Last updated on: 5/15/2008 5:36:00 PM PST
What Is the Relationship between the United States and Israel?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The United States Congressional Research Service (CRS), in an Oct. 10, 2003 Issue Brief for Congress titled "Israeli-United States Relations" provided the following information:
"President Harry Truman recognized Israel on May 15, 1948, within minutes after Israel declared its independence. Past American presidents, encouraged by active support from civic groups, labor unions, political parties, and members of the American and world Jewish communities, supported the concept, articulated in Britain's 1917 Balfour Declaration, of a Jewish homeland.
After World War II, United States support for a Jewish state grew with the desire to help settle the large number of Jewish refugees, displaced persons, and survivors of the Nazi holocaust. Popular support for Israel among U.S. Jews and significant segments of the Christian community has been supplemented by a general identification with Israel as an advanced democratic society with strong liberal and humanitarian values, as a 'pioneering' and innovative nation, and as a beleaguered refuge surrounded by hostile and belligerent Arab neighbors.
In the past, U.S. Middle East interests included containing Soviet expansion into the region, ensuring industrialized countries' access to Middle Eastern petroleum resources, fostering the growth of democracy and market economies, maintaining communications and trade with the region, and ensuring Israel's security. On occasion, the United States provided military forces to defend Middle Eastern states, as was the case in Lebanon in 1958, the Kuwait tanker reflagging in 1987, or the war against Iraq in 1991. Israel's military and intelligence capabilities and strategic location contributed to the U.S. objective of containing Soviet expansion into the region. But friendly U.S.-Israeli ties did not advance other U.S. interests in the Middle East. As U.S. relations with Arab nations grew in importance, the United States attempted to balance its stated commitment to Israel with other regional commitments and interests.
Israel and the United States share the view that the United States has a predominant role and responsibility in Middle East peace-making, but in the past Israel has disagreed with the U.S. view of its role as an even-handed peace broker among the parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute. Most Israelis and Israeli supporters have wanted the United States to favor only Israeli positions. The United States has provided arms to Middle Eastern countries for individual and collective defense against aggression. Past U.S. arms transfers to Arab countries have been striking examples of friction in Israeli-U.S. relations, not only because they underscore the difference in attitudes toward Arab countries, but because Israel perceived arms transfers to Arabs as threatening its security."
Oct. 10, 2003 - Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Israeli-United States Relations (96 KB)
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on its Washington, DC, embassy website posted the following statement (accessed May 16, 2007):
"Friendship between Israel and the United States of America
'We will speak up for our principles and we will stand up for our friends in the world. And one of our most important friends is the State of Israel.' President George W. Bush
'There exists a deep friendship between Israel and the U.S. - between our peoples and countries. The basis of this friendship is common values, a commitment to democratic values, freedom, peace, and common interests, including the drive toward regional stability and preventing terrorism and violence.' Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
U.S.- Israel relations are built on shared values of democracy, freedom and human rights. As vibrant democracies, both Israel and the U.S. recognize the freedom of speech, assembly, worship and the rule of law. On May 14, 1948, the United States, under President Harry Truman, became the first country to officially recognize Israel. Since then, US-Israel relations have been formalized through Congressional legislation, memorandums of understanding and numerous joint economic, scientific, military and trade agreements.
Many U.S. presidents have labored hard to broker peace between Israel and her neighbors. Among the numerous successes include President Carter's brokering of a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, and President Clinton's facilitating of a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994.
The current Bush administration has remained committed to Israel and to the fight against terrorism. The events of September 11th have created a new dynamic in the global battle against terrorism, with the US at the forefront. Israel has played a key role by cooperating with the U.S. on intelligence issues as well as expertise in combating terrorism. The Israeli people have shown their solidarity with the United States by renaming Jerusalem's 'Jaffa Street' to 'New York Street', and by donating blood and money to help the many wounded. The United States has also demonstrated strong support for Israel's fight against terrorism. The two countries remain committed to fighting terrorism and promoting political negotiations as a path to peace."
May 16, 2007 - Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs