With so many issues on the docket in the still-early US presidential campaign, Israel appeared pretty low on the totem pole.But five months before the primary season for the Democratic nomination begins, some candidates are trying push Israel’s relationship with the US higher up on the agenda. The candidates – like Joe Biden – are scrambling to either bolster their moderate old-school party credentials that have attracted the vast majority of American-Jewish voters for decades, or appeal to the newer, more progressive and high-profile flank of the party, as represented by the young congresswomen known as “The Squad.”One of the leading candidates, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, has made it clear where she stands. Speaking at a campaign event in Iowa on Sunday, Warren indicated that continued settlement expansion by Israel in the West Bank could jeopardize US aid to Israel.“Right now, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu says he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements. That does not move us toward a two-state solution,” Warren said.“It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution, and if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, then everything is on the table,” she said, then repeated: “Everything is on the table.”Another leading Democratic candidate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has already made it clear that he would “absolutely” consider cuts of American aid to Israel to pressure Jerusalem toward an agreement with the Palestinians. He added, however, that he would never initiate changes that would threaten Israel’s security.In September 2016, then-president Barack Obama and Netanyahu signed a memorandum of understanding upping US aid to Israel from $3 billion to $3.8b. annually for the next 10 years.According to Brookings Institution visiting fellow James Kirchick writing in The Atlantic, US aid to Israel “is the logical extension of America’s postwar power projection. It is not all that spectacular compared with US defense arrangements with the dozens of countries it is obliged to defend, up to and including with weapons of mass destruction.”Kirchick added, “Unlike US aid to Israel, most of which is funneled back to the American defense sector, US defense spending toward its forward-operating presence in Europe and Asia is composed of hundreds of thousands of ‘boots on the ground,’ soldiers whose lives would be at stake in any scenario involving an attack on treaty allies.”Rather than outright handouts, the aid package the US provides to Israel requires that 74% of these funds must be spent on the acquisition of US defense equipment, services and training, thus boosting the American economy.Regardless of those nuances, the question remains: Is the threat of withholding US aid to get Israel in line with American views the best policy for presidential candidates to be taking?Many Israelis agree with Warren that a two-state solution is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and allow the two peoples to live side by side. And many Israelis also agree that expanding settlements – at least those that are not in the consensus of being part of Israel in a two-state solution – is not helpful in achieving that goal.However, there’s a two-way street at play, with the other driver – the Palestinian Authority – doing nothing to make the conditions more amenable for talks or movement toward the two-state eventuality. The Trump peace plan was supposed to provide some answers, but that ship seems to have sailed.In addition to expressing her frustration with the impasse in the region by lashing out at Israel, Warren could have also singled out the PA, which continues to pay stipends to families of terrorists and continues to include vehement anti-Israel diatribes in school textbooks.What Warren’s implied threat fails to consider is that Israel and the US can have differences and still be staunch allies. Aid to Israel is not given because Israel kowtows to every US desire and need. It’s given because we are the only country in the Middle East that shares the values of the US and fights the same fights the US fights. Israel stands at the forefront of the war on terror, and we are threatened like no other country in the world. The US recognizes that by providing Israel with the aid package required to maintain a qualitative military edge over its enemies. That should remain outside of the political debate.