In 2016 the U.S. supported a project called EastMed to build a pipeline intended to transfer natural gas from Israeli waters to Europe via Greece and Cypress. The three states have not obtained financing for this approximately $7 billion long-term project. Turkey opposed the project, insisting that any Israeli natural gas brought to Europe should go through Turkey. Early in January 2022, the U.S. withdrew its support for the project. The State Department claimed it opposed the project on environmental grounds, arguing that we should be investing in green technology, not in a multi-year project which would prolong Europe’s dependence on a fossil fuel.
Suddenly, on Feb. 24, Russia attacked Ukraine. American and European energy priorities have abruptly changed. The U.S. wants to send more natural gas to Europe to help Europe break its dependence on Russian natural gas. However, the U.S. doesn’t have enough capacity to export more natural gas, and Europe doesn’t have the capacity to import significantly more. Why don’t AIPAC and J Street, the two rival Israel advocacy organizations, unite to lobby the State Department to support the EastMed pipeline project to provide a stable, long-term, reserve source of natural gas for Europe?