About a week ago, it became known that the “Biden administration’s outgoing ambassador to Israel personally signed off on a controversial $1 million grant to a program critics said was meant to delegitimize Israel, according to internal State Department communications.” According to a trove of emails released following a request by the America First Legal Foundation under the Freedom of Information Act, outgoing “U.S. ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides … personally cleared the State Department to offer $987,654 for groups to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Israel, Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.”
When the initiative became known, twelve Republican lawmakers pressured the State Department to cancel the program, saying that it would embolden the global BDS movement. “As a policy matter,” they wrote, “it is wholly unacceptable for the State Department to fund NGOs to delegitimize and isolate Israel.”
As painful as it may be, I think that Israel should wake up from the illusion that America is its best friend, and realize that the US treats Israel just as it treats any other country: according to what is best for America, and only for America. Today, it is easier for America to cater to the Palestinians and to the Arab world than to look after Israel’s interests.
Moreover, I feel that the administration in DC believes that it will be able to work things out with Israel if there are misunderstandings, whereas with the Arab world, it needs to work harder in order to gain its trust. As a result, the Biden administration makes greater efforts to appease Israel’s enemies than to please Israel. As long as Israel continues to ignore this reality, America will have no reason to change this policy.
It is not that there is a deliberate attempt to weaken Israel or hamper its efforts to protect itself. It is only a matter of priorities, and at the moment, keeping warm relations with Israel is low priority for the US.
It is not only the US that is giving Israel a cold shoulder. There are even Israeli representatives around the world who are working against Israel in the countries where they serve. Some of them even encourage political leaders and Jewish community leaders abroad not to meet with Israeli ministers on official visits to their country. Their motivation for doing this may not only be that they oppose the current government in Israel, but also that in today’s international arena, you are treated better if you treat Israel worse. To many people and countries, the temptation to win easy compliments is more than they can resist.
For its part, Israel can reverse the trend, but not by denouncing such behaviors. Criticizing others for hating you will not make them like you.
The only way to make the world like us is by starting to like each other. The internal division in Israeli society is exuding toxic attitudes and pugnacious thoughts. It is causing the world to reject us from its midst, and makes us pariahs among the nations.
More than any country in the world, Israel is always on people’s minds, and the atmosphere that it projects permeates people’s hearts. When people in Israel are contentious, so is the world; when Israelis are at peace with one another, so is the world with them.
Our sages have always told us that if we change, the world will change with us. We have no other way to change the world’s attitude toward us except through our internal unity, yet we have always refused to use it. Nevertheless, until we give peace among ourselves a chance, the world will not be peaceful toward us.