yields outcomes far more complex than regional hatred, and is founded upon democratic principles shared by both sides. On March 4, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a crowd of over eighty delegations, that President Barack Obama is following the same “wrong path” as George W. Bush in supporting Israel, which he labeled as “a cancerous tumor.”     Should the hatred expressed by nations which have rejected Israel since its creation be the substance that motivates the United States to cut-off its ties with its closest democratic ally in the region? Surely, peace should be achieved through diplomacy and not war, and yes, Israel might have to make painful concessions to achieve that, but it is important to understand that American actions in that process are both vital and mutually beneficial.

– Gabriel Cahn ’12