Canada did it. They severed the cord. The last diplomatic connection between Canada and Iran is cut. The nuance of the move is unquestionable – Canada considers itself Israel’s ally in any conflict with Iran. It gets me thinking, why shouldn’t Israel have such solid alliances in its other conflicts? Why should it be that only Iran provokes countries like Canada or the United States to be so indisputably aligned with Israel? Why not also relative to Israel’s Arab rivals?
Certainly in war these countries are there. The United States is indisputably in the Israeli corner. But why not also in peace time? Why should it be that Benjamin Netanyahu has to manufacture diplomatic crises to scare the American administration into making public statements supporting Israeli concerns and interests? Why does the Democratic party have to scared straight to support its main ally’s core position in its most existential conflict – Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and why is the Republican party shying away)?
Shouldn’t there be at least one country unashamed to say Israel has the right to seek Jerusalem as its, and only its, capital? How about Israel’s interests in shaping its own borders? Why doesn’t Israel have an ally that will back its positions in war as well as peace? That country, whether Washington wants to be or not, is the United States.
We like to think we are moderate thinkers. Politically, we want our countries to stay above the fray. Americans want to arbitrate and resolve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But America’s role really isn’t that of neutral outsider, is it?
The US really wants it to be. Successive administrations have tried to be Israel’s friend in public and belittle things like a Jerusalem-centered Jewish country in private. Israel doesn’t have the privileges that its Palestinian rival has. The Palestinians have an overwhelming amount of “natural” allies: Arab states, Muslim countries and third world governments. Israel can’t align itself with other Jewish countries – religiously or ethnically. The US is the closest thing it has to something like this. For more reasons than this, America should unambiguously play that role for Israel, not be an arbitrator for its conflicts.
The European Union continues to recognize Palestinian “rights” in Jerusalem but not Israel’s and Turkey blocks Israel’s ties with NATO, where else should Israel have to turn? The US can’t even follow through with a 15-year-old pledge to move its embassy to Jerusalem. What kind of ally plays games like that?
Should the US continue to try selling itself as neutral and unbiased in such a war? Despite billions in military and financial aid and a mosaic of groups supporting the Israeli cause, the US hasn’t come to present itself for what it should be. The rhetoric might be there – that it’s an unbreakable alliance – but it isn’t full-fledged. Palestine has its persistent allies in the peace process, but Israel’s main ally would prefer to stay to the sideline instead of advocate for core Israeli demands like wider borders and the holy places of Jerusalem.
Israelis shouldn’t be shy to say they want the Temple Mount within Israel’s borders – American interests demand Israel stay mum on such things for the sake of American ties with Arab and Muslim countries. Washington begrudges such a demand when it should be advocating it. Because the United States refuses to let its alliance flower, Israel can’t be honest in its demands of the Palestinians, dragging out the process needlessly and tragically.
No other country is anywhere close to willing to being this consistent backer for Israel in its diplomatic relationships and peace negotiations. Virtually any country in Europe could serve as a neutral arbiter. Not just any of those states would readily advocate for all of Israel’s positions in public forums.
The US should excuse itself from being a neutral arbitrator of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and solidly announce itself as a backer for Israeli interests in future negotiations or conflict. It would be the ultimate deterrent to Iranian interference in the conflict. It would also reassure us Israelis here in Israel to know there’s a country we don’t have to bribe with political or diplomatic favors to back our dearest positions. Canada can’t do everything around here.