David Tal discusses the making and history of US-Israel relationships.
In December 1962 President John F. Kennedy told Israel’s foreign minister, Golda Meir that “the United States has a special relationship with Israel in the Middle East really comparable only to that which it has with Britain.” While agreeing that indeed, the Israeli- American relations could be labelled as ‘special,’ most students of American- Israeli relations argued over the question since when the Israeli-American relationship became really special, and what was it that made them “special.” The debate took place between students of the realistic school of thought, who argued that only after the 1967 war, or after the 1970 Black September events in Jordan that Israel became a strategic asset for the United States, and it was since than that the relations between the two countries became ‘special’. The proponents of the idealistic school of thought argue that idealism and religion were the determining factors that decided American special attitude toward Israel. While both realism and idealism existed in the American – Israel relationship, it was applied differently by each state. While the American approach toward Israel was mostly idealistic, based on religion, idealism and history, the Zionist and later Israeli approach toward the United States was realistic.