Kissinger: US public still committed to Israel

Kissinger to Post: Nations' partnership remains a "fundamental conviction" of the American people.

kissinger 88 (photo credit:)
kissinger 88
(photo credit: )
As Israel nears its 60th anniversary, the partnership between the Jewish state and America remains a "fundamental conviction" of the American public, according to former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger. "The partnership is changing because the conditions are changing," Kissinger told The Jerusalem Post over the weekend. "In the early years it was a question of states interacting with each other, and now it is part of a whole global situation." But these changes, Kissinger said, had not weakened America's conviction that support for Israel is in the American national interest. "I think the relationship remains essential," said Kissinger. "I think there is a fundamental conviction that the security of Israel is in the American national interest. That has not changed." Kissinger, along with every other living former secretary of state, has signed on as a vice-chair of the National Committee for Israel 60, which will coordinate events to celebrate Israel's anniversary. Co-chairing the national commemoration are former American presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The involvement of the former presidents and secretaries of state sent a strong and reassuring message of the continued stability and growing strength of the bonds between the two countries, said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which is spearheading the committee. "No matter what dips and valleys, the record is of 60 years of remarkable friendship," said Hoenlein. "Support of the American people is at an all-time high now." The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, which came out last year and argued that American support for Israel had jeopardized not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world, had not had "any great impact on the general public," Kissinger said. "The American public continues to support the relations [between the two countries], and resistance to any threat to the survival of Israel." Asked whether the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction - which during the Cold War was seen as helping to prevent any direct full-scale conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union as they engaged in smaller proxy wars around the world - could be applied to Iran, Kissinger said: "The American government is committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and I strongly support that position. I don't want to speculate what would happen if they do get nuclear weapons, because that should not happen." Kissinger, who used his skills at conflict management to negotiate the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and helped set the stage for the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, said reaching such accommodations "is more difficult if you have religious-based opponents than state-based opponents."