Home  Principles & Statements  Positions of the ACJ  Articles  DonationsAbout Us  Contact Us  Links                                         

Former U.S. Officials Describe “Fraying of Shared Values” Between U.S. and Israel

Allan C. Brownfeld, Editor
Special Interest Report
April 2017

In an article entitled “Can the U.S.-Israel Bond Be Saved?” (New York Times,  
Feb. 14, 2017), two former U.S. officials involved in Middle East policy  
report that Israel’s continuing occupation of the West Bank and retreat from  
a two-state solution endanger the “shared values” of the two countries.  
Steven Simon, who served as the National Security Council’s senior director  
for the Middle East and North Africa, and Aaron David Miller, a former State  
Department Middle East analyst and negotiator, write: “… what concerns us  
most is the fraying of shared values that set it apart from other bilateral  
bonds. Without them, interests alone won’t be enough to maintain its  
They note that, “The two countries are an awkward, strategic fit. America is  
Israel’s ultimate security guarantor, but Israel can’t come close to  
reciprocating.” Without shared values, in their view, the alliance has a  
very weak rationale.  
They write: “The Israeli government and the powerful settler movement are  
poised to exploit the (Trump) administr¬ation’s perceived pro-Netanyahu  
stance by-expanding settlements and neighborhoods in the West Bank and  
Jerusalem. The Palestinian national movement will no doubt respond with  
terror and incitement to violence, undermining its own legitimate case.  
Given the asymmetry of power, Israel’s response will probably be harsher and  
increasingly seen as anti-democratic or worse.”  
Asking what things are likely to look like in eight years, Simon and Miller  
speculate: “American support for an increasingly right-wing Israeli policy  
will mean that Israel will have built more settle¬ments; diplomacy aimed at  
a two-state solution will be stillborn or abandoned …”  
The authors conclude: “If these things come to pass, the erosion of shared  
values will quicken. The process is already under way because of a number of  
trends in the U.S., particularly among Jews; indiff¬erence to Israel among  
many voters … the likely leftward turn of the Bernie Sanders generation, the  
perceptions of an increasingly unpopular alliance between Israel and the  
Trump administration. Taken altogether, they point to the very real  
possibility of growing distance between Washington and Jerusalem.” •

< return to article list
© 2010 The American Council For Judaism.