Two recent events are likely to have a significant effect on relations between Israel and the US during a Biden administration.
In the unfortunate event that Jonathan Pollard is given a public hero's welcome when he arrives in Israel, such a miscalculation would be a totally unnecessary slap in the face of America.
Does anyone wonder why no US president, not even Trump, would pardon Pollard? He is not a hero, he is a traitor to his country, for which he was well paid (he also offered his "services" to other countries for money). When I was a senior staff member of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in 2007, I asked for and was given a briefing on the Pollard affair. I was anxious to decide that his sentence was excessive and that he should be pardoned. Instead, the briefing convinced me that his sentence was just and that if it was the 1950s he would probably have been sentenced to death, as were the Rosenbergs.
His activities soured relations between the US and Israel for years. A hero's welcome would reopen old wounds and make essential coordination between the Biden administration and Israel that much more difficult.
The brilliantly planned and executed assassination of Mohsen Fakrizadeh near Tehran not only deprives that country of his valuable services, but demonstrates once again, as with the theft of the Iranian nuclear archives, that whatever else is dysfunctional in Israel at present (and there is a great deal) the intelligence services, as well as the IDF, continue to serve the Israeli people with admirable efficiency. To the extent that the assassination makes more difficult any attempt on the part of the Biden administration to revive the fatally wrong-headed Iranian policies of the Obama administration is all to the good.
The US-Israel alliance has not lost its importance for both countries. On the contrary, the rapprochement between Israel and certain Arab countries makes it even more important as back-up for both. It is of vital concern to Israel that the extreme left of the Democratic Party and certain Obama administration holdovers not overcome Biden's viscerally moderate instincts.
Dr. Norman Bailey is professor of Economic Statecraft at the Galilee International Management Institute, and adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington DC. Dr. Bailey was a senior staff member of the National Security Council during the Reagan administration and of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence during the George W. Bush administration.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on November 30, 2020
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