Anger and distrust have strained the U.S.-Israeli alliance as the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have clashed over Israeli settlements, convulsions in the Arab world, and negotiating with Iran. Our Separate Ways is an urgent examination of why the alliance has deteriorated and the dangers of its neglect.
Powerful demographic, cultural, and strategic currents in Israel and the United States are driving the two countries apart. In America, the once-solid pro-Israel consensus is being corroded by partisan rancor, which also pits conservative Jews against the more liberal Jewish majority. In Israel, surveys of young Jewish citizens reveal a disdain for democracy, and, in some cases, a readiness to curb the civil liberties of non-Jews. Prospects for preserving a liberal Zionism against the pressures for “Greater Israel” are dimming as hopes for a two-state solution fade.
The acrimony between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been a symptom, not cause, of the deeper crisis. If the alliance becomes just a transactional arrangement, then the moral, emotional, and largely intangible bonds that have long tied the two countries together will continue to weaken. Going separate ways at a time of Middle East chaos, and despite profound historical commitment, would be an immense tragedy. The partnership must restore the shared vision that created it.