A case of classic antisemitism

Why is Israel an important ally of the US?

April 29, 2019 23:39
2 minute read.
A case of classic antisemitism

The New York Times cartoon by António Moreira Antunes. (photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)

On April 25th, The New York Times International Edition ran a disturbing cartoon described by Seth Frantzman of The Jerusalem Post as “…an apparently blind US President Donald Trump wearing a yarmulke being led by a dog with a Star of David for a collar and with a face of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” After numerous complaints, The New York Times removed the cartoon from its website calling it, “an error in judgment.” For a major American news organization to use a blatantly antisemitic cartoon to distort reality was far more than just “an error in judgment.” It was classic antisemitism.

The cartoon fits the definition of antisemitism of the US State Department which states, “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective – such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”

That was exactly what the cartoon represents. Moreover, the cartoon demonizes and mischaracterizes an important American alliance with a totally false and baseless accusation.

US support for Israel did not begin with the presidency of Donald Trump. The United States and Israel are close allies for reasons that are purely in the American national interest. And that alliance has received strong bi-partisan support from both the US Congress and US presidents going back to the 1960s.

Why is Israel an important ally of the US?

Let’s begin with the fact that no American soldier has ever fought and died to protect Israel. Since its founding in 1948, Israel has fought six major wars and carried out numerous major counter-terror operations. Yet, Israel never has, nor ever will, ask the United States to risk the lives of young Americans for its security. Israel will continue to defend itself by itself.

The United States and Israel share intelligence on common threats like ISIS and Iran and share expertise in the area of cybersecurity. That intelligence and expertise is crucial for American national security.

In addition, the United States and Israel hold regular joint military training exercises. The lessons learned from these experiences have saved the lives of American troops on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq.

And then there is the generous $3.8 billion in annual security assistance of the US for Israel. According to the agreement, 75% of the aid must be spent in the United States on buying weapons made in America. In other words, aid to Israel creates jobs in America. By the year 2024, 100% of the aid will be spent in the United States.

A few years ago, the historian Niall Ferguson coined a phrase calling Israel, “The little country that is the most easterly outpost of Western civilization.” Given the barbarism and chaos that have overtaken the Middle East, the title is even more appropriate today. Yet for decades, American leaders have appreciated the importance of having Israel as an ally in a very tough neighborhood.

As a young member of the US Congress in 1986, then-senator Joe Biden said, “If there were not an Israel, the US would have to invent an Israel to protect her interests in the region.”

That was true then, and it is most certainly true now.

The writer is an active member of the Jewish community of South Bend, Indiana.

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