Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israelis witnessed an unusual public disagreement last week between their foreign minister and his deputy. Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel should reduce its dependence on the United States, declaring, “Israel’s foreign policy for many years went in one direction toward Washington, but my policy has more directions.” Deputy Minister Zeev Elkin countered that “Even when there are disagreements ... there is no one who can take the place of the Americans.” In truth, both are right. Elkin is correct that no other country can replace America as Israel’s chief ally, and Lieberman is correct that depending solely on America leaves Israel vulnerable, without friends to fall back on during times, as now, when it disagrees with Washington on crucial issues. Yet without understanding why Elkin is right, any quest to broaden Israel’s pool of allies will fail. And both the answers commonly given – America’s superpower status and our shared democratic values – are wrong.