"US support for Israel is not just Zionism"

President Biden sits with Israel's war cabinetCredit: Haim Zach GPO
President Biden sits with Israel's war cabinetCredit: Haim Zach GPO

Tel Aviv University international relations expert Prof. Yossi Shain tells "Globes" that if Israel falters, all America's enemies will see it as US weakness.

"The US has never taken such an active role in an Israeli war to the point where the Secretary of State and the President were invited to be part of the cabinet and have sat down, planned and made comments. This is unprecedented," says Prof. Yossi Shain an expert in international relations at Tel Aviv University and Georgetown University. In the past he has served as an MK for Israel Beitenu.

"The US response has been so exceptional, which in a certain sense also indicates weakness, or at least the US perception that Israel is not strong enough. After all, Israel has always prided itself on fighting its own wars alone. The US response stems from a deep US concern, starting from the very first day, immediately after the murderous massacre committed by Hamas. The Americans really fears for, in my opinion, the fate of Israel. It is this deep fear of Israel's fate that has caused the US to take such an active role, combined with the great empathy that Biden feels towards Israel. A combination of these things led to the current situation."

Will it also have a price? There are those who say that in a sense the Americans are running the war.

"When the US is so deeply involved in this and now we are also asking them for a $10 billion aid package, then it is clear that whoever pays the piper calls the tune. The entry of the US into the region, on the one hand, shows the commitment of the strategic alliance with Israel, and on the other hand shows that the US takes upon itself the decision regarding the limits of the conflict. I would say that it even allows it to draw the moral limits of the conflict. It weakens us on a certain level, and it strengthens us on another level. After all, they have aircraft carriers that strengthen us."

"Russia and China are watching with interest what is happening"

Is there any concern that Biden is actually the last Democratic US President who really loves Israel in this way? We see the new generation of Democrats, including very central voices that don't like us, anti-Israel protests on campuses and more.

"I'm in Boston right now exactly for that. I'll be speaking today on several campuses. There's a tremendous struggle over the narrative here. There are forces here. Also on the campuses, many Arab students and many radical leftists. Progressives, who see Israel as a colonial entity, as a racist state, and much more. We see all those unfounded theories that come from extreme progressivism and repeat themselves in a various ways."

"On the other hand," says Shain, "We also see a counter-reaction by the Jewish community. We saw the Wexner Foundation withdrawing funds from Harvard, the Ofer family who did the same. We see great government support and also from the older population, but certainly on campuses the situation is difficult. Campus leaders are silent. Yesterday there was a demonstration of 5,000 people against Israel here, there is great concern about this."

What is the US interest in helping us so much? Is it just out of Zionism?

"It is clear that it is not just Zionism. You have to understand, the narrative in the region so far has been very positive. Progress with Saudi Arabia, the Abraham Accords. Iran is weakened, and now something like this is happening. If Israel loses or falters, then all the enemies of the US will see this as US weakness. The Islamists in Egypt will raise their heads, in Jordan too.

"Russia and China are watching with interest what is happening. The US cannot let Israel fail here. It is also values but it is also 'realpolitik' on the most basic level. Remember that the German Chancellor came and the UK Prime Minister is coming to Israel, and Macron is with us. Our struggle together with the US is to create a liberal democratic front against the evil forces of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as against the Russians and the Chinese. Israel must be a strong fortress."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 18, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

President Biden sits with Israel's war cabinetCredit: Haim Zach GPO
President Biden sits with Israel's war cabinetCredit: Haim Zach GPO
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